Wednesday, April 23, 2014

First Red Big Red

We had a beautiful morning down at the Big Talbot Island boat ramp when I met Lisa Cooper and her son Brendan for a day of Amelia Island back country fishing.  We headed up the Amelia River then cut in to Jackstaff to fish the still flooded oysters with live shrimp under a float.  It was about he first or second cast when Lisa's float disappeared and FISH ON!  But no, FISH OFF!  But Brendan went in right afterwards and his float disappeard too!  This time he had a good hookup and after playing the fish patiently, landed an nice keeper sized Flounder!  We continued to fish the area and both anglers landed hungry Seatrout.  Our next stop was at the Twin Creeks in Nassau River and although it looked promising, we had no real bites.  We then fished a still flooded Bubblegum Reef and had a few bites but no real takers.  Our next stop was the logs of Broward Island.  The current was really rushing out due to a SW wind but these anglers persevered.  Brendan was really working the bank and when he got the hang of the bite, hooked up and landed a sneaky Sheepshead to garner his Amelia Island Back Country Slam.  But he wasn't finished!  We fished and fished the downed logs and although we were getting nibbles we just weren't getting fish.  As we were about to leave Brendan made a final cast to the bank and as he slowly worked it back, BAM! FISH ON!  And boy was it a fish.  He patiently worked the fish even as it made a run deep then got back in the current to it's advantage.  When it came to the surface we all saw that it was a Big Redfish!  Brendan slowly worked it in and eventually landed the oversized 29.5" Redfish!  That's the way to wrap up an Amelia Island back country fishing trip!

Seatrout Make the Day

I had another group of guys yesterday afternoon and they too were taking a break from business.  We headed up to fish the flooded oyster beds outside of Tiger Island.  Jeff knocked the skunk off by landing a hungry Bluefish then Jason followed it up -putting a couple of more Blues in the boat and a Seatrout.  Then Chris found  a feisty Redfish up near the grass and brought it to the boat.  We made a run up to Jolley River and BOOM, BOOM!  Both Chris and Jason put fat keeper sized Seatrout in the boat, fishing live shrimp under floats.  We ran further up the river, had a tussle with a Gar fish, and picked up a another Trout.  Our last stop was back at Tiger Island logs and here things really heated up as the tide had dropped.  Both Jeff and Steve got in on the action, landing Sheepshead of keeper size and Steve also put a nice feisty Redfish in the boat.  Chris and Jason found some hungry keeper Sized Seatrout on the bottom to wrap up a beautiful late afternoon of fishing in the back waters of Amelia Island.

Puppy Drum?

I had arranged four boats to take a group taking a break from business yesterday morning.  I had Josh, Jim, John and Ken on my boat to do some light tackle, back country fishing.  We hit the logs of Tiger Island where Ken got the "skunk off the boat" by landing a hungry Seatrout.  Our next stop was Jolley Bank and here things heated up somewhat.  Jim hooked up and landed a nice multi-spot Redfish then Josh had a strong bite that ripped some drag out - FISH ON!  This fish put a good fight but Josh was up to the task and patiently worked the fish to the boat.  When it surfaced we all saw that it was a large Black "puppy" Drum that was about to leave the "puppy" stage!  We continued to fish the area, made a run to Bell River, and here John's patience and perseverance paid off when he put the final fish in the boat, a nice Seatrout.  With that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Smorgasboard of Fish

I had the pleasure of fishing with Scott Carter and his two sons Sammy and Benny again this year.  We met down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp and although the weather forecast called for 10-12 winds it looked to be an ideal day for fishing Amelia Island back waters!  We ran up the Nassau River, stopped at Twin Creeks and fished the bottom with jigs and shrimp. Both Benny and Sammy got on the board, landing a feisty Jack Crevalle and a nice Flounder, respectively.  We ran around to Jackstaff to fish and although not much was biting, a lone Spanish Mackerel took Scott's bait!  We made a run to Broward Island and fished the last of the outgoing tide.  Here things really heated up with the anglers landing Redfish, Seatrout, Sheepshead and Black "puppy" Drum making it a "Super Grand Slam" of a day!  The sun had come out and it had turned out to be another great day to be fishing Amelia Island's back waters!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Before the Storm

