1 July 2022
Welcome to Fish Whisperer Charters in Jacksonville, FL!
Water surface temperatures in the near shore waters are 84° - 86° and the water clarity has been affected by winds and choppy waters. Prior to the nasty past weekend we had, the water was very clear; however, there is visible sediment and other debris now but still very fishable. Menhaden have disappeared, as is the trend this time of year, and we have been jigging most of our bait at various locations. Winds and seas have given us the meteorological finger this year but usually we begin to see more of a summertime pattern of weather. Meaning menhaden will show up consistently and that one should plan to get out early and back to the dock before afternoon storms.
Most of the fishing we have done so far this late spring / early summer has been offshore trolling for striking fish (kings, cobia, etc.) and bottom fishing for everything. Most all of the fish have been caught w/in 12nm while trolling and have even leadered our first sailfish inside of 6nm. Fun times! The biggest breakthrough this year, for me anyway, is the slow-pitch jigging ≤22nm. I’m on my fifth year of using this technique and although research is still ongoing, I think I have the top 3 jigs dialed in for this area, all year, and they are catching every species I would catch with a regular bottom fishing rod, but more consistently. It also pushes the strike button of blackfin tuna, kingfish, cobia, etc., while fluttering down. I don’t use anything heavier than a 120gram either. More to come on this in the future.
TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, Procedures)
This time of year, it’s really all about the bait. Most of the folks I’m fishing this time of year are return customers that want to get offshore and have a great time again. Like most captains, I want to give them just that. That means a layered approach regarding bait.
Having frozen bait with you every trip will at least give you options on the days that nothing is moving in your direction. This is typically cigar minnows, ribbonfish, & bonita strips for trolling along with cuttlefish, boston mackerel, or squid for bottom fishing. The “frozen bag” is something that I carry every morning out to the boat. As far as live bait, it’s pogies via net, if they’re available or using a sabiki rig to jig bait such as sardines, cigar minnows, threadfin herring, etc. The trick is finding the schools of them and getting your bait to the boat before predators rip your rig apart.
Once you have your bait plan taken care of, fish in the same area as you caught your bait as the predators will not be too far from there. Again, remember it’s summer and to respect Mother Nature. If you see a storm building, use common sense!
Have an incredible Independence Day!
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