Trolling at speeds as high as 20 knots covers lots of water and causes a vicious strike and very good eating. Inshore The cold temps should drive most fish into tight schools.
You can’t beat a live shrimp on a jig head dragged or laying on the bottom to get bites. A number of species could fall for this wintertime technique including redfish, trout, black drum, flounder, and sleepyhead.
I like slow suspend hard baits that get maximum depths of six to eight feet. I would also add, if you haven’t tried the Unfair Lures line of plastics, this would be the time.
The plastics stand up any jig and their segmented tail flutters at rest. The link below the map will provide a full screen Google version view.
Fishing in North Florida features many Hot Spots including: …………………………………. Ocala, Gainesville, Lake City, DE Land, Daytona, Alaska, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and others. 365 days a year, regional fishermen cash in on some backwater, inshore and offshore fishing.
Here, they are might have the opportunity to complete the challenging Northeast Florida Slam”: catching a Redfish, a Flounder and a Trout all on the same day. This is tasty, wild-caught fare can be found on the Intracoastal Waterway, Atlantic Ocean, St. John’s River and more.
Spring: Head out to the May port Jetties, found where the St. John’s River hits the Atlantic Ocean, and use live bait for best results. When there are flood tides, red drums head toward the very shallow Starting grass flats to hunt crabs.
Here, fishermen get a chance to practice sight fishing, staying focused on spotting tails popping out of the water. Winter: On a clear day in St. Augustine and Palm Coast you can find large schools in shallow flats for some exciting sight fishing.
The yellow fin, or AHI, tuna can be prepared in a number of ways, and whether seared, grilled, or topping a poke bowl, will never disappoint. A raw fillet, identifiable by a deep red color, is often considered the most flavorful serving method.
Availability : While yellow fin tuna can be found at any time of the year, the peak season falls between May and September. Many fishermen recommend a mixture of artificial and natural lures coupled with trolling for a fruitful run.
Thanks to its mild flavor, the light and juicy spotted trout is a perfect protein base for almost any dish. Shallow coastal creeks are the place to be, with an emphasis on the inlet jetty rocks at Fernanda Beach, the mouth of the St. Johns River, and St. Augustine.
Available : When fishing for Flounder, live bait is most effective; however, soft plastic lures can also be used year-round. Summer: As spawning season is still occurring, fisherman will still find the greatest success in creeks, rivers, and estuaries as in spring.
To keep the catch from drying out, many chefs suggest grilling the Yahoo about one-third of the way through on each side, then wrapping it in foil. A good sauce to accompany preparation is also recommended boosting flavor and maintain juiciness.
Availability: As Yahoo prefers warmer waters, August is the best time to do some high speed trolling. Additionally, as they often chase juvenile bonito and mullet 20 miles or further offshore, use a weight to keep bait underwater to mimic these creatures.
Once hooked, Yahoo often take off past the boat, double around and charge while maintaining a lot of head movement. Shrimping along the coast of Northeast Florida dates back to the Toucan Native Americans and the first European settlers.
Locals enjoy experimenting when preparing their fresh catch with dishes like fried shrimp and PO’ boys. Availability: You are almost guaranteed a superb day of shrimping at any time of the year, but keep in mind that April and May are closed season in Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Putnam, Flagger and Clay counties.
Summer and Fall: Shrimpers often seek their catch at night because this is when the brown May ports are heading back towards shallow water. The best spots to locate these brown shrimp are found from Intracoastal Waterway to the Atlantic Ocean.
Also known as the “brown bomber”, cobra follow manta rays as they migrate up and down the east coast of Florida. Availability: The best time to catch Cobra is when the water is warming up, ideally between 68 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spring: Between March and June, head offshore about 10 miles out and locate schools of manta rays. This fish produces large, light flaky pieces of meat and is often compared to lobster or crab.
Availability : Fishing for grouper is off-limits in state waters along the East Coast of Florida from January through April 30th. Fall: Head out between May port and Fernanda, seeking ledges and reefs about 5 to 15 miles offshore, and drop your anchored live bait about 68 to 73 feet deep.
Some will also offer the opportunity to slide a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board into the water, but all include plenty of space to fish from shore, or wade into coastal shallows. The prominent paved jetty pier on the north side, complete with safety rails offers a safe, spacious platform for reaching the surf zone or the deeper water of the inlet.
Incoming tides always bring a push of activity, but when the fall mullet run piles an enormous biomass in and around the inlet, anglers have a field day with bull redfish, giants nook, tarpon and the occasional cuber snapper. Mangrove snapper, jacks, sleepyhead and black drum add to the mix; while the shallower end, along with the smaller south jetty may yield pompano, whiting and craters.
Species mix includes trout, weakfish, redfish, black drum, flounder and sleepyhead with the occasional striped bass. Several pull off spots provide casting access to the St. Johns River, or you can take one of the interior roads through the campground to fish the Fort George Inlet on the north side.
The mix here includes flounder, redfish, black drum, pompano, whiting, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and sharks. Deploying live baits off the deep end often yields king mackerel, tarpon, sharks and barracuda.
Neoprene or insulated waders keep you comfy in the winter, but during the warm season, simply walk in with lightweight clothing and enclosed shoes. Tarpon often run this area anglers soaking live baits or sight casting big swim baits might put one in the air.
From the metered parking area to the pier is a bit of a hike, but it’s a straight shot down the walking promenade running along the cut. Both provide spacious access to a wide range of Keys favorites like snapper (mangrove, lane, mutton and yellowtail), tarpon, grouper, yellow jack, shook and porgies.
The gem of Pinellas County, this 1,136-acre park comprises Madeleine, St. Jean, St. Christopher, Bone Fortune and Mullet keys and complements an impressive angling menu with campgrounds, picnic shelters, bathroom/shower facilities, concessions, bait shop, dog park and historical significance. Expect a good mix of shook, trout, redfish and flounder, along with mackerel, cobra, pompano, sharks and mangrove snapper at the piers.
Boardwalks over the protected dunes offer access to the redfish, flounder and trout waters on the marsh side, but surf fishing is the big attraction. From whiting, pompano, bluefish and mackerel; to sharks, cobra and bull reds, this is one of Western Florida ’s premier shore fisheries.
The main causeway bridge and the smaller one right before the island offer sleepyhead, black drum, shook and snapper opportunities. The piers light attract bait fish, so expect everything from shook, to trout and the occasional bluefish to stake out these feeding spots.
With beach shallows, the coastal Gulf and deep channel waters within easy reach, anglers find a steady mix of the inshore regulars, along with passing tarpon, king fish and sharks. Summer is prime time for big shook staging for their spawn; while fall sees voluminous bait fish schools exiting the inner bays, with several predators in pursuit.
Empty lots and bridge pull-offs may be convenient and cost-efficient, but a cursory scan for questionable types who clearly not fishing might offer a safety/vehicle security clue. Tip: Local businesses rarely budge on the “restrooms are for customers only” thing (many have signs posted), so don’t expect any mercy, no matter how much you grimace and squeeze your knees together.
Commercially produced aluminum pier/bridge carts with wide wheels will easily transport your rods, tackle bag, cooler and live bait well over pavement, rocks or sand; but for casual duties, a garden utility cart (some models fold) will suffice. Waiting until you feel that cool downdraft can leave you and your gear exposed and out of options; so know where the nearest shelter lies and have a bug-out plan just in case.
It starts with respectful spacing, so if you approach an area where others are fishing, take note of where their lines are set (short, long) and allow reasonable buffers.