Saturday, May 19, 2018

Crazy Ending

I fished today with "soon to be neighbors" Wade Kirkland and Greg Bancroft, meeting them early up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp.  We headed north and west with plans to fish Tiger, but with the extremely low and turning tide, we had to creep in, but we made it. The two anglers were tossing live shrimp on 1/4oz jigs up to the bank, letting them fall, and fishing them slowly back. One of Greg's first casts produced a bump, a hookup and a fish - a nice feisty Black "puppy" Drum, and the skunk was off!

We worked up and down the bank, fishing the pockets and it was
then Wade's turn. He had a soft bump and then his line was "heavy". Wade slowly reeled it in and when it came to the surface, the fight began! Big Flounder!  Wade played it perfectly and soon landed a nice 18" Flounder! This fish put's Wade in first place in the 2018 Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament (scroll down the right side of this report for standings)  Then Greg landed a nice Redfish.  They had a Slam at the first spot! After fishing the area thoroughly, we moved on, making a run up to the Jolley River to fish the Bank.

The tide was still coming in but the oysters were showing so Wade
took the bow and fished a jig while Greg fished the stern with a float rig. Greg put another Redfish in the boat so Wade switched to a float rig and he too landed a nice Slot Redfish (this one was packed full of fiddler crabs, and still eating!).  Our next stop was further up the river at Snook Creek. We picked up another Slot Red and Greg landed the first Bonnethead of the year.

Our final stop was back at Bell River, fishing the flooding marsh grass and oyster beds. After Greg put another shark in the boat, drifting a live shrimp out the back, he had another hookup. Greg
worked the fish patiently in and landed a nice keeper size Seatrout (a Grande Slam). We were about to wrap things up when Wade's float disappeared with a vengeance! Big Fish On! This fish was ripping drag and digging down to the bottom. It headed straight for the grass line then BAM! The line went tight and we all thought the fish had gotten ensnarled in some grass. Greg was getting his line in and then he and I saw another float back at the stern of the boat with a BIG Redfish could that be?

The big Redfish had headed for the grass after getting hooked, wrapped around some oysters, then headed out deep. It appeared the line and fish were up at the bank but in reality the fish was out by the boat! Just a little closer and I could have netted it! It made one more lunge and BAP! The 15# braid parted and the fish was gone! You gotta respect a fish that put's up a battle link that. It made a great ending to another outstanding day fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fly Caught Red

I squeezed in a fishing trip this morning, trying to beat the afternoon thunderstorms, and met Webster Jorgensen and his dad, Jim, down at the south end boat ramp. We were "fly fishing only" so we met early - 6:30am - just as the sun was coming up and headed up the Nassau River to make our first stop along a shell bed on the very last of an outgoing tide. Both anglers were making nice casts and we worked the bank slowly. I know Webster had at least one "take" along that first stretch, but the fish spit the fly.

We worked some beds at Seymore's, then some docks, then headed down to Broward Island to take advantage of the incoming tide. We were fishing intermediate sinking lines and tried a number of fly patterns: shrimpy flies, buggy flies, clousers and crabby flies. The water is deeper here so Webster and Jim had to let their flies sink slowly and finally it paid off when Jim had a hard bite, a set, and a hookup and, Fish On!  He played the fish expertly, slowly stripping in until he go it on the reel, then let the rod wear it out. After a good fight he landed a nice 19" Slot Red.

We finished the trip fishing some now flooding shell beds with some smaller suspended shrimp before we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Stormy Fishing

I've gotten wet the last 3 days fishing and it's dampened me and it seems, the fishing!  Yesterday I fished with Matthew and Emily Cannon, meeting them at the Dee Dee Bartels Park.  We fished float rigs outside of Tiger (and Matthew tossed the fly rod) but had no real bites. We bounced around to Bell River where Matthew picked up a Seatrout that was right at legal size but then again, no more bites. We fished the Tiger logs where Emily had a good bite, a hookup, but it threw the hook!  That happened 2-3 more times as we fished the Jolley River Bank, Snook Creek, MOA and the Bell River Docks. Tough fishing as some severe thunderstorms rolled in!

