Inshore Fishing Report and Advice for St Augustine, FL

 Winter Fishing Report – 2017

drum 1Well winter is upon us. For the next two months we have some great fishing. We will get cold fronts where the highs will be in the 40s or 50s once a week or so and that will start to drop our water temperature. The water temperature right now is in the low to mid 60s but that those fronts will drop it into the low to mid 50s which is great for our winter time fishing. That will kill all the micro organisms in the water so the water will start to clear up. The redfish will start to group into large schools sometimes with over 1000 fish in them trying to stay warm. The morning bite will be a little bit slow but as the sun warms the water by midday the fish will move up onto the flats and start feeding. This is a great time to do sight fishing in real shallow water watching the redfish actually eat your artificial bait or fly. This is the time year I really get to utilize my Eastcape Skiffs flats boat polling in water less than 1 foot of water.  Just remember with the style of fishing it is very important to have a good pair of polarized sunglasses. That will help you look through the water and see the fish swimming. My favorite pair which has a great lens are Smith optics. They have a lens which is called the Chroma Pop which really helps reduce the glare on the water.

   drum 3 This time of year the cold also gets the spotted Seatrout and black drum feeding very well. They will be in a little bit deeper water ranging from 3 to 10 feet of water on the edges of the flats and in the deeper holes in the creeks.  Trout are easily caught on Z man paddle tails such as a “Minnowz” with an 1/8 ounce or 3/8 ounce jig head. Throw it across the hole and do a slow steady retrieve and that drives the trout crazy. Black  drum will be caught in the same areas but I usually use either live or dead shrimp on an 1/8 ounce jig head fished on the bottom. No need to retrieve that. Just throw it out there and let it sit because black drum feed mainly on scent.
   Sheephead will be in the area as well. Look for those near bridges or docks as well as in the creeks where there is some structure. It is best to use a fiddler crab on a Carolina rig or an 1/8 ounce chartreuse jig head. Look for the subtle bite and try to set the hook. They have many rows of teeth inside their mouth so they are tricky to catch.
   Drum4As the water starts to warm back up in mid-March we will start working on catching gator trout which are trout over 23 inches in the area as well. It is a really fun time to throw top water lures in the morning or evening or anytime that you have low light conditions. You can also get away with doing this in the wintertime on the evenings where it was over 70° that day. The redfish will also be in the mix and are very eager to hit a Zara spook Jr fish slowly on the flats.
   So remember this winter time  will be very cold outside but the fishing is excellent. Nowadays there are many great clothing companies such as Simms that have come a long way with synthetic materials. A lot of the clothes are very thin but will keep you warm no problem out there and there are not many boats on the water in the winter time so it is a great time to get out there. A lot of days we might only see a boat or two and the fish are very eager to play. Feel free to go on my website at for any information or I can be reached at email which is or my phone number which is 904-687-9498. Until next report
 Get out on the water.
Capt. James Dumas

