Before, during and after the rain...time to catch up on reports (lots of pics)

So, I haven't posted any reports in awhile but the rain has brought on some boredom so I'm going to try to make up for it. Before the tropical storm (must be what, 12 inches of rain ago or there about), we were starting to catch some big reds in the river. Made several trips to a favorite spot near the island and landed several just over the slot, one in the slot and one serious beauty. The fish in the third photo was 40" and fat. My third largest ever and probably the prettiest. Caught her on a slab of ladyfish.

Then the rain started and we began looking for fish closer to home - NW St. Johns County - so we started fishing the river between rain storms and have been doing that for the past two weeks. All of the fish in the following photos were caught in Green Cove, north of the Shands Bridge. We started with the croaker. They are not real big yet but the average size is growing. We caught a few right at the bridge but most of the croaker, and everything else we've been catching due east of the pier in about 12 feet of water on a small dip that extends most of the way across the river. It's a popular spot - if someone on here doesn't like me sharing.....tough - I've heard it referred to as the "burnout" or "burndown" but I'm not sure exactly what that is in reference to. Maybe someone here can enlighten us. There have been very nice yellow mouth trout there for a few weeks, and, as you can see, we've caught some real fatties. Last Saturday morning we caught the black drum, yesterday we caught a 26.5" red just before the afternoon rain and this morning we the trout in the last photo. I thought all this rain would really freshen things up and I'm sure it has to some extent so you can imagine my surprise at catching a bluefish at the Shands Bridge. I always thought they were about the most freshwater intolerant of our inshore species - guess not!

With all those fish around, there must be some shrimp someplace close by or a lot of bait of some type.


  • Sea SnakeSea Snake Posts: 5,025 Admiral
    That is a great should post more often.....just sayin'

  • Optimum7Optimum7 Posts: 348 Deckhand
    Great report! There is small shrimp by Doctors inlet, so I bet there is by green cove as well!
  • brad safreedbrad safreed Posts: 562 Officer
    What are you using for bait and what is your presentation? I live on Black Creek and would love to put the kids on some croaker on the days I only have a few hours to fish.
  • BadfishBadfish Posts: 1,067 Officer
    those are some pretty reds, tight work fella!
  • JaxAnglerJaxAngler Posts: 463 Deckhand
    nice work brother

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  • reelhookerreelhooker Posts: 644 Officer
    Sea Snake wrote: »
    That is a great should post more often.....just sayin'


    I agree! Thanks for sharing.
  • cambosoup99cambosoup99 Posts: 282 Officer
    I go shrimping in that area and always wondered if there are some nice fish to be caught over there. I mean with all the shrimp i caught last year, there should be some fat fish in there.
  • creekgeekcreekgeek Posts: 577 Officer
    Thanks for the congrats guys. Most of these fish were caught on bait. I like to use artificials too but I have not figured out a consistent one for the weakfish (yellow mouth trout) except that I have caught a few nice ones around the inlets on a big white bucktail with plastic straight tail trailer. I used cut ladyfish on the biggest reds before the rains - I like long, relatively thin strips - gives it some action in the current like sick fish wiggling. Most of the Green Cove area fish were caught on frozen shrimp from last year or cut strips of croaker. The yellow mouth trout really like cut bait - again, the trick is to cut it in thin strips - I like maybe a three inch strip about a half inch wide or so. I'm using the simplest rig possible which is just a fish finder - sliding egg sinker 3/8 to 1/2 ounce above swivel with 12 to 15 inches of #20 mono leader under the swivel and a 1/0 circle hook. Live shrimp would be great of course but I don't know any place near the Green Cove ramp to buy them and I haven't been able to catch even enough for bait yet with all the rain. Cracked crab is also great (some people think it's the best) and we tried some Sunday but no drum seemed to be about and other crabs kept eating all of our crab bait. The crabs are really thick and we've pulled in (on our bait) and dipped about as many as we want for dinner each time we've fished.

    On another note, we ran north to the "croaker hole" - a deep area of the river SE from the mouth of Black Creek (I think) last week and there was a flotilla of boats but I only saw a few small yellow mouth being caught. Has anyone seen any bigger croaker in that area yet?

    Last year we were catching big channel cats in that area of the river - caught 4 over 10 pounds - along with the croaker but we've only landed a few small ones this year. The big ones are fun and good for pictures but I think they taste too much like the river so I don't kill them anymore.
  • cambosoup99cambosoup99 Posts: 282 Officer
    Ive had pretty good results using Gulp alive 3" shrimp.

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