Inshore/nearshore report jacksonville area waters
March, the transition month, is here and we'll be steadily moving from our winter patterns into spring as the water warms. In fact, a customer caught a jack crevalle and a spanish mackerel a couple days ago in St. Augustine, which is a sure sign fish are moving north. There continue to be large numbers of bluefish throughout our area. Sometimes they can be a nuisance when you are targeting other species.
Sheephead are biting very well right now at area jetties and are averaging 3-4lbs with 5-6lb fish mixed in. These normally elusive fish fight hard and are excellent table fare. Fiddlers on a 1/8 oz. jighead work for me. Sometimes a redfish or black drum will eat your fiddler, too.
Redfish can be found in all their normal haunts:edges of the ICW, jetty rocks, creeks, and around dock pilings. Some larger fish may be moving up the river channels. Several redfish tournaments , including the locally famous "spot" tournament, are coming up and boats "pre-fishing" are pretty much everywhere. On one of my recent trips we caught six reds from 20 to 30lbs in 70' of water on a nearshore reef.
The speckled trout can be found in the creeks , ICW, and river with some fish large enough to keep. With the water temps rising try a topwater plug early and late on high water. A few weakfish are biting also, when you can find them, usually on high incoming water.
The whiting action has improved on the pier and in the surf. I caught a dozen today surf fishing and left them biting. It won't be long until pompano and schools of spanish mackerel move into our area. A couple of years ago I hooked two large black drum (in the 50lb class) while whiting fishing in the surf. That was quite a surprise!
This and next month provide opportunities to catch a giant black drum in our area. These fish are real bruisers and grow to over 100lbs. Fish deep around the jetty tips and area inlets and ICW holes with crab and clam baits. Use heavy tackle to subdue the fish quickly and release them carefully. There's not much sense in killing these large breeder fish.
CAPT Bob Cosby
About The Author: Captain Bob Cosby
Company: Captain Bob\'s Fishing Charters, Inc.
Area Reporting: Mayport, Ponte Vedra, St Augustine and nearshore waters
Bio: Captain Bob Cosby is a retired USCGR Captain, and has had a 50-ton Master’s license since 1986. He is a Jacksonville native and has fished the local waters since he was a small child, fishing with his grandparents from bridges, piers and in the surf. Captain Bob has an easygoing personality, and won’t be yelling or getting angry with the customers. When Captain Bob is not fishing with customers, he often spends his free time – fishing! He enjoys fly fishing the spring creeks of Montana, and fly fishing for Atlantic salmon in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He has owned several offshore boats and has caught marlin, sailfish, wahoo, tuna and large sharks. However, he enjoys inshore fishing the local salt waters of Northeast Florida the most!