Mayport – May Fishing Report

The month of May should begin to turn the corner for us here on the First Coast. The last few weeks of April brought pretty severe wind and cold temps. This dip effected the arrival of many of our spring predators that typically follow bait schools that will move in for the summer. Look for pogies to show enmasse in the next few weeks on the beaches outside of the St. John’s River jetties at Mayport. These big schools in turn will attract schools of marauding jack cravelle, cobia, bull reds, sharks, and even a few kingfish. Grab a net full of these tasty baits and pitch them right back into the schools for a quick strike. I like to use a fairly stout spinning rod like a Penn Battalion rod with a Slammer 6500 and 40-60lb braid on a Carolina rig. You can also slow troll these baits behind the boat just outside of the pods using a short wire leader king rig for great results. The big question of the month will be cobia and will the manta rays show. If calm seas allow it look for the manta rays to come thru and the cobia to tag along. Pogies are good baits for this as well as jumbo shrimp or squid.  All this bait will begin to start our ventures to the party grounds for striking fish. Look for good numbers of kings, sharks, cudas, cobia, bonita, and even a few sailfish. Deplore the pogies on our local reefs and wrecks by slow trolling or drop them on the bottom for a quick strike on red snapper, sea bass, and other wreck fish. Good numbers of these should still be around through May.

The rocks at Mayport should be on fire this month. Because of the late cold weather the sheepshead fishing should be excellent. Redfish, black drum, blues, Spanish, ringtails, and sea bass will all be on the feed bag around the rocks. Shrimp and fiddlers are good choices as well as a piece of cut blue crab to be effective. Pogies are also great bait around the rocks for bruiser reds and large bluefish this month too! I like a nice 3/8oz jig pitched on the rock edges or soak the baits deep on the edges in 36 ft of water on a stiff rod deploying a Carolina rig or 3-way swivel.

The Mayport basin back to the ICW and little jetties will also be good. Look for jacks, sheepshead, trout, black drum ,and reds, on the river edges, oyster bars, rock piles, and deep drops. I caught quite a few bull reds on the edges of the river and think they will still be around. Run the beach for pogies and then dash back into the river. Soak them on the river channel edges around the little jetties. The big reds love them.

Always remember you can’t catch any of these from the couch. Capt. Kirk can be contacted thru his website @  via e-mail, text, or phone. Listen to  the Outdoorsshow every Sat on 101am or 92.5fm for weather , tides, and forecasts of whats going on in the local waters.