Willing to bet ramps will close next

Well, I’m not sure what to report. The wahoo bite is great, the cobia are coming, the sheepshead have been spawning, but COVID is here and almost everybody with a boat seems to have decided to party on the sandbars since the beaches are closed.
If the partying continues this coming weekend, I would be willing to bet the ramps are the next thing closing. This isn’t the time to load up your friends and hit the sandbar. The people who want to take their boat and catch fish to feed their families or take their kids fishing while following all the social distancing guidelines are the ones who will suffer. If you’re off work and have a boat, I get the impulse to hit Fort George, but now is not the time. Take the kids and boat out by all means, but abide by the guidelines so we don’t lose one of the few remaining freedoms we can enjoy safely during this pandemic. We’re in this for the long haul now and I think everyone can agree it’s an easy sacrifice to give up the sandbar party to continue to be able to get out on the water with your family.
Back to fishing. The worm hatch is in full swing, so expect the bite to slow down some inshore as the fish gorge on worms for a few days. The redfish and sheepshead both love them and they tend to get keyed in on them every year during the hatch. The redfish tend to get lockjaw every year for a week or so when this happens; they gorge themselves on the worms and it’s hard to get them to eat anything else. I fished out of Vilano this week and ran into Captain James Dumas at the ramp, and he confirmed the fish in that area are also keyed in on the worms. He found one school that cooperated anyway and managed three nice redfish. The early morning bite has been great and the water temperatures are in the ideal zone for walking the dog with a topwater plug.
In Mayport, the sheepshead have been spawning which is a great time to get on some bigger fish. You tend to catch more of the big females, as the males are all focused on chasing them around and not eating. The jetties have been good fishing for them and so has the river and the near-shore wrecks.
Offshore, the wahoo tournament has seen some huge fish this last week with another tournament record being broken. Team “Outta Line” has been on a hot bite stacking up a huge aggregate topped off with a 121.28-pound fish that holds the new record. The cobia bite has been OK on the wrecks for the last couple weeks, and the triggerfish, mutton snapper, vermillion snapper and black sea bass are still chewing.
Watch the rips on the inlets when you’re running in and out for triple tail, the bigger ones are mostly past us by now, but there have been good numbers of 15- to 20-inch fish on the buoys and floating debris all along the First Coast. The beach run for cobia is still a ways south of us, but if you want to try and get some action while the boat ramps are open, the bulk of the ray migration is south of Ponce Inlet around the middle lagoon. The water temperatures around St. Augustine are getting warmer, and the bait and jacks are starting to show up along the beach, but it’s still scattered and mostly deep.
For any questions, to book a charter trip, or to send in a report and pictures of your catch to be featured in a future report, send an email to Chris@fishjax.org.