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Palm Coast / St. Augustine Flood tide report

tailing redfish


September brings cooler weather, the beginning of the mullet run        but most importantly those big tides that flood our spartina grass      flats. So what is so special about flooding the spartina grass you         ask? Simple, it gives us fisherman some unbelievable sight                   fishing for tailing redfish opportunities in north east Florida.

Flood tides occur during the months of August, September and          October with September being the peak month for tailing redfish        action. During these months the tides during new and full moons are much higher than the rest of the year by a foot or more which offer new feeding grounds for redfish and fishing grounds for anglers. Flood tide areas are mostly confined to the north east coast of Florida because of our extensive spartina grass flats.  The southernmost region for flood tide action starts at the Matanzas river in Crescent beach and goes for hundreds of miles north to the Carolinas with the primary spots in Florida being St. Augustine to Fernidina Beach.

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Flood tide fishing is all about picking the right days with the right tides by looking at your favorite tide charts,  whether it’s a tide app, tide book or online tide charts.  When looking at the monthly tide chart, look for the days that offer a tide height of 5.4 ft or better which will coincide with the new or full moon.  For fair weather days a 5.4ft tide height is a must but flood tides can occur during nor’easter storms that will push more water in than normal which create flood tide opportunities.

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Once you have your days picked out it’s time to get the proper gear and lures ready for some tailing action. When picking out lures you have to keep in mind that you will be fishing flooded grass which means weedless rigs are a must. That’s right, traditional topwater plugs, treble hooked plugs or exposed hooked lures are not going to work in this terrain. Instead go with a weed less rigged soft plastic lure that resemble what the redfish are gorging on and that would be any type of crab imitation soft plastic. You are not limited to just crabs as paddle tails and jerk baits have caught many fish in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I normally like to buy fresh water craw fish soft plastic lures that are dark in color matched with a 1/16th Slayer inc. XXX penetrator hooks with the point of the hook inserted back into the soft plastic for a weed less presentation.  When it comes to rod selection I prefer a 7’6” medium action rod which allows for long casting light lures matched with a 2500 series spinning reel lined with 10-15 lb braided line.  Flood tide is not just for lure anglers but this is some of the best fly fishing available to guys who like to throw feathers.  Crab patters with rattles or spoon flies are some of the most common flies tied to the end of one’s fly line.

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Now we are geared up to go catch some redfish but where do we go? This is where Google maps or any other mapping source you have come into play.  With today’s detailed topo maps you are able to see in great detail the short spartina grass fields used as feeding grounds by redfish. The spartina grass fields that are closer to a main creek that have several small feeder creaks leading in the grass typically hold more fish.

tailer 9-2-11  Approaching a grass field should be done as quietly and slowly as       possible so you do not spook the fish that are staged up and                 slurping in the feeder creeks while waiting for the grass to flood.         Approach the edge of a flat by poling or use of a trolling motor and     watch the grass start to flood waiting patiently for fish to start             crawling and tailing before poling or wading the flat.

Once redfish are spotted tailing, bail from your skiff or kayak and       approach with ninja like stealth and get ready to make the cast. Not   so fast though, it is all about timing when casting to tailing redfish.   The tail is used as a gauge as to which way the fish is facing but don’t cast yet as tailing redfish are much easier to catch when they level out and begin to swim before tailing again.  When you see the redfish tailing make sure to make a long leading cast as you do not want to spook him with the splash of the lure. After a long cast reel the lure with speed basically water skiing and don’t slow down until a couple of feet in front of the redfish. When the lure gets close stop reeling, let it sink and give it a little twitch when the redfish is a few inches away and get ready to set the hook when the line gets tight.






There are several great free online sites that offer great tide info like NOAA,  (Tide Chart free) app for android phones and (Tide Graph) for I phones.  I personally prefer the Florida Sportsman tide book as it really gives you detail tide information for the whole year at a flip of a page.

Hooks can be purchased from

Soft plastics can be purchased from


Palm Coast Fishing Report

It’s that time of year where the full moon brings the high water that floods our spartina grass flats and gets those redfish tailing. It all starts by checking your tide charts and when it reads a 5.4 or better get the rods, wading shoes and skiff ready to catch some tailers.  This is a North Florida fly fisherman’s dream as we do not often get sight fishing opportunities this time of year on fly for redfish. Crab patterns and shrimp patterns are the most used flies but bait fish patterns won’t be refused.

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Palm Coast Inshore Report

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.





























Palm Coast Fishing Report

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.

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Palm Coast Fishing Report

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.












Palm Coast/ St Augustine Fishing Report

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






Capt.Chris Herrera


Palm Coast/ St Augustine Inshore Fishing report

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



Capt. Chris


Palm Coast/ St Augustine Fishing Report

Fun day on the water with Miguel Pandich from 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


Palm Coast/ St Augustine Fishing Forecast

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!


Palm Coast Fishing Report

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.