Inshore/nearshore report NE florida
The robins flew through last week headed north, hopefully, spring isn't too far away! Water temps are in the low 50's. Speckled trout are closed here in NE Florida this month, but can still be caught on a catch and release basis. Just be extra careful releasing them. I've had the best luck along the ICW drop-offs with live shrimp, plastics, and Gulp baits fished on 1/4 oz. jigs. Try to shake them off without touching them.
Sheephead are a good cold water fish and are also exceptional tablefare. Additiomally, ringtail porgies are congregating near the jetty tips to spawn. I like to toss 1/8 oz. jigs tipped with fiddlers or small live shrimp up close to the rocks. Just try to maintain sensory contact with your jig, ie., don't actively jig it. Just slowly raise the rod tip a few inches every now and then, or when you feel something different happening like a subtle pressure on the line. Don't jerk hard, just raise the rod. Of course, sharp hooks are a must. Often they will be hooked in the lip outside their teeth.
Whiting are congregating off the beach in 20 to 30 feet of water, or in area inlets and sounds. Surf fishing for them has been lousy since the water temps have hit the low 50's. Fresh dead peeled shrimp works best. I have experimentally caught them on small pieces of white cut Gulp baits.
Bluefish like the cold water and are in the river and coastal waters. They are fun on light tackle and will hit most anything that is moving. Keep in mind they will destroy your expensive soft baits and cut your light leaders, so rig accordingly. They will also eat cut bait fished dead on the bottom with a fish-finder rig.
Another good cold water fish is the black sea bass. Inshore they like rocky structure, and the great majority are too small to keep. The new size and bag limit for our area is 12 inches and 15 per person. Weather permitting, reefs and wrecks 5 to 15 miles offshore are the best bet for keepers. Drifting with squid or cut bait works well. You also might try jigging the bottom with plastic or Gulp baits. Light tackle makes it more fun.
Redfish are a real challenge in cold water. They are reluctant to eat and are extremely spooky in the creeks. The big breeders are offshore and may be unpredictably encountered on any of our artificial or natural reefs. Slot size fish can be caught around the jetty tips on occasion. The best results follow a few days of warming air temperatures.
CAPT Bob Cosby
Captain Bob's Fishing Charters,Inc.
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!