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Palm Coast Inshore Fishing Forecast

It’s that time of year to practice your cast netting technique as the mullet are running in full force! Net a well full of mullet and head to your local inlet with an assortment of weights to hold bottom (which can change as the tide speeds up or slow down) different size leaders as you never know what you will encounter. When the mullet run is in full swing you can hook everything and anything from redfish to tarpon.

Learn to throw a cast net by clicking this link

 

Fishing the inlet for redfish is best during change of tides but not always necessarily true as some spectacular days have been had within the last two hours of outgoing tide. A fish finder rig with enough weight to hold bottom, 18 inch leader and 3/0-5/0 Daiichi circle hook is a rig I like to use to catch redfish and flounder. (For flounder change that hook to a j hook instead of a circle for a better hook up). Make sure you have at least 20lb. test line as the current will make a 6 lb. redfish feel more like a 20lber. Once the tide goes slack start dragging the bottom with your fish finder rig for flounder as this is doormat season. Tarpon can also be seen rolling and crashing bait while fishing the inlet so free line a live mullet with a circle hook and set it in the rod holder.

 

Heading inshore a topwater lure at first light will get blown up around areas that are holding bait. Once the topwater bite slows down you can switch to artificial lures that “match the hatch” which will be mullet so jerk baits, paddle tails and spoon are great lures. If live bait is your thing I would toss two lines out, one live mullet and another rod with cut mullet and see which one the fish like best. Best areas to target are oyster beds during low or high tides or shorelines at high tide that are holding mullet.

 

Night time dock light fishing is still great as trout, lady fish and snook will be popping the bait that drifts by the light all night long. Live shrimp is a local favorite hooked on a 1/0 circle hook and bb split shot. When you run out of shrimp go for the artificial lures like a D.O.A shrimp that will get just as many bites.

 

Snook should be great this month in the southern region of the county. Tomoka Basin is best fished on outgoing tides concentrating on the mosquito controls creek mouths with either live bait or artificial lures. Expect to catch not only snook but redfish, trout and juvenile tarpon as well. October brings us some great fishing so get out there and catch um!

 

Capt. Chris Herrera

www.PalmCoastFishing.com

386-503-6338

Palm Coast Fishing Report

September marks the autumn bait movement that will eventually turn into the fall “mullet run” by months end. Starting your mornings off with topwater lures that resemble a mullet like the Rapala skitter walk or Spook Jr. will produce redfish, trout and snook. Cast topwaters parallel to ICW banks, over flooded oyster beds or docks that are holding mullet to find the “trophies”.

 

September’s full and new moons brings the tidal waters up into the Spartina grass where Redfish and Sheephead will be found tailing and gorging themselves on all sorts of crustaceans. Bailing from the skiff and wading with the fly rod and a rattle crab pattern is one way to hook up or a live shrimp hooked through the tail with a Daiichi Octopus wide bait hook.

 

Snook and Tarpon will be in the canals feeding during low light conditions, a live select shrimp will trigger a bite from both species. Lead a rolling Tarpon with a live select shrimp on a Daiichi 3/0 circle hook and a loose drag to help your chances of landing the Silver King. Pitching the docks with live shrimp will get the attention of most linesiders (Snook) especially when encountering a school and the competition factor kicks in. Remember to handle snook with care as they have had a few rough winters and snook numbers are still low.

 

Area inlets will host Flounder and Bull Reds during the change of tides, a live 6-inch mullet on a fish finder rig will get the doormats to the boat. The fish finder rig consists of a 1/0-3/0 DaiichiD18Z hook with a 10-inch piece of 30lb fluorocarbon leader, a good swivel, glass bead and ¾-1 ounce egg sinker. Once you cast this rig, slowly drag and pump it back to the boat keeping contact with the bottom. For creek flounder a mud minnow or finger mullet on a ¼ ounce Slayer inc. Destroyer jig head fished around creek bends. A knocker rig with a 6-ounce weight a Daiichi 5/0 circle hook and cut or live mullet/ pogie will be the choice set up for Bull Reds at the inlet. Just remember take time to revive these breeder reds and get them back in the water as quickly as possible.

 

Trout catches can still be expected to be best at night fishing the dock lights, a live free lined shrimp or non weighted artificial tossed up current and drifted through the lights will produce Trout and Snook. Remember to wet hands before handling fish if you plan on doing some catch and release.

 

 

Capt. Chris Herrera
www.PalmCoastFishing.com

Call to book your Palm Coast Fishing Trip today!

