Jacksonville’s Cast and Blast

By Namiller bros image thumbnailthan & Ted Miller

The Cast
Inshore fishing can be fantastic this time of year. Coming off the heels of the Coastal Conservation Association Committee (CCA) and The Creek Wars inshore fishing tournaments last month, many anglers will continue their pursuit of the

“inshore slam” – trout, flounder and red fish – as the action continues.

Anglers will run to their favorite early morning spots at first light in search for giant trout. The water will come alive as bait fish begin to move. Working creeks around marsh grass or docks along the St. Johns and Ortega Rivers with top water plugs can be very effective. It is hard to beat the strike of a 4-pound trout on top water as the sun begins to rise.
Trout limit: minimum size 15” and no more than 20” total length and six fish per angler, with one fish over 20” allowable per angler in the Northeast Zone.
The flounder bite has been on fire for the past month or so. Although October seems to mark the best time to target them, many are still around during the month of November. Working docks or deep water along the banks of Downtown with live mud minnows on a Carolina rig or jig head, and spinner baits with scented-soft plastics in the shallower areas can be good too.
Flounder limit: minimum size 12” total length and 10 fish per angler per day.

Red action will continue through the month of November as well. Try to target creeks and docks during moving tides with your favorite natural or artificial baits. And watch for unusually high tides in the marshes. Flood tides should accompany the new and full moon which will take place in early and mid-November respectfully.
Red limit: minimum size 18” and no more than 27” total length and two fish per angler per day, but not to exceed eight fish per vessel.

The Blast

Growing up in Jacksonville, our father took us water fowl hunting when we were kids. With this experience, we were exposed at an early age to many different parts of Florida. Some winter weekends we camped along the banks of Rodman Reservoir. Other times we stayed in dog-friendly hotels along Florida’s Space Coast hunting the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. We also took day trips south of Hawthorne, FL to Orange Lake and Lake Lochloosa.

But there are other great areas to enjoy that are closer to home. Guana River Wildlife Management Area sits along A1A south of Ponte Vedra Beach. Reports have been good over the past few years. They only allow a certain number of boats, so getting in line early the morning of the hunt may be needed.

Guana WMA has specific regulations and is open to hunting only on certain days. Contact the Guana River WMA office for current information, (904) 825-6877.
Other waterfowl hunting areas include our vast saltwater marshes along the Intracoastal Waterway. These areas can accessed within a short boat run from one of the numerous public boat ramps that exist for our use.

Tide plays a big role in hunting these areas. High tides offer plenty of water to maneuver around and work in. Low tides translate into less water and much muddier conditions.
Typical deep and saltwater species like mergansers, ruddy ducks and buffleheads can be harvested. But certain species of shallow-feeding puddle ducks can be harvested as well. Teal and mottled ducks are common in these areas too.

Hunting and fishing close to home has its distinct advantages. It allows for the valuable time spent with family and friends enjoying our most precious resource without a lot of time committed away from other family and work.

And watching a rising sun illuminate one of our scenic hammocks of mossy-oak trees can be breathtaking.
With Thanksgiving coming up this month, we are thankful for our great city and all that it offers us.

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