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MAYPORT VARIETY - Fishing with Oysters the easy way

The weather gods must be at war because the temperatures are all over the place! One day its calm and warm, the next it's blowing 35 knots and 35 degrees... The sharp drops in temperature have made for tough fishing in the river. The Drum spawn hasn't started yet either and I believe it has everything to do with the drop in water temps. They're still holding at the nearshore reefs outside of Mayport. The river populations are spread out from Blount Island all the way to the Inlet. Their movements keep stalling with the constant arrival of cold weather and high winds. If we can get a few days of warmth, they'll show up in force at the Big Jetties.

The Sheepshead bite has vastly improved in the river. The spawn is still rolling along and bigger females are popping up daily. The little Jetties are holding some really nice fish. You can expect to catch the big females in water depths ranging from 8 to 25 feet of water. With the recent drop of water temperature, you'll find a more consistent bite in deeper water. We caught a few larger fish at the little Jetties this week while targeting Red Fish. We missed a lot of bites while fishing chunked Blue Crab. There is no mistaking Sheepshead damage on a chunk of crab. The crab gets bitten off bit by bit. Every time we would drop down a chunk, it would get withered down to a knuckle or two. The Sheepshead were actually thicker on the bottom than the Bull Reds. Drop a Fiddler, or alternately, a chunk of Clam or a meshed Oyster, and hang on! In that current, you can expect a tussle you'll likely never forget.

Earlier I mentioned a "Meshed Oyster". What I'm referring to is a product from Mossy Bait Company https://www.wrapfishingsystem.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html.

They sell a kit that will allow you to inject pre-shucked Oyster via an injection syringe. The kit comes with a bag sleeve made of a fine mesh material similar to monofiliment line. Simply cut the sleeve into 1 inch sections. Once cut, you then inject the oyster bait into the 1 inch sleeve. Once in the sleeve, run the hook through the mesh material several times ensuring that the mesh can't come back off the hook. The oyster stays trapped in the mesh, but in a way that still allows the scent to escape. And because the mesh is so fine, the Sheepshead can still eat it without noticing the mesh itself. We tried the product this weekend and it out fished our Fiddler Crabs 3 to 1.

One fish you can nearly always bank on when you're expecting high winds and cold weather is Speckled Trout. When all else fails, the Trout can and often does save the day. Pair that with the fact that March and April is spawning season for Trout and you have the potential for big fish. The bite is definitely on fire right now. They can be found in a lot of areas including the creeks between Mayport Inlet and Trout River, as well as the ICW between Nassau Sound and the Jim King boat ramp. The bite is also going strong in the river from Trout River on towards the Inlet. The Inlet itself has been a strong source for bigger fish for over a month now and has been my "go to" choice for Trout.




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