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Captain Jim Hammond
Posted: Jan 13 2007, 04:30 PM


Group: Members
Posts: 6
Member No.: 209
Joined: 14-August 06


Can you remember a winter where the inshore water temperature was 65 degrees and the
shrimp have not left the river? I can remember 65 degree water temperature but not
where the shrimp have not left the river. One of my buddies, James Roney shrimps
with a cast net as much as anyone I know and he is still catching limits of shrimp
down around Doctors Inlet in the St Johns River. All of my buds that live in the
Ortega area are doing the same. Now for those of you that do not live on the water
or are not on the water a lot, this really does not mean much if anything to you.
But for those of us that are on the water a lot this is some sort of strange
phenomena. See the shrimp are supposed to leave the river and head back to the ocean
in October or early November.

See, this is how it is supposed to work with the shrimp. In about May, the shrimp
are supposed to start moving from the ocean to the river, where they spawn. They
move way up the river until they find they correct level of salt and fresh water mix
to lay their eggs. This migration up the river usually ends around late September or
early October and they start their way back toward the ocean. Therefore, when they
move into the river, the fish follow them, feeding on them as they go. When the
shrimp head back to the ocean, the fish once again follow them.

Now some of you are saying, SO WHAT if the shrimp are still here. Well, most of the
fish in the river and creeks, base their movements on where the shrimp are. See,
everything out there eats shrimp and with the shrimp still in the river in such
large numbers, so are fish that should have moved to the ocean of inlets near the

This is great thing as the fish that should be in or near the ocean are still way up
the river, gorging themselves on the shrimp.

Bottom line: All of us that know of summer time trout, red and croaker spots in the
river, should check them out as I did with the trout.

You also do not need shrimp to catch these quality fish. I have thrown Gotcha trout
grubs and Gotcha paddle tail minnows for the past few months and had very good
success. In the deeper spots, where the current runs hard, I have stepped up to a
3/4 ounce jig head. Doing this, your bait will get to the bottom and you will be
able to work it off of the bottom, thus keeping it in the strike zone.

Nice trout with a Gotcha paddle tail in it's mouth

In areas the current is not screaming, you can use a 1/4 ounce lead head. The key is
to work it slow. Just fast enough to make the paddle tail or curly tail move.

For the past two months, when the tide is right, I have been slam dunking the BIG
trout in the downtown are of Jacksonville, an area where they should have long gone.

James Howard with nice trout caught on a Gotcha Paddle Tail while filming a show
with Capt Jim

I have not tried the reds in the Ortega/Epping Forrest area but I don't know why
they would not be there. Try the outer edges of the docks with heavy enough tackle
to horse them away from the pilings.

Becky Hogan with a nice creek red caught while filming a show with Capt Jim

The Sheepshead around the inlets are biting good. Try the outgoing tide with
fiddlers, shrimp or clams fished up next to the bridge piles or rocks. Remember to
set the hook before they bite.

Some black drum to be caught at the jetties, using cut blue crab, shrimp, squid or
clams. Fish on the bottom just outside of the rocks or tips of the jetties.

The ocean is producing big numbers of giant seabass. Look for natural bottom or
ledges and fish on the bottom. I went a week or so ago and using cut bluefish, cut
seabass and squid, managed to catch some very nice seabass in my new Honda powered
World Cat. I fished the MF area, bouncing from little spot to spot.

There has also been nice catches of trigger fish, cobia, monster redfish, grouper,
snapper and if you can get to the stream, nice catches of mahi and tuna.

As soon as the ocean lets me, I will be out to the stream to get my share of tuna
and wahoo. Mean while, I will stick to my reds and trout in the inshore waters.

Remember Mom's and Dad's spend some time taking your kids fishing. It will make a
positive difference in their lives.

This report is brought to you by

Good and safe fishing

Capt Jim Hammond
Capt Jim's Fun Fishing Inc.
904 757 7550
[email protected]
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