17 April 2022
Welcome to Fish Whisperer Charters in Jacksonville, FL!
Water surface temperatures range from 68° - 73° around the Mayport area depending on the tide. Water clarity has been fair despite the high winds/agitated seas and plenty of species are showing up with the increasing water temperature and arrival of bait. Reds, sheepshead, ringtail porgies, black drum, founder, mangrove snapper, and some very nice trout have been the ticket from BAE area to Mayport jetties. Although we typically catch some pompano around the big rocks this time of year, we haven’t boxed any yet but the spring is still young. Fiddler crabs, shrimp, spoons or Got-Cha plugs, and small pogies (chocolate covered jetty cherries!) have done most of the work. Pogies have been used for the redfish, jacks, and larger trout while the shrimp/fiddlers have done he rest. Prepare for the bluefish attack and sharks taking your fish. If you’re enjoying a nice fight with a red or sheepshead and suddenly the line begins to dump off your reel quickly, then you’ve probably been sharked.
Offshore has been very good when the windows of calm seas are open and I’ve been fortunate enough to 8hrs charters on the last couple of calm days. Cobia, stringer fish, plenty of red snapper, sharks, and very nice gag grouper are around. Many sharks are with them; mostly sandbar sharks, and literally chase your fish up sometimes in groups of three trying to eat it from your hook. We caught them while slow-pitch or vertical jigging and bottom dropping. With the arrival of the bait, one can expect plenty of action around the beach and nearshore areas such as kings, Spanish, cobia, and sharks.
TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, Procedures)
This report’s TTPs will cover fish-fighting techniques (with light tackle inshore) beginning with hookset (or not to hookset). I spend a good deal of time teaching my folks and observing others miss fish or lose them because of poor technique with equipment they may not be used to. Another reason is that the environment in which they fish in may be different than the pond, lake, river, etc. that they previously fished. If you’ve fished with me or know me, you know I NEVER teach big hook sets and sometimes, no set at all, just steady pressure. In this area, there is simply NO need to mimic bassmasters in a sumo wrestler ready posture and set the hook with both legs! They use bass/freshwater/j-hook gear that requires a little hook set. Saltwater gear is (well, should be) different in inherent flex/action and will pull the hook sending the jig flying back at you and people around you. Happens all of the time and I cringe hearing it ricocheting off of my T-Top. You think I’m kidding? Check out some boats fishing around you sometimes on a good bite at the jetties and you’ll see people on a boat ducking! ?
Lastly, when the fish is hooked up, teach yourself and others not to “spaz-reel” while the fish swims away as there will be hundreds of small twists in the line afterwards and no gain made on the fish. “Raise it up without reeling, reel as you go down” has probably been heard around me on the river. Use the rod as your engine and the reel as a brake and means to bring in the slack; NOT as a winch! Catch ratio will greatly increase and makes the time on water mean that much more with family/friends.
Happy Easter to you all!
Hope that helps!
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