May is heating up with highs averaging the mid 80's, lighter winds, and warmer waters. Water temperatures on the beach are sitting between 73 and 75 degrees. The warmer water temperatures on the beach have the Cobia and Manta Rays coming in close. The Menhaden pods are also starting to show up. Most of the schools are still spread out and sitting in deeper water. Several Captains reported this week that the Menhaden have been seen between the old Sea Turtle Inn(One Ocean)and the Red Tops. You'll need to run out to 35 plus feet of water and keep your eyes open for Pelicans diving. Find the Pelicans, and you'll find the bait.
Flounder have started showing up in the river and creeks. Most Flounder right now are on the smaller side with many being barely legal. This is just the beginning of the run however and will start to improve in the following weeks.
Sheepshead are surprisingly still in the river and Inlet right now. Their numbers have thinned out in a big way, but, you can easily still find them along the rocks at the Big Jetties and the Little Jetties Park. The bigger females seem to have already left however, the smaller fish, between 2 to 5 pounds are still around.
The Bull Reds are steady moving into the River. Huge ones are being caught between the Little Jetties Park and Dames Point Bridge. This week, Linda Carver caught an absolute monster at 49 inches long and an estimated 60 pounds. This fish tied the IGFA "Total Length" World Record. After she caught that pig, her husband caught one at 48 inches and an estimated 55 pounds. Reds this size happen, albeit, rarely. Both of those were truly fish of a lifetime.
Lady Fish and Jacks are all over the river right now as well. They aren't the most prized fish you can find but, they do make fine bait for monster Bull Reds. I've been starting off my mornings throwing lures at the Big Jetties for large Lady Fish. I throw them in the live well and use them for cut bait to target big Reds. You can catch them days before and freeze them, however, they don't hold up as well after they've been frozen. The meat tends to wash out of the skin in heavy currents. It's like comparing firm meat to flesh that has the consistency of Hummus. It doesn't stand a chance vs current and trash fish. It takes me roughly 15 to 20 minutes to locate and catch 2 decent Lady Fish. They're everywhere from the Big Jetties, on towards White Shell Fish Camp. Throw any lure you like and if they're around, you get hit.
Don't rule out Blue Crab! I never leave home without Blue Crab. Even if the fish haven't been eating Crab consistently. The one day you go without them will be the one day you'll need them. It's not uncommon for Red Fish to change forage out of the blue. One minute only cut bait works, next thing you know, they're only eating Blue Crab. It happens, a lot.
The Trout fishing has been on fire. The better bite has without question been either early in the morning, or later in the evening. The bigger fish are sitting in very shallow water. I'm talking a foot or so. You can easily get bigger Trout in deeper water, but for me personally, I'm finding a much more consistent bite in skinnier water.
The top water fishing in particular is just out of control! We've been catching Trout from 18 inches on to larger fish in excess of 25 inches. We lost fish this week that may have been even bigger. We're throwing Rapala, Skitterwals and Hedden, Super Spooks. You'll do best with the 4 inch models and in lighter colors. My favorites are the Redhead/white body model, and silver bottom/Chartreuse top model. The Bone color models also produce.
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