Spring fishing report for Saint Augustine, Florida- 2016

 cobia wryan fly 5-2014 008 (1280x960)  Spring is coming early this year. Temperatures are in the 70s and it is sunny out. This weather is the reason millions of people move to Florida each year. It’s also why so many species of fish call Florida their home.
   As the water warms up the fish will become very active. The mullet already started to show up in the inshore waters. The big predator fish will be showing up right behind them.
   We have some amazing coastal fishing during the spring. We have Cobia and Tripple tail starting to show up off of our beaches in April. They are following the manta rays which are following the warmer water. They love hanging around the 72° mark. Cobia are a very fun fish to target off of the beaches. They are usually 1 to 2 miles off of our coast as they are migrating to the north. They can grow over 50 pounds and are exceptional fighters. They are usually site fished hanging out on the backs of the giant manta rays. A well placed Z man heroz bait will usually not get refused. You can also target them fly fishing. Make sure you have a 10 to 12 weight fly rod because they put up a great fight. Also while you are out there keep an eye out for Tripple tail. These are brown flat looking fish that have big fins that look like they have three tails. They are usually hanging out near structure such as a crab trap float or trash floating. They are easy fish to get to bite once located. I love throwing a Z man shrimpz on a popping cork as well as shrimp patterns if I am flyfishing. We usually have a month or so to target these two fish and then the Tarpon, Spanish mackerel , sharks and Bonita will roll right behind them.
Moving to the inshore scene our main species for March will be redfish. They are still partly schooled up from their winter patterns. The water is also still clear so there are great opportunities for site fishing.  As the water warms up it will lose its clarity. The redfish will also break up into smaller groups of fish. They will continue to bite aggressively through the spring. A live mud minnow on a jig head or a Z man minnowz on an 1/8 ounce jig are my bait of choice. My favorite color is the deal. Just throw it out and do a steady retrieve back in. Search near the oyster mounds that are close to the flats as well as the deep holes. As the water gets into the 70s a top water lure such as a Zara spook Jr will be a great way to catch them.
As April approaches be ready for a monster trout to hit your Zara spook as well. April and May are the two best months for targeting trout over 25 inches. I prefer to fish in depth from 2 to 10 feet and do a very slow walk the dog retrieve   with some long pauses in between. Just remember to keep working your lure until the line comes tight. Trout are known to miss the majority of their strikes. Once you have the fish on the line do not horse the fish in. They have very soft mouths and you will pull the hook. Once the sun comes up put away your top water and switch to a Z man diesel minnowz on a quarter ounce jig head and do slow bumps towards the bottom. This should continue your bite for a while.
 March through May are great times to fish in Saint Augustine. The thunder storms haven’t arrived yet and there are plenty of fish to be caught. Feel free to call me at  (904)687-9498 to book a charter. I also do a daily report on my website at Thank you and until summer.
 Get out on the water!
Captain James Dumas
Drum Man Charters

Fall Report – 2015

Here is the Fall fishing report for Saint Augustine and the surrounding area.
Well it is supposed to be fall time here in Northeast Florida. We have had some record heat and it has been
in the 80s for most of November. As of report time it is finally cooling off into the 70s. This
should really get the fishing fired up. We are still in our early October patterns right now but that
will change here in the next few weeks. DSC_0136 (800x532)

There are a ton of finger mullet in the area and the fish
are still feeding aggressively on them. By late December they will be gone and shrimp, crab’s
and mud minnow’s will be the diet of choice. Right now any type of bait will work great. Once the
water temperature falls into the lower 60s. If you are using mullet you will just want to use a one
inch chunk of dead mullet, A quarter of a  Blue crab will also be a great choice.
With these warmer Fall temperatures we’ve  had  the last few years the redfishing and has been amazing.



DSC_0133It is already looking like we will have another stellar November and December. The redfish will
be on the shallow flats at the higher tide and move into the creeks on the lower tides. The
visibility of the water will be best on the higher tides. Look for concentration of birds or bait on
the flats and use your push pole to work these areas slowly. There will also be many sheep
head cruising the flats as well. For this style of fishing I preferred to throw a Zman plastics shrimpz in the red bone color. I like to rig them on an 1/8 ounce TBS jig head or a 3/32 ounce
weedless hook. Just make sure to work your bait slow the colder it gets.


DSC_0018The next few months will bring some great numbers of flounder around. A lot of the bigger
ones will have moved out into the ocean for the winter but there will be many up to 20 inches.
They will hang in the drop-offs of the flats or the holes. Work a Zman minnows in a darker color
on a quarter ounce jig head slowly bumping along the bottom or a Mud Minnow.
As it gets cooler the trout fishing will also continue to improve. Look for them on the ICW drop
offs or just inside the creeks wherever there is a bit of cleaner water. Work a Zman minnow’s on
a quarter ounce jig head. I prefer any chartreuse color combo. A new bait from Z Man plastic is
the trout trick, it works great as well. Just slow bounce it on the bottom.


