September 22, 2023
Fernandina Beach to Flagler Beach
Capt. Roger Bump covers inshore and offshore fishing in Northeast Florida from Fernandina Beach to Flagler Beach, including Jacksonville and Saint Augustine.
September 22 - 24
There will be moderate to light winds this weekend so take advantage of what the ocean can offer. Nearshore and inlet areas are holding plenty of sharks and tarpon that are attacking mullet schools. Live mullet either free-lined or under a cork won’t take long to get bit. Water temps are holding in the mid-eighties but the cooler weather we have been experiencing is having a positive effect on feeding patterns. Kingfish are also attracted to the migratory bait schools gathered up near our beaches. A live mullet will work slow trolled but a pogy is the better bait for kings. Bottom fishing is best starting at 100 feet. The most consistent catches have been mangrove snapper, triggerfish, vermilion, and sea bass. Frozen squid is best for bottom dwellers. Water temps need to fall a bit more for blue water to turn on, specifically for sailfish and mahi, which could be any day now.
Flounder are on the feed and stacking up on grass lines, docks, rocks and sand bars. Key bait is live mullet either on a jig head, Carolina rigged or knocker rigged. I prefer the knocker rig but it is down to personal preference. Lure choices are soft plastics on a jig head or spinner bait. My favorite has been rigging a Fishbites on a free rig. I urge everyone to learn about this technique created in Japan for largemouth bass. It definitely gives a fish-catching presentation to soft plastics not usually seen by predator fish. The number one tip I can give to anyone flounder fishing is to take your time setting the hook. Let the fish eat the lure or live bait with a back-forth tight to slack line until you feel the fish is not going to let the bait go. Then come tight, a super hard hook set is not necessary and will probably hurt your hook-up ratio. Sharp hooks are a must. Redfish have been pushing wakes on the early morning low tides which makes for great opportunities using lures or a fly rod sight fishing. Bull redfish are running in the deep channel edges of the St John’s and St Mary’s rivers.
Half a blue crab a go-to bait for oversized redfish but cut mullet will work. We are entering the best time of the year to fish don’t let a single day go by without a cast. Enjoy and God bless.
Editors Note: Signatures Needed! The "Right to Clean and Healthy Waters" petition needs 900,000 signatures by November 30 to get on the 2024 ballot. Learn more here: http://www.floridarighttocleanwater.org/
Capt. Roger Bump
Email Roger Bump