Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Hurricane Blew In Some Good Fishing!

Now that every thing has settled down from hurricane Irma, I was able to get out on the water with Adam and Patty Garner this morning, meeting them up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park on the north end of the island. There were a few logs in the river as we ran, some docks  up in the marsh and a boat here and there washed up on a sandbar.

We made our first stop over in Bell River with plans to fish a flooding oyster bar on the last of an incoming tide. Both Patty and
Adam were tossing live shrimp under a float and although we had a bite or two, there were no takers.  We started to run around to the outside of Tiger but saw that we had a really good flood tide happening so we put the bow of the boat into some flooded grass flats look for tailing Reds. The first two spots were vacant but the third was the charm!  I saw a small tail popping up now and then so Adam and I got out of the boat and began to wade slowly to the fish. But as we inched closer we began to see more tails and BIGGER tails - a couple were some huge Redfish!  We tossed a
gold weedless Gator Lure spoon to a fish here and there, spooked a couple, but had a few excellent shots that they just didn't eat. After a while the water got too deep to see any fish so we continued on around to the outside of Tiger and went back to the float rigs.

Patty was the first to strike, and strike big she did! She  had a strong hookup and her drag began to rip, FISH ON! This fish was heading to Georgia! But Patty kept the pressure on as we turned and gave chase and after a good battle she subdued the fish and we boated a
big 4' Bonnethead Shark. And shortly after Patty caught her breath she had a another strong hookup. She was an old pro by now handily landed a Slot Sized 21" Redfish!

Adam had been filming and taking pictures and soon realized that he had better get on the ball! After we crossed over to Manatee Creek his rod heated up and he put a couple of hungry Seatrout in the boat then he too had a strong bite. Another big fish on! Adam played it expertly and worked the fish to the boat, landing another Slot 22" Redfish. We also picked up a smaller Red and a couple of smaller Mangrove Snapper.

Our last stop was up the Jolley River and although we didn't get many bites along the first bank we fished, we did see a wayward baby alligator (looking for a volunteer?) drifting down the river. We bounced across a creek mouth and found a "honey hole" of some Redfish. Adam pulled in 3-4 small but stout Reds out of one spot then Patty eased in with her cast and she too picked up a couple. Adam went further up the river and BOOM! Big Bite! Fish On! He played it patiently and put the third Slot Red in the boat, this one measuring at 25". The two tagged teamed a good handful of smaller Reds, sometimes getting double hookups, then we headed back to the ramp, counting it as another great day to be out on the water here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Mangrove Snapper Come Through

It appears today's trip may be my last before Hurricane Irma figures out which way she's going to head. I fished with Nick and Misty Irma, meeting them down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early this morning and after run up the Nassau River we eased in to Pumpkin Hill with plans to fish the still flooding tide with float rigs and mud minnows.  Both anglers were making excellent casts and we got nibbles right off. Misty got things started when she snagged one of the pesky fish, a small 6" Mangrove Snapper. We found no Trout
along the edge but as we repositioned along another flooded marsh line, they began to get more bites. The small Snapper were still there but they also landed a couple of Ladyfish then Nick hooked up and landed a feisty Redfish.

Our next stop was over in Christopher Creek, taking advantage of the last of that incoming tide, and here we switched to jigs and minnows. We worked the rocks and docks and finally, Nick hooked
up and landed a small Flounder. We treated to the sight of a flock of Rosette Spoonbills roosting on a downed tree.

We came out of the creek and back to Seymores Pointe and began fishing some rocks with the float rigs again. Although the anglers got a nibble now and then it took a while to begin to catch fish. I had just suggested that we move on and BOOM! It was like someone flipped a switch. They began to catch big, keeper sized Mangrove's - up to 14" and once they got the technique down, landed enough to fill out their bag limit - now that's a mess of fish!

After running through Horsehead we fished a small creek off of Jackstaff and here Nick added a keeper sized Trout (note the damage a predator did to its tail) and rounded out his personal Amelia Island Back Country Slam. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Friends, Fishing and Football

Nothing like getting out of town and out on the water on the first NCAA football weekend. So friends Tripp Miller, Kevin and David all came in from Atlanta and spent the morning fishing with me before they took in some football games later in the evening. We met up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park and made a short run over to Tiger Island and fished the outside marsh grass as the tide turned out from a high.  The anglers were tossing mud minnows under float rigs and begin to get bites right off.
We picked up some high-flying Ladyfish and a couple of hungry

We bounced around that area, caught more Ladyfish, a handful of Mangrove Snapper and another Trout or two then we ran up to the Jolley River and eased along the "bank" and found some feisty Redfish to tangle with.

