They aren’t monster flounder, but plenty of them are being caught in the Intracoastal Waterway from Crescent Beach to the St. Johns River.
Randy Green at the Palm Valley Bait Shop says most flounder are less than 16 inches in length. But he has had good reports of much larger flounder to 25 inches caught at Matanzas Inlet.
St. Augustine has abundant flounder, too, but about half caught are throw-back size.
Live mud minnows fished on a boxing-glove style 1/8- or 1/4-ounce jig head are deadly on flat fish. Work falling tides in creeks feeding the ICW. The mouths of tiny wash-outs trickling into creeks are prime spots to cast for flounder.
Rodman Reservoir, south of Interlachen, has been good for largemouth bass to 4 pounds, according to Joey Tyson of Bald Eagle Bait & Tackle in Keystone Heights. Rodman is still stained from afternoon heavy rain. But anglers using Carolina rigs in stump fields are enjoying success. Bream and shellcrackers are reported bedding in the lake, too.
Tyson also says Lake Santa Fe has been good for stout bass. Fish to 7 pounds are being caught by anglers flipping jigs and soft plastic lures in the grass. The lake is high and in good shape, and shellcrackers are being caught from sandbars in 6 to 8 feet of water. Plenty of catfish are available, as well.
Bream action has been good in lakes Lowry and Magnolia in Camp Blanding.
Lake Sampson, at Starke, is giving up good numbers of largemouth bass to 5 pounds.
In the St. Johns, Rick Hamilton of R&J Tackle Shop in Green Cove Springs recommends fishing for flounder, sea trout, and redfish in Doctors Lake, near Orange Park. He reports some good cast net catches of large bait-size shrimp being made occasionally at night in the lower Ortega River. St. Johns bream fishing has been fair on shell and sand bars. Largemouth bass action has been good in Julington Creek.
Kingsley Lake, near Camp Blanding, is boasting big bream and shellcracker catches. And bass to 8.5 pounds have been reported caught from Lake George.
Small croakers and a few weakfish (yellowmouth trout) are being caught near channel marker sand bars in the St. Johns south of the Buckman Bridge. Small strips of croakers are best for bait, and also catch redfish. Black drum are taking dead shrimp near the Buckman and Shands bridges. Mullet fishing has been good at the northeast corner of the Shands and will improve with hot, calm weather.
Some big channel catfish are being caught in the St. Johns between Bostwick and the Buckman Bridge. Fish to 20 pounds have been recorded, some caught from docks at night. Buckman bridge abutments have been yielding good catches of heavy catfish for anglers using earthworm baits deep during falling tides.
Grant Rawlins of Highland Park Fish Camp recommends fishing for largemouth bass weighing to 3 pounds in North Dead River feeding Lake Woodruff south of the town of Astor off the St. Johns. Work brush piles with spinner-baits in river bends at dawn. Bass action also has been good on Lake Woodruff in the east shore dollar weed beds.
Good action on heavy sea trout continues at Guana Lake, north of St. Augustine near Florida A1A. A 31-inch trout was reported caught from the lake recently, and slot redfish are being tacken with cracked crab baits.
Jacksonville’s Capt. John Eggers continues having top red drum fishing in the ICW near the Butler Boulevard overpass area. Most slot-size redfish are caught near the outside edges of mud flats during the last of falling tides. The Chicopit Bay area also has been good for reds, with jack crevalle, ladyfish and bluefish mixed in.
Some tarpon are reported rolling and hitting lures well in the St. Johns. Juvenile fish to 25 pounds have been reported in Doctors Lake, and Fruit Cove’s Mike Hayes caught-and-released a 15-pounder recently north of the Fuller Warren Bridge.
Local captain Tony Bozella has been leading anglers to good catches of large redfish in the Hannah Mills area of the St. Johns. He recently led local fishermen Adam Lowry and Bruce Millet to five reds to 31 inches in that area. It’s all sight fishing in shallow water during mid-falling tides. Some sea trout, ladyfish and bluefish are available, too. All fish were caught on 1/8-ounce TBS Jigs tipped with large mud minnows.
Bozella says Mill Cove dock lights have been good for lower-slot sea trout, and the Blount Island area also has been good at night. He hooked a 35-pound tarpon in Mill Cove recently, too.
While looking for redfish during a recent wade trip to Little Talbot Island, Bozella found a 3-foot deep tidal pool loaded with huge sharks. He hooked and lost five fish, and saw a 9-foot, 300-pounder cruising in the clear shallows. Waders and swimmers beware.
Sally Johnson of Amelia Island Bait & Tackle reports there’s excellent surf fishing throughout the island area for pompano, sea trout, whiting and some weakfish. Redfish are hitting in deeper cooler-water drop-offs of the Amelia River. Flounder to 18 inches are in good supply at creek mouths near Fernandina Beach during ebbing tides. Bull redfish are hitting near beach bait pods and at the mouth of the St. Marys River. Huge blacktip and spinner sharks to 150 pounds are feeding behind shrimp trawlers near the beach. Some tarpon are mixed with the sharks.
Capt. Jim Johnson has been catching kingfish to 31 pounds near the St. Marys River mouth. Farther off Fernandina Beach, cobia have been in good supply around some of the reefs, including FC and FB. One angler reported catching five cobia at HH reef.
At St. Augustine, Randy Guy of Avid Angler says big mangrove snapper, triggerfish and vermilion snapper are being caught in 140 feet of water. Some dolphin and an occasional sailfish also are being caught from closer-to-shore reefs. Sharks are everywhere, Guy says, and he personally spotted an 11-foot tiger shark in St. Augustine Inlet this week.
Some St. Augustine kingfish are being caught around near-shore wrecks, and a few kings are available near beach bait schools. Plenty of tarpon and sharks are holding around shrimp trawlers off St. Augustine.
Flounder to 8 pounds have been caught in recent days near St. Augustine, and one angler during a week of fishing caught 211 flounder from shore using live mud minnows and croakers. Most of those San Sebastian River area fish were released.