The St. Johns River and area lakes: The wide-open bite on Newnans Lake continues, but now the bluegill and catfish have joined the speckled perch in the big run. Limits are coming out of the lake. Conventional wisdom says the strange run of speckled perch has to be due to the extra-high water in Newnan’s now. It’s cooled things off and given the fish lots more territory in which to feed.
There is what’s supposed to be a big bite of redfish in Doctor’s Inlet and Doctor’s Lake.
The croaker bite a little south of there around Green Cove Springs is fully on right now. These fish are lucky to break a pound, but they’re very good eating, and 20 or 30 of them go a long way toward a big fish fry.
Rodman Reservoir is supposed to be hot now, but I couldn’t find anyone to confirm it.
The shrimp are fully running the river, but they remain small. We just had a full moon, and that’s normally the key for the shrimp to shed their shells and grow quickly. Bass guide Adam Delaney said he’s been taking 100 shrimp or more in a toss of the cast net, working the drop-offs. He has sage advice: The higher the sun, the deeper you target the shrimp. He’s been hitting them in 16 to 24 feet if water.
The Intracoastal Waterway: It’s generally been pretty tough fishing with lots of dirty water, even on incoming tides. But most of the guides are getting what they need in terms of redfish and flounder. A few real big flounder are coming from underneath the State Road 312 Bridge. That’s also a spot to float live shrimp with the tide next to pilings for speckled sea trout. Black drum and sheepshead set up housekeeping there as well.
Otherwise, it is ladyfish, jacks and early bird bluefish. Mangrove snapper are thick, but you’ll cull plenty in order to get a limit of legal, 10-inch fish. But, come to think of it, that’s not a bad way to waste time.
The Atlantic: Trolling the deep water has been nonexistent, but bottom fishing in 120 to 140 feet has been good, especially for summer fishing. The charter boats are picking up a cobia, a couple mutton snapper and a few mangrove snapper. One iced a scamp grouper. Then there are limits of redeyes, pink porgies and triggerfish. We still hear very little about black sea bass.
If you have some numbers for wrecks out in deeper water, the African Pompano are waiting and willing. Now that’s a fish that knows how to fight. And it’s a great eating fish as well.
There have been reports of multiple sailfish hookups off Fernandina, so they’re heading this way.
Surf fishing remains completely forgettable. The whiting you do catch are so small, it’s not even worth the effort to scale and eat them whole.
Speaking of whiting, The FWC and the IGFA have just added whiting to the list of species, which can hold world records. Now, they’re calling it a kingfish, which is different from what we call whiting — though you’ll usually be catching some of both and you have to look hard to tell the difference. The kingfish has dark stripes running laterally off his back. Sometimes it’s evident, sometimes not.
So… if any of you have your eyes on the prize of a world record, that’s a slot with plenty of vacancies. I did notice that a 6-pound, 3-ounce vermillion snapper was added as the Florida state record this month.
The local reefs and wrecks have changed little. They are full of small kingfish, bonito, barracuda and a particularly pesky tiger shark that’s figured out hooked fish are easier to catch that those swimming free. Several of the charter guys have had run-ins with him. Captain Guy Spear said he must have enough metal in his mouth for a full set of braces — and miles of 20-pound mono in his belly.
Calendar: The Ancient City Game Fish Association will meet on Tuesday at the St Augustine Shrine Club. The clubhouse is located at 250 Brainard St. Social begins at 6 p.m. followed by light food and the general meeting.
There’s always good food, awards, raffles and something for everyone. Fishing topic shifts to bottom fish and updates on rules and regulations. A local captain in to tell us the when, where, and how you will need to know to have a great bottom day. Michael Doyle will debut a new invention he is working on. For more information call John Jordan, 501-1772, or check out acgfa.com
The Flagler Sportfishing Club will host a new members clinic Sunday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Hammock Community Center in Palm Coast (the road is opposite Captain’s BBQ at Bing’s Landing).
There will be coffee, donuts, a cast netting demonstration and several other clinics and demonstrations throughout the morning. Raffles include a Manley fishing rod, a cast net and fillet knife. The club kayak tournament is Aug. 19. For more info, log on to fcsportfishing.com.