Capt. Dave Sipler’s Sport Fishing – Jacksonville, St. Johns River/Inlet & near-coastal waters. Updated: 7/6/06 Revised on:
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Over the years, I have really changed my tune about many aspects of fishing here in N.E. Florida. Years and years ago I was a die hard offshore trolling and bottom fishing guy. Surrounding myself with some of the best people and learned all I could by doing.
Then as time went on I found how hard it is to make a living doing just offshore fishing charters here in the Jacksonville area, so naturally you have to be come very flexible. One day I’d be taking 4 people out 20 miles, and the next we’d be fishing in the river. I also became very flexible with my boats too. I had my 23′ offshore type center console, then I bought a 17′ flat bottomed skiff for shallow water fishing. Not long after I also ran a 22′ bay boat for a local dealership, as a demo and also took charter customers fishing with it.
I got to the point where I referred to my 3 boats as “my 3 wives”. Jumping from one to the other for different trips. Maintaining them and keeping all three ‘happy’ became a full-time job…….(hence the 3 wives concept).
I now use an ole saying, (but tweaked a little) to describe what I believe makes for a good and sane Fishing guide, here in N.E. Florida waters. “Jack of all trades, but master of one” is my motto.
It’s hard enough in this area of Florida to keep up with what’s going on in your area of expertise, let alone trying to do it all and be really good at teaching others while being successful ever day.
Folks ask me all the time, “what should I do to learn how to catch fish here?” And I immediately attempt to describe the meaning of my personal motto.
#1 – pick an area of the river, that you can access easily with frequency.
#2 – fish only that area.
#3 – fish that area during all seasons.
#4 – get to know every conceivable fishing situation; IE: tide, bait, weather, tactic, every nook and cranny.
#5 – move on to another area only when you have it mastered.
Now, this process could take 20 years. And of course you’ll venture out of your target area from time to time. But when the going gets tough you’ll find yourself going back to where you call home, or back to a type of fishing that you are most comfortable with.
Familiarity breeds success. And now you’ll experience the same things I and many other fishing guides do.
On my web pages www.captdaves.com you’ll see what I love to do, and where I do it, best.
We’re still basically in a drought condition here along the upper reaches of the St. Johns River. It’s time for local live shrimp, but they are sparatic. And so is any live shrimp in general.
Some very good fishing has been way up river towards the Orange Park area, near the Buchman bridge. During drought conditions this area becomes sort of the demarcation line of where the saltier ocean water finally meets the fresher water of the St. Johns. Catches of Striped Bass, Speckled Trout, Flounder and others have been good from right under the massive pilings of this over 3 mile bridge that spans the river.
Locally in the Mayport area (my home turf) the river fishing is best when we have stronger tides. I’ve done best on days with a 4+ foot tide, which relates to the amount of current that we will get along the river banks. But still things can be tough because of the salinity levels. I want to depart very early and be done by 1pm each day. The heat of the afternoon, is the slowest part of the day for me.
Nassau Sound has been giving up a literal grab-bag of species. And makes for a really fun day. Big Whiting and lots of them, along with Jacks, Ladyfish, Bluefish, coastal shark species, and the illusive Pompano. If ya’ just want to pull on fish all day, this is the place to go.
Chum fishing near the Pogie pods has been a morning kind of trip also. This has been taking place just north of the Mayport Jetties. The pods of bait have been there in acre size schools for weeks now. Chum fishing means a lot of sharks, which are fun and strong. Ranging from 30 pounds to 100. Tarpon are there too, but of course have been illusive. They’ll roll by from time to time. But I haven’t heard of many hook-up’s. Giant Jack Cravalles in the 20-30 pound range also frequent the massive pods of bait, these are really a crowd pleaser. Then there’s the Cobia. I had a 2 yesterday one small one and a 30 pounder. And just had a friend call me just now that boxed a 30 pounder also. So the Cob’s are still out there and are the big meat fish.
Speckled Trout, Redfish and Flounder can be found thru-out the summer in the river, but the fishing is much better when you reserve a day that has strong tides, so please consult with me about the tides before reserving a trip.
To really get the “meat and potatoes” of what’s going on, visit my Daily Reports Forum http://captdaves.8.forumer.com/ here is where you can track each days catches, conditions and editorials.
Till next tide,
Capt. Dave Sipler’s Sport Fishing
904-642-9546- (8am-8pm EST)