14 September 2021
Welcome to Fish Whisperer Charters in Jacksonville, FL!
Water surface temperatures in the river are 81° - 84° around the Mayport area depending on the tide with fairly decent water clarity. Bait presence has been fairly steady with the mullet running in schools in the creeks and river. Shrimp, mud minnows, or mullet have all been doing the job.
We’re catching nice over slot reds at the usual haunts from the Mayport Jetties up to the Blount Island area. Blue crab and cut mullet/ladyfish have been the bait of choice but the crab seems to mitigate nuisance species. The cut baits will have a very good chance for sharks, tarpon, etc. so be ready for that. Speaking of sharks, if you’ve tried to fish near the ocean lately, you’ve probably noticed that it’s difficult/lucky to get a quality fish past the sharks into the boat. The fish are biting; however, so are the sharks and there is not a lot that can be done about it other than move around and pick a fish or two at a time until they show, then move again.
We haven’t fished for kingfish since last week but they were definitely around using live pogies for bait. We also took advantage of the calm ocean and bottom fished out to 24nm yielding some triggers, few beeliners, and seabass. It doesn’t seem to be fired up on the bottom around that distance because we caught fewer red snapper than usual, as well.
TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, Procedures)
This is the time of year that we start to see nor’easters and that triggers fish and bait movements. Combining summer and fall techniques will most likely produce decent results such as bull red fishing for a bit and light tackle around the structures. A more consistent bite will be the over-slot redfish, though. They 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 and the best fishing 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 in the area 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 (and 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 http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/fish-handling/#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