Ocean bottom fishing has been tremendous in the last several weeks and keeps getting better as the summer progresses.
OFFSHORE: Gene Lytwyn at The Fishin’ Hole said anglers, who are bottom-fishing offshore reefs, are producing big numbers of quality fish. “They are doing quite well,” Lytwyn said. “For instance, they are catching mangrove snapper from 10- to 12-pounds and reaching their limit in short order.” Not only that, but fishermen are pulling up fish more common in South Florida waters such as yellowtail snapper and mutton snapper. “That has been going on for a good three weeks or so,” Lytwyn said. “It may have something to do with our water temperature being a little higher than normal. I don’t know.” Ocean anglers are also enjoying a bounty of big-sized triggerfish, some in the 10-pound range. “The world record is 13 pounds, so these are big fish,” Lytwyn said. Jeff Burkhead at Fishin’ Cove Bait & Tackle in New Smyrna Beach had a similar offshore report. “We’re seeing triggerfish, mangrove snapper, and a cobia here and there,” he said. “We had the (charter boat) Southwind come in with a 28-pound cobia.” The bite on the troll has been slim, according to Burkhead. The primary catch has been kingfish and barracuda. Lytwyn was quick to remind that this area has not seen the usual “upwelling,” when colder water rushes in and overwhelms the bath-like temperature water along the coast for several weeks.
MOSQ. LAGOON, INDIAN RIVER: Al Huffman at Lagoon Bait & Tackle in Edgewater said the trout bite “continues to be on fire.” In addition to trout, mangrove snapper are thick and redfish are a brisk bite. “Nothing has changed,” he said. “We’re seeing really good fishing.” Huffman said the most action is seen early in the morning and late afternoon/evening. The Clinker Islands and George’s Bar are producing the most fish right now. Around New Smyrna Beach, river anglers are catching their limit on mangrove snapper, according to Burkhead. “They are everywhere you go,” he said, adding there are quite a few big snook being caught between New Smyrna’s two bridges. “But,” Burkhead said, “you can’t keep ‘em, not until Sept. 1.”
PONCE INLET, HALIFAX RIVER: Capt. Kyle Busby said the white shrimp run in the river continues. “I’ve seen local anglers out there seven days a week, sun up to sun down,” he said in an email report. Busby said he is catching keep-sized snook in Spruce Creek around the U.S. 1 bridge area. In the river proper, Busby has been catching mangrove snapper, black drum and jacks. Lytwyn said fishing in the metro area has been pretty good in the cover of darkness. “Night fishermen have been doing quite well with snook and ladyfish; fairly large snook,” he said. “They are being caught up and down the river, especially in the area between Seabreeze and Main Street.” Lytwyn’s customers have been catching mangroves, bluefish and reds in the inlet. Burkhead cited the same fish, but tossed in some flounder as well.
SURF, PIERS: Capt. Chris Herrera said he was catching tarpon from the beach at the Flagler-St. Johns County line. “I’ve been spending a lot of time on the beach chasing tarpon,” he said. It’s not so exciting on Volusia beaches. Scott Morrison at Your Rod & Reel in Daytona Beach Shores said his customers are reporting a “smattering of everything.” The short list includes pompano, black drum and whiting. Sunglow Pier’s Amy Jarvis said she has seen a run of keeper redfish being hauled to the planks. “We had a 22-inch red caught Tuesday and others (in the slot),” she said. “We are seeing a lot of mangrove snapper and some flounder. It’s been rocking out here. It’s going strong.” The Flagler Beach Pier has seen a little of this and that, but no run of any particular fish. The Daytona Beach Pier has been “pretty slow,” according the Lytwyn. “They are catching some redfish, whiting and spots at night,” he said.
TOMOKA BASIN, RIVER: Lytwyn said the snook bite has been strong in this area. Capt. Barry Englehardt said the waters are infested with pogies, also known as menhaden, and it has stirred up considerable action. “They are in the basin with reds, trout and snook chasing,” he said. “Snook and tarpon are biting in the late evening in the river.” Englehardt said he saw another angler catch a huge redfish from the Tomoka State Park Bridge.
MATANZAS INLET, RIVER: This area has slowed down, likely due to the heat. Devil’s Elbow Fish Camp, which is on the north side of the inlet, reported a light catch of flounder and redfish. “The redfish bite is slowing down a bit, the flounder as well,” Herrera said.
ST. JOHNS RIVER: Capt. Bryn Rawlins, who is stationed at Highland Park Fish Camp in DeLand, sent this email dispatch. “Good catches of bluegill are being brought in from the Norris Dead Run by pitching crickets along the bank,” she said. “If you can stand the heat, you could catch your limit. Bass bite is good early. Wild shiners are the best, but some artificial will produce first couple of hours after daylight.” Rawlins said the swallow-tailed kites are here. “We have one of the largest roosts as the birds migrate and can host hundreds of birds located just off of Lake Woodruff.”
Local Report From the Daytona Beach News Journal
By Godwin Kelly, email@example.com