Fishing Report: Capt. Dave Sipler's Sport Fishing Mayport to Amelia Island, St. Johns River - Inlet & near-coastal waters.
Summer is half over, but the best is still to come.
Can you believe summer is half over already? But it's okay with me. I kind of had enough of the excessive heat. The perfect weather time of year is fast approaching. And with it comes a whole new season.
I can't scientifically say why it is, and I'm sure not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. But, it's been one hell of a Trout year, and a Trouty summer. As of this report date, I'm still having a great time with clients catching numbers of beautiful Speckled Trout. Lately we've had days of 30+ fish with half that many ending up in the fish box. (meaning "plus" keeper sized)
Not that bad in a 1/2 to 3/4 day trip, and in the summer heat! The ticket is getting started as early as we can in the morning, and being done with fish cleaned by noon-ish.
We've also had many mixed bag days. Mangrove Snapper, Flounder, Redfish, Sheepshead, Ladyfish, Jacks, Yellowmouth Trout, have also bent the rods. River fishing will be getting even hotter as we roll into the late summer and fall season. For me the best is still to come. So hang on!
Then there's those days that I've went to the inlet jetties. Although very un-characteristic of the "Jetty Wolf" to not go there everyday, that's for sure. I still give it a try every once and a while. I need to have clients aboard that are prepared for that kind of fishing out there, though. I'm talking JUMBO Sharks, possible Tarpon hook-ups, giant Stingrays (dang, I dislike them!!), and all the while fishing in heavy current. If it's not a 100 pound "something" on your line smoking the drag as it runs with the current, then your just not having a 100% summer time jetty fishing experience!! The problem I've found is not everyone is wanting, or can handle fish like these.
A 200 pound Bull Shark, that just ate a 6" Pogie on the bottom, doesn't care if you wanted a 30" Redfish instead! These are some really bad dudes. They'll eat your 30" Redfish on the way up if you catch one! Just to let you know what the deal really is, in their world.
So this summer I've taken a different approach. We've spent more time in the river catching good eating and normal sized fish. Although no less tricky sometimes, you still have to be willing to fish hard in the summer months to have that Sunday fish fry, if you want one.
Just the other day, I had three fella's on the boat that said, "Capt Dave, we're boaters, but we're not fisherman, so bare with us". I said, "Heck that's okay. If I just took fisherman out all the time, I'd probably not catch as much as I do. I like training you guys my way anyhow". And it worked out to be one great day on the water. We caught in the neighborhood of 30+ Trout, and dropped 15 in the fish box up to 3 pounds.
Soon there will be those days when I can go in the river for a few hours in the morning, and then hit the inlet later on. Because if everything follows the usual pattern, we'll have our cake and will eat it too. A little float fishing in the morning, then out for some bottom fishing for big Redfish, Shark and possibly a jetty Tarpon in the afternoon. By late summer, the big Reds will congregate, the mullet will pour around the tips of the jetties, the Tarpon will be in the thick of it all, and so will the big Sharks.
One year me and a bunch of friends were all sitting out at the inlet ganged up on one spot. We all were catching big spawning Redfish, and hooking up Tarpon, as the schools of 12" mullet rounded the north jetty. The 100 pound Blacktips were also going nuts. And a buddy was sitting right in the path the mullet were taking. I looked over and saw a Blacktip Shark stalking the Mullet, and before we could say a word the fish flew out the water striking at the baitfish, and slammed into the side of my buddies boat. He freaked! And thought he was under attack. It made for an exciting day for his clients, and mine too as we caught a nice 50 pound Tarpon, some giant Redfish, some 1/2 sized Redfish (bitten in half), and hooked a few sharks while watching all the goings-on around us. Pretty exciting stuff can happen out there along that "mile- pile" of granite boulders.
If your willing, you better be "able" also. This fishing out there right now isn't for small kids, the seniors, or your 100 pound wife that never caught a fish in her life. The battles can be long, intense and it can be very,very hot. Plus don't expect to bring much home for dinner either. Unless we actually do get some "small" Redfish. I talk frankly about my fishing, cause as one guy I took out on a very short notice afternoon trip told me, "I didn't have a clue of what to expect, and didn't have time to do any homework". Well, he was exactly right. He did no homework, and hadn't a clue other than what I could tell him very briefly on the phone. And BTW.....we had a 28" 10 pound Redfish, an 18" Trout, a few fat Snappers, and Ladyfish in the first 30 minutes....that afternoon. That is why I do these monthly - bi-weekly reports, and post "daily reports", along with what I call the proof. My "recent catch" pics of customers, on my web site. They get updated every 30 days with new photos. So check them out.
I want you to know, what's going on. I want no surprises, and I'm sure, neither do you........"If your a first-time customer on my boat."
Be rest assured. We will catch some nice fish, and I guarantee you'll have a great time!
Till next tide,
Capt. Dave Sipler's Sport Fishing "the Jetty Wolf"
904-642-9546- (8am-8pm EST)