10 October 2018
Welcome to Fish Whisperer Charters in Jacksonville, FL!
Water surface temperatures in the river have ranged from 83° - 85° around the Mayport area depending on the tide. My underwater probe has had bottom temps 82° in the deeper channels around Mayport, Little Jetties, and the inlet. Water clarity has fluctuated quite a bit based on the rainfall and I will typically fish the jetties trying to find that cleaner water when the area between Dames Point and Mayport has a ‘café con leche’ appearance to it. If forced to stay inside because of weather, I fish baits a little slower and/or add more scent to them to overcome visibility issues.
As I write this, Hurricane Michael is passing to the west of us and the overcast/windy conditions and rain are cooling the waters in our area. Not to mention, there is a predicted ‘upper 50’s’ morning this Saturday which only sets the stage for great fishing. Water temps will most likely be in the between 79° - 82° triggering better feeding patterns throughout the day instead of just cooler portions of it.
Spotted Seatrout and flounder are around in the usual haunts in Mayport and Blount Island region. Trout have been on fire from Clapboard to the Mayport Jetties early in the morning with last of low or high to low tide shift with a little over 1kt of current being the sweet spot. Float rigs have been my favorite since fishing the jetties at Mayport Naval Station starting in 1990 and it hasn’t changed. Shrimp and mullet both work with it and new anglers find it easy to learn.
We’ve not had huge numbers of flounder yet with 6 being the most in one trip but I certainly expect that to change after this brief cooldown. They readily snatch finger mullet and shrimp on an appropriately weighted jig or Carolina rig and are still my favorite inshore fish to catch! I’ve kept detailed journals for the last 7 years and it has been consistent that we’ve caught more of these fish on the last of an incoming tide. However, larger ones have been taken on the last of outgoing.
TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, Procedures)
Bull redfish are on fire right now with the spawning season well underway and most likely until November’s full moon. Tide changes have been better for me when fishing for bull reds with a low to high being the most productive. So far, the best fishing for me has been in around 35 - 40ft of water near deep drop-offs/junctions. Most have probably heard that before and I’ve been asked some questions about identifying drop-offs. Basically, look at your nautical chart for where you’ll be fishing and you’ll see depth gradients (lines with numbers) depicting depths. Choose the ones with a significant difference and a junction (creek or other runout) nearby.
When you do catch these fish, please do your best to get your photos and get them back to the water quickly. Take your time to hold them in the water with their head facing current and get oxygen flowing. Once the lactic acid begins to subside (in the angler’s arms as well!) and only when you observe a few kicks should you release them head-first. Sometimes, there is noticeable inflation of their bladders and you should vent them before releasing. Please visit barotrauma to learn the proper technique.
If there are ever any questions, just post them up on my Facebook Page and I'll get back with you.
Catch em' up and stay safe!
Until next time...
Fair Winds & Following Seas,
Capt Kris Kell