Thursday, August 27, 2015

Non Stop Action

I've always said that summer time fishing "we have to work for 'em" but today proved me wrong! I fished the the Galvin family, Pat and Sharon along with their two kids Kacey and Drew, leaving from the City marina and running up a short ways in the Bell River to fish some flooded oyster beds on an outgoing tide. The anglers were tossing float rigs with live shrimp and mud minnows and it didn't seem to matter because it wasn't long before all of them were catching fish.  It was a good mix of plump Seatrout, high flying
Ladyfish, hard driving Bluefish and some pesky Perch. We fished until it slowed a bit then ran around to the outside of Tiger Island and the fish bite picked up where it had left off. Again, Seatrout, Blues and Ladyfish were the norm. Both Kacey and Drew were making excellent casts and each had the entire variety of fish. After passing some trees with a zoo-like representation of birds, we ran up to Jolley River to fish a large creek runout. Drew tangled briefly with a Bonnethead Shark and again, all four anglers put Seatrout, Blues and Ladyfish in the boat. Sharon had a good bite and a different kind of battle: she played it perfectly and patiently and soon landed a nice feisty Redfish. The sun had gotten up and finally burst through the cloud cover, making it somewhat hot, so we did a short tour of Cumberland Island to see some wild horses, crossed over and took a peak at Fort Clinch, then eased around to check out the Burbank Net Shop and Pippi Longstocking's house. After that, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Angler's Mark

I was thinking about it this morning and then it came up today while fishing with Walter and Maria Tabaschek and their son Axel - what is "the angler's mark"? I've found it hard to explain in a brief definition, but to me it's definitely NOT all about catching fishing. To be sure, catching fish is part of it, but when I think about the sport of angling, there's more to it than just hauling in a fish. I think about picking out my favorite fishing clothes, setting my "lucky" hat by the door, and maybe bagging up a lunch the night before. Sometimes I'll "treat" myself to some snacks, like a bag of boiled
peanuts or maybe some Pecan Sandies!  I'll have my tackle ready to go, my game plan for fishing in my mind: what's the weather forecast?  what's the tide prediction? what type of bait or lure will I start off with?  But I've gotten ahead of myself.  If there is a book or magazine on fishing or a TV show I'll check it out. Finding an antique lure or piece of antique tackle at a flea market is exciting. I like to stop in small towns that have an old time bait and tackle shop and meander it through it in search of some neat or obscure lure that I've never seen. Art festivals that have outdoor artists whether they be paintings, wood carvings or sculptures will always have me stopping by to see the beauty. When driving, rarely do my wife and I pass a body of water that I don't speculate out loud, "I bet there's fish in that water!"   The morning of a fishing trip should almost always have grits and eggs and bacon on the schedule. Meeting your fishing buddy early, before the hustle and bustle of folks going to work (aaarggh) and sitting down to some coffee, orange juice and a hearty breakfast is a great way to start off the day. The fishing trip begins with the sun coming up over the horizon with an anticipation of a great fish catching day. You'll never know what you'll see out on the water. Dolphin and shore birds for sure, but an occasional manatee, otter or salt marsh mink happen along from time to time. I've seen wild hogs and deer on our uninhabited islands and regularly see osprey (some with their catch clutched in their claws) and Roseate Spoonbills and Cranes and Herons.  It's not unusual to have some huge marine "being" to surface like a Tarpon rolling on the surface or massive Ray come flying out of the water. Sea Turtles will swim by and Blue Crabs, too.  Most days you catch fish, too, and you make take a few home to eat - I like a good fish fry (or blackening) as much as anyone, but even if you don't catch fish or don't keep any, the experience of getting out on the water with friends and family and enjoying your day of fishing can't be measured by how many fish you caught.

Today, we left out of Big Talbot Island Park, ran up the Amelia River, eased in to Jackstaff, and fished the bank with mud minnows under floats on the first of an outgoing tide.  After just a few minutes of casting Walter's float went under and, FISH ON!  He patiently played and landed a big 20" Speckled Seatrout!  We continued to fish the bank, had a few bites, tangled with some Ladyfish, then ran around to fish Seymore's Pointe. Here, all three of us parried with some sneaky Snapper but I believe they've wised up to us anglers! We bounced around to fish another dock and here Axel got on the board when he landed a nice feisty Redfish. He put a Ladyfish in the boat and hauled up a rather large eel. Axel has been interested in fishing since he was very young and we all agreed that he surely has "the angler's mark"!   

