Fire works were not the only thing making loud booms this 4th of July in Palm Coast as redfish have been exploding on topwater plugs at first light. For my clients who are to young or novice anglers we have been using cut blue crabs and finger mullet tossed around oyster bars waiting for a redfish to pick it up. Flounder have been making a good showing in numbers but lacking in size. Big mangrove snappers have showed up and eager to chew up a live mud minnow or small finger mullet.
Fishing for redfish has started to pick back up this past week with early morning starts for some topwater action. Fishing around the oyster beds with lures or cut bait has put several big fish in my clients hands and the dinner table. Here are just a few of our most recent catches.
Fishing in Palm Coast this week has been steady catching some nice upper slot redfish with artificial lures and live bait. Early mornings starts are a must to beat the heat and get on the action. Topwater plugs at first light have proven to bring some excitement to my anglers as redfish have been blasting the plugs. As the sun rises we would fish in deeper water getting black drum and flounder with a mix of other fish. Live shrimp bounced off the bottom is a great way to stretch a line especially with the kids.
Here are some of our recent catches.
High winds, low pressure system and heavy rains the night before definitely do not make for a banner day of fishing but Nancy and Richard didn’t know that. We started the day pitching live shrimp on a Daiichi 1/0 circle hook into a creek hole where we pulled out a couple of redfish and some sheapshead. We moved on to another creek hole once the tide changed that held some black drum, redfish and trout. First few cast yielded a black drum, redfish and a nice trout. A few more cast yielded a jack and finally a drag screamer which ended being a solid 27 1/2 inch trout.
After several high fives and photos this beautiful trout was released to produce other trophy trout.
Nance and Richard were now armed with live shrimp again and ended up doubling up with two more gator trout
After more high fives and photos this fish catching duo was ready to move on to redfish. We hit a shallow flat with an incoming tide, threw some baits near an oyster bed and bam fish on! We had a double up
Had a fun day fishing with new client Jacob out of Palm Coast. Jacob threw topwaters all day long since water temps are still cool and plenty of bait movement going on. We had blow ups after blow ups all day long, topwater of choice was the Rapala skitter walk.
Jacob threw his topwater and retrieved it with a “walk the dog” action around oyster beds that were holding baitfish. We scored with one nice gator trout
Followed up by some redfish and many missed strikes
Fun day on the water with Miguel Pandich from yakangling.com and his family for a day of redfishing. We wanted to get his wife Liz, Harry and Nick on some nice upper slot redfish and mission was accomplished. We started by fishing a hole off a flat with live shrimp on a jighead where Liz caught a pinfish that later was used for redfish.
A Daiichi 3/0 circle hook, split shot baited with cut pinfish was our rig for the morning tossed around mullet schools
Nick had big fish of the day with an over slot redfish.
Grandpa Harry with upper slot redfish.
Capt. Chris Herrera
May Fishing Forecast
It’s time to pray for west winds and hit the beach as cobia will be invading our nearshore waters. Hit the beach when the sun is up and watch for cobia piggy backing on Manta rays as long as water temps stay in their comfort zone (68-72). Unpressured cobia will eat just about anything (flies to plugs) but for picky eaters keep some live bait (pogies, mullet, shrimp or even mud minnows) handy and ready to fire.
Fishing at first light or last light still proves to be successful with topwater plugs. Rapala Skitter Walks, Top Dogs and Zara spooks are top water lures that has proved to be the gator trout lures of choice along with any kind of popper top water for those that cannot “walk the dog”. When the topwater bite tapers off go for subsurface suspending baits like a Sebile Magic Swimmer or lipped diving plugs worked with a stop and go retrieve. Live shrimp and a bb split shot tossed up current along the ICW will produce trout for live bait fisherman.
Redfish continue to shadow mullet seeking refuge on top of oyster beds and will be fooled by Fishbites Extreme jerk baits, gold spoons and a Sebile Stick Shadd. Bouncing jigs with shrimp or mud minnows around oyster beds will also produce good catches of reds and flounder.
Snook that survived the cold spell should show up this month, local bridges, docks and seawalls fished at night will produce linesiders. Live select shrimp, pinfish and lipped diving plugs are local favorites when chasing snook but remember to use a minimum of 30lb. leaders to avoid cut offs..
Inlets and nearby creeks with drop offs will hold flatties and doormats waiting to eat a live mullet on a fish finder rig or mud minnow pinned on a jig head. Best tides or during change of tides at area inlets or outgoing tides at creek mouths. For shallow water flounder try a Slayer Inc. spinner baits or inline spinners.
Spanish Mackerel, blues and jacks will invade our near coastal waters just outside of Matanzas Inlet, proven techniques for Spanish is to slow troll spoons or look for acres size schools chasing bait on the surface. It’s a great time to grab a fly rod and practice catching as spanish mackerel or ferocious eaters.
Jeff landed this brute on his last cast of the day! I saw some movement around an oyster bar, had Jeff make a cast that hit its mark, the line went tight and drag started screaming!
Well the topwater bite has taken off this past week. Zara spooks and Rapala skitter walks have been getting slammed all morning long working over oyster beds at high tide. For bait chunkers a chunk of crab or lady fish pitched around the mullet schools has produced double digit days of redfish. Fishing is hot so get out there and catch one!
Craig caught this nice redfish on a cut piece of lady fish.
With the mullet starting to show up the bite has picked up considerably. Redfish schools are starting to break up and are becoming more receptive to topwater plugs and artificial lures. All of our toothy critters have migrated to the area and can turn a slow day into a catch fest. Bluefish, spanish mackerel, jacks and lady fish will keep you and the kids busy with live shrimp and a small bb split shot pitched up current in 4-12 ft. of water.
Running the beach has yielded some triple tail but now the focus is on cobia! These brown bombers can be spotted tagging along with the manta rays wings looking for a quick meal. Artificial lures like bucktail jigs and eel imitation lures will get their attention but keep live bait handy as cobia can become finicky when pressured.
Fishing this winter has not lived up to expectations due to high winds and rain making water murky and non sight fishable. As a guide it is our job to make the bite no matter what, “no excuses” as we say. With dirty water it is best to fish at low tide which eliminates a lot of high open water flats. Low water concentrates the fish in the deeper pools and troughs in the flats making catching fish much easier.
We had a few fly trips this week that proved unsuccessful due to cloud cover and wind but bait fisherman did good soaking live mud minnows in the creek holes and troughs waiting for passing fish redfish. Sheepheads have been biting good on fiddler crabs, while black drum have not passed on them either. A few trout have been spotted in the deeper creek holes soaking live mullet or mud minnows.
Carl Haven had a nice grand slam this day with also catching flounder that were not pictured.