**THE ST. JOHNS RIVER AND AREA LAKES:** Were hearing good reports on the speckled perch fishing down on Dead Lake, but unless you know someone who been fishing it, it impossible to confirm. There is a small bait shop/restaurant there, but getting someone to talk to is tough. Getting someone to talk to who knows anything about fishing is tougher yet.
The word is that the speck fishing is picking up in Crescent Lake. The bite in Dunn Creek out to, and up and down, the St. Johns itself is dead. Always optimists, speck anglers are hoping last night new moon will set off a spawn ? which really hasnt occurred in any kind of concentration this year (or last).
If youve been out in the river or the Intra-coastal over the past couple of days, you may have noticed that the tides have been especially low. If you didnt notice, and were up in the back of one of the creeks, you probably had about six hours to figure it out.
This new moon is the a “super moon ? as close as it gets all year. So the pull on the tides is hard. Add the wrong wind direction and the effect multiplies.
Wednesday was also a total solar eclipse. And here a kicker, it began on March 9 and finished March 8. True story. It because the moon shadow fell first over parts of the Pacific then crossed the international date line. It worthless trivia, but something with which to mystify your equally-bored friends.
Moon aside, the speck bite has been much better in the smaller area lakes than the river. The bluegill bite has been good all over. And the fish have been real big. The catfish bite is also very good. A 19-pounder was caught on an ultralight rod and reel Monday by a bluegill fisherman.
There are a couple of reports of a good striper bite in the river down by Welaka. Id check out the Croaker Hole if youre down that way.
**THE INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY:** The water continues to warm up, and the redfish are responding by moving out of the flats at mid-day. It been a mix of predominately slot fish, with bursts of the little schooling fish and the surprise of a 32-incher on the other side. But the reds have been the real action all week.
Tons of tiny bluefish have moved into the ICW. The farther you fish from the inlets, the more theyll leave you alone. If you like losing $7 lures to undersized blues, Ive got a boat for sale you might also be interested in a masochistic kind of way.
Locals with the deternination to dig their own fiddlers or scrounge up some ghost crabs are getting good catches of sheepshead. But, as far as I can tell, the West Coast fiddler pipeline in permanently down. And there is no commercial fiddler operation on our East Coast. Blue crab knuckles may be your best bet, but the commercial crabbers arent doing well either. So, if you have your own crab traps, that may work.
The trout bite is very slow. No one knows where they disappeared to, but it pretty clear theyre gone. Your best bet for some real action this week would be to hit the holes and channels in the ICW and fish deep. The black drum bite is good, but the whiting and yellowmouth trout have also been hunkering down as well. If you get on the whiting, theyll be thick. If you fish 10 minutes without action, move on.
The flounder bite remains slow, but the fish camps and bait stores generally say the fish are at least getting bigger.
**THE ATLANTIC:** The big wahoo bite over the past three weeks seems to be petering out. But remember that these are migrating fish, and another wave may be here now or on its way. The wahoo are more scattered in the shallower water inside the ledge. High-speed trolling is producing the better catches because the boats are covering so much more water. If gas bills are no problem, that your best bet. A few blackfin tuna were caught out on the ledge and a few decent dolphin were taken out in 180 feet this week.
On the inside wrecks and reefs, the black sea bass bite has been the best thing going. But cobia are now showing up with regularity out in the 100-foot area, the charter guys are saying. There should be a few stragglers out on the Flagler Grounds and our local bottom spots. But a lot of the action has been to the north, around the Hospital Grounds. That good, because the fish are heading south.
Surf fishing has been good if you can find them. That means moving from slough to slough until you do. If you set up and wait for them to come to you, youll be waiting a while. Our county pier and the Flagler County Pier both report the first catches of pompano this week. Theyre not big, but they are legal. And that exactly what we should be seeing right now.
The surf temperatures seem to have taken a dive. This makes no sense with these warm, sunny days. But it was 58 degrees Wednesday on St. Augustine Beach. Pompano hold out for around 68 degrees.
**Jim Sutton** provides a weekly fishing report for The Record. Reach him at [email protected].
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO :Seven-year-old Jackson Dapas with a 24-inch redfish he caught with Captain Leon Dana. They were fishing live finger mullet up around Palm Valley earlier this week. Dana reports 70-plus degree water temperatures and lots of active reds.