IFD: With Winter now firmly upon us, many Irish anglers are dreaming of getting away for some fishing in the sun. Florida is one of the world’s best places for fishing and with year round sunshine and relatively calm waters you can see why. Jessica Jae is one of the top lady anglers in Florida, and has been fishing since childhood. So we asked Jessica to give us an insight into her fishing and like all fishermen/women, she was only too happy to talk about her favourite subject, so I’ll get on with the questions…
Where did you grow up and what was your first introduction to fishing?
I grew up in Florida the sunshine state! My first introduction to fishing was when I was only a few years old my mom took me out fishing on the pier where I held my first rod! Growing up my step dad had 2 boats and would take me inshore and offshore fishing on his free time. Basically growing up I fished here and there but after I graduated high school I had a lot more spare time and that’s when I started to pick up fishing more.
What species are available in your area of Florida, throughout the year?
The main fish we target throughout the year is reddrum aka “redfish”, trout, tarpon, black drum, sheepshead, flounder, mangrove snapper, Cobia, kingfish.
Can you tell us about your fishing for redfish?
Redfish are found inshore and offshore. Inshore fishing for reds I use a light tackle and depending on the weather for bait they hit jerk bait, spoons, top water, pinfish, ladyfish, or mullet. Once a year our redfish start spawing in big groups. Most of them being 35+ inches. Redfish spawn both inshore and offshore. Inshore most the time when spawning they will eat anything you throw at them. When the redfish are spawning offshore I like to use live pogies and a 2 ounce weight because the reds most of the time are on the bottom.
What are the top techniques for catching them?
Jerk bait, top water, flies, mullet, ladyfish, or pinfish.
You also enjoy excellent fishing for snook, what are the best times of year and advice for catching these?
The fall is the best time for snook fishing. The season is closed for snook fishing between December 15th to January 31st and June 1st to August 31st. People can still catch them year round but just can’t keep any snook when seasons closed. Fishing around structure, heavier leader at least 40 pound. Morning or evening is the best time. One of my favorite ways of catching snook is throwing a long A bomber off of the jetty. I prefer to use the color pink!
There are so many species on offer in Florida, what others have you targeted over the years?
Over the years I have targeted trout, Jack’s, sheephead, snapper, grouper, Cobia, kingfish, tripletail, sailfish, black drum, flounder, and wahoo.
Can you tell us the experience of your best tarpon catch?
Best fight ever! We started early in the morning and caught live pogies for bait in a cast net. Drove around in the boat along the beach until we saw tarpon rolling. Trolled around the area until we hooked up on a tarpon. It was about a 30 minute fight and 100+ pounds. Definitely a fight of a lifetime!! Check out my YouTube video:
If you could relive any fishing session what would it be?
It would definitely have to be when the redfish are spawning off the beach. Double hook ups left and right. Fishing them is always an epic time and awesome fight! Check out my YouTube video:
Where else in the world would you like to fish?
Coasta Rica is top on my list!! It’s my dream to be able to catch a marlin and a rooster fish! I would also love to fish in Ireland of course!
What are your fishing ambitions for the future?
My fishing ambitions for the future is to just continue doing what I love, and that’s fishing.
Sounds like a plan to me Jessica! Well it’s been great having some of your time and hope you have a merry Christmas.
Anytime Paddy merry Christmas to you too…