Today I fished with Bob Blalock and we were seriously handicapped with no live bait. Our first stop was to throw out a minnow trap then we fished cut-bait and Gulp Shrimp along Broward Island, but had no bites.  After checking the trap (skunked there!) we came back -made a pit stop at Goffinsville to get out of a rainstorm - then on to Seymore's Pointe, fished some docks with some dead shrimp and with overcast skies, decided to toss a topwater lure. Bob was working it perfectly and at one point had a couple of fish "spit" at it, rather aggressively, but not aggressive enough! After trying our luck for Mangrove Snapper we made one last stop at Christopher Creek and finally, Bob hooked up with a fat keeper sized Seatrout (released) and then a huge Jack Crevalle. 

March's temperature fluctuations, April's winds and this weeks rain storms will hopefully give way to some great fishing here at Amelia Island.....soon!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Drum or Jack?

We gambled with the weather this afternoon when I planned to meet Jeff Sousa and his father-in-law Skip down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. After raining all last night, it looked very threatening when we headed out and up the Nassau River to make our first stop off some exposed oysters on an outgoing tide.

 The duo were pitching jigs and live shrimp to the bank, up current, and it didn't take long for Jeff to "knock the skunk off" when he hooked up and landed a Seatrout that was right at "keeper" size (all fish caught today were released). Then shortly after that he had a strong bite, a hookup, and the big fish made a dash for deeper water...and it began
to rain...and the fight was on!
Jeff played it patiently and eventually landed a hard fighting Jack Crevalle.  Then Skip followed that up by catching a high flying Ladyfish.  We hit a large marsh run-out but had no real bites and with the wind beginning to kick us around pretty good, we made the run down to Broward Island to get out of the SE wind.

The move paid off - it was like fishing on a pond and with the tide just having a couple of more hours to hit bottom, I thought for sure that we were in the right spot. Nope. Both Jeff and Skip were making excellent casts, working the bank slowly, and we fished a good 100 yards or so, but to no avail. Not a single "real" bite.  So back out into the wind we went, and down to Seymore's Pointe where we set up with the bow into the wind and stern at some dock pilings which made for some easy casting...and luckily the fish were there! Both Jeff and Skip traded hookups, catching some hard fighting Jack Crevalle, then landing some keeper sized Black "puppy" Drum, then more Jacks, then more Drum.

We almost forgot the wind and bad weather until we pulled up and started in and saw a huge thundercloud to the south! But we buzzed back to the ramp and made it just in time before the rain started, so we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Slalom Ski Water

I fished again with Tom and Teresa Gaslin, up from Jax celebrating their anniversary, and taking in an Amalia Island Back Country fishing trip. I met them up at the north end  and boy was the water calm - and it stayed that way! At one point Tom commented that the water was so slick it was "slalom ski water"! 

Our first stop was over on the outside of Tiger and wouldn't you know it, first cast, the "demo" cast, we had a hookup.  Teresa worked it expertly to the boat and landed a fat Seartrout.  It was so close to "keeper size" we'd of had to
debate with the Game Warden, so we tossed it back.  We continued to work the flooded marsh grass as the tide started out, tossing float rigs with live shrimp, but we only had a nibble or two, so we cranked and ran up the outside of Tiger. We made one short stop at a marsh runout and tossed jigs but had no bites, so we continued on around to the Jolley "bank" and went back to float rigs. Not much happening there.

After running further up the Jolley and going back to float rigs to work the now exposed oysters Teresa finally had a good bite. As her float sank out of sight she reeled up her slack, set the hook, and Fish On! It was big enough to be pulling some drag and when it boiled up near the bank we knew it was a Slot Redfish. Teresa patiently played the fish to the boat and landed a nice 20" Slot Red.  And shortly after that her and Tom both had there floats disappear and their drags were ripping...and ripping...and gone! I think it may have been our first Bonnetheads of the year.