386-503-6338

Flood Tide Redfish Fly Recipes

Here is another great fly that will get a redfish’s attention during the flood tides. Call to book your spin or fly fishing trip for tailing redfish 386-503-6338

 

Palm Coast Inshore fishing report

With all the bait showing up the last few weeks, redfish, trout, flounder and snook have not been watching their weight and fattening up for swim suit season. Early morning bite has been real good with topwater plugs during the higher tides where bait is visible. Once the sun gets high switch to soft plastics like slayer inc. jerk baits on 1/8 ounce jig heads for redfish, trout and snook.

Live bait fisherman have been doing well with live shrimp or mud minnow on jig heads bumped across the bottom of creek holes for flounder. Take your time with a slow retrieve and wait for the thump, even then give it time before setting the hook on a flattie.

 

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Palm Coast Spring Break Report

This past spring break in Palm Coast has really put some nice redfish in the skiff. We had some spectacular days of redfishing along with trout, jacks and even some snook. Best bite has been with live bait as most of my anglers were young novices but the the artificial bite has been good as well. Throwing soft plastics and topwater plugs at first light has put plenty of upper slot redfish in the Hell’s Bay skiff.

Here are a few of our catches from this past week:

 

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Palm Coast Fishing Spring Report

Spring break has officially started as all of my regulars and new clients are enjoying the fantastic weather we had this past week in Palm Coast. Fishing has been hot as well  since conditions have allowed for sight fishing remaining schools of redfish. We have been catching them on soft plastic paddle tail lures made by Slayer inc. as well with live bait. Along with redfish, my clients have caught flounder and trout as well.

 

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Palm Coast Fishing

 

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Sight Fishing For Schools Of Redfish

Winter has finally made its way south to Florida, with the chill comes gin clear water. The brown algae is dying off due to water temps dropping into the low 60’s and the redfish are fired up and feeding. Sight fishing opportunities start at 9am and continue till about 2pm. Polarized sunglasses and a casting platform make for the perfect combo for sight fishing redfish in the shallow flats. Redfish will eat just about anything put in front of them but artificial lures is the best bet. Slayer inc. paddle tails on a 1/8 jig head is my favorite combo

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Fishing Palm Coast with Captain Chris Herrera sight fishing for redfish using slayer inc. paddle tails

Fishing Palm Coast with Captain Chris Herrera sight fishing for redfish using slayer inc. paddle tails

Fishing Palm Coast with Captain Chris Herrera sight fishing for redfish using slayer inc. paddle tails

January Fishing Forecast

Well it’s the first of the year and I hope your new years resolution has something to do with spending more time in the outdoors. Grab those new polarized sunglasses you got for Christmas and hit the flats as the reds are schooled up and eating good! Actually they should be schooled up but with this rare warming trend we are still on a mid fall pattern. Red fishing on the flats isn’t an early morning ritual like in the summer; waiting for the sun to rise and warm the waters is your best bet. Although till things cool off try topwater plugs at first light since mullet are still the main food source for redfish.

Use the info below if we get a cold front anytime soon.

A low mid morning incoming tide is a perfect scenario as the sun heats the oyster beds and once the tide floods schools of redfish will sit on these hot spots for warmer water. Approach the school with stealth as not to alert the school of your presence before getting into casting distance.Fishbites paddle tails or flies are my choices for catching redfish. Once the school is on the move bomb a Sebile Stick Shadd out in front of the school twitch a few times and hook up!

 

Creek fishing for Seatrout is about as sure as it gets this time of year. Jigging for Trout in creek holes with a ¼ ounce Slayer Jig and Fishbites paddle tails will get the attention of every schoolie in the hole. Most Trout will be on the small side but if numbers is your game, creek hole fishing is the place. Small Reds also occupy the same creek holes and can be caught with live shrimp; small split shot and a Daiichi 82Z 1/0 circle hook.

 

 

Fly fisherman get great opportunities on landing the elusive Sheaphead on fly this month. Sheaphead can be found on the most oyster-laden flats during low incoming tides, these striped bandits will be foraging for oyster crabs so a crab pattern is the best fly for the job. If fly fishing isn’t your thing, live bait fishing with fiddler crabs and a fish finder rig vertically fished around bridges, docks and rocks will put the bend in the rod.

 

Tricks To Catch More Flounder

 

 

Top Flounder Rigs by Frank Bolin

The bright, reflective eyes of a TerrorEyz jighead piqued this toothy flounder’s curiosity.

Look close. You’ll notice them, despite their low-key attitudes, skillfully pitching baits into likely flounder haunts. For flatfish followers, nothing matches the thrill of dredging a hefty doormat off the bottom.

Veteran flounder fishermen know success depends on terminal rigging. There are many kinds of rigs used by the dedicated angler, but all retain one attribute: They get baits down to the bottom, where flounder chew. If a bait does not find bottom, chances are a flounder will never see it, much less inhale it.

