Saturday, May 27, 2017


We waited for the tide to start out today, beginning our trip at 11am and launching from the Dee Dee Bartels Park and boat ramp. Boy what a crowd. The entire lot was packed so I had to put my truck and trailer around at the back lot.  And boats were still piling in when Ross and Lindsey Goldstein and I left the ramp to head over to the outside of Tiger to fish some flooded marsh grass with float rigs and mud minnows.

We had a few nibbles and made casts to one tailing Redfish, but had no luck so we headed up and around Tiger to make one more stop at a large outflow, targeting it with mud minnows on a jig. Again, no real bites. We continued on up to Snook Creek in the Jolley River and switched back to float rigs, easing along the bank and working the grass. Finally, we had a good bite and Lindsey reeled in a nice hungry Seatrout.

We had been working it pretty good and it was getting hot so we made a run over to Cumberland Island, eased  up into Beach Creek and cruised along the hammock, then came back out and along the southern point. There were some wild horses in the distance but not close enough to get a good look. After passing by Fort Clinch we made one more stop at Old Town before we headed in, counting it as another great day to be on the water here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Manatee More Manatee and Submarine

We thought we'd try and squeeze in a fishing trip today before the high winds hit us, and barely did we get one in. I met Josh and Melissa Daniel up at the Dee Dee Bartel park and boat ramp early and we headed up to the outside of Tiger with the hopes of targeting some tailing Redfish with fly rods. We had an hour or so before the tide got up so we set up off some flooded marsh grass and Josh tossed a shrimp fly while Melissa used spinning gear and mud minnows. Josh commented that he saw something in the water and when it came to the top we saw that it was a cruising Manatee! Cool! As they continued to fish  I noticed off in the channel a submarine was being escorted in. Super Cool!

We had no bites so we ran up into Tiger Basin and checked some marsh flats and saw that it was pretty evident that they were not going to flood with the increasing west wind. We hit one spot in Bell River with the spinning tackle while we were buffeted by the wind - had no luck - so we cruised around to Lanceford Creek and it was like a pond there!  Just as the two anglers began to fish we could see a commotion going on up near the grass. More Manatees!  There were two big "amorous" manatees and what looked like three toddlers. We watched them as they eased by the  boat, oblivious to us, then we worked around to a dock and fished it with the minnows and a sinking shrimp fly - still no luck.

Our next stop was further up Lanceford and here Josh "knocked the skunk off" when he landed a hungry Seatrout. The tide was dropping now so we hit one more dock and after thoroughly working it, Josh had a strong hookup and, BIG FISH ON! It was pulling deep and hard and I thought for sure it would wrap around a piling but Josh applied just the right amount of pressure and pulled him out of there. We moved out to deeper water and after that it was just a matter of patience before Josh landed a big 20" Black "puppy" Drum, boy what a fish!  Although it was a slow day of fish caching we had a very eventful day, making memories here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Uptick In Fish Catching

We switched to mud minnows and fished north today and there was a slight  uptick in fish catches. I had met Ray Shannon and his brother-in-law Doyle up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park early this morning and we headed up to the outside of Tiger to fish some seriously flooded oysters on the very first of an outgoing tide. The two anglers worked the marsh grass with float rigs and minnows and had a couple of good bites before Doyle had a strong hookup. This fish was pulling some drag so we knew it was a decent fish. Doyle kept the pressure on and after a good battle landed a nice 21" Slot sized Redfish. (All fish were released today).

Then, moments later, Ray had a hookup. His rod was bouncing and the drag was ripping - I was thinking big Trout - but after he expertly worked it to the boat, we netted a fairly big, hard fighting Bluefish.

We jumped over to Manatee Cove, eased along the bank and both anglers put a couple of hungry Seatrout in the boat. After running through Tiger and over to Bell, we fished  marshy point and again, caught a couple of Seatrout. 

