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Moving to Jacksonville from California

I'll be moving to Jacksonville area in the spring next year and I wanted to get some opinions so that I can best plan out my move. 

My setup here:
1988 Grady White 24 Offshore buddy cabin
2016 Yamaha 250 HP 4.2L 4 stroke
2017 Pacific trailer. 
I have downriggers and outriggers for the boat and a solid bait tank. Good electronics including radar and structure scan. 

I want to get a couple opinions/questions answered:

- Sell or Keep? This is kind of a big one. The boat is setup for west coast fishing, primarily keeping me dry and protected from the cold weather and water we have out here. Its a buddy cabin boat, not a CC. I think the boat will do just fine in FL short chop as it does in west coast long period swell. Eventually I will want to upgrade into a bigger boat, maybe a CC or a Sport fisher, and I believe there is a bit more demand for a weather protecting boat out here than in FL. 

- Boat storage: I went a couple months ago to explore the area and it seems that most people keep their boats at their house (CA folks are way too uptight to have neighbors park their boats at their property). Is that the best option or are there wet or dry marinas? It seems a lot of communities have their own private marinas/launch ramps too. 

- Engine Service: I have a dealer in my harbor so service is very simple. Any recommendations? I googled three in the area. 

- Boat/engine theft: I keep reading article/updates on people's boats/engines getting jacked. Is that something I should worry about? 

- Favorite fish to fish for? Hahaha go wild here. Its going to be a huge learning curve for me once I get out there.

Thanks for all your help!

Matthias

Replies

  • Snatch-UmSnatch-Um Posts: 1,410 Officer
    Welcome!  Honestly, your boat will probably do just fine here.  It gets pretty cold here in the winter months and the seas typically then are not the best as well.  I'd love to have a place to hide on those cold rough days.  Morningstar marina is pretty solid...their onsite Yamaha mechanic Mike Manier is the best in the city so servicing and troubleshooting is simple.  They put your boat on the rack and he walks over and fixes it.  Bottom fishing is ideal if you are comfortable anchoring...there are triggers, vermilion snapper, grouper, cobia, seabass and others to target.  Then on the troll there is mahi, wahoo, kings, tuna to name the most common. Seas in the summer months are typically smooth with a nice SE swell so I'd feel very safe in your boat out 35+ miles..you just have to be aware that afternoon thunderstorms pop up about every day during the summer out of nowhere.  Pick you days!!!  Safety around here should be high on your list.  Again welcome and tight lines.

    -T
  • Feet1stShoesFeet1stShoes Posts: 169 Deckhand
    edited October 2018 #3
    Matthias, welcome to the area. Life long resident here so I'm kind of biased. But I'd love to give you a little feedback on your questions:

    First, your boat is perfect for this area. I have a very similar set up (just different brand hull) and it's great for offshore and even fishing the river channel and the ICW. You just won't get into some of the feeder creeks. If you enjoy boating to a destination like a sandbar gathering place or restaurant your boat is perfect for that too. We spend way more time doing that then fishing. There are a number of popular restaurants scattered across the area that are waterfront with dockage.


    Boat storage will depend on where you end up living. Most neighborhoods built in the last 20 years have deed restrictions that stipulate a boat/rv NOT be stored at home, or be stored in such a way that the boat is not visible from the street. In my former neighborhood that was impossible to achieve with a 24 ft. cuddy. So you are left with the option of a secured storage lot, or a dry stack marina. If you fish offshore a lot then there are two dry stacks near the St. Johns River inlet that would be real convenient. Also several others on the St. Johns in various parts of town. There are also storage lots scattered all across the area but I would be real careful. I constantly see posts about gear and electronics stolen off boats, or in some cases the entire boat stolen! Make sure your insurance is up to date!

    Can't give you any input on outboard mechanic as I run a Johnson. 

    Favorite fish for me is the big, bull reds that run in the river this time of year. Can't keep them but they are a lot of fun to catch.