Several factors deserve consideration when selecting flounder rigs. Water depth, current and bottom terrain are three significant variables. Bait size also plays a role. It takes more weight to drag larger baits, i.e., silver mullet, pinfish and croakers, to the depths. However, a fine line exists. Baits need to move freely across submerged terrain, not hold fast, overweighted, in one spot. Too much lead decreases strikes as much as using too little.

A simple and effective livebait flounder rig is the jighead. With various weights and hook sizes, jigheads make good everyday bait carriers. Simply pin your bait through the lips, toss it upcurrent and let the leadhead sink your livie into the zone. Nothing could be easier.

All types of jigheads do the job, but some do it better than others. I stick with leadheads equipped with light wire hooks. These thin-diameter hooks usually find something to grab between a flounder’s sharp dentures. Jighead color can spell the difference between banner and mediocre fishing. Brightly hued heads amplify flash. Chartreuse, red and orange are good choices. Opt for chartreuse in clear water. Go with red or orange in dark, tannin-stained or brackish water. The glitter-filled TerrorEyz jigheads from D.O.A. lures consistently entice flatfish when baited with mud minnows.

Jigs work best with smaller baits. Live shrimp, small finger mullet and mud minnows (killifish to y’all hailing from north of the Mason-Dixon line) make excellent jighead baits. For added attraction, try leaving the plastic tail on your jig in conjunction with live bait. Tails provide extra action and often invite a second shot if a flounder steals your livie. Mud minnows and chartreuse tails make perfect companions. This combo remains one of my favorites.

Baits pinned on leadheads offer distinct advantages for anglers pursuing flounder in slow current, shallow water and around oyster bars. Leadhead rigs allow constant, direct contact with the live bait. The slightest bait movements and subtle telltale flounder taps telegraph instantly up the line to the rodtip. Remember, when flounder fishing you must “feel” your bait to distinguish hits. Work leadhead flounder baits around docks, eddies and shoreline structure for best results.

Jighead baits do have some drawbacks. Perhaps the most disconcerting is a tendency for flounder to “taste” the lead and spit the hook before the set. This happens almost every time a flounder mouths a jig-fished bait for too long. They’re also tough to fish in strong current and depths over six feet. Once you need more than a 3/8-ounce jighead, it’s time to switch to a different rig.

Doormat chasin’, inlet fishermen normally employ standard, barrel sinker livebait rigs. This type of terminal tackle produces more fish in fast-water and deepwater situations in many Florida inlets and passes.

Flounder anglers are essentially inshore bottom bumpers. Often, inlet hotspots require from one to two ounces of lead to get baits down. This is where that old dependable standby–a standard fishfinder-style, livebait rig–outfishes everything else. Expert flatfish seekers bypass store-bought rigs, sporting needless hardware and steel leader. The best flounder rigs utilize mono leader and minimum paraphernalia. A more natural presentation is a must when targeting flounder weighing five pounds or more.

Do like the pros. Make your own fishfinder-style bottom rig. Start by threading an egg sinker onto the fishing line. Tie the line onto a sturdy barrel swivel. Size 7 barrels are a good choice. This size swivel is not overkill, yet it’s big enough not to slip through an egg sinker. Next, attach an 18-inch length of 20-pound leader to the swivel. Finish the rig with a livebait hook sized to fit your bait. Downsize your hooks for small baits; upsize for larger offerings. Use either a Palomar, improved clinch or Uni-knot for all connections on the fishfinder rig.

I’ve found this rig works in every type of flounder terrain provided it is not overweighted. When weighted correctly, the egg sinker and bait should roll along the bottom with the tide, maintaining steady contact with the bottom. A good rule of thumb is to use the lightest sinker necessary to reach the bottom.

While egg sinker rigs perform in most situations, it pays to vary the rig a bit in certain conditions. Bullet or worm sinkers provide a good alternative when using the fishfinder rig in shallow water or around rough terrain. Their streamlined shape allows you to snake the rig up, over and through scattered oyster clumps and shell bars.

Experiment with hook size and types. For smaller live baits such as shrimp and mud minnows, No. 4 or No. 6 Kahle hooks work great.

Remember that small hooks pack a big punch. Finger mullet require larger hooks. Offset bait hooks such as Diachi’s D87Z and Owner’s 5116 in sizes 2/0 and 3/0 are gaining popularity among the flounder league. VMC, Gamakatsu, Eagle Claw and Mustad manufacture similar models.

Expect to see more flounder fishermen switch to fluorocarbon leader. Most line companies now produce softer versions. They’re much easier to tie than the stiff varieties introduced several years ago. And the price keeps coming down, making it affordable for all anglers. Plus, there’s no denying the stealth factor offered by a nearly invisible fluorocarbon leader.