Mayport Report March 2018
The weather continues to be a major factor in the fishing this month. Sharp temperature fluctuations to the cold side have proven to slow things down a bit inshore. The most effective days to fish with the optimum results are the warm weather window days. Try to fish late morning into early afternoon when the sun is at its warmest. Reds, trout, black drum, and sheepshead will be the predominate species. The high outgoing to dead low tides seem to be the best.
The jetties will hold trout on the high outgoing and the reds will stage on the dead low. Fish slowly and methodically using live shrimp, fiddlers, cut blue crab, and mud minnows for best results. A typical 1/4oz jig on a light spin rod is effective, the old standard float rig works, and one of my favorite old reliable rigs, the egg sinker/leader combo. Try to remember the water is cold and so are the fish. The bite will be subtle and light. This doesn’t mean it’s a small fish so be mindful when you go to set the hook. Be methodical and work both the inside and outside of the jetties.
The ringtail porgies and sheepshead should really fire off this month. Both species will eagerly eat a shrimp or fiddler and are dynamite fighters on light tackle. The tips of the rocks usually are my favorite areas to search first.
The Mayport Basin area from White Shell rocks to the Navy base is a great area to catch good sized trout this time of the year. High clean water is best right as the river begins to flow out. Live shrimp on a float rig or a 1/4oz jig with a white or new penny 3in swimming Gulp bait seem to be my go to bait. Chartreuse tails seem to a major trigger this time of the year for me and again it’s really important to work the baits slowly.
Also, look for the big black drum to push into the rocks in large numbers. A quarter piece of blue crab soaked at the ends of the jetties in 38-42ft of water to be most effective. Remember these are the breeding stock so let the big ones go.
The local party grounds right off the beach will hold good numbers of sea bass, ringtails, some triggers, and lots of red snapper. Cut squid, cuttlefish, cigars, live shrimp, and even mud minnows are great baits to use. I fished offshore a few times last month and had a blast catching what I could eat and released the rest back. On one particular day I ran with Capt. Steve Mullen on the Fishhunter and we had to work out to 20 miles in order to find water warm enough to catch decent fish and any numbers. It was around 90ft of water and temps were topped out at 47 degrees. We even managed to find a fairly large school of bull reds out there. Always vent those fish that need it and be gentle as this cold water the last few months has truly stressed these guys out. Please be sure to check the regs for what you can and cannot keep.
Remember you can’t catch them from the couch.
To book a charter for 3 or 50 ppl Capt. Kirk can be reached by calling 904.241.7560 or 904.626.1128 or go to www.Enterprisefishingcharters.com .Capt. Kirk can be heard each and every Saturday morning on the Outdoors Show on 1010am or 92.5 fm from 7am to 10am.