By Captain David Lifka
It’s not often we get a shrimp run that lasts well into October, but this year we did. Many months of “just right” weather ended up being a major contributor to this year’s successful season.
It seemed this year “Honey Holes” were everywhere, and all just seemed to get better from one week to the next. As the shrimping got better the shrimp got bigger. By the time October rolled around, St. Johns River Shrimp were starting to look like Mayport Shrimp.
While we still have stragglers leaving the river, this year’s shrimp run is over, but as far as fishing goes, the next few weeks have the potential to be just as good as this year’s shrimp run.
Fall fishing is usually pretty good just because it follows our summer shrimp run. Fall fish are the same fish that came into the river earlier this summer looking for shrimp to eat, but are now bigger and fatter. For a successful fall fishing season, torrential rains will need to continue to avoid our areas of the St. Johns River and farther south.
Hopefully some of those St. Johns River Shrimp caught while shrimping this year were frozen and saved for bait. If not, with a little luck, straggler shrimp can still be caught for live bait. Live baby croakers, quartered blue crabs, cut croaker or lady fish are all your next baits of choice for the St. Johns this time of year. And your targets should be reds, flounder, trout, weakfish, croaker, and anything else that bites.
In the surf, the fall run south for many species of fish should begin to peak soon. This time of year weather conditions make surf fishing more difficult than most other times, but the rewards of some really nice catches of reds or drum are probably greater. Schooling mullet can also be cast netted in the surf as they migrate south. These are great tasting saltwater mullet and well worth the effort.
Fishing Report: Reds in river, on docks, and at Buckman Bridge. Weakfish growing in numbers and size. Panfish bite pretty good up in creeks taking worms.
Whether you catch one, some, or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.
We now include a Catch of the Month photo with Capt. David’s Fishing Report each month. Please email a photo of yourself or your child with the fish caught to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include the name of the person(s) in the photo, the name of the person who took the photo, the type of fish and date and location of the catch. We will select a photo each month for publication.
Photo courtesy Jim Bagnardi
On Oct. 4, Jim Bagnardi filled his five-gallon bucket shrimping on the St. Johns River near marker #10 with large, good eating shrimp.