DSC_0135 (800x532)And last we have the black drum and sheephead. January through March is the best time for
them but they will start to bite as the temperatures are dropping. Look for them in the 8 to 20
foot of water range in the creeks or around any type of structure. Dead shrimp or fiddler crabs
on 1/16 ounce jig head or a quarter ounce Carolina rig will work the best. These fish work off of
scent so do not move your bait and wait until the fish is on there before you set the hook


DSC_0141 (800x532)If you would like to hear my Fly Fishing reports, I do a bi weekly report feel free to contact me at

to book a charter or with any
other questions.Until next time, Get out on the water.
Captain James Dumas

Drum Man Charters

Spring Fishing Report – 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Here is your spring fishing report for the St. Augustine and the surrounding area. We are finally kicking into spring. The weather is in the 70s. It won’t be long and we will be in the 90s. The spring fishing has started strong in the last few days. This week (03-21 2015) I had a client catch a 5 foot shark in the creek and we saw a 70 pound tarpon in the back water and their were finger mullet everywhere. The water temperature is in the high 60s and will be in the 70s by April’s end. What  this means is that the fish will be coming out of there winter pattern soon.



cobia wryan fly 5-2014 008 (1280x960)Spring is one of my favorite times to fish. There are a bunch of species that have spent the cooler winters in South Florida and are headed back here for the warmer summers. Some days we will catch 10+ species on a half day charter. The year-round species which will consist of redfish trout and flounder will be feeding great.

Some of the best redfishing of the year happens in April and May. There are some big schools still grouped up from the winter but they are on a feeding spree. Look for the schools in the creeks and along the intercoastal waterway in the 3 to 10 foot range. Approach them quietly and throw long casts and you will not be disappointed.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of these redfish are over 30 inches, which is a great backwater redfish. I love throwing a Zman paddlerz or minnowz on an 1/8 ounce TBS jighead.  I really like bright colors such as chartreuse or white jigheads. For my baits I prefer natural colors such as the Redbone or the Houdini. Try a few different retrieve styles to see what they prefer that day. Sometimes they like a steady slow retrieve and sometimes they like a hopping off of the bottom retrieve. If you prefer bait, a live or dead shrimp and a jig head or on a popping cork will work great. These will also catch a bunch of trout and bonnethead sharks in the same area. First and last light the redfish will also crush a top lure. My favorite is a Zara spook Junior. Use a walk the dog style retrieve and remember to wait to set the hook until the redfish is on there and pulling drag.

charter 4-2013 big trout 015 (1280x960)The spotted Seatrout bite is the best you will find during the spring time. Most of my 25+ inch trout come during the same time with some over 30 inches. The best way to target these are with big top water lures the first half hour or last half hour of daylight or on cloudy days. When working your lure for trout make very long pauses in between the twitches. If you prefer live bait a big shrimp or 4 inch finger mullet on a popping cork will work great. Once the sun comes up switch over to a suspending hard lure such as a Mirodine or a ZMan paddlerz or diesel minnowz on a quarter ounce jig head and fish in the holes or ledges with depths of 5 to 20 feet deep with slow bumps down towards the bottom. You will also pick up a bunch of flounder in the same area with the same retrieve.

Off of the beach we will have a bunch of different species headed north for our warmer summer temperatures. Look for Tarpon, cobia, triple tail, jacks, sharks and bonita to be cruising the beach. They will range from 20 feet off of the beach crushing pogies in the surf to a few miles off of the beach, also following  big schools of pogies. When you see a school of pogies cast a big Zman diesel minnowz on a half ounce jig head and fancast around the perimeter of the schools. You can also cast a net to get pogies and then fish them on a popping cork or jighead on the other schools of bait. Just be ready to come up with a shark in your cast net. More often than not that will happen. Also keep an eye out in the distance for jumping fish and big explosions of jack’s and bonita crushing the surface. When you see this you can just about guarantee a fish screaming line off of your drag. Whether you are flyfishing or spin fishing these fish will definitely be a blast. Approach the school slowly and get a far cast towards the middle of the school and reel as fast as possible. The same diesel minnowz works great. For flyfishing a clouser or glass minnow fly will be the ticket. Also keep an eye out for manta rays with cobia swimming on their backs. Again stay as far off of these as possible and get a long accurate cast right on top of the ray making sure you do not snag the ray.

cobia wryan fly 5-2014 005 (1280x960) Springtime is an absolutely amazing time to be fishing in St. Augustine. There are numerous types and styles of fish to target. Whether you’re inshore or nearshore be ready to have a blast and enjoy everything that St. Augustine has to offer.

