Mayport Report April 2018

The month of April might be our quick start to the upcoming spring fishing season for us. February held some great promise of an early spring with at least 2 dozen days nearing 80 if not over that temperature. That window created some awesome days of red and trout bites though it didn’t sit with this author as I would rather it doesn’t get scorching too early. Look for some banner days in April for reds, trout, drum, and sheepshead. The bite in March has been good and I do see that trend continuing.

The big rocks at Mayport should hold some good numbers of black drum this month upwards to 100lbs. The most effective method is to soak a ¼ to a ½ of a fresh blue crab on the bottom. Try working the bottom of the dead low and the top of the flood high at the tips of both rock piles for the better results. I like to use a Penn Slammer II spooled with 60lb SpiderWire Ultra Cast braided line on a UglyStik 7ft Tiger rod. I rig a 3-way swivel using about 60lb mono or better coupled with a no#6 Wide bend live bait hook. The 3-way is simplistic in design and allows you to change the weight according to your needs relative to the current flow. I typically look towards soaking the baits in 30 to 45ft of water on the very ends of the rocks and will methodically move in or out of the river depending on water flow. The big fish, I believe, should be released as they really are of fairly poor food value once they exceed 25lbs. It’s important to also be reminded that these big fish are our breeding stock and to throw the breeders back unharmed will continue to guarantee a more healthy population for years to come.

Also look for the redfish, sheepshead, ringtails and trout to move onto the rocks in good numbers next month. Anglers throwing anything from jig/shrimp combo’s, to float rigs, or simply soaking a fiddler/blue crab bait near the bottom or edge of the rocks will produce some healthy stringers of fish. My all time favorite thing to do this month is to work the tips of the rocks on a high outgoing tide for ring tail porgies. These testy little fighters are great on light tackle and actually eat quite well. Try throwing a light ¼ to 1/8 oz jig with a real small shrimp towards the ends of the rocks. If they are piled in on the spot you will feel them striking the bait before it hits the bottom. I try to load or bend the rod ever so slowing with a slight lift till I feel a fairly solid bump then set the hook. Great fighters on light tackle.

This month is also an excellent month to catch good sized trout on lures on the big rocks. In year past some of my biggest speckled trout came off the stones at Mayport throwing a Mirror Lure 52M. It’s usually a high outgoing tide or top of the incoming tide fishery but can be quite fun if they are around. Try working the rocks early in the Morning and late in the afternoon for the best results.  I like to get on the trolling motor covering as much ground as possible by fan casting the rocks right to the edges.

The offshore bite should pick up this month with our seabass moving in closer this month. Try fishing the local party ground natural bottom spots for the best results using cuttlefish. Snapper, triggers, and even some cobia should begin to show so make sure you have a rod ready. One last thing I will to this report is make sure you check the areas beaches before heading offshore. If the water warms enough schools of pogies might show early and with it cobia, Spanish mackeral,bull reds, and some big jacks.

Remember you can’t catch them from the couch. Get out and fish.

Capt. Kirk Waltz can be reached for charters by calling 904-241-7560 or 904-626-1128. Reach us on Instagram, FaceBook, Yelp, or go to . Listen every Sat Morning to the Outdoors Show on 92.5fm or 1010am from 7-10am for weather, fishing reports, and tips to our local