Our last stop was further up the Jolley and as we eased along some now-exposed oysters, we began to pickup one Redfish after the
other. There wasn't a lot of size to them, but there were a bunch of 'em! It was fun to be catching and it made a great way to kick off the football season here at Amelia Island, Florida!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Snapper Infestation

Boy what a beautiful morning we had today. I had met Grant Hollenbeck and his son Alex down at the south end boat ramp and as we made our first run down to Pumpkin Hill the sun was coming p behind a large cloud and made an awesome view! There was only a slight breeze so the water was like glass and when the two anglers made their first cast with float rigs and mud minnows, you ought to know it, fish on! Alex worked it in and landed a hungry Seatrout!  I thought, "here we go"! And they caught fish for a good while,
except they were small Mangrove Snapper! It was crazy how many were present. We worked a bank good and may have picked up another Trout or two, but a lot of the Snapper.

We were so close to Broward Island so we popped down there, even thought it was still a fairly high tide, going out. We worked the bank with jigs and minnows, caught another couple of Snapper and then Grant put a feisty Redfish in the boat.

Our next stop was back down the Nassau River at Spanish Drop and here things picked up. Grant was getting Seatrout out deep, just beyond a ripple, then Alex joined in -  making excellent casts to the
bank - and he too picked up a fish or two, one of which was a high flying Ladyfish. We bounced down the river and then eased along some exposed oysters and here we found a good handful of Redfish. Alex was working it good and landed a few, one after the other. Then Grant had a pretty strong bite and a hookup. He handed off to Alex who reeled in the biggest Snapper of the day! And with that, we called it, another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Crabbin for Fish

I was back up north today, fishing with Brooke Jordan, Mike, Jimmy and Christian under some overcast skies. We left the Dee Dee Bartels Park and headed over to Tiger Island, setting up outside at a grassy point and first cast, BOOM! We had a strong hookup. Jimmy was on the rod and worked in a nice keeper sized Seatrout! Now that's the way to start a day!

We were fishing live shrimp under floats on an outgoing tide and the action was pretty constant. Most fish weren't big but these anglers all caught fish - Redfish, Seatrout, Ladyfish, Mangrove Snapper and Bluefish. Young Christion was making excellent casts from the bow and landed a couple of Seatrout and a Red.  Before we left we filled the baitwell full of finger mullet (large fingers!) and then headed up to the Jolly River to fish the "bank". It was excellent conditions but the fish didn't cooperate until we reached a large marsh run out and Jimmy picked up a couple of Redfish.

Our next stop was up at the MOA and here Mike's rod heated up - he too caught a couple of Redfish. I had put out a few crab traps and one was here so Christian hauled it up and there was a big blue crab, a stone crab, and a stingray in it!  We picked up two more traps - one had two rays and the other was empty (we better not rely on crabbing for a living!) then we made one last stop at Tiger Island where the anglers wrapped up catching some rather sizable Croaker. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Copper Top

Back to "work" today! Yesterday was called off due to rain. I met John Feelisi and his fishing partner Bill down at the south end boat ramp very early - 6:30am - and we headed NW with, NO bait! I had rigged some top water lures and we tossed out a minnow trap as we passed a pool, then we made our way up to Seymores Pointe and began to fish some flooded oyster beds on a tide that had been going out for a couple of hours.

Although the bite was not "on fire" John did pick up a feisty Jack Crevalle when it busted his mullet colored lure. Bill was tossing one of my Zara Spook Jr's - White w/ red head but he switched to a gold Rattletrap w/ an orange belly at the next stop at Spanish Drop and this did the trick. mHe was on fire! First, he tangled with some hard fighting Jack Crevalle's with a couple ripping drag, then he began to pickup Seatrout. He landed a couple of smalls, then a "keeper" size, then an even bigger Trout.  We bounced up and down the bank, cvaught a few fish then tossed a cast net and got some nice finger mullet.

Our next stop was back at Seymors Pointe, fishing the docks and both anglers put keeper sized Mangrove Snapper in the boat. They weren't very big, but they made 10"!

We ran down to Broward Island, fished a run out and in short order John landed a nice keeper sized Flounder. After one good hookup that was surely a Slot Red that found it's way into some limbs and broke off, we eased down the Island, working the bank. Before we left, John picked up another Mangrove, then went back to a sandy beach and BOOM! Fish On! He worked the light tackle patiently and after a good battle landed dark copper colored Slot Redish - boy was it pretty! Note the old injury, probably a Dolphin bite.

After a brief stop at Pumpkin Hill, we headed in and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Gator Country

I wrapped up my week fishing with the Cervino family - Nick and Tara and their daughters Lila and Julia. We met down at the Big  Talbot Island Park boat ramp early this morning and then made the long run down to Broward Island to take advantage of the first of an incoming tide. All four anglers were tossing jig and mud minnows and within seconds were getting bites from small but feisty Mangrove Snapper. Lila "knocked the skunk off" when she landed one of them then every one was putting a fish in the boat - here and there.