I fished again yesterday afternoon with the Keeley family -Don and Crystal and their two kids Ryan and Lauren.  Although the skies had been cloudy all day there was a growing build up of dark clouds to our west.  We ran up the Amelia River, eased into Jackstaff, and began to fish the first of an outgoing tide.  Young Ryan got the "skunk off the boat" by landing a nice fat Seatrout.  His mother Crystal soon added another one. After fishing a stretch of flooded oysters we ran around to fish the Twin Creeks in Nassau River.  Here things heated up with all the anglers getting in on the action.  Lauren had the most species, catching a Seatrout, Blue Fish, Jack Crevalle, and Perch.  Don added a few Seatrout to the mix.  But the storm had come closer and there was rumblings of lighting so we headed back to the ramp, and boy am I glad wew did!  Sitting in my truck I soon found there was hail falling along with the heavy rain.  After the rain, we got back on the water but it looked like chocolate milk it was so muddy - and no fish were biting.  But the earlier part of the trip had been successful so we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Fish'n With Eagles

What a stormy week!  After days of canceled trips due to wind and rain, I was able to get out on the water yesterday with Phillip Bechter and his son Marc.  We met down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp early and headed up the Nassau River to fish the first of an incoming tide.  I think we were a little late getting to Bubblegum Reef 'cause we had no real bites on our jig and shrimp combo.  But we made a run upriver to Broward Island and sure enough the tide was still going out!  Phillip and Marc began to work the bottom with their jigs and soon began to get fish - feisty Redfsh and hungry Seatrout. Then Phillip had a hookup that bent his rod a little more than the others and this fish had a little more fight in him.  After patiently playing the fish, Phillip landed a nice Slot 19.5" Redfish.  We continued to fish the area and were joined by a pair of majestic Bald Eagles who watched our every cast!  Phillip found a Sheepshead "honey hole" while Mark worked a likely spot, pulling a couple of Seatrout out and then a nice 14.5" Flounder that move him into first place in the Anglers Mark 2014 Bragging Rights Tournament -Flounder Category.  Scroll down right side of this report for standings.  They added one Black "puppy" Drum to give them 5 species of game fish -Redfish, Seatrout, Flounder, Sheepshead and Drum - an Amelia Island Back Country "Super" Slam!  With that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Trout Attack

I had the pleasure of fishing again with Mike Kaiser and his daughter Kathryn today who drove up from the Jacksonville area this morning.  We had timed the trip to coincide with the high and outgoing tide.  Our first run was all the way up to the Jolley River and this paid off.  The two anglers hadn't been fishing but a few minutes when they began to hookup with Seatrout!  Both anglers put keeper sized fish in the boat although all fish were put back to be caught another day.  When Kathryn's rod bent over and drag began to rip out I knew she had a nice fish, FISH ON!  She played the fish patiently and we eventually netted a nice fat 19.5" Seatrout!  This fish move her into 3rd place in the Anglers Mark 2014 Bragging Rights Tournament-Trout Category! The two also put a good handful of feisty Redfish in the boat.  We fished Snook Creek for a while then ran back to Jolley Bank and although the bite wasn't as good as earlier, they picked up a couple of Trout and a Redfish.  Our last stop was at Tiger Island.  Both Mike and Kathryn were fishing hard and patiently and it paid off.  Every once in a while they'd land a Redfish or a Seatrout, then both of them put Sheepshead in the boat to round out their Amelia Island Backcountry Slam!  As the tide began to hit bottom the bite slowed so we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Trout on the Fly

