By Capt. David Lifka

Now that the St. Johns River has had time to “flush” and the heavy rainfall we received earlier this summer has eased, fishing has once again improved nicely for early fall. An okay return of shrimp from Green Cove to downtown Jacksonville has also helped bring a much better bite to our area of the river.

Large croaker have been the best bite happening of late. Reds seem to be back in abundance with nice catches coming off docks on both sides of the river. Yellowmouths have been in good numbers around downtown and should start showing farther south soon. Conditions also look good for our seasonal speckled trout run that usually happens this time of year. You can expect the trout to show off docks from San Marco to the Buckman Bridge. Slow trolling a mullet-like lure off the docks is an easy, leisurely way to enjoy a boat ride and catch a few fish.

Harbor chase Mandarin We are Prepared!

Flounder regulations have changed for this year for Florida. Not only has the size and limit numbers been changed, but a closed season has also been added. Flounder must now be 14 inches to keep, with a new bag limit of five. The closed season began Oct. 15 and runs to Nov. 30. With Florida’s seemingly constant change of fishing regulations, staying current is a must for all anglers.

Shopping for fishing equipment and tackle in many instances has been much harder than usual in recent years. With holiday shopping just around the corner, an earlier start may be needed to get the right gifts for the fishing person you have in mind. Shopping online to see what’s in stock might be a benefit rather than visiting a variety of stores to find what you might be looking for. If you find shopping for tackle and equipment a little bit confusing, remember there are always accessories — hats, clothing, sunglasses, shoes, pliers, knives, dry bags, tackle bags, and more. And when all else fails, there is the ever-giving gift card.

Fishing Report: Reds under docks and speckled sea trout just off docks. Hopefully yellowmouths will work their way south closer to us, but a quick run to the Florida East Coast Railroad Bridge downtown is certainly a good bet.

Whether you catch one, some, or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.

Email your Catch of the Month photo to 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 Ken Ringhaver

Caden Ringhaver with a 48” redfish caught near the Dames Point Bridge on Sept. 25.

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