The mullet race has begun.
The arrival of Hurricane Dorian last week represented a strong and not Easter, avoiding virtually any adverse impact and, less importantly, unleashing the instinctive response of the local mullet population to the school and migrating from the entrance.
I have heard reports of massive bait schools from downtown to south of Jacksonville Beach, and some excellent fishing reports. This annual migration is an important feeding event for marine predators, and offers some of the best fishing you can find in Jacksonville.
That said, there are some events that can discourage people from fishing this weekend. For starters, Saturday is the long-awaited start of the archery deer season in northeast Florida. And the weather is forecast to be terrible.
The ocean will be closed thanks to another Easter day that will blow this weekend. The seas will be 4 to 6 feet, and fishing from the entrance may be out of the question. Expect rain and thunderstorms on Saturdays and Sundays.
St. Johns River
This is the good news: you don't have to go far to fish right now.
Captain Kris Kell said the mullet with a net finger should be the first thing someone does. Working them on a quarter ounce template, he has caught some big trout this week, as well as a good flounder.
“(The flounder) are starting their previous migration, leaving the streams. They will be anywhere from Blount Island to the entrance, ”he said.
The red bull sting in the shipping channel is open, Kell said. He is catching them in mullet baits between the Dames Point Bridge and the entrance.
Captain Kirk Waltz said coastal fishing has been excellent since the hurricane passed. He is catching big sharks, bull reds and some red slot machines too. "The live bait has been the king," he said in a text message.
The shad are all over the mullet at this time, and it seems that the best action has been around the tips of the north pier. Keep this in mind if you have the opportunity to fish after noreaster passes, or if conditions allow you to get there this weekend.
ICW and the field
Captain Jeff Wansor said fishing has been excellent this week. You are finding good schools of red fish on the edge of the ditch "shattering" the mullet groups that swim nervously along the shore. There are also some good trout and flounder there.
He said there are a lot of large red fish and top slot in the ICW near the small piers at this time.
Do you want to guess what you are using as bait?
Captain Chip Wingo said fishing has been "on fire." He said that the bite of the red fish is really strong, as is the sting of the flounder. He advised looking for schools of "exploited" mullets and throwing a bait at school. It will not take long to be bitten by one of the cats that lift hell near the surface of the water or by a red fish that lurks beneath.
After a summer taking pomp from the waves, Souen Nhim has returned to the Nassau Sound bridge, where he is a bit of an authority in catching fish.
He said the red fish bite is hot right now during the incoming tide. The bite of the black drum and the flounder was not bad on Saturday and Sunday. And after he finished filling his cooler with the groceries of the week, he played with some of the shadies that hang in the sound. He hooked five on Saturday.
Living and cutting fresh mullets were the ticket, he said.
On the beach, Noel Kuhn said that the mullet race is in full swing. Large bait schools are moving south, and almost everything is in search. This week he caught or saw the following fish: trout, flounder, blue fish, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, red fish, shark and large shad.
Some crews made their way to the coast last weekend, and although I heard that the clarity of the water was not excellent after the storm, there was great fishing that began in approximately 120 feet of water.
Voradet Thepsouvanh and his friends put five large lambs in the box, as well as the boundary of the big beeliners boat and a trigger disaster. Chris Rooney and his team did almost the same, with some great amber mixed as well.
The bite was less constant, although Kell said he caught some beeliners and sea bass about 20 miles from the hill.
Fishermen south of the center dodged a bullet last week. Dorian produced little rain, which kept the shrimp around.
"The shrimp are still going crazy," said Jon Hamilton of Black Creek Marina
He said that shrimp the size of a meal are all over Doctor Lake and Shands Bridge. The red fish can be easily caught near points in Doctor’s Lake, and the croaker hole is full of croaker, including the large yellow variety of Virginia.
Down in Green Cove Springs, Rick Hamilton of R&J Tackle said that the bite of red fish in the river has been "really good." He said there is a ton of mullets in the river, and that the bite of the sea bream is warming thanks to the full moon approaching.
"People are happy," he said.