Here it is, the “Late Summer/ Early Fall Fishing Report” for Saint Augustine and the surrounding areas.
The days are starting to get shorter and the kids are heading back to school. With this means cooler weather will be coming soon. This is some of my favorite fishing of the year. Starting in August and lasting into late November we have flood tides . These are extremely large high tides around the new and full moons. Look at the local tide charts for the tides that are +5.5 or higher. These are the days to go fishing. These flood tides bring the water level higher than any time of the year. This gives Redfish and Sheepshead access to areas that were previously untouched. These fish have one thing on their minds, EAT! They are swimming in a few inches of water gorging themselves on the fattening crabs and putting weight on for the upcoming winter. You can either get out of your boat and wade fish or use a microskiff like my Dragonfly Boatworks Marsh Hen and pole the flats. Look for the fish to either have their tails sticking up in the air or a portion of their backs out of the water. Throw either a purple crab fly or a ZMan crabz or shrimpz hooked weedless . Get ready for a great fight. It is a blast watching a 7 pound Redfish trying to get away in a few inches of water. This temperature drop will also start the Fall migration of mullet. This is where there will be acres of mullet and pogies working their way south off of our beaches. There will be tarpon, huge sharks, and bull redfish following these acres of bait. They will usually hang out until the second cold front of the Fall, sometime around early October. Keep a look out for the 100+ pound tarpon crashing the surface of the water in our inlets and near the Bridge of Lions and the Vilano Bridge. Use a live pogie or mullet on a 6/o circle hook attached to a five foot section of fluorocarbon . Now for some more inshore fishing. Our water temperatures are in the high 80’s in the back waters at present time. By the fall the water will be in the mid to lower 70’s . That will trigger the flounder to feed like crazy. Use a mud minnow or ZMan paddlerz in Houdini color on an 1/8 oz. or 1/4 oz. jig head . Fish near feeder creeks on the last two hours of incoming or the first two hours of outgoing tide. Retrieve them slowly along the bottom and have the net ready for landing them . They are masters for spitting the bait right next to the boat. Target the larger flounder, up to 15 pounds, with a 4″-6″ mullet on a fish finder rig. Fish around deep docks or rip rap and along the inlet rocks. Give these larger flounder extra time to eat the larger baits. If fishing off of the surf, there will pompano and black drum cruising the waves. Use a sand flea or a peeled shrimp on a size 1 circle hook attached to a double dropper rig. Use enough weight to keep you from sliding around in the surf. If you are looking for something larger, hook on a cut mullet or a cut whiting and catch large redfish and big sharks. If the redfish are over 27″ please handle them with care and release them back into the ocean after a few pictures.
Please check out my daily report at www.facebook.com/drummancharters . Until next report, Tight Lines.
Capt. James Dumas
Contributed by Capt. James Dumas
Inshore flats fishing – Drum Man Charters- www.drummancharters.com -904-687-9498