This has been Capt. James Dumas with Drum Man Charters. Check out my videos and daily fishing reports and weekly fly fishing reports on my website at www.drummancharters



Early fall fishing report for St. Augustine, Florida.

10649624_770809909645325_9097696403647622720_nFall is slowly upon us. We are having another early-season northeastern and that will get the ball rolling in the fishing world. These North Eastern’s get the bait to start their fall migration pattern south. There will be mullet, pogies and shrimp flushing in and out of our inlets and down the beaches and the intracoastal waterway. This inturn will get some of the larger size fish in many different species moving through the area. We will have huge redfish, flounder, Tarpon, and sharks everywhere. The best place to catch the largest ones are around the inlets and local bridges. They can be targeted using large baits such as pogies, mullet or half of a blue crab.


If there are calm seas you can also go within a mile of the beach and fish the bait pods as well. Rigging for these fish would either be a Carolina rig with just enough wait to hold the bottom or a popping cork or live line. Remember to use 30 to 80 pound fluorocarbon leader depending on the species that you were targeting. These large fish should hang in the area until sometime around the end of October. If you’re targeting the species on fly I would prefer throwing a large mullet or pogy fly made from EP or slinky fibers.  I prefer black-and-white or chartreuse and white patterns.




For the inshore and creek fishing we will have a great bite. There will be slot size redfish starting to school up and gorging themselves on shrimp and mullet. They do this so they can bulk up for the colder winter time. Look for the redfish in the creeks and lower tides and along the grass lines on the flats and the edges of the ICW at higher tides. This is a great time to target the fish with artificial lures. I prefer throwing Z man soft plastics on different size TBS jigheads depending on the depth that are being fished. I like the shrimpz, minnowz, and slim swimz on an 1/8 ounce or quarter ounce TBS jig head.




We will also start our trout run anytime. In the fall we don’t usually get them as big as the spring time but we get some serious numbers of them. They will usually range anywhere from 13 inches to 24 inches.  On a good day you will catch a ton of these. They can be targeted with top water Lure such as a Zara spook or with any of the ZMan baits listed above. I also like to throw Bates with a paddle tail on them. The vibration drives the trout crazy. Trout are also a great species to target on fly. Use a slow sinking or intermediate sinking tip line. Throw as long as cast as you can using Clousers or weighted minnow flies in bright color patterns. Very your retrieval speeds until you find what they are after and then continue that speed. Make sure to set the fly quickly because trout love to quick strike their prey.






The last species to target are the flounder. In the late summer and early fall we have a very good flounder fishery. This is the time of the year to get a double digit flounder. They will show up anytime and of different places. Some will get caught out on the rock piles near both inlets and the surrounding docks. Some will get caught along the docks on the intracoastal waterway. Others will be caught way back in the creeks. One thing that the majority of these catches will have in common is that most are caught on big baits. A 4 inch to 6 inch mullet, pogy, and large plastic swim baits will work the best. Fish them on a 1 ounce Carolina or fishfinder rig or an 1/8 ounce or quarter ounce jig head. Fish them slowly and give the big flounder plenty of time to eat. Large flounder can take from 20 to 30 seconds to get the larger baits all the way in their mouth.






10703670_769991653060484_2214211823157066065_n The fall time is one of my favorite times of year to be out on the water. There are less boats on the water and more fish in the water to be caught. The fish are usually hungry because they have to put on extra weight to stay warm during our colder winters that are right around the corner. I hope you enjoy this report and it gives you some extra knowledge to get you that fish you have been trying to catch. If you would like some more assistance learning our waterways or would like to try out some fly fishing or spin fishing in our area I am available for charters. The best way to contact me is through email at or by phone at (904)687-9498. My website is you can also find my daily fishing reports at or

Get out and fish.