We fished the Tiki hut at Oyster Bay, caught one Sea Bass, then headed over to Eagans Creek to fish some dock pilings. This did the trick. Both Ray and Doyle were tossing jigs and minnows and both had good hookups with Slot Sized Redfish. We caught 2-3 of those, then a small "rat" Red, then made one last stop at the mouth of Bell before calling it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Making a Day Out of It

I did two trips today, the first with long time customer Bob Blalock. We met down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp under beautiful skies and with just a slight breeze and headed up the intercoastal and into Jackstaff and around to a small marsh runout to fish float rigs on the very first of an outgoing tide. I had a bait well full of live shrimp. Bob was making excellent casts but we had  not a nibble.

We bounced over to the bank of Jackstaff and fished it with jigs, hitting the marsh run outs and even though we had some good hard strikes, no takers. Our next stop was over at some dock pilings and Seymore's Pointe where we had a couple of nibbles - then down the Nassau to fish some exposed oysters beds. Again, we had a good bite, some drag ripped, and off it came! Ouch!

We fished some rocks along Seymore's Pointe and Bob weeded through a handful of Mangrove Snapper to get a couple of keeper size, then we made a final stop down at Broward Island. We hadn't fished it long before Bog had a strong bite, a good hookup and after a good battle, he landed a 18" Flounder, big enough to put him in first place in the 2017 Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament -Flounder Category (scroll down the right side of this report for standings).  I think we  had one more good bite but no takers, so we called it a morning, another great one to be out fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

After eating a packed lunch and stretching my legs, I met Scott Hamilton at the same boat ramp. This time, we headed straight for Broward Island to fish the first of an incoming tide. The wind had picked up, blowing out of the south east, and the island blocked it perfectly to make for some easy fishing. Unfortunately the fish didn't cooperate, other than one feisty Red that we put in the boat.

We fished it thoroughly then ran back to the Seymore's Pointe area and even though the wind was blocked somewhat, it was still kicking us around pretty good. We fished a couple of docks, had some bites, moved to another and played cat and mouse with some Mangroves. Just as we were about to leave, Scott had a strong hookup and his drag began to rip, FISH ON!  But this fish was in some shallow, oyster infested waters and within seconds it had burrowed down and cut itself off, darn it.

We ran around Seymore's, heading back towards Christopher and ran smack into a wall of thunderstorms and rain - so we did a U-turn and headed back to the boat ramp, lighting chasing us all the way. Still, we had a good few hours of being out on the water here at Amelia Island.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Final Hour

It's fishing. That's what we kept telling ourselves this morning. We had done everything right - consulted all the fishing forecasters, got out early on a good tide, and followed a plan that considered the tides. Each spot we hit we expected fish. I had met Louis Welch and his son Richard up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park and we made a quick run up and around to the outside of Tiger Island with plans to fish a nice marsh runout on the outgoing tide with mud minnows and jigs. After catching a good handful of Flounder during the week I thought this spot would be teeming with the flat fish. Both anglers were making excellent casts  and working their minnows back slowly, but we had no bites.

We moved around to the mouth of the Jolley and worked the "bank". The oysters were showing and we worked it thoroughly but had no real bites, other than a brief encounter with a high flying Ladyfish. We ran further up the Jolley, fished the mouth of Snook Creek, had one hookup with a  hungry Trout, but no more takers. We bounced around to the MOA, had one brief hookup, and again, no takers. OUCH.  So much for the MOA!

 Continuing on, we ran around to the Bell River and fished some dock pilings. No bites. With only about an hour in the trip to go, we made the long run back around to Tiger and slipped in behind the island.

Louis and Richard were pitching the pockets and in just a short time, Richard felt his jig being tapped. He tightened the line, gave it another second or two, then set the hook with a firm rod tip lift and, BIG FISH ON! We could tell right off that this was a big fish by the way the drag was ripping. It tried to get up into the logs but Richard kept the pressure on and when he got it worked out a bit we eased the boat out into deeper water where the  battle continued. The fish ripped drag a couple of times but Richard was up to the task and eventually landed a nice 26.75"  "tournament" sized Slot Redfish, boy what a fish!  We worked up and down tha bank and Louis added two more Slot sized Reds while Richard added one of his own. Although the first 3/4's of he trip was tough, the last hour made it all OK, so we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Little Bit of Everything at Amelia Island

The typical summer catch continued to today with multiple species caught: Flounder, Jack Crevalle, an Eel!, Seatrout, and Mangrove Snapper. I had met Phil and Susan Raymond down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early this morning and we made a quick run up the intercoastal to dip into Jackstaff with plans to fish the first bank on an outgoing tide. The mud minnows that I had saved from yesterday had all died overnight but I had some live shrimp to use.

