Fishing Report: Weekend weather looks good, crowds look bad

Contributed Captain Rob Bennett put his charters, Steve Cacchio and son Layton, on a nice sailfish a few weeks back. This is the time of year when these billfish move into the shallower water, like the Nine-Mile bottom east of the inlet.

The St. Johns River and area lakes: If you’ve ever wanted to hit the St. Johns River for the May spawn of bluegill and shellcracker, now would be an awful time to try.

 

Memorial Day weekend on the big river is more a time of revelry than angling. And most of the players, filling up the various fish camps this weekend, are transplants with go-fast glitter-flake bass boats fueled by high-octane gasoline and low-cost beer.

But, if you must, or if you simply want to witness the high-speed carnage, Lake George will be your best bet. It’s sufficiently large to spread out the boaters. It is also the last, best place to find the panfish still spawning.

Farther north, the spawn is winding down and the fish are a little pitiful looking after their rite of spring.

Big catfish are still a good bet. Bass fishing is good, but the word is you can go on home after around 9 a.m. The bite is over.

The Intracoastal Waterway: The bite has been all over the place this week – good one day for one species, and poor the next. The big rains Wednesday will put another spin on the fishing. Generally, the water gets muddy and the salinity drops.

Often, the best bet is to stay as near the inlets as possible, where fresh infusions of saltwater are pushing through on the incoming tides.

The flounder bite is the one constant that seems to be improving. Flounder are less affected by weather. Most all the reports included better numbers of flounder, but they remain on the small side. The winds kept most anglers off the water most of the week.

The Atlantic: There were zero reports of trolling out in deep water. Catches of wahoo petered out a couple weeks ago and most believe the dolphin have followed them on north.

One local captain who should know, said he believes the dolphin are still there, but has had charters wanting bottom fish over the past week.

The bottom bite has been what we’d expect, with some mangrove and mutton snapper, a few grouper and the usual suspects – beeliners, porgies, triggerfish and scattered black sea bass.

The fishing on the local reefs and wrecks was good over the weekend for snake kings, bonito and the occasional barracuda. The bite shut down Monday and it has blown ever since. The weekend weather looks good, so this may be a good bet, but it will be crowded on the Nine-Mile bottom.

Fishing out around 100 feet may be the best bet, with amberjack and cobia the likely targets.

Seems like the winds have kept most of the surf fishermen off the beach this week. I found only one report from the surf. Larry Finch caught 15 small whiting and two pompano just north of the Matanzas Inlet Monday, but says the water is too muddy now to fish it.

Maybe it’ll change for the weekend. But the holiday weekend is likely to be a challenge for surf fishermen with the hoards of visitors jamming the beaches.

It might a good time to head down to Flagler County and try your luck.

The weather: Looks like southwest winds will blow at 10-15 knots both Saturday and Sunday with seas forecast at 2-3 feet.

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