Fishing Report: Weather giving us a weekend break

CONTRIBUTED Jameson Schuchmann’s first ever fishing trip this week on a boat worked out fine. Fishing with Captain Guy Spear of MisStress Charters, the crew ran across a school of pompano near the Bridge of Lions.

The St. Johns River and area lakes: Probably 80 percent of the speckled perch being caught are succumbing to spider-rigged boats. The method puts up to 18 baits in the water at pre-determined depths and covers a lot of water. It’s deadly.

 

Others are jigging deep around bridge pilings or if they’ve marked some downed trees on the bottom machines. The fish being caught have yet to show much roe, so it’s still a ways off before they move en masse into the lily pads to spawn.

But hold on. Just got in a late call to Tom the bait guy who delivers live bait all over northeast Florida and he says the specks in Lake Lochloosa are “busting” with roe. This lake is always weeks ahead of any other. So it may be a good bet there, jigging the vegetation.

If if you wanted to try a modified spider rig, you might catch a pretty good mess of specks trolling jigs & minnows along the lily pads. Females stage up there to wait for the spawn. It’s generally 6 to 8 feet deep along the edges, so setting baits at 3 to 4 feet deep would be the ticket. Specks don’t look down. The always look up to find forage.

December and January are generally the very best time to target whopper bluegill and that seems to be the case now. Shrimp nuggets, wigglers or crickets will do the trick. You can up you odds immensely by chumming with gar roe. The only place I know you can score some of this “bluegill crack” is Georgia Boy’s Fish Camp on Dunn’s Creek.

The catfish bite is excellent this time of year as well. Any of the above-mentioned baits will work. But chicken livers or a chunk of bluegill will catch bigger fish and stay on the hook until you get a bite.

The Intracoastal Waterway: Most all the stories are the same. There are tons of reds in the river now, but you’ll catch a dozen in order to get a keeper. It’s nearly the same with the speckled seatrout. You can up your chances of catching some legal trout by fishing the south jetties with float rigs set about 10 feet deep.

Sheepshead are probably the best bet for some real action. And, by the number of fiddlers going out of local bait shops, the fishing is pretty fast.

Captain Guy Spear got on a school of pompano up the ICW. There’s also a bunch of tiny black drum ready to eat your shrimp.

The Atlantic: I wasn’t able to get a decent surf report other than the pompano remain thick down around New Smyrna. But at best, it’s pretty poor.

Several locals got out on the local reefs and wrecks — finally. There were some red-hot catches of yellowmouth trout. Once you got on top of them, it was one fish after another. Captain Guy Spear iced down 71 fish that weighed 63 pounds.

The inside stuff is still loaded with red snapper, but now there are also huge schools of oversized redfish out there — most ranging from 35 to 45 pounds.

A lot of folks make the mistake of keeping a slot red if they catch it offshore. By the book, it’s illegal to possess any redfish caught in federal waters (outside 3 nautical miles) in the South Atlantic and the Gulf (9 miles). It’s an expensive mistake if you get caught.

Anglers making the run out between 100 and 120 feet found some schools of cobia ready to play. They’ve been north of us for weeks, but it looks like they’ve moved in east of the inlet. With the stable weather pattern for the next several days, it’s a good bet they’ll stay a while.

Several boats took advantage of the calm weather and headed out to the ledge and beyond.

There were some wahoo caught, but mainly by high-speed trollers and then, it was general a fish or three. Fewer guys are willing to burn 300 gallons of fuel high-speeding all day for a five-gallon bucket of wahoo fillets.

The blackfin tuna bite is wide open, though. The Jodi Lynn reported a trip Tuesday with 35 blackfins, one dolphin and zero wahoo.

The weather: The nice weather holds until Christmas Day when the winds pick up and swing in from the northeast at 15 to 20 knots pushing seas to 3 to 5 feet.

Calendar: The Flagler Sport Fishing Club meets Jan 2. Guest speaker is Captain Tommie Durham, sales manager for Big Boy’s Play Toys in Palatka. What he doesn’t know about boat maintenance, you don’t need to know. It’s also the member chili cook-off, so bring a pot of your best. The club meets at the VFW in Palm Coast and welcomes new members or just lookers.

Jim Sutton writes a weekly fishing report for The Record.

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