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Two Casts Two Fish

I started my week fishing with John Kenny this morning, meeting down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp and making the run up the Amelia River to slip into Jackstaff and fish the "bank" with float rigs and live shrimp on the first of an outgoing tide. Our first cast to the marsh line produced a strong bite and, FISH ON! John played the fish perfectly and soon landed a nice Slot sized Redfish (all fish caught were released today). He baited up again, made a cast and when the float went under we knew he had another fish - a nice feisty Redfish this time. Now that's a great start! We fished the bank in it's entirety and picked up a couple of more Reds then ran around to Seymore's Pointe and fished some docks. Here John picked up a big Croaker and a keeper sized Mangrove Snapper in quick succession.  There were fish busting bait everywhere and we even tried some live finger muillet but they wouldn't take our offering so we ran down to Broward Island and fished some logs. John picked up one more Redfish, this one on a jig and shrimp, then we headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Magic Rod

We wrapped the week up with another beautiful day to be fishing here at Amelia Island. I had met Chuck and Marca Benton along with their daughter Kristin down at the City marina and we ran north to fish around Tiger Island on the very last of an outgoing tide. We started off tossing jigs and mud minnows and I believe it was the first cast the "knocked the skunk off" when Chuck reeled in a feisty Redfish. We fished up and down the bank and then Marca had a strong hookup on what she had dubbed her "Magic Rod" and FISH ON! She fought the fish valiantly and after a good battle
landed a nice 22" Slot Redfish, this one with 7 spots! The anglers picked up another Redfish or two and the Magic Rod put a Flounder in the boat, then we ran up to the Jolley River to fish some oysters that were still exposed. We tangled with high flying Ladyfish, Chuck added a Redfish, then after much perseverance, Kristin landed another Redfish to round out the fishing trip. We had planned to include a tour of the area so we cruised up Beach Creek in Cumberland, crossed to Fort Clinch, eased by Old Town, then headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at
Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Her First Redfish

I fished with Andrew Malen and his friend Katie, meeting down at the Atlantic Seafood dock bright and early this morning. It was clear skies and we had just enough breeze to make it a nice morning for fishing here at Amelia Island. We eased through the no-wake zone and ran up Lanceford Creek to fish some docks on the very last of an outgoing tide, tossing jigs and mud minnows to the base of the pilings. But it just wasn't to be, I'm not sure if we had any real bites at all. We then ran around to fish Tiger Island's deep
waters and this made a difference. Working the bank, we'd get a bite every now and then and it was just a matter of time. Sure enough, Katie had a strong bite and the big fish bent the rod and ripped some drag, FISH ON! She played the fish patiently and soon landed a nice Slot Redfish, her first ever. We continued to fish the area, picked up a couple of smaller Reds then ran up to Jolley River to fish some still exposed oysters. The anglers picked up a small Sea Bass, a Small Grouper. a few Ladyfish and then Mathew added a fat Seatrout. We toured Cumberland Island and saw wild horses, crossed over and viewed Fort Clinch from the water and made one last stop at Old Town Fernandina before heading in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Friends and Fishing

I had the pleasure of fishing again with Charles Lynn and his longtime buddy Julianne, leaving out of the City marina this morning with clear skies, just a slight breeze, and the sun coming up. We eased around to Tiger Island and set up fishing with jigs and mud minnows on the first of an incoming tide. Things started out slow, but we stayed with it and worked the bank. We had a few good bites then a very strong hookup, FISH ON! Charles played the fish patiently and perfectly but there was a reason this big fish was big and it eventually found its way into the logs and broke itself off,
darn it! We continued to fish and when Julianne put his bait up between to longs  and BOOM! Another good bite. He worked the fish patiently, easing off as it ran deep, then working it back slowly and eventually landed a nice Slot sized Redfish. We picked up a couple of smaller Reds then ran around to the Jolley River where the two anglers tangled with some high flying Ladyfish. Then when Charles' float disappeared and no Ladyfish came flying up we knew he had something nice. He worked it to the boat and landed a nice keeper sized Seatrout. From then on it was Ladyfish, one after the other, so we called it a day, counting it as another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Flurry of Redfish

I know the late afternoon thunderstorms aren't so great but we're having such beautiful mornings for fishing here at Amelia Island. Today was the same when I met Paul and Carol Chatley down at the City marina this morning. We ran north and around to Tiger Island and fished the logs on the very first of an incoming tide with jigs and mud minnows and shrimp. The water is so hot the shrimp don't hardly live to the first stop so most all of our fish were caught on the minnows today. We worked up and down the bank, picked
up a small Redfish here and there then we really go into them. Paul had a "spot" that he had zeroed in on and was getting good hookups regularly. He put 2-3 Slot Reds in the boat and then Carol reeled in a nice Slot fish of her own. There must have been a small school of Reds down there because for a short while we hooked up with a good handful of them Paul also put a keeper sized Flounder in the boat (all fish were released today). We ran around to the Jolley River, fished the "bank", had a few nibble here and there, then Paul caught another Redfish and another Flounder on float rigs and minnows.  After running further up the River we found a spot where the oysters were flooded. There were a ton of small Ladyfish in the area and the two anglers tangles with them. Paul landed a Seatrout to round out his Amelia Island Back Country Slam then Carol had a strong hookup. We knew right off that it wasn't a Ladyfish - there was no jumping- and Carol kept the pressure on, fighting the fish to the boat. When it surfaced we saw that it was a 2.5' Black Tip Shark. After pictures we released it then headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing Amelia Island waters.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Three For Three