You just can't beat the kind of weather we're having this week!  I had met Steve Cheis down at the Atlantic Seafood dock this morning under clear skies and with just a slight breeze - the river was like a pond!  We headed up to the outside of Tiger Island and Steve tossed top water Gurgler with an 8w TFO Fly Rod.  He was making some excellent casts to the edge of the marsh grass and even though we were seeing some bait movement, he had no takers.  We then made a run up to Jolley River, did the same at one marsh run out with no luck then eased into a large creek, switching to a shrimp pattern on an intermediate line.  Steve
was tossing up current and slowly stripping the fly back and this did the trick!  He picked up a beautiful keeper sized Seatrout that put up a valiant fight for the fly rod.  We photographed and released this fish as we did with all others caught today.  We moved back to the mouth of Jolley, fishing deeper water, and switched to a float rig and live shrimp.  Steve picked up a few more Trout,  a few feisty Redfish, then a fish that bent his rod and made the drag sing!  This big fish put up a fight but Steve was up to the task and patiently worked the fish to the net, landing a nice 25" Slot Redfish!  We then made a stop behind Tiger Island, fishing with jigs and shrimp on the bottom.  Steve landed a good handful of Seatrout, a couple of Sheepshead to round out his Amelia Island Back Country Slam, and also had a couple of more feisty Redfish.  After hitting a few more oyster beds at dead low tide, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Fish Are Moving Out

Boy what a beautiful day we had today! Mark DePrimo and I fished early, leaving the dock at 7:30am and heading up to fish the outside of Tiger Island.  Mark was tossing a popping bug with an 8w fly rod and making good casts up to the marsh grass over flooded oysters.  But we had no takers so we moved around, tried it again, and still had no takers.  We made a stop behing Tiger Island, switched to shrimp on a jig, and soon Mark was hauling in a nice keeper sized Sheepshead- his first- and after pictures we released him.  Shortly after, Mark hooked up deep and landed a neat Weakfish!  But the fish weren't biting as much as weeks past so we made a run to the Jolley River to fish the oyster bars and here things heated it up.  Mark  was now tossing a float rig with live shrimp and had a good battle with an 18" Slot Redfish.  He then caught a Seatrout to round out his Amelia Island Back Country "Grand" Slam of Sheepshead, Weakfish, Redfish and Seatrout!  We worked the bank and Mark landed a few more Redfish and a few more Seatrout. We couldn't have ordered up a better day - another great one fishing Amelia Island waters!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fishing with Lobsters

The local bait shop got a fresh batch of live local shrimp and the seemed like the size of lobsters!  I normally like a medium size shrimp for fishing with jigs but when a big one is all you have, then you go with it!  I met Wes Matheney at the Atlantic Seafood dock this morning under cloudless skies and only a slight breeze. I've fished with Wes a couple of times before and he and I both were expecting a good fishing trip.  We headed north to fish Tiger Island as the tide dropped and we weren't disappointed.  The first couple of casts produced Trout with one or two in the keeper sized range - a great way to start a trip!  We worked
the bank and picked up a Trout here and there then we had a strange bite and run.  This fish seemed to hang to the bottom and I at first thought "Flounder". But Wes patiently worked the fish up and we soon saw it was a big Sheepshead!  After landing it, we measured it to see that it was 20.25", putting Wes into 3rd place in the Anglers Mark 2014 Bragging Rights Tournament!  Scroll down right side of this report for standings. We eventually made a run up to Jolley River to fish the exposed oyster banks and picked up a couple of Trout, one on a jig and one on float rig.  Wes was working the float rig up near the oysters and after seeing some activity, made a pin point cast to the spot.  Shortly after his float disappeared and, FISH ON!  And what a battle it was!  The big fish rolled up near the oysters, trying to dislodge the hook then made a couple of deep runs.  Then it headed back into the current taking Wes to the stern where it again made a few deep runs.  But Wes was patient and eventually wore the big Redfish out.  We netted the beast, measured it to 26.75" - a "Tournament Red", then released it.  Boy what a fish!  After hitting the MOA Spot and picking up one more keeper sized Trout, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!