We were looking for bigger fish so we eased down the island and set up again, but found the Snapper must be everywhere. The water was calm and da-dump. daaadump, daaaaaaadump - there was a gator just off the bow keeping an eye on us! He stayed with us the entire time we fished that spot. Finally, Nick had  good bite, a hookup and after he patiently played it to the boat, he landed a nice keeper sized Flounder.

We left the Gator and Broward Island and headed down river to
Pumpkin Hill and began fishing some flooding oysters with float rigs and minnows. We had to work our way past some Snapper then these anglers began to get fish. Seatrout after Seatrout after Seatrout. Many were just a tad bit undersized. Tara added a lone Sand Trout then Nick tangled with two hard fighting Jack Crevalle.
Lila was making excellent casts and Julia had picked up a rod and was making her own casts, too. She also kept everyone supplied with bait!

We made one last stop back at Spanish Drop and Tara wrapped

things up with another Flounder catch. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Getting A Fish Here and There

We have surely been blessed with some beautiful mornings lately! And today was one of them. I met Steve Schaetzel, his son Tim and his future son-in-law Rob down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early and as we headed up the intercoastal there were dolphin rolling up as the sun came up. We made it up to Jackstaff, ran up a ways and then turned into the current to fish an incoming tide with jigs and mud minnows. As we worked the bank Tim "knocked the skunk off" when he landed a feisty Redfish. He followed that up
with a hard fighting Jack Crevalle, then Rob put another Red in the boat. They all three tangled with high flying Ladyfish before we pulled and made the run through Horsehead and around to the Nassau River.

Tide was up and the marsh grass was beginning to flood so we switched to float rigs and made our casts up near the grass, letting them drift naturally along the shoreline. After a bite here and there, Steve's float disappeared and, FISH ON! This was a bigger fish - one that ripped some drag and after putting up a good fight up near shore it headed deep and took Steve from bow to stern, port to starboard. He kept the pressure on and played it patiently. After  good battle, Steve landed a nice (and bigger) Jack Crevalle.

We made a stop at Seymore's Pointe and played cat and mouse with some small Mangrove Snapper then ran down to Pumpkin Hill and again, more small Mangrove Snapper. Our last stop was over at Christopher Creek where we worked some docks with the jigs again. After Rob and Tim put a couple of Snapper in the boat, Steve finished up with another feisty Redfish. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Jack Invasion

What a great way to wrap a week up fishing with friends and neighbors Mark and Nilda Laurint and their son, Brent, visiting home from New York!  We  met down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp and headed up the Nassau River, making the long run around to Pumpkin Hill to fish the first of an outgoing tide.  I had float rigs ready but I also had one topwater rig ready to go, too. The trio began fishing the marsh line and within a short minute, they were getting bites.

Nilda was the first to get on the board when her float disappeared - she was ready and quickly lifted the rod tip and set the circle hook.
She patiently worked it to the boat and landed a nice keeper sized Seatrout (all fish were released today). We worked along the bank and our presentations began to get attacked by hard fighting Jack Crevalle. Brent put a couple in the boat, Nilda added a couple, then Mark got in on the action. One of Brent's was on the topwater lure out in front of the boat. That's a great thrill to see a big fish nail that lure!

After a neat show of dolphin soaring out of the water behind the
boat, we headed back down the Nassau and worked some oyster  banks with minnows and jigs. Nilda had retired her rod to take in the beauty of the ecosystem but Mark and Brent worked the bank thoroughly.  They each added a handful of feisty Redfish to the catch, a couple of Trout, and Mark rounded out his Slam with a Flounder catch. They also tangled with Ladyfish and landed a few Mangrove Snapper.

We bounced down the Nassau, hitting spots, and added a few more fish until they just wouldn't bite anymore. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Early Morning Top Water Action

We started todays trip low in bait - just what had left over from yesterday, but my guests, brothers Chris and Britt Daniel, also brought along a couple of rods, rigged with top water lures. We made the long run up the Nassau River (with a short pit stop to throw out a minnow trap) and made our way around to Pumpkin Hill with a plan to fish an a tide that had started out an hour or so ago.

Chris was tossing  a top water and Britt tossed one of my float rigs with a minnow and I think it was Britt's first cast and BOOM! Keeper sized Seatrout on!. We made another few pitches, picked up another Trout or two, then began to work the bank. They changed rods and when something big rolled up on bait behind us, Chris cast directly from bow, over the boat and behing the stern and BOOM! His lure was engulfed. He played it patiently and soon landed a hard fighting Jack Crevalle. The picked up another Trout on the lure, found a feisty Red or two, then we ran back down the Nassau River to fish Spanish Drop.

We had for bait: left over mud minnows, some finger mullet that we had cast for, and some barely-alive miniature Pogey's and I think all three put a fish in the boat. Working some now exposed oysters, the two brothers caught a few more Trout and Reds, a couple of small Mangrove Snapper, a keeper sized Flounder, and a Catfish. At our last stop they picked one more Trout letting their jig and finger mullet fall through the water column, and with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.