Tackling the Tides – Mayport’s Inshore Fishing Tips

Mayports Inshore Fishing Tips

The back end of Mill Cove, the coast along Fort Caroline, and the area known as Little Jetties are great inshore spots for spotted sea trout this time of year. Sheepshead can also be found in the same places.

Paying attention to the tide cycle can significantly boost your success rates. Predatory species like snook, tarpon, and sharks will chase baitfish closer to the waterline on a rising tide.

Tidal Currents

The tidal currents that flow through Mayport’s coastal waters influence the activities of freshwater and saltwater gamefish. Many local anglers love to target striped bass, red drum, and cobia along sandbars, rips, and artificial reefs, while others prefer to chum the waters with live shrimp for seatrout. Regardless of the chosen technique, understanding how tidal movement affects the fish is essential to successful fishing Mayport.

The optimal time to fish a location depends on the direction of tidal currents and lunar phase. For example, many anglers like to feel the first half of an incoming tide and the last half of an outgoing one because this can produce increased bait movement and water clarity. The same principle holds for areas near inlets and channel entrances. In these spots, the tidal currents lag behind the high and low tide by an hour or more.

Bottom Fishing

If you’re looking for a rewarding way to spend time on the water, bottom fishing is a great option. One of the most effective fishing techniques is dropping a weighted hook or lure to the bottom of the water, which can lead to impressive catches.

The list of fish you can catch while bottom fishing is almost endless, but some of the most common include Lake Trout, Perch, Carp, and Bass in freshwater, as well as Snapper, Grouper, and Amberjack in saltwater. Many anglers prefer to use live bait when bottom fishing, but they can also rely on lures of all shapes and sizes.

While a boat is usually required when bottom fishing, anglers can also cast from piers, rocky formations, drop-offs, and bridge pilings. The only thing that matters is the type of structure you’re fishing near and the depth of the water. The most productive areas for bottom fishing are typically populated with fish species that gather around underwater structures, such as wrecks, natural reefs, and artificial reefs.


Despite being a highly effective technique, trolling can be difficult. There’s no one trolling speed that anglers can rely on daily, as variables such as current strength, wind direction, and height of the swells affect how your skirted baits perform.

Those looking to target inshore gamefish like redfish, trout, and flounder will want to keep a close eye on the tide charts and learn how rising and falling water affects the location of oyster bars that aren’t visible at low tide. They’ll also want to fish high, bass, and all the periods in between to learn how fish move, position, and react during tidal conditions.

One good tip is to zig-zag as you troll rather than make straight lines. Doing this causes the lines on your troll to drop down and rise slightly in the water column, attracting more strikes, especially when the lines shadow different depth ranges, drops, or contours.


The tides’ effect on surf fishing can be tricky. Fish sometimes bite well on the incoming and then slow down as the outgoing tide moves in.

The best time for surf fishing is usually a few hours before high tide, depending on the conditions and species you’re targeting. Arriving at low tide can help you scout out the beach and also allow you to see structures that may be submerged at high tide.

When fishing the surf, you should focus on areas with coarse sand and shells. These areas will be sheltered from the stronger currents and provide better odds of catching a fish. It’s also recommended that you have two rods rigged with different baits to target both larger and smaller species of fish. It allows you to switch tricks as the tide changes and maximize your chances of hooking something. You’ll also want a shock leader to minimize the chances of losing your terminal tackle.

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Richard Brown


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