The St. Johns River and area lakes: OK. All winter and most of the spring, I have religiously reported that the speckled perch bite would be “on,” generally around a full moon.
As far as I know, there’s no such thing as a speck spawn any later than April – ever. But these crafty creatures conspired to make me out a liar, at best, and a fool at worst, by biting in 85 degree weather in mid-May. The angler requested that his mug not be shown so his neighbors wouldn’t start showing up and making small talk while glancing at the refrigerator until he had to give them a share. Fair enough.
But bite they did. They reportedly came out of Crescent Lake and may or may not be anything but a piscatorial fluke (that’s actually a pun, come to think of it).
Conversely what should have been on fire were the bluegill and shellcracker, because the May full moon is THE time to find them frolicking like frat boys at a sorority party in the lily pads.
But the best bluegill angler I know reported they were gone around the moon, with his catch coming down from a 50-fish limit leading up to the moon, to single-digit catches Tuesday and Wednesday.
So everything’s backward.
But the catfish are cooperating, and this is the time to catch one of the big channel cats. Trick is simply using bait too big for the smaller ones to ingest. You might try a smallish bluegill with the head cut off, pinned to a 5/0 circlwe hook.
Otherwise, the bass have spawned out all along the river.
The croaker and yellowmouth trout (weakfish) bite is very good in the channels north and south of the Shands Bridge. Some of the yellowmouth are pushing 2 pounds.
The mullet anglers on the same bridge are doing OK, now that the winds have subsided.
The Intracoastal Waterway: There were a couple days coming up on the moon where it was spooky slow in the brackish water. Things seemed to pick up Thursday, especially on the flounder bite – mainly because it’s been so slow, anyway.
The big slot reds seem to be farther north from Pine Island to Palm Valley. Smaller ones are closer to town. Most of the charters caught fish, but it was a mixed bag of redfish, some nice trout, black drum, Spanish mackerel and even several pompano caught north of the airport.
There’s not much else to tell.
The Atlantic: Best trip of the week goes to Captain Robert Johnson on the Jodie Lynn Wednesday. He burned some gas, but headed northeast to some temperature breaks and was rewarded by a couple dozen dolphin up to the mid-30s, a wahoo, a single blackfin tuna and a release of a blue marlin estimated at 350 pounds. They jumped another smaller one, but it shook off.
Most of the guys heading due east or southeast did considerably worse. That may not be the case this weekend. But the fish were concentrating a far piece north.
On the more local reefs and wrecks, the big amberjack were chewing. But the news was the kingfish showed up all over the Nine-Mile, along with a few cobia. Schools of Spanish mackerel were sighted too.
There’s tons of bait. There were also enough stories of jumping sailfish on Nine-Mile to send some captains out there targeting them. There’s one persistent story of one boat this week jumping seven and releasing one.
But that’s just a story and you know we deal only in facts…
Ghost ship passing: Can’t say exactly when she’ll go by, but those of you fishing outside the inlet can catch a look at El Galeon this weekend. She’s scheduled to make port in Brunswick, Georgia on Sunday, so she should be off our coast sometime Saturday.
The 170-foot wooden replica of a Spanish Galleon, we’re told, is equipped with an Automatic Identification System so other vessels can know exactly where she is.
There is also a website vesselfinder.com/vessels/GALEON-ANDALUCIA-IMO-9578115-MMSI-225356000 you can use to keep up with her movements.
The weather: Saturday, look for northeast winds at 10-15 knots with seas 2-3 feet.
Winds will swing around from the southeast at 10-15 and 2-3.