Weekend forecast for the El Cheapo Fishing Tournament

Winds may make for a challenging fishing day.

Small Craft Advisory for offshore, challenging, chilly & windy inshore.
Small Craft Advisory for offshore, challenging, chilly & windy inshore.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The largest fishing tournament in Jacksonville, the El Cheapo Sheepshead Tournament, is scheduled for Saturday March 4th at the Jacksonville Offshore Sport Fishing Club at the Mayport Boat Ramp. In the past they average over 450 fishing teams participating in the fun, family-friendly, low cost tournament. The forecast for this year's tournament is shaping up to be breezy, and chilly. 

As the anglers launch their boats early Saturday morning and head to their favorite spots at 6:00a.m. the temperature will be 49° with relatively clear skies with only 13% sky cover. The winds will be out of the Northeast already sustained at 14 mph. 

By 8:00a.m. the fiddlers will be soaking and the temperatures will only be up to 51°, but there will be an ever so slight increase in sky cover- up to 19%. The winds will pick up just a bit, to be sustained at 16 mph out of the Northeast. The chances for rain are only at 4%- so showers are not likely for the entire day. 

At 10:00a.m. we still haven't quite broken into the 60s, with temperatures at 58°, and the winds build up to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph out of the Northeast. The 27% sky cover builds slightly, making for partly cloudy skies. 

Around noon a few boats may have to reset their anchors as the wind shifts slightly to be out of the East at 20 mph wit gusts of up to 30 mph. Temperatures will climb into the low 60s by the lunch hour. 

Temperatures reach their afternoon highs starting at 2:00p.m., in the low 60s at 63°. Sky cover builds slightly to 39% and winds are sustained at  21 mph with gusts of up to 31 mph out of the Northeast. 

As boats are racing for the weigh-in line at 4:00p.m. the temperature will be 64° with very brisk winds at 21mph out of the Northeast and gusts up to 31 mph. 

The skies start to clear just in time for a spectacular Mayport sunset as everyone is chowing down on the fresh fried sheepshead and eyeing the raffle tables. At 5:00p.m. the sky cover is down to 23% and the temperatures will drop down to 60°. Bring your jacket to the awards and dinner as temperatures will be flirting with the upper 50s by the time they start drawing raffle prizes for the evening. 

Here are some local tide predictions for Saturday to help you map out your plan of sheepshead attack. 

Mayport: 6:42a.m. Low,    1:06p.m. High,    6:58p.m. Low

Sisters Creek:  7:45a.m. Low,    1:31p.m. High,    8:04p.m. Low

Dames Point: 7:57a.m. Low,    1:31p.m. High,    8:00p.m. Low

Atlantic Beach: 6:34a.m. Low,    12:36p.m. High,   6:53p.m. Low

Nassau River Entrance: 7:38a.m. Low,   12:59p.m. High,   7:57p.m. Low

Keep in mind with strong Northeasterly/Easterly winds that can effect the tides- making for higher than normal levels of high tide, the tide running at a stronger/faster rate in, and later high tide times with shortened low tide periods. 

Offshore Forecast

The forecast models for the sea conditions out to 20 nautical miles on Saturday currently show East to Northeast winds sustained between 15 and 20 knots (17-22 mph) The NWS is calling for 5-7 foot seas with occasional an occasional 9 footer with a dominant period of 6 seconds.  Inland waters will be choppy. That would make an offshore jaunt for these bait thieves not an option.  I expect a Small Craft Advisory will be issued for Saturday. 

Share your awesome tournament photos & videos with us- The Weather Authority's meteorologist Mark Collins may show your picture on tv on Saturday night. Just download our app StormPins and upload your photos. 



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