Capt. James Dumas

Drum Man Charters


Family road trip into the Smokies 2014 553 (1280x960)

Early Summer Fishing Report for St. Augustine, Florida

Welcome to North Florida in the summer time. The 4th of July is upon us and we have temperatures in the 90’s and hurricanes off of our coast, but being on the coast we get most of the weather benefits this time of year. While the inland areas are hot we get to enjoy calm mornings and breezy afternoons thanks to the sea breeze and cooler ocean temperatures. This keeps the coast cooler and the thunderstorms at bay inland. This in return gives us some great fishing patterns this time of year.




20140627_122612_resizedFor the inshore scene we have a ton of species biting. This is the time of year that everything that swims in our waters can be caught in one afternoon. From an 8 pound spotted sea trout to a 100+ pound tarpon. Throw in a bunch of flounder and mangrove snapper and you can have a great dinner as well.



20140627_121013_resizedI like to start my mornings  on the water by 6 am. . We always have awesome sunrises and the fish are big breakfast eaters. I have great success throwing topwater plugs such as a Zara spook Jr. in the redfish pattern. Work it with a slow walk the dog retrieve around the grass lines around the ICW or at the creek entrances. Wait until the  fish is pulling line before you set the hook or you will pull it out of there mouth as well as the line of sight for the fish. If you prefer using bait, a popping cork works great. Use a 2 foot leader with a circle hook tipped with a ZMan shrimpZ or a live shrimp or mud minnow. Pop the cork every 10-20 feet. These are great ways to catch a great big trout or redfish. Once the sun comes up, switch to throwing a jighead tipped with a ZMan pogiez or a live mud minnow. Work it in the same areas with a very slow bump retrieve. Try to look for drops from 2-6 feet in depth and work it from the shallows to the deeper water.


There are a bunch of flounder in the area as well right now. Make sure to not set the hook to hard with them and do a steady retrieve until they are in the net.




Another great fish around right now is the mangrove snapper. They just showed up last week and should be here for a few months. Look for them around oysters in the 4-10 foot range or around docks. I prefer to use a fish finder rig with a size 2 hook and 15 pound fluorocarbon leader as well as a 1/4 oz. weight. I tip it with the smallest mud minnow that I can find. Just throw the weight out there and wait for the fast bite. Be ready because they will get your bait off in a hurry.

Family road trip into the Smokies 2014 534 (960x1280)July is a really fun time of the year to fish our waters. There are some huge fish around that will test the best of your tackle. We have tarpon in the 100 pound range as well as bonito that take some blistering runs. I like to go off of the beach when the seas are calm to battle the big fish. There are a bunch of bonito around right now. Just cruise around and look for the diving birds and they will be underneath them. I love to catch these on fly. I use an 8 weight rod with floating or intermediate line. Throw a weighted Clouser fly in white and silver with an orange head as far as you can. Let it sink a bit and then strip it as fast as you can. I like to do a 2 handed retrieve so that the fly does not stop moving. These fish are also a blast on spinning gear as well. Throw a 1/4 oz. jighead with a ZMan minnowZ on there. Again, throw it as far as you can and retrieve it very fast. These fish have no food value but are a blast to catch. While you are there keep an eye out for tarpon and cobia. They will be swimming around the same areas as well.


I hope that this report has got you pumped to get outside and do a little fishing. It is a great time of year to mix up the styles and get some for the dinner table as well as a fish of a lifetime. If you need some help or lessons out on the water or you are just here for a visit give me a call. I am a full time guide and I have been fishing these waters for the last 16 years. I will make sure that you have a great time out there.



Check out my daily reports at and

Until next report, Tight Lines.

