Best Seasons & Time to Fish in Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville fishing season.

Amid the rhythmic monotony of your daily life, you surely need to sit back and relax and find a way to escape this self-imposed boredom. Of course, overcoming this monotony might be difficult. Nevertheless, there are many ways to make your lives exciting, and if you live in Florida, you can check out Jacksonville fishing ground. Jacksonville is often underrated as a fishing destination. In fact, it is often overlooked. Yet, it got what it takes to be the best playground for fishing enthusiasts and anglers.

Although fishing in Jacksonville, Florida, happens throughout the year, knowing the best time to go fishing in Jacksonville’s rich waters will be best. The weather in Jacksonville, Florida, is characterized by two prominent seasons: Summer and Winter. The best time for fishing in Jacksonville is during the last weeks of summer up to mid-fall. During this period, fishes of various species like king mackerel, striped bass, redfish, and cobia target schooling baitfish to prepare for the winter season.   

The Ideal Time for Catching Specific Fish Species in Jacksonville

The open sea is too vast for fish species to swim. However, in Jacksonville, there are particular periods when you can quickly catch specific fish species. If you want to capture, for example, striped bass, the best time to fish is from July to October because, during this period, big schooling stripers thrive in the waters of Jacksonville. Fall and spring will be the best seasons if you intend to catch Cobia, and you can catch the biggest Cobia during fall. 

However, if you are angling for King Mackerel, the best time to fish in Jacksonville is from May to September. Redfish, however, is very much abundant from October to May. If you want to catch Seatrout, the best time to fish is in summer, during nighttime from May to August.

Jacksonville’s waters are teeming with fish, and if you desire to catch good fish, its waters will not frustrate you. Besides, you can take a glimpse of the glamour of Jacksonville from the sea while catching fish. 

Jacksonville got what it takes to become a prime fishing destination. It has everything from fishing trips and bass inland and deep-sea fishing. So, you got ample options if you want to try your hand at fishing to break the doldrums of your daily life.

Best Fish Species to Catch in Jacksonville

Jacksonville fishing allows you to trail and catch the most exciting species inhabiting its surrounding waters. It is strategically situated along St. John’s River’s mouth, facing the mighty Atlantic Ocean. The mingling of fresh and saltwater makes it a perfect place to fish. Once you get near the waters, the catching opportunities begin for you. 

If you’re a meticulous angler, you could have a few targets that you would not often find in the area. But if you don’t want to get frustrated and end up empty-handed, you should plan your fishing trip and target the following specific fish that thrive in Jacksonville waters:

King Mackerel

The King Mackerel or Kingfish is a migratory fish species that swim in the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a valuable commercial and recreational fish that thrives in Jacksonville waters. It thrives in water temperatures ranging from 20°C to 29°C, which is the typical water temperature of the surrounding areas of Jacksonville. Jacksonville, for this reason, is a place for the biggest Kingfish Tournaments in Florida. Genuine monsters of unimaginable sizes inhabit its waters. 

The giant king mackerels are ravenous feeders. They got speed and exhibit Aquaman-like acrobatics, making exciting your encounter with this big fish. You’ll often find kingfish around ridges, wrecks, and reefs while they stalk their target preys. 

Chasing after this fish species will give you that needed adrenalin rush. They are also fun to target. Besides, they seldom move solitarily, which means more of them are lurking around if you have sighted one.

Cobia

Another excellent fish to target is Cobia (Rachycentron Canadum). It is also named black kingfishlingblack salmon, lemonfish, codfish, prodigal son, and black bonito. This fish species remains at the top priority of many anglers due to its superb taste and its challenge to anglers.

The diet of cobias includes a rich protein diet, and they thrive on eating baitfish, abundant in local waters. With this diet, this fish matures into an impressive fishing target. You can quickly locate cobias because they usually move along with their prey. Besides, they typically lurk near wrecks and reefs, offshore and inshore. You can stay close to their hotspots if you want to catch this mighty fish. 

When you go fishing in Jacksonville, you don’t need to go further offshore because even in the local fishing spots, you will see lots of Cobia swimming by. If you want the bigger Cobias, you can get to the deeper waters on top of reefs and wrecks.

