23 November 2021
Welcome to Fish Whisperer Charters in Jacksonville, FL!
Water surface temperatures at the inlet and Mayport area have dropped 66° - 63° depending on the tide. Clarity of the water has been significantly impacted though with a café con leche color on high tide and medium roast plain on low tide. Scent is going to be everything as well as taking into consideration the temperature of the water. Practice patience and remember bait must be moved slowly, allowing the fish to pick up the scent and vector into the area.
Bull reds continue to chew but sheepshead have been the ticket lately with some trout to add to the box. We’ve been catching them from the Blount Island area to Dames Pt. Cut mullet/ladyfish has been the bait for bull reds and fiddler crabs and shrimp for the sheepshead and trout.
TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, Procedures)
Sheepshead are a peculiar fish to catch and the majority of clients I take out either hate them and express such feelings with various curses/rants, OR are absolutely addicted to the things. Again, I like a tide shift when I fish for them and look for clarity and current that forces fish to a certain area. Most of the fish this time of year have been in the rocks fairly tight and we’ve reached them using regular sheepshead jigs with the flexible hooks. If you’re not getting a consistent bite in one area, move to another because there are plenty of places to fish and I will typically keep an eye on my side scan to pick up some “blow-through” spots along the jetties where water circulates through the wall. It just looks like turbulence clouds.
I like to vary my rigs for sheepshead and have found that they will hit one better than the other on different occasions. My favorite is the splitshot rig or jig. I will use mosquito hooks or Owner 1/O with splitshot rigs but be sure to check your hook after each fish because their hard mouths and teeth can bend or destroy it easily.
The technique I use is to pitch around the rocks and give it a few seconds to sink. Then, while slowly raising it up and allowing it to walk off of the jetty wall, feel for some pressure. If it is felt, continue raising it and don’t jerk it like you’ve been shocked by a dog collar! The steady pressure will allow the hook to slide over the teeth and slip into some flesh somewhere. The hardest thing to teach my customers is to not set the hook like a Bassmaster every time something is felt. I teach a slow and graceful style of hooking these guys and not a full body lift! I’ll cover carolina rigs next week.
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