The Fishing Report Winter 2024
The Northeast flow we caught at the end of January was a great push to centralize our weather patterns to some sense of normalcy. This good push of cooler winds finally turned the water temps down a few degrees to our near normal water temperarures. Look for sheepshead, trout, redfish, and drum to feed in good numbers both at the rocks and the Mayport basin up into the lower St John's River into the surrounding creek systems. The ICW both North towards Nassau Sound and South past Atlantic Blvd should hold good numbers of quality fish. Try fishing with float rigs and live shrimp, jig/shrimp combos as well as carolina rigged baits on the falling tides . Look for clear water when you can find it for the best results as dirty water tends to be a turn off to most inshore species.
The Big bull reds should begin to push into the St Johns River to begin their spawning cyles so fish the bottom of the low tide to the first of the incoming tides for the best opportunities. Try fishing with fresh chunks of bull mullet, whole blue crabs, and even cut ladyfish if you can score some. I have found over the years that the fresher the bait the better the results. Always remember these are our breeding stock so handle them with some sense of gentleness and release them back as quickly as possible careful to vent them when its needed. A venting needle ids the best tool to use for this. Try fishing the deep dropsq in the river, edges of the shipping channel, the edges of the big rocks at Mayport, and on the outside of the rocks , Ocean side, early in the morning and later in the afternoon. Stout heavy tackle is preferred to minimize stress to these big breeders. My preferred rod is a SHimano Saragosa 8000 spinning outfit with 80lb braid on a stiff 7ft rod.
The offshore scene should pickup with the focus being on improved bottom fishing for black sea bass, ringtails, vermillions, triggers, and snapper. Cut baits fished on the bottom can be productive. I typically deploy cuttle fish, cut cigars, cut mullet, and will occasionally use live shrimp.
Also be sure to catch the Outdoors Show each Saturday from 7am to !0am for the local tides, weather, and our local updated fishing reports on AM 1010 or FM92.5. Give us a shoutout and let's hit the water. 904-621128. Capt Kirk