Jacksonville Beach - I got down to the beach about 7:30 AM which was about an hour and a half before low tide. There were large shools of mullet passing through in the surf within range of my cast net. I wadded out about hip deep and threw the net over a large school of finger mullet and caught enough to fill my bait bucket for the day. I hooked a mullet onto a 3/0 cirlce hook with a 3oz pyramid weight and tossed it out as far a I could. After about 5 minutes I had some hard jerks on the line, then the line went tight and I had a very lively fish on. It was a spotted seatrout about 16 inches long, within the slot size. The size limit for spotted seatrout in my zone is minimum 15" and maximum 20", so this one was within the slot. I fished for about another 2 hours and had a few bites, whcih felt like trout or bluefish, but did not hook any more fish. I went home happy with my trout. I had a blast as usual! Tight Lines!!
Jacksonville Beach - I got down to the beach about 7:30 AM which was about halfway between low and high tide. It was one of those days where the surf is barely coming up over both sandbars and the water is only about 2 feet deep for about 100 yards out. There was plenty of mullet in the water so I still wanted to give it a try. I netted a few mullet with my cast net, hooked one on my rig and tossed it out. No cation for about 45 minutes and I was considering taking a break and going for a walk down the beach until the tibe filled in a little more. Just as I was about to reel in my line I had a hrd yank on the line, then hard pulling. I kept the line tight and began working the fish in to shore. I could tell it was heavy and was very excited to see as it emerged from the surf that it was a nice slot redfish! It was a red drum about 20 inces long, right within the slot size. I fished for about another hour with no bites, so I went home and had some fresh blackened redfish for lunch. I had a blst as usual! Tight lines!!
Jacksonville Beach - I got down to the beach about 7:30 AM which was right around high tide. I could see some scattered schools of mullet in the surf so walked out about knee deep and through my cast net over a school. With my bucket full of fresh live mullet. I hooked a single mullet on my rig which has a 3oz pyramid sinker. There was a slight current headed south but my bait was staying pretty much where I dropped it in the surf. I had a few small bites but not much other action. After about 30 minutes I had a good bite. I let the fish tug a couple of times to make sure he was hooked ,then reeledit in. It was a nice Spanich Mackerel about 22 inches long. I fished for another copuple of hours with no more bites. I had a blast and went home with one spanish mackerel for the day. Tight Lines!!
If you've read any of my surf fishing reports, you've probably seen me mention Fishbites artificial bait. I use it everywhere one might fish with shrimp. I've found fishbites to be just as effective as natural shrimp for atracting fish and getting bites. The biggest benefit of using Fishbites over natural shrimp, is the ability of fishbites to stay on the hook. Anyone who has fished with shrimp, kows how easily shrimp will fall off the hook. The soft shrimp bodies are not very durable. Fishbites, however, is very difficult to get off the hook. I frequently resort to scissors, to remove fishbites from my hook when changing baits. Fishbites is basically strips of a very durable mesh, covered in a compressed layer of shrimp stuff, that slowely softens and dissolves in the water. When you hook a piece of fishbites, the hook goes through the mesh and the barb catches on the mess, so it's very difficult to remove. I frequently catch several fish on one piece of fishbites. I was very happy too learn that fishbites are made right down the road from us, in St Augustine, FL.
From the fishbites website "Fishbites are the result of a lifelong passion for fishing and decades of scientific research. Carr Specialty Baits, Inc. (CSB), maker of Fishbites, is a family-owned business founded in 2000 in St. Augustine, Florida, by avid angler and world renowned marine researcher Dr. William Carr and members of his family."
I highly recommend you give Fishbites a test run and try it out for yourself !!
Jacksonville Beach - I got down to the beach about 7:30 AM which was a few minutes before high tide. The tide didn't come in as far it typically does this time of year, but there was plenty of deep water within casting distance. I casted out half a finger mullet and let it soak for about half an hour without a single bite, so I cahgned to shrimp flavored Fishbites. I started getting bites immediately and pulled in a couple of small croakers. I continued to pull in small spot and croakers, for the next couple of hours. A few of the croakers were decent sized so I threw them in the cooler for lunch. Around 10:30am I felt a hard hit and hooked what felt like a much bigger fish. It turned out to be a weakfish about 18 inches long. I knew it was some kind of trout, but in the past I had only caught spotted sea trout, so I had to look it up to identify it. The weakfish, despite it's name, put up a good fight. I took home 4 croakers and the weakfish, whcih we ate for a late lunch. I had a blast as usual. If you are interested in publish your fishing reports, please shoot me a quick email and I will send you instructions. Tight Lines!!
