Baits everywhere, the heat index is climbing and the fishing is even hotter!
The Bull Reds have finally started stacking back up in the St. Johns River. From Little Jetties Park to Dames Point Brdige, find the 40 foot dredge lines and set up shop.
You'll need live bait! There are a number of ways to get addequate bait. You can cast net medium to large Mullet in the creeks or on the river edges. You could also make a quick run out to the beach and net some Menhaden. The Menhaden pods are everywhere right now. You can find them north and south of Mayport Inlet from the break on out to 30 feet of water. Another method which happens to be a personal favorite of Captain Steve of Madness Charters, consists of catching Medium sized Pin Fish by hook and line. He's been on the giants recently using a combination of Live Pin Fish and cut Lady Fish. He says all you have to do is anchor up near the rocks at either White Shell or Little Jetties Park and send down a tiny peice of Shrimp on a Carolina Rig with a very small, #4 Mosquito Hook. In no time at all you'll get a dozen or so Pin Fish and/or Grunts to use as bait. Hook the Pins and Grunts through the nostrils with a 6/0 or 7/0 circle hook.
The Tarpon have started showing up in the Inlet and creeks. The jueniles have started stacking up in the ICW from Atlantic Blvd bridge on through Palm Valley. You can get them a number of ways including artificial baits, popping corks with live Mullet and Flat lined Mullet. In the Inlet you'll need Menhaden. Net a mess of them and stage up on the either the jetty tips or drift the Menhaden pods. You'll need to cover the water column with at least 1 bait on the bottom, 1 flat line, and possibly a mid column bait. 2 rigs on the bottom, 1 mid column and 1 flat line is a very affective lay out when targeting Mayport Inlet Tarpon. You'll get a lot of by-catch doing this and that means Red Fish and Sharks mostly. But stay with it. It can take a bit of patience, but with time, you'll get tight on a big Tarpon.
The Trout are thick in the creeks and river right now. In the creeks you'll want to look for sharp drop-off's and fast moving water. Another sign to look for is shell bottom. Find a spot where oyster shell piles along the edge of a creek and you'll usually find some Trout hanging around. Also try drifting a poping cork baited with either a live Shrimp or Finger Mullet past the mouths of finger creeks on an out going tide. This can be deadly for both Reds and Trout. You'll also find plenty of big Trout on river edges along rock piles and docks. You'll also find some healthy Flounder. The easiest way is to fish a Carolina Rig with a Live Mullet or live Shrimp. Pitch it near the structure you're fishing and slowly drag the bait back towards the boat while maintaining contact with the bottom.
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