Post Hurricane Michael Report
I hope this report finds you well and safe after the hurricane. In the week following myself and several others captain’s phones were ringing off the hook asking about ramp closures and fishing reports. As of 10/25/18 this is where we stand from what I have seen:
Shields Marina – Ramps open, ship store up and running.
“The Fort” in St. Marks – Closed due to damage to docks and pier.
Shell Point – Last I heard ramp was serviceable, but area was limited to residents only
Rock Landing- Ramp is open, *no walk way leading to floating dock*. Fuel and restaurant are down but spoke with owner, they are hoping to reopen by this weekend.
Mashes Sands- Ramp and dock seem to be intact. Be extra careful around this region, numerous docks and porches were lost inside the bay. You do not want to find them with your lower unit…
Remember to be super cautious when running our waters. By now most of the floating debris hopefully will have been beached or sunk, but I’ve still seen several dock pilings and large limbs near mouth of river as of 10/23. Take your time, be aware. In the St Marks river most of the floating channel markers where moved and not reliable. The Coast Guard has since replaced them but just gives you something to think about when navigating other areas.
Now to the actual fishing! With this cold front the water temperatures are dropping, and the fishing seems to be getting hot. The water temp on 10/20 on the west flat of St Marks was between 79-81 degrees. As of 10/23 it was 70-72…. That’s a big drop in three days! Taking a step back, week after a major hurricane followed by a cold front dropping surface and water temps, you think the fish might be as discombobulated as we are.
Now they are not as settled and easy to pattern yet, but the trout are on the flats. From St Marks to Ochlockonee bay I’ve found decent numbers of healthy trout. They seem to be scattered across the flat with a few holding closer to oyster bars near rivers. Look for the cleaner water where you can see bottom in about 2-4 foot of water. Throw top water or a popping cork to get their attention. The water is still dirty, so the noise seems to help with the bite. The trout I’m holding below was caught in 2.5 feet of water on a white Spook Jr.
Redfish seem to be where they should be in certain areas but tough to find in others. I’m thinking water clarity and the temp drop is affecting them more than the trout. The ones I have found have been in under 2 foot of water and had no hesitation eating that Chicken off the chain paddle tail from Slayer Lure Inc. Rig your baits weedless using a worm hook (Rocky’s has the weighted and unweighted hooks on same end cap as the Slayer baits) this was you can navigate the surface grass and not get hung on bottom. Repeat client Mr Jody here with one of several reds he caught on Monday 10/23.
While our region was missed by most of the major impact from the hurricane, many of our neighbors were not as fortunate. If you have the means be sure to lend a hand however you can. Helping someone rake their yard can go along way to bring a smile to their face. If you need a day on the water to unwind, I work with a great group of professional guides who are ready to show you a great time. Give me a call/text/email and I’ll get you set up!
Captain John Swanson