Bluefish are one of the most common surf fishing species. Bluefish travel in schools and feed voraciously usually on baitfish. When a school of bluefish is nearby, it's hard to catch anything else. They will strike nearly anything that looks like a piece of mullet. Finger mullet is an excellent bait and works great, live or dead. Bluefish have sharp teeth and are very skilled at swimming by and biting off pieces of bait, so I've found that cutting the mullet into smaller pieces results in hooking more fish. I recommend using a wire leader to prevent line cuts from their sharp teeth. Bluefish are regulated in the state of Florida, so please check here for current Florida saltwater fishing regulations.
One of the most common questions I get while I'm standing on the beach surf casting is "What kind of fish do you catch?". Here is a list of fish species I commonly catch in the surf, in order of most commonly caught to least commonly caught.
- Atlantic Croaker
- Redfish (Red Drum)
- Black Drum
- Spotted Sea Trout
As you can see by pictures in the in my surf fishing reports, Bluefish is by far the most common fish I catch. There are two main reasons I catch a lot Bluefish. One, There are a lot of Bluefish in the surf where I fish. Two, I like to fish with finger mullet, which is a favorite bait of the Bluefish.
The next most common fish I catch off the beach is Whiting also called Gulf Kingfish. These fish are out in the surf most of the year and can be caught with pieces of shrimp, clams, Fishbites, etc. There are also great to eat and unregulated in Florida. I'll post an article about each of these surf fishing species over the next few days.
Jacksonville Beach - This week, Wes and I were joined by a new fishing buddy, also named Jason, who is fairly new to the area. We all got down to the beach at 7:30am. The tide was coming in and high tide was expected at about 10:30. When we first got set up, the waves were coming in over the sandbar, but the water was still a bit shallow in the trough. There was also a medium strength current pulling our baits to the south. None the less, we started getting bites immediately. We would cast out, the bait would drift south into the trough, and then the bluefish would start banging on it. Even though it was his first time, Jason ended up catching the most fish. We all hooked a bunch and had a cooler full by about 10:45. It was a beautiful day and we had a blast as usual.
Jacksonville Beach - Wes an I got down to the beach about 7:30 AM. It was a nice morning, warm but overcast. It was mid-tide, but the water was deep enough to fish, even over the sandbar, whcih is where most of our casts were landing. The bluefish started biting immediately. We started the day, a little light on tackle. We only had one leader each, and on a good day, we might go through three or four. The bluefish have sharp teeth and fight like mad, so we lose a little tackle when the blues are very active. Anyway, Wes hooked a big bluefish, but couldn't get him reeled in. It seems the main gear in his reel failed. He finally got the line reeled in, but the fish was gone. I ran back to the house to pick up a spare rod and reel. Wes stayed and fished with my rod and reel. Just as I was returning Wes hooked what appered to be a redfish at least 2 ft long. We could see it coming over the sand bar. Unfortunately it broke the line and made off with my only leader. Since my only leader was gone, I started tying hooks and weigfhts on, with my regular line. I caught several more fish, but their sharp teeth kept cutting the line and I lost all my weights. With no more weight, I started flat-lining some of the larger mullet, with nothing but a hook on the end of the line. I started getting bites right away, which felt weird, because there was a lot of slack in the line, without a weight on the end. Anyway, I caught a couple more bluefish on the flat-line. About 10:30 AM we sarted wrapping things up. It was a good day, despite tackle challenges, and as always we had a blast.
Jacksonville Beach - My neighbor Emily got down to the beach around 7:30 AM. It was mi-tide with high-tide expected around 10:30 AM. There was a wind from the East, which was a little annoying for casting, but it was also pushing some deeper water over the sand bar. Sometimes at mid-tide, the water is to shallow over the sand bar to fish., but today the wind was helping. It was about 20 minutes before I got the first bite, and it felt like a bluefish. It was, and we kept catching them all morning. There was so many finger mullet in the surf that they were banging into our ankles while we were fishing. I threw the cast net once and we had more than enough bait for the whole day. It was a beautiful day, and we had a blast as usual. We shared smoked bluefish with the neighbors in the evening.