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November Fishing Forecast

Creek bends, shallow flats, Inlets, docks and creek mouths, what do these areas have in common? Flounder, it’s that time of year when water temperatures (68 degrees) dictate flounder activity and the annual flounder run starts.

 

It’s fairly simple fishing as using a ¼ ounce Slayer Jig head with a finger mullet or mud minnow slowly dragged across the bottom. Other simple rigs consist of using split shots or an egg sinker (fish finder rig) and 14 inches of leader with a 3/0 Daiichi D16Z Octopus wide hook. For artificial applications any jig head and soft plastic combo (Z-man Paddle Tail) works well in deep water areas. Spoons, soft plastics and hard baits fished on shallow sandbars will produce flatties as well.

 

Flounder strikes or “thumps” as I like to call it are very distinct to other inshore game fish. When fishing for flounder patience pays a great part after feeling the “thump”. Flounder will grab a hold of your bait and sit on the bottom till bait stops moving around and that’s when the flounder will turn mullet or mud minnow around and swallow it head first which will initiate the second “thump”. Many “Old Salt” flounder anglers know the importance of feeling for flounder on the line by slowly lifting the rod tip to make sure the flounder is still attached to the line and then give some slack for about a minute before setting the hook.

 

Trout fisherman will get their limit and more using float rigs at Matanzas Inlet with shrimp being the top bait. The last 2 hours of outgoing tide and first of incoming is the locals preferred time to fish. Topwater plugs like a Spook Jr., Rapala or Mirrorlure can catch the biggest trout looking for a bite in the shallows or ICW drop offs at creek mouths. When the bite slows down on top switch gears to diving plugs like a Sebile Stick Shadd or curly tail grubs with a ¼ ounce Slayer jig.

 

Redfish will start to huddle in masses and seek the warmth of oyster beds during afternoon high tides.  Long casting spoons or jerkbaits will produce. For scattered redfish live or cut mullet on a fish finder rig tossed around points, creek mouths or oysters will do the trick. During low tides look for reds cruising shallow mud banks with their backs out of the water chasing small grass shrimp. Matching the hatch (live shrimp) or a FishBites shrimp on a weedless hook tossed in front of a belly crawling redfish will result in a catch.

 

 

 

Palm Coast Inshore Report

This has been the best summer weather that I can remember in my 14 years of guiding Palm Coast. For the past several months, we have been greeted with virtually glassed out conditions which help with reading the water. Poling the shallows quietly looking for signs of bait fish or redfish feeding has been our tactic to catch summer time reds. Depending on my Anglers ability, we target redfish on fly, lures or live bait. My go to redfish lures as of late have been watermelon/redflake soft plastic jerkbaits on a 1/8th ounce jig head, Rapala skitter walk topwater plug and gulp shrimp on 1/4 ounce jig head.

Live bait has put most of the reds into my Hell’s Bay skiff since most of my anglers this time of year or novice or young kids. My go to setups vary on the tide stages and depth I am fishing. Last few days during the extreme high tides we have been experiencing I have been using a popping cork with a live mud minnow or finger mullet. I like to target submerged oyster beds, especially if bait present or grassy banks that come to a point.

Beach water temps have dropped due to the thermocline (continuous west winds cause a thermocline) which pushed most of our migratory big tarpon away till waters rewarm but until then my anglers have been having a ball targeting juvenile tarpon. Learn how to catch juvenile tarpon here.

 

Juvenile tarpon inhabit our waters year round  but are most abundant during the summer.

 

Capt. Chris Herrera

www.PalmCoastFishing.com

386-503-6338

 

 

Juvenile Tarpon Tactics Palm Coast/Flager Beach

Juvenile Tarpon

 

When you hear the word “Tarpon” the images that come to mind are the 100 plus pound Silver Kings leaping out of the water thrashing about trying to free themselves. Tarpon are not born as these massive strong fish that test our equipment and angling skills but are born as a small larvae that grow in the back water estuaries for the first few years of their lives till their big enough to join the migration. While maturing in the backwaters these “juveniles” can be caught on light tackle, although not tackle bruisers they will pull and display a nice aerial display like no other.

 

 

Fishing for juvenile tarpon is most affective through out the summer months although they inhabit our northeast coastal region year round. What separates tarpon from other species is its ability to live in low oxygenated waters that contributes to the tarpon “roll’. During summer months the warm waters and low oxygen during low light conditions get tarpon rolling and make it a sight fishing opportunity. It’s commonly said rolling tarpon are happy tarpon and for every tarpon you see roll there are 10 below it, now these statements might be true sometimes but not all the time because I know through personal frustrating experience that not all tarpon that roll are on the feed.

There are certain factors that I noticed that would turn a tarpon with a small appetite into a feeding machine and that is weather and bait. I prefer to tangle with the silver king during lower light conditions in the morning or evening over bright sunny skies in the mid afternoon but with the afternoon thunderstorms Florida is known for, an epic bite can turn on like a light switch when the dark clouds appear and you can smell the rain.

 

 

 When it comes to juvenile tarpon tackle, your standard inshore gear will suffice, I personally prefer 7ft. medium heavy  rod with an 3000 series reel lined with 15lb. Power Pro braided line . My first step in rigging is attaching a 36 inch piece of 20-30lb Fluorocarbon leader with a improved Albright knot or any other leader to line knot you like to use. The next step is my shock leader that is usually a 20-inch piece of 40lb. Fluorocarbon bite tippet that ends with a 1/0 Daiichi octopus hook that is snelled.

