Inshore fishing ideal during high-wind weather

  • Angler Chris Howard with a nice gaffer cow caught off the “Deadicated” out of Mayport. (photo submitted)
    Angler Chris Howard with a nice gaffer cow caught off the “Deadicated” out of Mayport. (photo submitted)
  • Steve Johnson with a healthy flounder caught on a bucktail. (photo submitted)
    Steve Johnson with a healthy flounder caught on a bucktail. (photo submitted)

With the state opening back up again the week was a little slower on the water. The constant 15-20 mph winds have kept the offshore boats home but the inshore fishing has been excellent. The beach run for Pompano is still in full swing and the conditions for the weekend are looking ideal.
Offshore the winds that have been keeping everyone at the dock might break for the weekend and the lingering tropical swell looks to drop off as well. If the forecast holds Sunday through early next week is looking good to get out after the Mahi run and look for a Grouper on the bottom.
Nearshore the wrecks were loaded with the first wave of Kingfish and they should be thick this weekend. I’ve spent the last few days switching gears and transitioning the boat and tackle from Cobia season to Kingfish and Tarpon, trading the tower for downriggers, respooling any older mono, checking the braid on Tarpon set ups, checking drags, roller bearings, fixing eyes, etc. The preseason work is essential to being ready when you get out on the water. You never know when the fish of a lifetime is going to bite and if you lose it because of something preventable it’s hard to forget.
Surf fisherman are in full swing right now as the end of the Pompano run nears. The whiting are already moving north and more Bluefish, Catfish, and Sharks are showing up in the surf but it’s still prime time to get some Pompano. I’ve heard this week from a few guys that they are still thick from Matanzas to Nassau Sound. Clean water is key so don’t be afraid to drive to find it if the beach you usually fish isn’t looking good. For bait the reports varied with some success on live Sand fleas, Fish bites, dead shrimp, and clams. Variety is the spice of life and it sure seems to help to have a little bit of everything when surf fishing.
Inshore the Redfish bite is wide open for the slot size fish in the creeks. The bull reds have been a little more elusive in the river from reports I’ve heard with some guys striking a hot bite while others draw blank checks. Those resident fish tend to move around a lot and if you soak a spread of cut mullet and crab on the deep drop offs long enough to get a scent trail out you should find some action. The Flounder are continuing to pour in the inlets in waves and the bites been good in the river and the ICW. The prime window for trophy trout hunting is usually spring to early summer and there have been good reports of both quality and quantity from the Mayport to Blunt Island, the Valley, and Sisters creek area.  While artificial lures are my preferred way to target them live shrimp on a float rig is hard to beat to get some trout action and a great way to get the kids into it.
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