By Capt. David Lifka
Regardless of the time of year, you can almost always expect “catching” to be different from one trip to the next. Weather, tides, moon phase, and salinity all play into the cause and effect when it comes to catching and making great excuses when the catching isn’t too good.
Despite a mixed start to this year’s fishing season, summer is about to happen, and fishing should only get better. We should soon be able to expect our usual summer run in the river of croakers, yellow mouths, redfish and more. There will be days when the fishing and catching is great, and there will also be days that will leave you wondering what happened to the bite. As the old saying goes, “That’s why they call it fishing and not catching.”
Most people that go fishing are there for the sport, the water, the outdoors, the sunshine, and hopes of bringing home a catch worthy of a fish fry for family and friends. Any one, or combination of these reasons is worth the trip, but what if your catch ends up being not worthy of the fish fry you were really hoping for?
Everyone who fishes has trips that fall short of expectations from time to time. That is to be expected. The most important thing is to not let the fish you caught go to waste. You can always pass your fish on someone else fishing in the area, or give them to a friend or neighbor that only needs a fish or two to make a meal. But if you’re still hoping to have that fish fry for family and friends — clean them, freeze them, and keep them.
Keeping fish fresh till you are ready to eat them is easy. After cleaning your catch, just add water and freeze. Any air tight container or zip lock plastic bag will do. Just make sure your fish are completely covered in water when freezing and that no meat is exposed to air. Fish and shrimp will easily keep for six months or longer and will be ready to cook when thawed. Now, a catch of two or three on one trip, and five or six the next, quickly adds up to the big catch you were hoping for to have that long planned fish fry.
Fishing Report: Fishing the beach has been great from Fernandina to St. Augustine when the water has been clear and the waves not too big. Bull whiting and pompano have been the main bite. Area freshwater should still be a good bet for bream and bass, with the river just starting to come to life with it’s usual summer time catches. Remember that catching shrimp is closed to Northeast Florida during April and May (even if you’re catching them for bait).
Whether you catch one, some, or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.