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February fishing report Jacksonville area waters

This is the month of our coldest water temperatures so remember to slow your retrieves of both artificial and live baits down. Also, take full advantage of the thermal heating of our shallow waters by the sun. Because of cold mornings, some of the best fishing may be from midday on. That being said, fish frequenting deeper water such as yellowmouth and speckled trout, drum, jetty reds, bluefish and sheepshead may not be as affected by cold surface water.

This month is closed for speckled trout, however, the yellowmouth trout make a fine substitute, and, in my opinion, put up a better fight than thier speckled cousins, and taste just as good. Additionally, they seem to prefer the colder water. They will willingly hit artificials worked deep, as well as live shrimp fished with a sliding float or on a jighead.

The sheepshead are biting around area jetties and rocks on fiddlers, crab, and live shrimp. Interspersed with them you may pick up a red or black drum every now and then. There have also been some ringtail porgies caught fishing tight to the rocks using small jigs or bream type float rigs with a small hook.

The creeks and ICW are still producing rat and slot size reds, though they are reluctant to bite until they warm up a bit. The low halves of the tide have produced best for me. The cold water makes them "school up" more this time of year. Stealth is important when stalking these shallow water schooling and single reds. Poling beats the trolling motor, and try to avoid any bumping, thumping, or knocking about in the boat.

Many fishermen are targeting the excellent eating whiting that are available in NE Florida. These fish look like a small silver redfish without the spot and with smaller scales. They can be caught in the surf, on ocean piers, and from boats fishing off the beach, or in area inlets and sounds. Fresh bait is essential. I prefer a fresh peeled shrimp threaded on a small circle hook. Use the smallest sinker that will do the job. Recently, when fishing from the beach, a long cast has been more effective.

Good Fishing!

CAPT Bob

-- Captain Bob's Fishing Charters,Inc. www.captainbobsfishingcharters.com
 
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