July 26 Weekend Fishing Report

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Captain Dave Sipler


If you're looking for fast, free, good size, live bait fish for fishing the river, the jetties, or simply trolling the beach for a king mackerel, easy bait can sometimes be a real quandary.

Many people rely on just catching pogies.  The 'infamous cast nettable' hotdogs of the Atlantic Ocean.  But, what happens when you don't find any.  Or don't want to go on a 10 mile run for two dozen bait fish?  I really dislike going on a long boat ride, just for a dozen or two live baits.

The next best thing is catching baits like the threadfin herring at the jetty tips.  Using the small bait catching rigs, with multiple hooks, that are pre-made and readily available.

a fishing rig

The local bait shops should have the correct sizes for our local bait fish.  I like the ones with a bit of green glow paint on them, with a main line test of 17# line and a branch size of 10# test, at least.

Don't head out with just one rig on your boat.  Have a handful.  You'll want to look at the end of the jetty rocks and see the bait fish making small dimples in the surface of the water.  The best tide always seems to be near the flood as the green ocean water pours over the submerged rocks in between the two jetties.

Do not try and take the rig from the package, and unpackage it.  Take the rig from the cellophane on the card board where it's wrapped.  Tie the end with a single swivel on one end to a light casting or spinning rod, add a sinker to the snap on the other end.  And dip it into your bait well or bucket of water, and let it soak for a few minutes.

This will soften the card board enough that you can just snatch on the sinker end against the rod tip and it should, if all goes right,be able to just pull them loose from the packaging and your set to cast it to the dimpling water where you see the bait and reel slowly in.

Use a 1 to 2 ounce sinker depending on the current.  And, make sure to use a small fish flipper de-hooker so they flip directly into your baitwell and you haven’t even touched the little “greenies”.  If you must handle them, be very delicate and do not rough them up, as their scales will get knocked off and they will be weakened.  The untouched bait will live a lot longer.

greenies - live fishing bait

For bait to target Bull Redfish, Sharks, King Mackerel and even Flounder and cast netting is not your thing, then try a bait catching rig right now at the tips of the Mayport Jetties.

These baits work great even as ''cut bait''.  And fresh caught is always better than previously frozen.

Good luck and see ya’ at the Mayport Jetties!

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