  • MelbourneMarkMelbourneMark Posts: 2,166 Captain
    Im curious what the resale value of the boat is in your area vs the florida market?   It might make $-sense to sell in CA, save the $ and wear/tear towing the boat 1000s of miles...  Then, you can buy a boat once you get here.  
    Just a thought.  
  • cftsmokecftsmoke JacksonvillePosts: 300 Deckhand
    Matthias,

    i was was in your shoes just over a year ago except I was coming from the DC area (boating on the Chesapeake) and had already unloaded my boat.  First off- I love it here and I wish I had found this forum before my move and eventual boat purchase.  These guys are fantastic teachers if you are a willing pupil.  The guidance on Morningstar and other locations is spot on- but a lot depends on where you will living/working and what type of fishing and boat you’ll have. 

    The big problem here (cry me a river) is the amazing amount of fishing and recreation available by boat or otherwise. You really have to spend some time learning what type of fishing and recreation you want to do because that will help your decision. I grew up fishing skiffs in the northeast back bays for flounder, trout, striped bass etc but got seduced by the offshore bite. I Love my rig (great for way offshore, Sand barring, and dinner runs to 100 places in Jax or within 40 miles) but sometimes I think another boat is needed to cash in on all the other places/chances.   Perhaps a ‘yak is in my future. 

    Anyway, from one newbie to another, I’m available at [email protected] where we can exchange contact info and maybe I can save some drama.   BTW-  although my rig is a “pilot house” it’s really a center console and I ran it all year comfortably- and last year was ungodly cold according to everyone I spoke to. This place is awesome, welcome aboard. 

    2005 Everglades 290 Pilot.  Twin 250 Verados.
  • mkennerkmkennerk Santa Cruz, CAPosts: 6 Greenhorn
    Thanks Guys! Great help already!

    Yeah I know about the thunderstorms. Safety is always top of mind. I have a life raft and an EPIRB on board. 
    I'm really looking forward to just recreational boating too. Where I live here you there is no real recreational boating, we don't have restaurants to boat up to or any other destinations to visit. There are two other harbors "close by" (13 miles and 24 miles away), but neither have any destination boating and to get to both you have the potential of running into big seas. So i'm excited to experience exploring the area. 

    I'm glad to hear you guys think the boat is good for the area. I have trailered across the country before and I think we will take our time so I'm not too worried about the trip. 

    Yeah it seemed when I drove though neighborhoods, lots had boats in the drive way and then some were completely boat less. I think we will rent for a little when we first move and then buy once we get the lay of the land a bit better. 

    How is the inlet to navigate? I see other instagram "kooks" in some other inlets like Jupitor where the waves stack up a lot. Just wondering what the inlet is like in Jax. When we drove to the beach/jetty by Huguenot memorial park over labor day it didn't seem too crazy even with the onshore breeze. We get similar conditions in the SF bay here with 20+ knot onshore breeze and a 6knot outgoing tide, makes for a rough patch to go through. 

    Thanks again!!

    Matthias


  • Snatch-UmSnatch-Um Posts: 1,410 Officer
    -Fernandina Inlet very navigable..you just have to watch the jetty rocks at high tides b/c they can get fully covered up and you don't see them (I know a guy that jumped them in his go fast triple mercury fountain racing/kingfishing boat:) )

    -Mayport Inlet is about as easy as it gets...It will get big swells but nothing like the stuff you see down south where it swamps boats.  The current can HAUL **** here so always be careful especially when you are anchoring.  If your line gets caught in your motor while anchoring you have about 8 seconds to cut your anchor rope b/f your boat spins around and starts taking on water.

    -St. Augustine is my favorite of the three.  It is also the the most sketchy.  There are giant sandbars to the north and south of the inlet.  You have to make an "S" almost to get out of the inlet but it is well marked.  Typically sailboats have the most trouble here plus the captains are not locals.  This is by far the most scenic place we have and again my personal favorite.

    Good Luck!

    -T
  • Sea SnakeSea Snake Posts: 5,520 Admiral
    I jumped those Fernandina south rocks one time...on accident.....I musta missed the rocks by an inch or two and was dang lucky I was going fast and didn't pull back the throttles. 

    I was puckered pretty tight for a whole week after that, that's for sure !!

    They said look for the white buoy.....only thing is they didnt say there were TWO .....as I looked back I split the difference..!!

