Fishing Report: Good news from the weatherman

Dilyn Jackson is pictured with a North River sheepshead that tipped the Toledos (a nod to Bill Sabo) at nearly 10 pounds. February is, historically, when the largest sheepshead of the year are caught, due mainly to the chubby females full of roe.

Before we start, we’re considering moving the fishing report to Fridays beginning March 3.


I suspect that will improve our ability to bring more up-to-date information to you prior to the weekend.

If you see a problem with that, let me know. There may be reasons I’m not seeing to keep the report on Thursdays. Thanks.

The St. Johns River and area lakes

Most of you may have guessed by now that Dunn’s Creek is a favorite haunt and that there’s a “crusty, old” fisherman living there who I call a fishing buddy. He’s very good at what he does, so I sometimes downplay his reports because, well, it probably won’t play in Peroria, so to speak, for pilgrims on the creek.

But this week so many bluegill were caught by visitors at Georgia Boy’s Fish Camp, I thought I’d tell the tally. Billy and two friends fished Wednesday icing down 113 big bluegills, with some redbellies and shellcracker thrown in. And they were tossing the little ones back.

Let’s just say, it’s on.

The bass fishing reports on Lake George are excellent. The lake is covered up in beds, and several bass in the 7- to 9-pound range were caught. The lake, however, is low, and many of the beds are too shallow to get at with a boat. That’s good news for the peace and tranquility of the momma fish trying to coax out progeny.

Speckled perch did not, as most fervently prayed, rush to the beds on last week’s full moon.

The catches are improving, however. Haw Creek, off Dead Lake, may be the hot spot, but the lake itself isn’t far behind.

They’re catching specks at 22 feet in Lake Santa Fe and 2 feet deep in the creeks and canals. So be flexible in your approach.

Most of the females caught this week were carrying roe, but not busting with it.

There was a disturbing report from Green Cove Springs. Rick at R&J Tackle said one of his customers was in cleaning some specks this week and found them full of small, red worms. He tossed the filets.

Never heard of anything like that. FYI, the fish came from Black Creek.

Catfish are everywhere that’s wet.

The Intracoastal Waterway

It has been a good week for most of the guides working the ICW. The water has warmed back up from the low 60s to around 70 degrees. The yo-yo water temps have to be confusing to the fish, at least as much as to those chasing them. But a lot of slot reds were caught, with fewer of the undersized ones eating your bait.

Sheepshead continue to bite, and the Fiddler Lady was making a trip to town Wednesday from the Left Coast, so the bait should not be a problem for the weekend.

The warmer temperatures have scattered the speckled trout and seemed to have goosed the flounder bite. More were weighed at local bait shops this week than in a while.

Catch of the week is a 13.2-pound tripletail, caught up in Palm Valley. We hope to have that photo for you next week.

Black drum remain a side catch to those fishing dead or live shrimp.

If you don’t fancy run-ins with pesky bluefish, you might want to stay home. They are, well, gregarious.

The Atlantic

Some of the larger boats made it out to the deep water this week. The blackfin tuna continue to be thick. The wahoo bite was happening, but not like the week prior. If “conventional wisdom” is correct, the full moon Friday night may have put them off their bite. So it could be a good weekend to get after them.

There’s also a bunch of kingfish out there now — enough that the commercial guys are hitting them. Most of the fish are 15-20 pounds.

But there were two reports (pictures promised) of two kings caught of 57 and 60 pounds. Nominally truthful folks witnessed these catches. These anomalies are called “Winter Kings” in myth and legend — supposedly a different brand of kingfish that’s short and fat. And that fits the description of the commercial boat captain who reportedly described the 60-pounder as “4 feet long and 3 feet tall.” Yowza. The bite is around 23 fathoms.

Bottom fishing was unremarkable, except for a couple of catches of mangrove snapper — which should not be around now. The Jodie-Lynn had 10 on one trip out. Otherwise, it’s the normal bunch of redeyes, triggerfish, porgies and the occasional lane and mutton snapper.

The cobia bite out around 100 feet of water seems to still be happening, largely because of the warm temperatures. It will likely be a circus out there this weekend because of …

The weather

Sit down. The weatherman says seas will be 1-2 feet Saturday with southerly winds. They’ll swing around from the north Sunday, but still remain at 3 feet or under.

Email Jim Sutton at



Email Jim Sutton at