We began fishing the bank, tossing to the exposed oysters and in just minutes Phil had a hookup. It was a strange bite and sure enough, after he worked it patiently to the boat, he landed a nice keeper sized Flounder (all fish were released today). We continued to work the bank and after Phil snagged some shell - we got the jig to come loose - and when we reeled it in there was a small eel attached to the hook!

We crossed over the creek and fished a sandbar and here Phil picked up a couple of Seatrout in quick succession. Susan got on the board when she successfully battled a hard fighting Jack Crevalle.

We ran through Jackstaff and made a quick stop at one dock and within minutes the duo were catching keeper sized Mangrove Snapper.  Landed a few, added a small Flounder, then we ran down to Broward Island. We were drifting with the current, tossing our jigs up to the bank and letting the current carry it down and Susan had a strong bite. She played it patiently to the boat and landed a big 18" Seatrout. Phil added one or two, Susan added another, then we made one last stop back at some exposed oysters at Nassau River.

Phil picked up a brilliantly blue Blue Crab and another Jack Crevalle and after playing hide and seek with a couple of Bonnethead Sharks, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Variety Continues

Red Drum, Seatrout, Flounder, Mangrove Snapper and....Catfish. That was the variety count today. I met Brian Shuford and his father in law Mike down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp early this morning and we headed up the Nassau River, making our first stop at two marsh runouts with plans to fish the last hour or two of the outgoing tide with jig, shrimp and mud minnows. The two anglers started right off, making excellent casts to the bank, but we had no real bites.

The wind was kicking a bit so we ran up to Seymore's Pointe, found some shelter, and fished some dock pilings - but still no bites. So we headed down to Broward Island and with the wind out of the SE, it was like fishing on a pond! It was the very last of the outgoing tide and both Brian and Mike were working the bank thoroughly, tossing their jigs up current and letting them bounce back with the current slowly,  when Brian "knocked the skunk off" with a hungry Seatrout catch. Then, within minutes, he had another bite, this one stronger. He played the fish perfectly and patiently and after a good battle, landed a nice Slot Sized Redfish. Then Mike got on the board when he boated a fat Seatrout. We worked up and down the bank, picked up a small Mangrove, then Mike had a good "bump" he worked it in slowly and just as I was about to net a keeper sized Flounder, off it came - OUCH. Typical of a Flounder to come off at the boat, though.

We made one last stop back at Seymore's Pointe and wrapped things up with another Mangrove catch and one slimey Catfish. And with that, we called it  day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Summer Time Amelia Island Fishing

I do think summer is almost here, based on the variety of fish we're catching. I met Domenic and Victoria Ferrelli down at the Atlantic Seafood dock on the very last of an outgoing tide and we popped over to fish an exposed oyster bank at the mouth of Bell River. The two anglers were tossing live shrimp on jigs and although they were making excellent casts, we only picked  up an ugly Sea Robin.

We made run around to Tiger Island and began to fish as the tide started in. Victoria caught a hungry Mangrove Snapper then we had a good bite and, FISH ON! Domenic commented that it wasn't very big but when the drag began to rip he changed his mind! At one time I thought the big fish was going
to get up in the logs but Domenic kept the pressure on and worked him out to deeper water and after a good battle, landed a "Tournament" sized 26.5" Slot Redfish -with 10 spots! Boy what a fish! We worked the bank thoroughly and later Victoria had a good bite. She worked it to the boat and landed a hungry Black "puppy" Drum.

