Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hats and Gnats

Paul Coughlin and I fished out of the Sawpit Creek boat ramp this morning - not such a pretty day - but the overcast sky was somewhat welcome to keep the sun off. Imagine that in February! I've been wondering if we aren't in some sort of transition period with the fish bite. Maybe the warming trend has the fish thinking it's spring and time to move out from the shelter of structure. At any rate, it's been a tad bit slow in the "catching" department - my anglers are working hard and catching fish, but we haven't had some of those "banner" days in a couple of weeks. Also, I'm not a superstitious guy, but I decided to change hats this morning in hopes that it would help!  We ran up the Amelia River and dipped into Jackstaff and started fishing a flooded bank with a float rig and live shrimp. With no real bites half way up the creek, we switched to jigs and shrimp, but had no luck on that either. We made the run through Horsehead and around to some docks at Seymore's Pointe. Sure enough, within minutes, Paul had a strong bite. He hooked up and landed a nice feisty Redfish that was just a hair short of the Slot. He had another good bite, this one bigger at the same spot, but he wiley fish tossed the hook. We worked up and down the docks and with no breeze the Sand Gnats found us and tried to carry us off. But we were up to the challenge and fished the docks thoroughly before making the run down to Broward Island. We fished the bank up close and out deep and but had no real bites until we dropped back north to fish the loggier area and BOOM! Paul had a fish on within minutes of the move. We had a nice flurry of fish catches here - feisty Redfish and one Seatrout. Our last stop was back at Bubblegum Reef where we played catch and release with some baitstealers. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Eaking Out A Redfish

If the last month was any indication of what Spring is going to be like, then we're going to have an outstanding season! It was an absolutely beautiful day today - the water was like glass as Brent Berger, his buddy Bill, and I ran from Sawpit Creek boat ramp over to the docks at Longpointe with plans to fish the pilings on an outgoing tide. The two anglers pitched to the posts with live shrimp and jigs but we had no real bites. We then ran up the Nassau River to fish some more docks, this time a tad bit shallower, and within minutes Brent hooked up and caught a nice Slot sized Redfish. But
he was a loan wolf...we bounced up and down the docks, picked up a Redfish here and there, then Brent put one more Slot sized one in the boat. We ran down to Broward Island and fished the logs but had no real bites. So we allowed the current to drift us backwards with both Brent and Bill pitching up current. Bill go on the board when he caught a hungry Seatrout, then I landed one, then Bill found a nice feisty Redfish up near the bank. We hit a couple of exposed shell beds on the way back but had no takers, but as pretty as the day was, we counted it as another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Ideal Day

It was a perfect 10 for the weather day - cool to start with, sunshine, and only a slight breeze, and warming to the 70's. I met Dave Speiwak and his buddy, Dave down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp early this morning and ran up the Nassau River to fish the very first of an incoming tide. Our plan was to follow the tide and hit spots as they got right. We fished Bubblegum Reef first with jigs and live shrimp, but had no real bites, then we jumped over to some docks at Seymore's Pointe and  here we "knocked the skunk off" with a nice feisty Redfish catch. After landing a hungry Seatrout, and fishing the docks thoroughly, we ran over to the mouth of Pumpkin Hill, caught a Trout, then continued on down to Broward Island to fish it as the tide caught up to us. Things picked up here. The two anglers put a few Redfish in the boat, one of them being in the Slot range and they landed a good handful of Seatrout. After fishing a number of spots, we ran back Seymores and fished the docks, this time to no avail. We trolled one flooded oyster bank along the Nassau River and picked up one Trout right off, but had no further bites. Our last stop was back at Christopher Creek. A quick Redfish catch started us off, then another, then we wrapped things up with the first keeper sized Seatrout of the day. With that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Flounder Begins It. Big Red Ends It.