Red Snapper

Red Snapper is a typical fish name of many fish species. Anglers also highly seek this fish species for its excellent taste. And if you’re a fishing enthusiast, you will surely catch this fish in Jacksonville. Finding Red Snapper is relatively easy. Yet, you might find it challenging to reel in. It will be best if you do your homework to find the closest fishing spots in Jacksonville where you can catch this fish. 

The Red Snappers spawn during June or July. So, it is best to plan your fishing during this period. Besides, the waters are relatively calmer during these months, improving your chances of catching this fish. 

Bigger and older Red Snappers make the deep water of up to 100 feet their home. Yet, you will find younger red snappers in shallow waters of up to 30 feet. You can use double hooks to increase your chance of catching this fish.

Tarpon

Another exciting fishing endeavor is catching the Tarpon. The Tarpon is known for its fighting spirit and elusiveness, which raises the level of exhilaration when catching this fish a notch higher. It is also called the Silver King, which indicates how much anglers respect this beast. Many anglers ache to catch this fish, and they often include this in their bucket list of fish to catch. 

You can catch Tarpon n the shallow coastal waters utilizing live bait, artificial lures, or cut bait. This species thrives in waters with 10-20-foot-deep water. They usually travel along sand bars, flats, and many other structures. 

It will be best to find an ideal fishing hotspot when fishing for Tarpon. You can figure out this hotspot if you are mindful of the feeding behavior of Tarpon. So, you need to survey the area and look for topographical changes like drop-offs or moderate ledges.

Black Drum and Redfish

If you’re looking for giant fish, check out Black Drum. This fish species thrives in Jacksonville waters, near lagoons. You can distinguish them due to their large scales and bulging snouts. Moreover, they got many little barbels on their lower jaw. 

This fish can weigh up to 50 kg and be as long as 1.5 meters. This fish also lives longer, up to 40 years, feeding on oysters, crustaceans, and mollusks. 

You can also target Redfish, a popular fish species for tyros in fishing. It is a deep-sea rockfish and can be applied likewise to red drum and reef-dwelling snappers. As one of the most popular coastal fish, you can always find them in the backyard. 

This fish doesn’t care much about depth as long as it can find enough food. Redfish of various sizes inhabit the coastal waters of Jacksonville. Hence, you will not have difficulty finding and catching this fish.

Fishing Regulations

When fishing in Jacksonville, it will be best to know the fishing regulations of that place. Fishing, of course, needs to be regulated to preserve the fish populations. Permit fishing is closed from April to July, while Hogfish fishing is prohibited from May to October. Besides, it is forbidden to target grouper species from January to April.

The Most Recommended Seasons for Booking a Charter

If you want to engage in inshore fishing, you can book a charter during spring and fall. During these periods, you can target specific species of fish. Besides, you will have a wider variety of fish species to target during this period. Fishing for Cobia is best during these months. 

If you want to engage in deep-sea or offshore fishing, these periods are the best times for such an activity. You can catch snapper, grouper, tuna, and other fish that you will commonly find on deep wrecks during these times.

If you want to catch striped bass, July through October is the ideal time. May to October will be best for catching kingfish, while October to May is best for large bull redfish. Night fishing during summer is perfect, starting in May to August.

Recommended Time for Fishing in Jacksonville

Timing is essential when fishing, and there are certain times of the day when you can catch most fish. These periods are during dawn and dusk. Fish like trout, drum, mackerel and cobia swim closer to the shore during these times. Hence, you can find them easily and access where they lurk around. 

Yet, even during midday, you can still catch fish in deep water. But they will be more mindful and warier of your presence. As dusk sets onward to evening, fish will swim back to shallower waters to look for their food.

Conclusion

Jacksonville, FL, is indeed one of the best spots to find yourself fishing. It will provide you with the most exhilarating battle with some of the best species of fish in the country. Decked with offshore wrecks, inlets, and rivers, the surrounding waters of Jacksonville are replete with fish species and maritime features that let great fish thrive. 

To get the most out of your fishing experience, you need to know the best time to fish in Jacksonville. Spring and fall, of course, are the best time of the year for fishing, wherein you will find the best fish species variety. During these times, the temperatures of the waters are cooler, while fish get ready for the change in season. Hence, they are pretty hungry and less wary of anglers. 

Leave a Comment