Capt. James Dumas






Red Drum

Red Drum

Late Spring Fishing Report for Saint Augustine, Florida. 2014


Hopefully the last late season cold front has finally passed thru and the 70′ degree days are here to stay. The water temperature is in the high 60’s and will be back in the 70’s any day now. This warming water trend has pushed the snowbird fish back into our region. The finger mullet are starting to show up in the creeks in numbers and where there is bait there are bigger fish. The redfish are breaking up from their bigger wintertime schools and are spreading out. Look for them in groups of 2-10 fish on the flats at higher tide. As the tide drops they will move into the creeks and along the deeper drops of the ICW. Target these fish by using a push pole or trolling motor at low, steady speeds and throw long casts. I prefer to throw a 1/16 or 1/8 oz., TBS jighead with a ZMan minnowZ or a mud minnow.


4-26-2014 big trout 116

A Great Big Trout

With the mullet showing up I am able to do one of my favorite styles of fishing. Throwing a top water plug. My two favorite lures are the Zara spook jr. or the Badonk-A-Donk . I prefer the redfish pattern. I prefer a higher tide if possible. Throw over submerged oyster bars and retrieve with a side to side motion. This is referred to as a walk the dog style of retrieve. Remember not to set the hooks until the fish has the hook in its mouth and starts to pull the line. Set a looser drag so that you do not pull the hooks out of the fishes mouth. April, May and June are the best months of the year to get a gator trout. That would be a spotted sea trout over 25″ . I had my first 26″ trout of the year this morning. Our biggest trout last year was a 30.7″ caught by a nine year old client.




Also a great species to target in late spring is the flounder. My preferred method is to throw a 1/8 or 1/4 oz jighead with A Zman paddlerZ in redbone color or a mud minnow. Work creek mouths and do a slow hop retrieve off of the bottom. Make sure that you are always in contact with the bottom. Wait for a few seconds after you feel the initial thump. Then give it a 30% hook set and retrieve with a steady reeling action. Never give a flounder any slack or they will definitely spit the hook. Slowly bring them into the net before there heads come out of the water as well to prevent the hook from flying out of there mouths.

As it starts to get warmer keep an eye out for back water tarpon to show up as well. I saw my first tarpon of the year a few days ago. It wont be long and summer will be here soon.




On the fly-fishing front, it is wide open. There are a ton of species to catch right now. Beside the usual redfish and trout there are big schools of jacks, ladyfish and bluefish. Throw long casts with a floating line or an intermediate sinking line. Strip the fly at different speed to see what they are keyed in  that day. Sometimes they like a super fast retrieve and sometimes they like pauses in the retrieve. There will also be trout and Spanish mackerel in the mix. I love using the basic white and chartreuse or black and chartreuse clouser . I also love throwing a popper or a gurgler at the schools. A white wiggle minnow also get them fired up. They will really attack a top water fly. Just make sure that you have lots of flys because most of the fish have teeth. Some of the jacks will be up to ten pounds which is a great fight on an 8 weight. We will also have plenty or redfish to target in the shallows as well. I prefer to throw a smaller shrimp or minnow fly in browns or blacks. They will be on the flats at high water and the creeks at the lower tides. There is a great shrimp hatch going on right now so look for the smaller shrimp jumping and there is usually a redfish hot on there trail.

Hopefully this will get you out on the water and if you need any pointers feel free to book a trip with me. For any fly tackle needs visit Black Fly Outfitters.

Thank you and Tight Lines.

Capt. James Dumas

3 responses to “Inshore Fishing Report and Advice for St Augustine, FL”

  1. Jonny says:

    I just boat a boat and have been fishing the river and intercoastal for the past month and haven’t caught a thing. Using every type of lure you can think of and some squid and dead shrimp. What am I doing wrong?! Help! Thanks 🙂

    • Zach stuckey says:

      Try using live bait

    • Capt. James says:

      It does take a while to learn the area. The best advice it to concentrate on one creek and really learn that area. Work it very slowly with a trolling motor casting live shrimp or mud minnows around the little run offs and all of the deeper drops around the oyster mounds. Hope this helps

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