We had a beautiful morning today to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida! I had met the Strickland family - Greg and Mandi along with their two girls Sophie and Lydia - down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp and we headed up the Nassau River, running all the way to Broward Island to fish the very first of an incoming tide. In fact, it was just changing as we got there and when it started back in, the fish began to bite (kinda). Greg "knocked the skunk off" when he hooked up and landed a nice Slot Redfish. The bait along the bank was getting busted right and left
by fish and after a while Greg had another hookup, this one stronger, and after a good battle trying to keep the fish out of the logs, Greg was a successful in landing a nice 22" Slot Red. Two Fish. Two Slot Reds. We worked the bank thoroughly and just as we were about to leave Lydia yelled, "I got one!" and her line took off, FISH ON! The Redfish ripped across the water parallel to the bank then went deep, but Lydia held on and fought the fish patiently. After a good battle she landed another Slot Redfish -Three for Three! We ran around to some docks at Seymore's
Pointe, fished for a short while, then cut through Jackstaff to fish the other side of Horsehead. Now the anglers were tossing float rigs as the tide had gotten up. We had a few bites then Greg battled a hard fighting Jack Crevalle. We later eased up in to another creek and here, after much perseverance, Sohia hooked up and landed a nice fat Speckled Seatrout. With that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing Amelia Island waters.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Flounder Hot Spot


These South Carolina boys could fish! Capt. Brian Soucy had set up fishing for a small group of young guys who had come down to Jax Beach for a bachelor party weekend. I had three - Kyle,
Blake, and Tez - on my boat. We ran up the Bell River and fished some flooded oyster beds with float rigs and soon found that the mud minnows were the best baits. It took just a while then all three were hauling in Seatrout, one after the other. I believe it was Kyle
who put a feisty Redfish in the boat then added a keeper sized Trout, too. We ran around to fish the outside of Tiger Island and again found the small but hungry Seatrout. A huge rainstorm came up and soaked us all! I had thought about slipping in behind Tiger but the rain and wind beat us back so we ran over to fish the small jetties at the Fort but even though we were out of the rain, there were no bites. We made our next stop up Eagans Creek. Kyle and Tez stuck with the float rigs while Blake tossed a jig with minnows from the bow. He picked up a Croaker then at at a creek mouth, BOOM, Flounder on!  He worked it patiently to the boat and soon landed a nice 16" Flounder.  This encouraged his fellow anglers to switch to the jig and for a while there it was BOOM! Flounder. BOOM! Flounder. BOOM! Flounder. The put a few more up to 18" in the boat, had  small one, and lost one at the boat.  We got wet one more time then called it a day, another great, albeit wet one, to be fishing Amelia Island waters.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Weeding Through The Little Ones

I had the Huffer family fishing today, Michael along with  his dad Ron, and his sister Katie and her husband Kyle. We met at the City marina and with a couple of hours of an incoming tide, we headed up the Bell River to fish some flooded oyster beds with live shrimp and mud minnows under floats. It took a while for the action to get started, but then the anglers began to get bites and a bunch of them. They put small Seatrout after Seatrout in the boat then Kyle, after making a long cast back to a little cove, yelled, FISH ON! We could
tell it was a nice Redfish the way it boiled up to the surface, but Kyle kept the pressure on and slowly worked it to the boat. The big fish tried to keep up near the grass but Kyle worked him out and soon landed a nice 21" Slot Redfish. We fished the area thoroughly, picking up a few more Trout then headed around to the outside of Tiger Island, setting up outside some flooded grass. Again, the anglers began to pick up small Trout and a few Ladyfish. We probably could have stayed there longer and caught more small Trout but we decided to get in behind Tiger and out of some wind that had picked up. This turned to be a good move. After catching a couple of Croaker on jig rods, they tangled with some Jack Crevalle, then Katie had a good hookup and again, FISH ON! This fish stayed deep and we were all eager to see what it was. Katie played the big fish perfectly and landed another Slot Red, this one measuring 21.75". She also put a small Flounder in the boat to round out an Amelia Island Back Country Slam. Ron followed this up with a nice Redfish of his own then Michael wrapped it up with the biggest Seatrout of the day. After fishing one  more time outside of Tiger, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing Amelia Island waters.