Mayport – September Fishing Report
I hope everyone had a great summer boating and enjoying the quality fishing we are well known for. The conditions for last month were at times brutally hot but, so was the fishing. I really don’t see this changing at all but, actually getting better in some areas. Looking into the crystal ball I see the heat and the slight cooling of the water temps to drive the tarpon into and around the mouth of the St. John’s River. Look for some mullet schools to move out of the river if we get some good rains and wind especially if the wind turns NE for any length of time. This will most likely occur if a small tropical weather pattern shows itself. The bull reds, tarpon, and sharks will make small work of these schools if it does happen. If you can get a net on a hand full peg some on the bottom on the high outgoing tide alive with a stout rod. I like a Ugly Stix 6ft Tiger spinning rod with a Penn Spinfisher 6500 spooled with Spider Wire 65lb Ultra Cast Braid. I use a 3-way swivel rig and a 4 to 5ft leader in 80lb fluorocarbon coupled to a 7/0 Owner Circle hook. This braided line cuts the water with minimum drag and the extra long leader allows the bait to swim freely. Bull reds, tarpon and the occasional shark will grab this rig with a vengeance.
Also this month look for our pogie/menhaden schools to stay out on the areas beaches from the Red Tops to Amelia Island. These are excellent baits for trolling and bottom fishing offshore on the local party grounds from Ponte Vedra to Rabbits Lair. Grab a net full and check the pods for action from reds, sharks, and tarpon as they will feed in this moving buffet and offer many opportunities to bag a few. If the pods are quiet pop offshore and drag a few around on a 40lb wire king rig for kings, sharks, cudas, cobia, tunny, aj’s and sailfish. If the troll bite is slow drop some whole or cut into plugs for snapper, sea bass, sharks, cobia, aj’s, and triggers. The local party ground numbers can be found at the FWC website by going to MYFWC.com and searching for reef spots. It’s fairly easy and it’s separated by county for easy access.
This month the big bull reds will start their annual migration into the river to spawn. They can be caught from the big rocks up past the fuel docks west of Blount Island. Crabs, pogies whole and cut, mullet, and fresh cut ladyfish can all be deadly baits. Work the high outgoing tides for best results but, they can be caught on any tide if you know where to look. Just remember these big fish are our breeding stock. Handle them gently and carefully with the knowledge that most of them must be vented to survive. Use heavy tackle to reduce any unnecessary stress and try to get them back into the water quickly. Like us they can’t hold their breath much longer than us. Enjoy the fishery and remember you can’t catch them on the couch.
For info on charters from 4 to 50 call Capt. Kirk at 904-241-7560 or 904-626-1128 or visit us on Facebook …Enterprise Fishing Charters or www.Enterprisefishingcharters.com . Listen every Saturday morning on fishing tips from Capt. Kevin, Capt. Kirk, and Jeff Lageman on 1010am or 92.5fm on The Outdoors Show from 7-10am