7 years ago

Exotic tiger shrimp join the party


**Exotic tiger shrimp join the party**

**jim Sutton**

The shrimp runs is still picking up. Theyre spreading farther south and picking up a little more size along the way. Theyre being caught from downtown Jacksonville under the lights, to Little Lake George. Theyve moved into Dunn Creek from the St. Johns, but wont likely move into Crescent Lake because of recent rains that lowered

Here the cool news. A few netters are reporting catching the exotic Tiger Shrimp in the river. Rick, at R&J Tackle in Green Cove, saw one. These are an Asian strain of shrimp that mature at 10 to 12 inches long, and taste like Florida lobster. Theyre all refugees from a South Carolina aquaculture site that was hit by a hurricane 10 years ago and the population escaped. Theyre breeding and growing. Last year the beach shrimpers picked up scattered catches of them here as well. They may still be finding them from time to time. But you wont see them in any seafood shop, retail or wholesale. They never make it that far.

While they are something to behold and so good to eat, their proliferation is concerning to biologists because there are so much larger and more aggressive than our native shrimp. The science-types believe they could throw things out of balance.

The bream bite remains good, especially in Lake George where there was still some very late bedding activity around last week new moon.

Anglers are hitting smaller bass, pitching fresh river shrimp under docks on float rigs. A 7.15-pounder was weighed at Lake Lochloosa last week, caught on a shiner.

There a decent striper/hybrid bite at dawn and dusk on the Shands Bridge in Green Cove Springs. The pier there also continues to attract shore bound netters who are whacking the shrimp.

And alligator season officially began Saturday. Some whoppers have been taken in Crescent Lake and Big Lake George.

The intracoastal Waterway Flounder fishing is fair, but the fish remain small, with some nice exceptions. The redfish and drum bite is good, but the fish are all over the place. Sheepshead are slow. The mangrove snapper bite is picking up, especially around Matanzas Inlet and the San Sebastian River.

**The Atlantic**

It has been an excellent week doe king mackerel fishing, both off the beach and the local reefs and wrecks. The mullet run off the beach, combined with the dispersion of that cold-water inversion, have brought the kings back within striking range.

Most of the boats are reporting eight or 10 fish on ice. And it really hasnt mattered whether you have live bait or not. The bigger charter boats where hitting them hard all week with artificials, because theyre not set up to slow-troll live pogies. It did not matter. Big spoons on downriggers or planers have been deadly, as have Sea Witches skipped off the outriggers with a ballyhoo pinned on the outriggers.

The tarpon fishing is on fire off the beaches as well. Theyre mixed in with kingfish skyrocketing on mullet and huge acre-sized schools of glass minnows. Captain Scott Shank hooked and released one estimated at 90 pounds, trolling pogies for kingfish Tuesday.
he kings are mixed with heavy doses of barracuda, bonito, jacks and sharks. A few cobia were caught. The action is fast.

The bottom fishing out on the ledge was very good all week. If you know how to tempt schools of jumbo mangrove snapper up under the boat and have live bait, youll do well.

The bottom bite for vermillion snapper, triggerfish and pink porgies is as good as it gets right now.

**The weather**

Man, it looks good. Well get a light northerly breeze Saturday with seas forecast at 2 feet or less. It may be even less bumpy Sunday, with the breeze swinging around from the east. Clean water, pretty skies, and lots of bait: That a recipe for a super weekend of fishing.

**Jim Sutton provides a weekly fishing report for The Record. Reach him at jim.sutton@ ° staugustine.com** °

**contributeD Photo :**Elizabeth Colvin hooked up more than she probably bargained for, fishing with Captain Tim Sousa on the Miss Magic. The 70-plus pound amberjack took a bottom bait on the ledge. Sousa said she whipped it herself, and that as tough a fish as swims. This one was a back-breaker. Elizabeth not only tough, but smart. She was the 2014-15 valdedictorian at Menendez High, graduating with a 4.66 GPA. And an really good softball player, our sports desk says.

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