August 11, 2008

Change Strategy Amid Lower Water Temperatures

By Capt. Jim Johnson

The cooler-than-normal water temperatures are once again the topic of conversation amongst our local anglers. The dreaded thermacline has once again lowered our water temperatures almost 10 degrees below what the temperature should be this time of year.

The lower water temperatures at the inshore offshore reefs have all but shut down the slow trolling with live bait. If you are wanting to make the trip to the inshore reefs, I would plan on bottom fishing. The snapper and grouper fishing has been good this week with grouper being caught up to 20 pounds within the 15 mile range. Live cigar minnows, Spanish sardines or pinfish will be the baits of choice when bottom fishing with live bait. Barracuda and a few cobia are still being caught at these locations slow trolling; the kingfish have left for warmer waters. TW, HH, RL and FC are a few of the many reefs that have been holding summer bottom species.

The north and south jetties continue to hold plenty of sharks, redfish and a few tarpon. Trout and flounder are also being taken around both jetties with live shrimp, finger mullet and mud minnows. The last of the outgoing tide and through the first two hours of the incoming tide would be the tide to fish this weekend. The whiting are loving the cooler water temperature and are plentiful in the St. Marys channel and sound.

Whiting, small sharks, sand trout, speckled trout, weakfish and croakers were taken from the surf this week. Fresh shrimp fished on the bottom with a fish finder rig will do the trick for even the most novice angler.

The George Crady Bridge State Fishing Pier anglers are having plenty of action from whiting, croakers, puppy drum and summer blues. Finger mullet and shrimp will be your best bet for bait this weekend.

The sharks and tarpon have moved into the rivers due to the cooler ocean water temperatures. Pogies are still the crucial bait for catching tarpon. Rob Southwick caught and released a tarpon, which was approximately 100 pounds in the Nassauville area this past week. There is almost a 10 degrees difference in water temperature from the ocean to the river.

Good luck! Until next ... Capt. Jim.Capt. Jim Johnson is owner of Amelia Island Bait and Tackle and Rappi Charters, on which he spends many days fishing around Amelia Island and offshore. To submit information about and photos of recent catches, stop by his shop at 1925 14th St., call 277-0775, or e-mail [email protected]

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