Mayport Report October 2017

October conjures up a number of meanings for folks from the New England shore to Florida. For the folks way up the coast it usually means the beginning of cold weather coupled with exceptionally cold weather that gets mighty uncomfortable at times. On the other hand it means cool temperate mornings in the mid to low sixties with highs anywhere from the low seventies to the low eighties for us here in Northeast Florida. This gradual swing for us means red hot action for 4 to 6 weeks. The inshore species like redfish, trout, jacks, flounder, black drum and sheepshead are going to feed hard on this cool water trend. The only thing that makes this slightly different for us is the recent effects of Hurricane Irma that dumped some significant amount of water and debris. That being said the mullet run is in high stream mode. The Inlet at Mayport will begin to hold large numbers of these inshore fish that at times can be seen pinning baits up against the rocks and shore all adjacent to the deep water inlet. This is one of the most opportune times to catch some of the biggest redfish you have ever seen. These “bull” reds will come in to the inlet to spawn and can measure anywhere from 38in. to 48in. at times. An incredible species on medium tackle, you can only imagine what it feels like to tug on the rod with a 35-40lb redfish.

These bruisers can be had on a variety of light tackle rods but, I prefer a Penn 660 slammer spinning reel coupled with 40lb braid attached to the reel. A medium heavy rod, my preference being a 6’6” Ugly Stik Tiger Rod, usually will get it done as the other side of this fighting formula…As the current will at times exceed a couple of knots it’s important to use adequate weight to put the bait where the fish are. One tip I really like to deploy is to use my Penn downriggers with a 5lb. ball attached to put the bait on the bottom. This technique allows the angler to fish with no weight on the rod and reel using only a 3ft leader of 50lb mono and a 5/0 live bait hook. I will anchor the boat in a location off one of the many drops inside or outside the inlet depending on the tide. After the boat is firmly anchored I will attach either a piece of fresh blue crab, a live mullet , pogie or cut bait, ladyfish are great for this by the way, pin the line in the clothes pin on the downrigger ball and drop it to the bottom. When the fish comes up and eats the bait it’s you and he unbridled with no additional weight to hinder the fight.

Smaller reds can also be found inside the inlet around the rocks at Mayport and can be attacked with 1/4 oz or 3/8 oz jigs tipped with a live shrimp or mullet. Lots of these fish will usually run about 14 to 30 inches and can be found in decent sized schools. I like to work my Pathfinder along the rocks using the trolling motor to cover fairly large areas to find the fish. This also works great to find trout, sheepshead and jacks that cruise the area.


The offshore will also begin to change ever so gradually. Kingfish and other species of striking fish will still be right off the beach and can be caught on many of the local party ground areas like MR and PM. With the weather cooling also look for good sized schools of Spanish mackerel to work the inlet on high tides and the areas right off the beach like the Red Tops, Spoil area and the Southeast Hole. Small Clark spoons or Seahawk lures are extremely effective for these fish. Further cooling during this month depending on how cold the weather gets will push the kings further out to TW and beyond. The bottom fishing will also be good as schools of black sea bass move closer in with the cooling water. These guys are great table fare and will readily eat cut squid or cigar minnows. The snapper and grouper will also be available and will push in to the party grounds fairly close in. The nine mile area , middle grounds ,  RL areas will hold good numbers of fish as well as east fourteen fifteen just to name a few. Remember fishing requires time an effort. Check the regulations for what you can and cannot keep. Don’t get caught on the couch because you won’t catch’em there!

Capt. Kirk Waltz can be contacted at 904-241-7560 or can be heard on the Outdoor Show every Saturday morning from 7am to 10am on is 1010xl or fm 92.5 or look for us on our website at or like us on Facebook or Instagram.