Jacksonville Fishing Report for Amelia Island & Mayport
Capt. Dave Sipler
July 28, 2003
Jacksonville - Saltwater Fishing Report
The "Tropical Wave" was a dud, but it did something, good.
It's been very tough going when you love catching Tarpon. And I'm one of them. Last week we had a Tropical Wave come by in the Atlantic, which me and my friends were hoping was gonna pack some fury, turn over the cool water that's out there, and bring back 83 degree water that's normal for this time of year. But it was a dud. It couldn't be anything else but a dud, since the cool water temps kept it from building any strength.
Loads of rain came and some 30 kt gusts but that was out in the ocean, reported a commercial fishing friend of mine 150 miles offshore during it. It passed right on by my area (Jacksonville) without hardly being noticed.
If you breeze through all the reposrts of N.E. Florida here at CyberAngler.com everyone has something to say about the water temps. So Sunday morning (7/27/03), after an entire week of storms by mid day, where business was kinda slow-ish. Myself and my one man charter hit the scene hard early that morning.
Tides are everything for Tarpon too. So we went to procure some fresh mullet in litterally a bay full of them. Just a few tosses of my cast net had all the 6-10" Mullet we needed. And while we were there, we picked up a 4 pound Speckled Trout on a top water plug, that was preying on the mullet too.
Off to the beach we went. That Tropical Wave, from last week did do something after all. IT was so Foggy, that if it wasn't for my Lowrance GPS chart plotter, I won't have found my way around. Obviously we had some warm air,hit the cool water, cause the fog was thick.
And to my surprise the water temp was up too!
From a 72 degree ocean to a 79 degree ocean. This was real good to see.
We parked along the breakers right in a slew, and began having a blast with Ladyfish and Jack Crevalle on light rods as the tide fell. Then we picked up some Pompano up to 2 pounds some giant bull Whiting. AS the fog lifted we already had enough fish for any man's supper and went Tarpon fishing.
We did see several Tarpon as we casted into the slew. They were free jumping out of the water, and let me tell ya' I was excited!
But I had another spot not so conspicuous, in mind. So off we went with nothing but a dozen or so big Mullet in the well. I could have gotten some chum from the shrimpers that I know that work my favorite area, but that would have taken some time, so I decide to just go ahead and use the mullet alone.
Exactly one hour on the Tarpon hole and we started to see the fish rolling along the top of the water, as the tide flooded and good clean green water poured in.
THIS IS A GOOD THING. We put three rods out. Two with live mullet, and one with a cut in half mullet.
Rigged up with 3 foot leaders of 50 pound Mason Hard type Nylon, a 7/0 Eagle Claw L197 circle hook, and a break-away sinker. this is all you need beside some quality tackle. I used 3- G. Loomis 8 foot rods. And
2-Accurate Twin boss Platinum drag reels, with the third set up with a 7000 Garcia Ambassador.
So what did the 7000 Garcia catch? Of course....the lightest reel in the assortment got bit, and it was a 80 pound Tarpon!
My angler did exceptionally well, putting the poon to the boat in about 30 minutes.
We came back for another Tarpon, after dropping off the anchor and following the first one. And my angler said he was "bushed" so the next fish was mine.
Well, I'm of course wanting any size Tarpon, on those "Bad To The Bone" Accurate reels, and what do I get? A 3 foot Blacktip Shark, about 12 pounds.
Oh well, we came and we caught the fish we pursued.
Plus had a box full of supper too.
Tarpon are my favorite of all fish. I used to do offshore trolling trips all summer, and got very tired of it after about 5 years. Why? Too many Kingfish, and Barracuda's. With an occational Sailfish to liven things up.......BUT.......
Did we ever catch a 80 pound fish when trolling the near-shore reefs that I could go to with a boat load of passengers? Never.
That's why I love Tarpon, and if you love them too. We already have something in common. I don't like a crowded boat when Tarpon fishing, cause we need room to do Battle. So I don't care to Tarpon fish with more than 2-3 people aboard. If your intrested in trying your hand on the biggest, baddest,strongest fish in N.E. Florida waters. Give me a call. Cause I'd love to see ya' catch one.
SEASON: Late June till end of October.
BEST MONTHS: August thru October
ST JOHNS RIVER INLET, AKA: "HOME OF THE WHOPPER"
Because of the water temps and the inlet having no real bait schools nearby, I haven't been there much lately. And that's NOT LIKE ME!
I practically live there. I've counted 225 days a year sometimes that I've fished the inlet.
But don't worry. The late summer arrival of croakers, and other baitfish, will come. And by late August and Sept. my inlet will be holding; WORLD CLASS REDFISH, and so will the St Johns River.
In late April a customer of mine had a 50 pounder.
So we're trying to beat that one. It'll be hard. But could be done. The average Redfish will be from the high teens to 40 pounds.
I'm not talking 2 fish a day! If all is right, I'm talking 25 of these behemoths a day. That anywhere from 200 to 500 pounds of fish YOU will have to reel in.
Yea, now that's what I'm talkin' about!
Check my recent catches pages on my web site. That's the best way of finding out what's going on.
I already have alot of BIG reds on there now, but as of now, I'd like to replace them with alot of Tarpon.
As always, when you fish with Capt. Dave Sipler's Sport Fishing, and catch a nice fish, YOU WILL be on the World Wide Web, so everyone can see your smilin' face and BIG fish.
Till next tide......Fish hard, fish long.
SIZE DOES MATTER.
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