Fishing report: Small kings, huge sharks, big fun

CHRISTINE RODENBAUGH/ Kaylee Brown, a second-grader at Palencia Elementary, caught this 5.75-pound redfish on July 8 in the Junior Challenge tournament at Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor.

The Atlantic

 

The fishing on the local reefs and wrecks has been outstanding the past few days. There were few large kingfish caught, but lots of 12-pounders. Capt. Guy Spear had eight kings and two cobia on Tuesday and 10 kings on Wednesday — all before 11 a.m.

There are plenty of pogies on the beach. But there are so many sharks under them that Spear had a new net torn Tuesday and Kevin Faver darn near lost one Wednesday.

The big pogy pod was just south of the inlet Wednesday afternoon — it’s acres.

If you’re fishing the mid-area of Nine-Mile, there are apparently two whopping tiger sharks and a 12-foot hammerhead making a living eating whatever it is you’re catching boat-side. It’s not rare for sharks like these to set up housekeeping for the summer on Nine-Mile. It’s like your fish are pizzas and you’re doing the delivery. The only things the sharks have to hunt down for a meal are 23-foot bay boats. Swimming on the reefs is not optional.

The sailfish seem to have moved out to deeper water. At least the reports of them on the Nine-mile area went way down.

Barracuda, jacks and bonito keep you jigging up bait and twisting wire.

Few boats went out deep, but it was the regular mix of mangrove and vermillion snapper, a few mutton snapper, triggerfish and porgies.

 

The St. Johns River and area lakes

The best and weirdest bite remains down on Lake George, where the bluegill and shellcracker are still spawning and anglers down there are reporting 50-fish limits, especially around Drayton and Hog islands. There’s also a decent bite of small hybrid striper on the lake, predominately around the mouths of the three spring runs on the west side of the lake.

Oversized redfish are being caught north of Green Cove Springs, but the reds seem to have disappeared from Palatka south.

Bass fishing is OK. By far the best strategy is to net some of the small river shrimp and pitch them live under docks. That’s what they’re feeding on and that’s what they want.

Otherwise, it’s a mixed bag of catfish and panfish. There was 7-pound flounder caught up around Doctors Inlet.

 

The Intracoastal Waterway

With water temperatures averaging 90 degrees, it’s surprising that most of the charter guys were reporting good catches Tuesday and Wednesday.

Flounder may be the best bite going, most coming from around the inlets and getting more spread out and much smaller the farther north you go.

The guides spoke of extremely low tides, which can’t really be explained by either the moon phase, though it is waning, or strong winds pushing water out of the ICW.

Some of the better flounder reports were coming from creek mouths on falling tides, so the real low tides may be forcing more fish to vacate the creeks.

Trout are scarce and caught early in the morning.

The mangrove snapper bite was mentioned by most of the guys fishing. They’re generally legal fish — 12 inches. They’re on oyster bars, bridge pilings, riprap and other structures. It pretty much takes a live bait to tempt them, but all the guides said there are plenty of small finger mullet to net in the ditch, so you should be set.

 

The weather

You know ... southeast winds, 10-15 knots, 2-foot seas.

 

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Fri, 11/17/2017 - 00:23

Jim Sutton: Gone fishin’