Fishing’s good, but not this weekend

Contributed This 3-pound, 4-ounce speck, which is 16 inches in length, is pictured at the Lochloosa Harbor Fish Camp, but was caught last week in Orange Lake — the hottest spot in the area. Guide Mike Huff put this client on the fish and reported that he had three specks that, together, weighed just shy of 8 pounds that day.

The St. Johns River and area lakes: Water temperatures are keeping speckled perch off the beds, though guides spider-rigging for them in deeper water are picking up good numbers of specks, and some big ones. But those fishing the pads and docks are finding mostly small to medium sized fish.


There’s a good bite of 1-3 pound stripers down in Lake George. Guide Adam Delaney says to look for birds diving and throw a small RatLtrap, spoon or silver fluke bait and you’ll load up on them.

The catfish and bream bites are still hot along most of the sandbars in the river or the creeks. The shellcracker and bluegills are biting in Lake George, caught by those tossing crickets up in the reeds around Drayton Island. It’s bluegill and redbellies in most of the creeks from Palatka on up.

There is also an off-and-on bass spawn around the spring runs in Lake George. Shiner fishing can be good just about anywhere you can put a live shiner near some sort of structure.

The Intracoastal Waterway: Generally speaking, there are good numbers of fish in the brackish water — but the reds and trout are predominately on the small side.

Water temperatures are hovering around 64 degrees.

The exception to the small fish syndrome is the sheepshead bite. These have been mainly the larger females and most all are carrying roe this week.

The bluefish have begun their assault inside the inlet and are spreading farther south and north each day. These are small fish, too.

Black drum are being caught along the deeper oyster bars and channel depressions. And the weird bite of pompano remains pretty strong, a welcome byproduct for those fishing live shrimp on jig heads.

Flounder have been tough to find, and those caught are barely worth a sandwich.

The Atlantic: The cobia bite continues to be all everyone is not talking about. But when the numbers of fish are as big as they’ve been, no secret is safe.

The bulk of the fish have moved from the inshore reefs and wrecks to the 100-foot area. Interestingly, those targeting the cobia are picking up a bonus bite of tripletail out there, though I can’t imagine what they’re doing there without their normal buoys and other flotsam to hide under.

Had just one report of offshore trolling and that was from Saturday when the Jodi Lynn picked up 20 blackfin tuna, four wahoo, four dolphin and a couple each of sailfish and kingfish.

Bottom fishing has been so-so with jacks closed and red snapper critically closed. But if porgies, beeliners, triggerfish and a new surge of black sea bass are on your menu, you’ll not go hungry.

In the surf, the whiting bite is good if you hunt them up or wait them out. The fish have not been biting in good numbers, but are generally pushing what we might call “bulls” if we were being kind.

There are side catches of oversized reds and black drum being caught in the surf, too, as well as those bluefish mentioned earlier.

The weather: But all this means little because of the weather heading our way for the weekend. This isn’t one of those sissy northeasters we’ve had over the past month. Nope, this one promises 9-foot seas and 20 to 25-knot winds all weekend — with gusts to 35 knots, especially on Sunday. Highs will be in the low-60s Saturday and the mid-40s Sunday.

Might be a good weekend to clean reels or climb a tree stand.

Jim Sutton provides a weekly fishing report for The Record. Reach him at