We ran around and up to the Jolley River, fished the "bank", but had no real bites, then moved further up the river. Both Domenic and Victoria put a couple of Bonnethead Sharks in the boat, a couple of Jack Crevalle, another Black Drum, then Domenic wrapped things up with a nice 22" Slot Redfish. With that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, May 15, 2017

More Like a Soccer Match

Boy what a pretty morning we had today! Just a tad bit cool running to the first spot, not a cloud in the sky, and only a slight  breeze that helped keep the no-seeum's away. I had met Dale Steinkamp and his nephews Parker and Chaz down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and after the safety orientation, made the long run around to Broward Island to take advantage of the first of an incoming tide.

Except that the tide was still going out when we got there! All three anglers were tossing mud minnows on jigs to the shoreline and all three began to fill "bumps" on their baits. It was the older angler, Dale, that "knocked the skunk off" when he patiently let the fish take his minnow then he slowly set the hook and, fish on! He worked it to the boat and landed a nice keeper sized Flounder. Dale quickly proved that his technique was no fluke when he boated a 2nd, a 3rd and a 4th keeper sized Flounder - the biggest being around 18".  The guys were drawing comparisons to the Patriot/Falcons game as Dale pulled way ahead in the "catch" total. We worked up and down the island, had a bite here and there, then made a run back down the Nassau River to fish some still exposed shell banks.

With the water being so clear we actually saw two Redfish cruising the shallows but just as we were making our casts a big Bonnethead rushed out of on outlet and scared them off. We fished some docks at Seymore's Pointe but had no bites then ran back to Pumpkin Hill where Parker put a nice Black Tip Shark in the boat. But other than that, Team Young Angler was about to have concede to the more experienced guy in the boat. We ran out of time and called it day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida!

 But wait! On the way back to the ramp we passed a spot that had been occupied earlier and with some bait still in the boat, we "put time back on the clock" (just like a soccer game) and stopped to fish. All three anglers began to get bites, then Chaz hooked up and landed a keeper sized Mangrove Snapper. Then he and Parker had a double hookup and both landed  Snapper. Chaz made another cast and when his float disappeared and his drag began to sing, we knew this was a bigger fish. Chaz played it patiently and soon landed a nice 21" Slot sized Redfish. He later picked up two more keeper sized Snapper and with the added time, took bragging rights for biggest fish of the day!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Making a Meal with Mangroves

You may have noticed I haven't reported trips the last week or so. That's because the couple of trips that I had around Shrimp Fest there wasn't much to report, other than not much biting in the back water. I hear the big bull Reds can be had out at the jetties if  you're in to that kind of fishing, but the backwater, coupled with high winds, has been kinda tough.

 But I fished yesterday with some regulars, Dennis Brizzi and his buddy Hal, meeting them out at the Goffinsville Park early morning. We made a quick run over to Pumpkin Hill, set up along some oysters and began to ease along the bank, tossing jigs and shrimp on the first of an incoming tide. Although conditions looked right and the shell banks looked enticing, we only picked up a couple of high flying Ladyfish.

Being in the area, we made a quick stop down at Broward Island and set up outside a large marsh runout. The two anglers were still tossing the jigs and within minutes Dennis had a hookup, called it "small", then his drag began to sing! It was a big fish. He played it patiently and eventually landed a nice 23" Slot Redfish.

Dennis had his spot picked out, went back to it a few times, had a good bite, but no take, then he had another hookup and landed a nice keeper sized Flounder.  We moved up a ways, tossing jigs forward and letting them bounce back with the current and found a hard fighting Jack Crevalle, then a fat keeper sized Seatrout that Hal worked to the boat.

Our next stop was back at the Horsehead area, fishing a now covered oyster bank, looking for Reds. The two anglers were tossing float rigs with a short leader along the oysters and began to pick up Mangrove Snapper. They've been getting bigger over the last month and these were of keeper size. I had one strong hookup that I felt like was a Redfish but within in seconds it dashed across the oyster bar as drag was ripping and cut itself off. Darn it!  After getting a good mess of the Mangroves, we made one last stop around at Seymore's Pointe and limited out on the Mangroves (5 a piece). With that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.