We waited for an afternoon tide yesterday when I met Dennis and Barb Lockart down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. Although we had just a slight wind, the skies were overcast, but no rain was predicted. We made our first run up the Intercoastal and popped into Jackstaff with plans to fish the outgoing tide with jigs and live shrimp. The two anglers began working the bank and after a short while Barb had a weird bite - FISH ON! She worked it patiently to the boat and low and behold, a nice keeper sized Flounder! That's the first Flounder we've had in weeks. And shortly after that Dennis
had a hookup and he too put a fish in the boat, a hungry Seatrout. We continued on up the bank, had very few nibbles, then crossed over to fish a submerged sandbar, again to no avail. After a quick run through Horsehead we set up current from some dock pilings and fished their bases with the jigs. The first dock produced nothing but not a few minutes after hitting the second one did we have a strong bite. But this fish was smart and wrapped itself around a piling and, FISH OFF! Darn it. Dennis went back to the same spot with an excellent cast and BOOM! Another fish on. He worked the
fish slowly to the boat and we landed an "almost legal" feisty Redfish. This gave the couple an Amelia Island Back Country Slam of Flounder, Seatrout and Redfish. They picked up one or two more Reds at that dock then we worked our way down the line, fishing the pilings, but having no further luck. We made a run down to Broward Island which put us out of the wind that had been picking up and boy was it pretty - the wind was blocked, the sun was going down, the tide was getting just right....and the sand gnats swarmed us like a huge cavalry!  Barb picked up a hungry Seatrout on a slip float rig but the bugs were making it just too uncomfortable so we moved down the river and out from behind the land mass. We tried the float rigs, drifting them through some popping bait and with just a few minutes to go in the trip, worked a nice looking exposed oyster bar with 4-5 foot of water along the edge. With just a few casts, Dennis had a strong hookup. This was a bigger fish - the drag was ripping - but Dennis kept the pressure on and soon landed a nice Slot sized Redfish. As we were getting it de-hooked Barb had a strong hookup and again, FISH ON! And this was a big fish. Her's didn't come to the boat so readily, but she fought it valiantly and soon landed a "Tournament sized"  26.75" fat Redfish! Boy what a fish. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Amelia Island Birthday Treat

We had a beautiful day today, albeit somewhat windy when I met Kim Kowal and her husband Mark down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. Kim was surprising Mark with a birthday fishing trip - he didn't know exactly what the gift was until they walked down to the ramp and I greeted them! Now THAT's a birthday surprise! It was blowing about 8-10 already with a forecast of 12mph to come so we headed up the Nassau River and got in behind a land mass at Seymore's Pointe and luckily we had a good tide - the last few
hours of an outgoing tide. We set up current of some dock pilings and Mark began pitching his jig and shrimp combo to their bases and it wasn't long before he had a hookup! He played the fish perfectly and within minutes we had the skunk off the boat with a feisty Redfish. He picked up one more then BOOM! Bigger fish on! This one had the "shoulders" to get back into the pilings but Mark kept the pressure on, eased him out, then wore him down patiently and landed  a nice 22" Slot sized Redfish. And after that? No fish. We moved on down the docks and picked up a Redfish or two, fished another dock and picked up a hungry Seatrout, then hit the initial dock before we left and when Mark put his bait next to a piling it was immediately hit and, another big fish on. He worked it to the boat and soon landed another Slot Redfish. He caught another smaller Red then we ran down to fish Broward Island thinking the tide was about to hit bottom. Nope. The south wind was really pushing the water - it was muddy and rushing out - but we fished it anyway, but had no luck. We went back and fished some docks south of Goffinsville, had no bites, and wrapped things up at Bubblegum Reef. The sun was going down, the fish had quit biting, but as we headed in, we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

High Tide Big Red

I had the pleasure to fish again with Frontis Clark and he brought along his brother Greer and our plans to leave early to have a shot at some fish before the tide got too high on a morning when the setting moon looked full. We ran around and up the Bell River for just a short distance and fished some flooded oyster shells with live shrimp under a float. Frontis knocked the skunk off when he put a couple of hungry Seatrout in the boat. We bounced back to the outside of Tiger Island and fished the floats again, but even though we had a few nibbles, there were no good bites. We crossed over to
fish the outside of Little Tiger and just when I thought there would be no action, Frontis had a strong hookup, one that was ripping his drag, and just as he was getting in to the battle, FISH OFF! Darn it! I was going to head over to Lanceford Creek to fish the first of an outgoing tide but we made a stop at the Tiger logs and boy were the stumps flooded! But these two anglers were making excellent casts to the pockets and after a while Frontis had another strong bite and, FISH ON! He played it patiently and soon landed a nice Slot sized Redfish. We continued to fish - Greer picked up a Seatrout then he had a good bite and RIIIIP, his drag was singing. This was a big fish!  I eased the boat out away from the logs as Greer applied the pressure. The big fish made a few deep runs but Greer worked him up slowly from the bottom and we eventually landed a 26.75" fat "Tournament" sized Redfish. Boy what a fish. We had a good flurry of Trout catching with one of them of keeper size, then ran around to fish some flooded grass in Lanceford Creek. We had no real bites, so we called it a day, another beautiful one to be out on the water at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Out of the Blue

