The St. Johns River and area lakes
It may be that saltwater fishing in freshwater is better than in saltwater, if you can follow that.
The guides, especially from Doctor & # 39; s Inlet to at least Palatka, are being loaded with black ladybugs, black drums, red fish, croakers, yellow mouth trout and mangrove snappers, with a dash of spotted sea trout and flounder. Tarpon is also schooling, and these are the 40-ish-pounders that are fun to fight and don't take an hour to whip. Just when you think you are in the ICW, you will hook a hybrid marker or a largemouth bass.
The shrimp is improving. The best reports are found in Lake George, where it flows into St. Johns or vice versa. Limits are being reached (five gallon buckets per boat or five gallons per person offshore or docks) and most are specimens the size of a meal.
They are likely to remain a little longer and then begin a northward migration to Mayport. But, even further north, where shrimp are medium at best, the nets cover the canals during the day and shed shrimp nets. It will only improve as we reach September, if there are no hurricanes squatting over the river, throwing inches of fresh water and lowering salinity.
There were some reports of nutcracker and bluegills bedding on the new moon last week. It is doubtful that it is still happening, but discovering fishing in St. Johns right now is similar to contemplating your belly button.
The intracostero canal
The big story this week is the bite of bass. I have never heard about the amount of bass caught locally this week. In the last decade, if I had to draw a demarcation line for the general range of bass, the northernmost point would be Palm Coast. But this week the guides uploaded them through Matanzas, at the entrance of San Agustín and to Guana and Pine Island. Yes, there are always some up here, but not like this week.
A guide caught six in one day, another nine in two days at the entrance.
The bass season is currently closed, but opens on September 1. If they are still present, remember that you will need a $ 10 bass seal in addition to a saltwater fishing license, and the slot is 28 to 32 inches with a limit of one fish.
The bite of red fish is good in the deepest streams if you can get a low tide early in the morning before the water warms up, according to guide Tommy Derringer.
Flounder is abundant but small. There has been a good bite of crocodile trout in the waves south of the entrance to Matanzas. Some late pomp are also being caught in the south.
Ladybugs and blue fish are everywhere, but especially on the floors inside the entrance of St. Augustine. The shad are scattered.
The bite of kingfish on the beach was slow throughout the week. The bite in the local reefs and shipwrecks has been good one day and poor the next day. If you hook a king anywhere around the bottom of the nine miles, the sharks will have eaten you more of the hook than ice. It is covered out there, and the guides will tell you that sharks are learning to follow the boats before a kingfish dinner. "They are being conditioned," one complained earlier this week. Pogies have been really hard to find. You can spend hours trying to put something in the network of living wells in Salt Run.
The trolling on the high seas is slow, as is usually the case at this time of year. Surf fishing is fine if you can leave, or around, sailboats and small sharks. Otherwise, it can be aggravating.
The winds of the southwest will dominate the whole weekend at 5 to 10 knots and seas of 2 to 3 feet.
The Flagler Sportfishing Club houses a clinic for new (and old) members from 8 a.m. at 1 p.m. August 10 There will be eight mini sessions that will cover a variety of places and fishing techniques. Space is limited. Contact Walt Huresky at 732-996-3899. This will be at the Hammock Community Center, 79 Mala Compra Road, in front of Bing’s Landing.
Jim Sutton writes a weekly fishing column for The Record. You can contact him with reports or photos at [email protected]