    Yeah with your setup I'd plan on fishing the party grounds and maybe out to 35 miles...the ledge is a long way from JAX in a single engine boat, but much closer out of St Augustine...granted weekends there will be more boats out there with you....but I'D stick close until I knew what I liked doing.

    Sea Bass, Snapper, Trigger, Cobia , Beeliner.....ect are all well within those miles.

    If you want to meet buddies with like interests, join the JOSFC ( Jacksonville Offshore Sportfishing Club ) they meet twice a month, have speakers, and monthly tournaments year round, and you can meet some new friends willing to share their knowledge and split fuel costs with you to go fishing. JAXFISH.COM 


  • MaverickMaverick Posts: 733 Officer
    edited October 2018 #9
    Side note for Fernandina. If you fish north of the channel within three miles. You are in Georgia waters and must have a Georgia fishing license. So the northern jetty would be considered Georgia.  You can pass through Georgia waters to fish offshore Georgia waters but you shouldn’t stop to remain legal. 
    Shut Up and Fish
  • PangamanPangaman Posts: 835 Officer
    Find a neighborhood without an HOA and you can park your boat at your house. Most likely be a house from the early eighties or older. You hear about quite a few thefts of boats and electronics at the storage places where you keep boat on the trailer. I like having the boat at the house, because there is always something to do to it or fix. Welcome to Jacksonville, hopefully you can forget all the liberal policies from the left coast. You are fine going to the ledge in your boat, just pick your days. Sea tow will come get you, and if they are busy the Coast Guard will tow you in until sea tow is free. Broke down at 50 miles out, sea tow was towing in another guy from 70 miles out that day. Coast Guard came and towed me half way in at 9 knots until sea tow was free and towed me in the rest of the way at 20 knots.
  • Sea SnakeSea Snake Posts: 5,520 Admiral
    So just to be clear.....Pangaman goes to the ledge in a 22 foot Panga, so his DOO-DADS are made of brass, get used to the other stuff first. ...lol

    love ya pangaman.....IN A MANLY WAY , (don't be gettin' no ideas)

    Oh and in my neighborhood, St Johns Landing....we all keep our boats at our homes.....that's the way to go, and we have HOA's.....plus a private boat ramp and dock and we're 7 miles from the inlet, a hop skip and jump.

    ......just sayin.....
  • po28derpo28der Posts: 285 Deckhand
    Welcome to Jacksonville. I made the same move myself in 2000. I left for three years but got my **** back here as soon as I could. I was in Oxnard. I have seen no better advice. I would look at your boat out here to see what it’s selling for and what you could get out there. The difference might make it worth your wild. Now I bought my home on a 1/2 acre lot with a newer home with a HOA. We are able to keep boats and campers and build garages. Each are different. I have had a boat out here since 2002 and I would not live here without a boat. I have been working on my old one to sell and I bought a project boat to replace it.  So been bumming this year. Don’t want to do that again. 
  • Bam BamBam Bam Posts: 544 Officer
    Snatch-Um said:
    -Fernandina Inlet very navigable..you just have to watch the jetty rocks at high tides b/c they can get fully covered up and you don't see them (I know a guy that jumped them in his go fast triple mercury fountain racing/kingfishing boat:) )

    -Mayport Inlet is about as easy as it gets...It will get big swells but nothing like the stuff you see down south where it swamps boats.  The current can HAUL **** here so always be careful especially when you are anchoring.  If your line gets caught in your motor while anchoring you have about 8 seconds to cut your anchor rope b/f your boat spins around and starts taking on water.

    -St. Augustine is my favorite of the three.  It is also the the most sketchy.  There are giant sandbars to the north and south of the inlet.  You have to make an "S" almost to get out of the inlet but it is well marked.  Typically sailboats have the most trouble here plus the captains are not locals.  This is by far the most scenic place we have and again my personal favorite.

    Good Luck!

    -T


    Hey, I know that jetty jumpin fool.  Only in a Fountain.  Use Reggies Signature Hair Oil on the bottom of the hull.  You'll slide right over the rocks without a scratch.