 

 

Know that you have your rods and gear in check, you are on the spot and the fish are rolling, what know? If live bait is your thing, I would go with a large shrimp, I buy the biggest ones I can find. The reason I like shrimp over any other bait for juvenile tarpon is shrimp do not have the tendency to flee as quickly as a mullet or other baitfish. My second go to setup if large shrimp are scarce is a big mud minnow under a popping cork.

Tarpon have different styles of rolls and according to how a tarpon rolls is how you will present the bait. If a tarpon rolls in a very slow and lazy manner where he sits high in the water column in the same spot for several seconds a cast that is about a foot in front would be the best presentation. Now I don’t mean to literally hit him on the head but a few inches in front of him will normally do the job. When tarpon roll a little faster I choose to lead them by 5 ft. or so in the direction they are heading. Normally with a faster roll a tarpon will propel himself his body length within a second so leading him by his body length will insure your not casting on his back. And finally when a tarpon comes to the surface real fast and kicks hard that means they are sitting on the bottom and I usually add some split shot to my offerings and cast some where in the vicinity of the fish.

 

 

After the cast I will let out a few more feet of line and raise the rod tip to take most of the slack out, once slack is out I will slowly lower it letting the shrimp sink to the tarpon’s level and wait for the take. The bite will normally come within the first 5 seconds or so and if no take is felt I will slowly retrieve the shrimp back to the skiff.

 

 

 I always keep the bail open and ready to fire when I see a tarpon and again once the proper cast is made I count down to the take 1 one thousand, 2 one thousand etc… and then I feel the shrimp start to kick and squirm knowing that its about to become a meal and then it happens, the line goes tight. The first 5 seconds of the fight are the most important, as line starts to peel off the reel and at that moment I will start to tighten the drag and pay careful attention to “ bow to the king” as most juvenile tarpon will become air borne several times. The rest is up to you now that you’re hooked up and the fight is on, most juveniles will quit with in minutes or lay on their side for the release.

 

Palm Coast Inshore Fishing Report

Another great week for my clients as we did well catching redfish and flounder out of Palm Coast. We fished the shallows for redfish and with the weather cooperating we had some good shallow water sight fishing opportunities. We saw redfish swimming with their backs out of the water and splashing in the shallows foraging on shrimp.

Flounder this week has been more of a by catch while targeting redfish, although we don’t mind catching them especially for lunch.

Palm Coast Fishing

 

 

 

 

 

Capt. Chris Herrera

Palm Coast Fishing

386-503-6338

Palm Coast Fishing Report

We have been blessed with some great fishing weather so far this summer season as we launch from Bings landing. Low west winds and great tides have produced a lot of sight fishing opportunities for my clients like Tom who landed some nice redfish on his resent charter.

Tom’s Redfish caught in Palm Coast

 

We have been catching some flounder as well like the one Chip is holding which was caught on a mud minnow and jig combo.

Our spotted redfish was caught using Slayer inc. soft plastic Jerk baits and weedless hooks sight fished in shallow water.

 

Capt. Chris Herrea

Palm Coast Fishing

386-503-6338

 

Palm Coast Fishing Report

Florida has proven to be the sunshine state as our weather first thing in the morning has been spectacular. Low winds and great tides has given my anglers opportunities  to sight fish redfish in the shallows out of Bings Landing. depending on my clients skill level they have been catching redfish on lures, live bait and on fly. Being able to poll the shallows in my Hell’s Bay skiff gives my anglers shots at fish the larger bay boats cannot reach due to draft.

On certain tides we have targeted spotted sea trout, drifting live bait or suspending plugs has been tricking these upper slot trout to feed. Understanding the tides and bait movement will insure a “gator” trout.

 

Palm Coast Inshore Report

Another great trip in the books as I had the pleasure of guiding Barry, Iliza and Jenna out for a half day of inshore fishing.  Our first stop yielded Iliza’s biggest redfish. Our bait of choice was cut mullet during dead low tide but we switched to mud minnows and jig heads during the low incoming tide. We scored several more redfish and shallow water flounder.

 

Palm Coast Inshore Fishing Report

Finally getting some much needed rain but at the expense of my clients. Fishing is actually really good before the skies open up.  Flounder continue to chew on the incoming tide while redfish are feeding at dead low tide. Slow trolling live pogies on our beaches is raising king fish and occasional sail fish.

 

Today I had the pleasure of guiding two nine year old boys with a passion for fishing. We had a blast catching their personal best trout.

 

Palm Coast Inshore Report

Flounder continue to make a good showing on the low incoming tide at Matanzas Inlet. Mud minnows and 1/4 ounce jig heads has been my rig of choice. Bottom bumping this rig slowly across the bottom and waiting for a thump is how I fish this rig.  After feeling the thump make sure you “DO NOT SET THE HOOK” right away! Give it some time and when the flounder swims off with your bait in your mouth set it and have a net handy.

 

Our other main target is redfish, redfish have been doing great on lower tides as well. Mud minnows, live mullet, shrimp and artificial lures have also been working great on redfish. 

Spring Break Inshore Fishing Report

Sun, surf and fishing is what spring break in Florida is all about. This spring has given us some of best weather Florida has to offer and plenty of hungry fish as well. Our main target species is redfish but my clients have had a blast catching chomper blues cast after cast!

 

 

Hitting the shallows at the right tide has given my anglers great opportunities to land several nice redfish on live bait or lures. My favorite bait this time of year is a quartered crab but the most exciting is with topwater plugs.