Wow! Another beautiful day here at Amelia Island, Florida!  I met Jack Dickens, his wife Julie and his sister Sparkle up at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp and we headed out with a live well full shrimp with plans to fish the last of an outgoing tide. At our first stop, we worked some dock pilings and both Jack and Sparkle hooked up and landed some feisty Redfish. We made a long run up the Bell River and fished some more dock pilings but we found our fish our deep. Julie was working a slip float out the back and put a good handful of Seatrout in the boat while Jack and Sparkle tossed  jigs and shrimp up current and they too had some Trout. Our next stop around at the mouth of the Jolley produced no real bites. The tide was right with the oysters showing but the wind had picked up and was blowing out of the south and right down the river. We made one more run around to Tiger Island.  The three anglers were making excellent casts and almost immediately began to get bites. Most were "baitstealers" but they picked up a Trout or two and then, out of the blue, Jack had a strong bite and, FISH ON! We could tell this was a nice size fish with the way it dug deep and bent the rod, but Jack was up to the task and played the big fish perfectly. After a good battle he landed a "not so puppy" 20"  Black puppy Drum. Now that was a nice fish. And shortly after that Sparkle had a strong bite. She too played the fish perfectly and landed a nice Slot sized Redfish. We continued to fish for a while, picked up a small Trout or two, then headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Patience Pays Off

Back to "work" today - fishing with Frank Boehm and his buddy Jack Severson this morning, where we met up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park with plans to fish the last of an outgoing tide. There were no live shrimp this morning so we went with mud minnows and a whole lot of optimism.  Our first stop was over at some docks at Eagans Creek and although these two angles were making pin point casts to the dock pilings, we had no real bites. We made the long run up Bells River and fished some more docks but it was
Frank that found the fish out deep as he was tossing his jig and minnow combo up current. Reeling it in slowly he had a hookup and put a hungry Seatrout in the boat. Then both anglers were catching, Jack followed it up with a Trout then Frank would land one the Jack would follow that up with one. We caught good handful before we moved on to seek bigger fish. Our next stop was at the MOA and although it was ideal conditions, we had no bites. We continued on around to Tiger Island, fished our jigs deep and finally, Frank had a bite and FISH ON! We could tell this was a big fish by the way the drag sang out and with Frank applying gentle pressure, he soon won the battle and landed a nice 26" Slot sized Redfish, boy what a fish! We fished up and down the bank. Jack hooked up and landed a feisty Redfish, then Frank put a keeper sized Trout in the boat, then he hooked up and landed another 22" Slot Red. They had another Red or two then we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Everybody's a Winner

Who would have thought we'd be fishing in shirtsleeves in February here at Amelia Island? It was a beautiful morning when I met Charlie Bailey and Marge down up at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp. The tide was right at dead low so we ran up to Jolley River to fish the "bank" with jigs and live shrimp. Although the conditions were right with a first of an incoming tide, we had now real bites. We came back to Tiger Island and fished the deep water. Finally, Marge "knocked the skunk" off when she hooked up and landed a nice Slot sized Redfish. A while later we had another good bite and
Charlie put a feisty Red in the boat. We ran around to Eagans Creek and fished some dock pilings and here things heated up a bit. Actually, Marge's first cast produced another Slot Red!  And maybe the second cast! Then both anglers were getting bites. Charlie put a Slot sized fish in the boat then Marge followed it up with one that had the most spots for the day, an 8-spotter. We had a good handful of Reds then the bite fell off to nothing. We hit one more dock, had no bites, then ran up Bell River just a short distance to fish some now flooded oysters with float rigs and shrimp.  Just when I thought it was about time to wrap things up Charlie's float drifted close by some marsh grass and won it went, FISH ON! He played the fish patiently and after a good battle, landed  a hard fighting Black "puppy" Drum. His next cast went to the same spot and BOOM!  Another big fish on! He battled it perfectly and soon landed the biggest Red of the day, a 21" Slot sized fish. When we tallied it all up, the duo had 5-6 Slot sized Reds in addition to the nice Black Drum. Marge had the first fish, the first Slot fish, and the one with the most spots. Charlie had the biggest Redfish and the most variety with the Black Drum. But the best thing yet was that it was a great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fishing With The Eagles

We went south today, where I met Roger Pickett and his fishing partner David. We launched from the Sawpit Creek boat ramp at 1pm and headed over to the docks of Longpointe at the very first of an outgoing tide. Roger tossed out a slip float with live shrimp and David pitched a jig with shrimp and BOOM! David hooked up with a Trout on the first cast. Although Roger had a bite on the float, the Trout must have liked the shrimp right on the bottom because David picked up another one as we worked the docks. We then ran
up the Nassau River to fish some docks as the tide move out of the marsh. Both anglers were making pin point casts but the first dock produced no fish. After moving down to the second one, Roger put a Seatrout in the boat then we hooked up with a Redfish that was right at Slot size, and David put him in the boat. We fished down the dock line and back up and picked up a fish here and there - Roger got his Redfish that he was looking for and both anglers landed a good handful of Trout. Although all fish were released today, a few of the Trout were of keeper size. We made a final run
down to Broward Island and although the bite could have been better, Roger landed a couple of Trout with one of them being the biggest of the day, and David wrapped things up when he caught, fought and landed a nice Slot Sized Red. As the sun was going down we were treated to a Bald Eagle sighting - he was watching us the whole time, and with that, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.