  • mkennerkmkennerk Santa Cruz, CAPosts: 6 Greenhorn
    One more question, and this is a big one.. Fishing gear....

    I think i'll keep the down riggers for king and maybe wahoo fishing? 
    Definitely keeping the outriggers and bait tank.

    Now to the rods and reels... Most of my gear is light/medium 7-8 ft rods all with conventional reels. I know FL is big on spinning gear, but is there really any reason I should switch to spinning gear?

    I will sell some of my salmon trolling gear which are 9' super bendy rods designed to take the slack out of the line when trolling because we have to fish barbless hooks (I know CA rules, but to be honest it increases changes of survival for the smaller fish and the wrong fish you sometimes catch). I don't think there will be much use for those in FL. I'll keep all my trollers which can double as standup heavy duty rods. 

    Any preferred setups? Assuming I'll be fishing offshore and bottom? 
  • Snatch-UmSnatch-Um Posts: 1,410 Officer
    Send pix of your salmon rods..they may be good "float fish" rods for speckled trout
  • Sea SnakeSea Snake Posts: 5,520 Admiral
    Bring them 9' rods, the bendy ones.....I have been wanting to try those on our kingfish.....i bet it would be killer with a longer rod  

    you don't have to use spinners, I'd say mostly people use more conventional rods anyway.....
  • mkennerkmkennerk Santa Cruz, CAPosts: 6 Greenhorn
    Best picture I could find of these long rods loaded up slow trolling. They are long and super bendy, but also have enough back bone to fight a 30lb Salmon. 
  • Snatch-UmSnatch-Um Posts: 1,410 Officer
    Those are perfect for slow trolling around here with live bait....bring them on!  Are those TDL 20's...also great reels
  • mkennerkmkennerk Santa Cruz, CAPosts: 6 Greenhorn
    I think those are TLD 15s, I have them in 20s as well and the big 50W 2SP. I recently got a couple of avets for live bait fishing and throwing jigs. My favorite "inshore" (usually fish 40-100' of water for fish in the 3-10lb range, but can handle up to 20lbs no problem) is a 8' Shimano Teramar with a Calcutta D on it. That setup is fun and slays!! 

    Can't wait to try it all out over there!


  • mkennerkmkennerk Santa Cruz, CAPosts: 6 Greenhorn
    Thank you all for the great feedback so far, I feel like I'm already way more prepared for the trip. Another opinion question:

    Tow BoatUS or Sea Tow? We only have TowBoatUS out here with service in my area so that's what I have until the end of April next. Question is renew or switch? Luckily I haven't had to use the service yet (and besides the towing there is no benefit where I life, no discounts to take advantage of around here), just wondering if you had an opinion. 

    Also SST service? The majority of the people here use Terrafin. I have a subscription with them but haven't found them all that great, very basic interface to use and not a lot of extra service besides the sat shots. What service do you like to use?

    Thanks again!

    Matthias
  • Hushmouth CreekHushmouth Creek Posts: 81 Greenhorn

    mkennerk, Welcome to Jax, lots to do here, you just have to look a little harder. One thing you might want to explore is going the inshore fishing route, light tackle redfish, tarpon, trout, are all available to you at a greatly reduced expense and less wear and tear on everything, including your self. Take a charter with one of the local inshore guide here to explore the possibilities. You can become adept quickly and the opportunities here will last you several lifetimes. Everyone has bunches of secret spots...that always aren't so secret.

    I'd also sell that boat in CA, plenty of better deals here in Florida, used, rigged, and ready to go. Check out the boating classified for options.

    And most of all, you gotta try wading the flats here in Jax/St. Auggie. Put simply, it's a rush for sure. My favorite thing to do, think bonefishing in the Bahamas you see on TV, we've got our own version here, I've done both, and I think it's better here. That 7lb redfish or sheepshead peeling of line an a foot of water, rushing everywhere and spooking other fish as he goes, I'm just telling you, it'll make you forget offshore fishing at least for a few months. That's April (not talked about but it's real) and Aug thru November. 

    Well all for now, see you at the Conch Hut or one of the other local Sunday haunts here soon.... 



      


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