Mayport Report August 2018
Summer is finally fully engaged and the fishing has been stellar. Look for plenty of menhaden to continue to be on the areas beaches in the jam just south of the St. John’s river jetties at Mayport and north to Nassau Sound. As the prevailing west winds continue look for a possible temperature break to drop the water down a notch or two. If this happens it makes it more difficult to catch bait as it moves quicker and doesn’t come up on top as much. Big flips indicate bigger baits and the smaller flips are typically smaller baits. Wait for the flip and then cast your net. This slow methodical approach takes some patience but usually produces good results. A good live well full of frisky baits can ensure you a great day on the water. Try not to overload your live well as it will only die and the remaining bait gets really lethargic.
With bait in the tank ease into areas like the Redtops, Southeast Hole, Spoil area, the rip lines adjacent to the inlet and slow troll for kingfish,bonita, sharks, cuda’s, jack crevalle,cobia and tarpon. I like to troll in 46 to 52 feet of water with a 3 to 4 rod spread. If it is slow on the beach ease out into the party grounds and deploy the same method. The local wrecks, reefs, and hardbottom spots should hold all of the same species with an occasional sailfish thrown in. If it’s slow on the troll drop down those same baits for snapper, seabass, triggerfish, and a few grouper. If they don’t hit the whole ones cut them in half. It seems most of the time the bottom dwellers really prefer a cut pogie plug to a whole live one. The action has and should continue to be good.
Check the bait pods early first or later in the day as tarpon will on many occasions ease back into the baits after all the boats leave . A stout Penn Spinfisher 6500 with 65lb Spiderwire Braid is my first choice with a 6/0 circle hook. Take a live pogie and pitch it into the bait school. A cork (large one) set to float only 4 ft below can be really deadly if they are feeding well. I usually wait till I see a fish or two before lobbing one into the bait.If this fails run up behind the shrimp boats and pitch a bait behind the boat. Sharks, tarpon, and jacks will follow the boats for the bycatch. Throw in behind the nets and hang on.
Look for the bull reds to make a big push into the river to spawn this month. The first big moon usually starts the migration and pogies, blue crabs and mullet are the best baits. Work the bottom of the low tide on the edges of the river in 35 to 42 feet of water. A stout rod using a 3 swivel rig similar to and offshore bottom rig works well. A 6oz to 10oz sinker usually gets it done. I prefer a whole live pogie or mullet if it’s available, ladyfish , or live blue crab for best results. At times a fresh pogie plug is very effective for bull reds as the scent can draw the fish in quicker. Another effective method is to chum a little to put more scent into the water. Cut the pogies in small pieces seems to work better. Remember your not trying to fatten them but, just draw them in.
The big rocks will hold slot to bull reds this month and a live pogie is usually my first choice. With a live pogie I like to pitch a ¼ to 3/8th oz knocker rig on the edge of the rocks on a high falling tide to a slow dead low tide for best results. Remember you can’t catch them on the couch! Get fishing!
For more fishing tips listen to the Outdoorshow radio program on 1010am or 92.5fm every Saturday from 7am to 10am. He can be reached at 904.241.7560 or 904.626.1128 or go to www.enterprisefishingcharters.com