Bull Reds Arrival Slowed by Indian Summer

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Bull Reds Arrival Slowed by Indian Summer


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      November 2, 2023 at 4:53 pm

      I think we all anticipated a more profound change in the weather for October but, it turned out to be a true Indian Summer month for us in NE Florida. The bull reds have been slow and I think will continue unless we get some cooler weather which should have a impact on the water temp and the bite.

      Look for these big redfish from the Mayport Rocks all the way up the river to areas past the Dames Point Bridge and beyond. I recently caught bull reds a good ways past the west entrance to Mill Cove. Large ledge drops in the river channel will hold these big fish and they can be caught on both the incoming tides as well as the outgoing tides. I try to locate portions of the river channel from 30 to 45ft deep that typically don’t have screaming water running by. A trained eye helps in locating these bodies of moving water and can improve your catch rate though some folks swear by the ripping water. I however, find it to be a detriment in catching them. Try using a 3 way swivel rig with anywhere from 6 oz to 12oz of lead and a piece of cut mullet, cut ladyfish, or fresh blue crab producing the better strikes. Big live baits like mullet or pogies can be perfect if you can net some. A stout rod is imperative coupled with 65lb PowerPro braided line is the best way to haul them in. I have found the Shimano Saragosa 8000 with a 7ft medium heavy rod work great.

      Look for schools of sheepshead to move into the lower St. John’s River this month around the docks, oyster bars, and rocks. I saw a good shift in the numbers at the end of last month and feel this trend will continue through into November. Fiddlers and small shrimp on light jigs are my go to rigs but, the old sliding egg sinker with a short leader can be just as effective. The 1st of the high outgoing tides at the big rocks as well as the dead low are my best tides. Look for clean water if it’s available as this seems to be the water they prefer to feed in with just a slight amount of current. Also the slot redfish should be more available at the big rocks this month with the water temperatures dropping. Trout will also be an added bonus this month too around the stones. Clear water and a live shrimp will be your best bet on either a light jig or the old standby float rig. I love the high outgoing clear tides for this and find early morning before the boats move in the best time to find them.

      The bite up the river on the ICW north of sisters to south On the ICW should get better and better with the cooler weather. Reds, sheepshead, flounder, trout, and black drum will begin to really settle into their winter pattern and can be best caught on the low outgoing tides. Shrimp, mud minnows, and even artificials will account for good catches. Try a Berkley Gulp minnow or shrimp in root beer/new penny colors or a small Sebile floating jerk minnow in silver or blue. Small finger sized baits have worked well for me in the past.

      On the Offshore grounds look for Red Snapper, Grouper, and Sea Bass to move in closer with the cooler water and be readily available. Try any of the local party ground numbers for the best success. Cut cigar minnows, sardines, and squid are great baits. Try placing them on the bottom for better success rates. Make sure you check the regs with all of the aforementioned species to ensure legal compliance.

      Remember have fun, go fishing, and get off the couch because you are not gonna catch them there! Capt. Kirk Waltz can be reached at 904.626.1128 for charters. Also listen to Capt. Kirk, Capt. Kevin Faver, and Jeff Lageman every Saturday on The Outdoors Show from 7am to 10am on1010am or 92.5 fm giving out weather, tides, advice, and fishing forecasts along with some good old fashion southern humor thrown in. For more info go to http://www.Enterprisefishingcharters.com

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