Big Reds. Coming sooner than you think. And marking the beginning of the fall season. HURRRAY!!!!!
Stereo typically, most folks think October is the month. But depending on when the BIG BITE starts. October could be the middle of the bite. "Bite as refered to as: the Spawn."
Large Redfish ...(aka: Redbass for the Jacksonville cracka'.) Are not just a seasonal fish in the St. Johns River. We have them around most of the year.
But the Late Summer and into Fall spawning season is when there's plenty of them and they are really large.
Although, the two largest ever on my boat were caught in the spring. One by me, the other by a client. At 53 and 50 pounds.
Circle hooks, stout leaders, heavy lead sinkers, and rods that can handle the lead and current is what's needed for this kind of fishing.
A good by-catch of big Redbass fishing is a Black Drum. Especially in the spring months. But depending on the type of year the river is having. There is also Redbass eaters out there too, especially at the inlet.
The fishing is basically "bait-n-wait" fishing on anchor. But the coolest thing about fall big Reds is that most of the time, my crew can catch the largest fish they've ever seen. Redbass in the 40 pound range are true trophies, get one like that and you're really doing something. I'm looking for that 60+ pound fish each year. Just as a personal goal. I'd like to have someone catch one that big, and it can be done.
Not all big spawners have to be caught in the deep swift currents of trhe St. Johns River. There is times, and areas where light tackle can be used to catch true monsters. One of those 50 pounders I've had on the boat came from 15 feet of water over a rocky point.
Jigging can be very effective. Because you can mark these fish on your sounder below the boat.
A light lead head jig, 3/8ths oz to 1-1/2 oz. can be jigged off the bottom while drifting over them. With bait or a large twister tail. This has to be my favorite way of catching a 30+ pound Red. It's all about the tide and the spot, though. Inter-active, and lighter tackle is what makes this more fun. Marking them, then jig them almost vertically.
The use of a some what stout rod works for the jigging. And a high tide, just starting to slack can be thew ticket. You can do it, just off the jetty rocks. And in the river. The idea is to keep the jig about as vertical as you can. Bouncing it off the bottom. Make noise. It matters. Sometimes, when I'm sitting in current using even a bank sinker I'll lift the lead off the bottom and drop it. Making a thud on the hard bottom I'm fishing. You'll be surprised how many times the bite comes right after a few "thuds".
Come fall, also comes really "free" bait. Lots of Mullet and lil' Croakers. Blue crabs works great, but can be the ultimate pain. Expensive to buy, and if you "pop their lid" they wash out fast and the little fish feast on the meat, and hollow a piece of crab out in a NY minute! I found out that if you are truely looking for that "can eat a football" sized Redbass. All you have to do with a Blue crab is pop off a few legs, and poke a few holes in the top of it, pin on a circle hook and drop it down. I've caught plenty of these bull Redbass on a whole crab. Just give the fish plenty of time to eat the bait.
There's an ole saying, I tell about every single customer when we're doing this.
"There's no better fisherman, than a rod holder and a circle hook." LEAVE it alone, and just let the rod bow over. Then pick it up and start getting throbbed by Mr. Brutus.
One year a customer told me, "Dave, there's a $100 bill in it for ya if I catch a over 35 pounder, while we're here." I didn't want to say anything, because ya' just never know what might happen. But as it turned out, the first Redbass he hooked was 38 pounds. And that only took us about an hour of standing in the pouring rain while fishing to get that fish, and for me to make an extra $100 bucks.
There's NO long boat rides, when the spawners start to do their thang. I've went a mile, and that was a long way even, to catch us some big'un's. It's "sportfishing", we can't keep these fish. So if you are a meat fisherman, this isn't the trip for you.
NOW...is the time to start planning your BIG RED fishing trip.
These fish will really start to kick-off around September.
Reservations are easy; Call me to check on your day. Then, visit my web site's reservation page, follow the directions and book your charter via Google check out. It can't get easier.
These are "keeper sized" Rebass......see the difference? This is NOT what I'm talking about. We can try for these after you've earned your BIG "RB" badge.