January Mayport Report:
The holidays have passed and our winter has set in. The water temps should remain somewhat stable and it typically means high 50’s to low 60’s. I really like this time of the year as it really thins the ranks of those true and blue die hard fisherman. The redfish will school up in the shallow creeks to seek food on the mud flats from the JTB Bridge up into Sisters Creek north to the Nassau River. Look for oyster bars, run outs, deep bends in the creeks and holes for most of your action. I like a nice warm weather window, light winds and clear skies for my best days. A high outgoing tide is best and I will throw a jig and shrimp combo for most of my trip to score. If the tide is moving let it carry the jig/shrimp down current. If it isn’t try pitching it by an oyster bar and giving it a slow drag by lightly lifting the rod every 30-40 seconds. Trout will also hit small gulp baits in new penny or white with a small twitch every few seconds. I prefer the swimming minnow/mullet in 3in best. Try to look for clean clear water for best results.
The big rocks at Mayport will give up some excellent fishing this month for trout speckled/yellow mouth, sheepshead, reds, ringtails, black margates, and black drum. The trout bite better on high outgoing tides when the water is clear. I will fish both the inside and outside of the rocks with both live and artificial baits. A float rig works great and live shrimp and jigs are a close second. Again clear water is better for trout .This is one of the few times of the year to catch big trout on the rocks and lots of them. For reds, sheepshead, margates, drum and ringtails shrimp/fiddler crabs jig combos are my go to rig and are highly effective. Remember to be patient and work slow. The cool water makes ‘em a little slow and they will bite softly at times. A small nibble does not mean it’s a small fish! Sheepshead are big bait stealers and will nibble very slowly!
Ringtail porgies should be around this month at the tip of the rocks in fairly large numbers. Though not huge fish they are a scream on light tackle. With a really small mouth it’s important to use small hooks and small pieces of bait. A 1/8thoz jig works well or a small #1 hook and a split shot can be deadly. I like to break small live shrimp in two and cover as much of the hook as possible. Allow the rig to slowly sink with steady tension on the tip of the rod. When you feel the tell tale bump..bump set the hook. Prize fighters for their small sized they also make excellent table fair.
The big black drum will be around the rocks and we fish for them in deep water along the channel edges. A quarter piece of blue crab is effective as well as a nice piece of shrimp. The last of the incoming and outgoing tides are best. Try anchoring at the tips of either the north or south rocks along the edges of the rock wall drops as they fall into the channel. A stiff rod with and egg sinker rig or the 3-way swivel rigs work well. Remember they have a mealy mouth kinda bite so don’t set the hook as soon as they start the nibble process. Use only enough lead to pin the bait to the bottom. I find current is a must to get them to bite well.
The offshore scene will slow way down but can still be fun. Pick the right window days and you can catch a mess of black bass and snapper though the snaps gotta go back in. The season is still closed for them. Check the regs to ensure you are legal.
Get out and fish and remember you can’t catch them from the couch!
Capt. Kirk can be reached at 904.241.7560 or 904.626.1128 for charters or visit us at www.Enterprisefishingcharters.com.Listen to the Outdoors Show every Saturday from 7am to 10am on 1010am or 92.5fm for weather, fishing forecast, and reports about the upcoming week.