We bounced around the corner to the MOA and both Tom and Teresa landed a couple of Trout then wrapped up the day drifting along oyster beds, tossing jigs. Teresa added one more Trout to the catch. It was an absolutely beautiful day and a great one to be out on Amelia Island waters celebrating an anniversary.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Perfect Tide

I did an afternoon trip today, meeting Rick and Candi VanHove and their son Mason up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp shortly after noon. We had what I'd call a perfect tide, low and the first of an incoming, so we had to creep thru the mouth of Tiger but then we made our way around to deep water. No Shrimp today! As most know, inshore shrimping has been closed since April and will stay closed thru May and live bait shrimp are hard to come by. But we had some lively mud minnows and we baited up with those on our 1/4oz jigs and the anglers began pitching to the bank.  I was really encouraged
when Rich had a hookup, a strong bite, and he battled a nice feisty Redfish to the net. Skunk Off!

But after that we had not much of a nibble so we came back out and ran up to the Jolley River to fish some still exposed oysters.  Candi and Mason were fishing float rigs back in the stern while Rick stayed with a jig up on the bow and it was Rick again who had a hookup, this time putting a keeper sized Seatrout in the boat.   We did have a nibble here and there but no more takers, so we continued on around to some docks at Bell River. After getting no bites there, we finished the loop back to the mouth of Bell, where we hit a couple of flooded oysters. We did have a few bites that pulled the float under, but nothing that must have any size.

As it turned out, it was somewhat of slow day. But it was nice and sunny and a pleasure to be out on the water here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Big Trout Starts The Day

It was a Chamber of Commerce type of morning today -slightly cool, clear and just a tad bit of breeze. I had met Keith Guernsey down at the south end ramp and we made the run up the Amelia River and then dipped in to Jackstaff to make our first stop. The tide had been going out a few hours and some shell was showing but we started off with float rigs and live shrimp. We were seeing much more bait moving around and the area looked great - we did have a few bites and one Flounder to the boat - but none landed.

We bounced across the creek, fished a point of
grass, and after Keith made an excellent cast to some "worried water", BOOM!  He had a hookup. We could tell this fish was big by the way it was ripping drag and I thought for sure it was going to be a Redfish. But no, after Keith patiently worked it to the net, we saw that it was a big 20" Seatrout! Now that's the way to knock the skunk off!

We ran thru Horsehead and around to the Nassau River and fished some now exposed oysters and marsh run-outs and here Keith battled a big Jack Crevalle - man they fight fun!

Our next stop was down at Broward Island on the last of an outgoing tide and even though the conditions looked perfect, we had no takers.  We made one final stop back at some docks at Seymore's Pointe and finished up with a keeper sized 17" Black "puppy" Drum. The fish we caught were nice sizes so we adapted the "quality over quantity" attitude and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Take The Kids Crabbing

If you're looking for a fun, easy, and inexpensive outing with the kids, take them crabbing!  All you really need is a 20' piece of string, a piece of raw chicken, a catch net (Amelia Island Bait and Tackle), and a bucket.  My grandkids were in town recently for a short visit and I like to get them out of the house so we picked up some picnic items and headed out to Goffinsville Park on a low and incoming tide. It's easy!

We set up 4 stations, pushing a wooden stake into the mud and making  a loop on our string then we tossed a chicken leg tied to the other end out into the river. After all 4 stations were baited we moved back and forth and
check each one. There was a crab attached almost every time! Slowly ease the string in and be ready with the catch net. Most were small but we did get some of edible size.

Another "crab angler" was there and her technique was to use just a 8 piece of string. She'd toss it out and let the crabs come to it. Her net was stouter than ours and seemed to hold up better. We did find that we could lay our net on the river bottom and drag the crab up close then scoop it up rather than jabbing at it.

An added bonus was that there were tons of small conch's with crabs in them that could be picked up easily. All of the Blue Crabs that we caught along with the conchs were released. Once they get bigger maybe we'll crank up the steamer! 

After a couple of hours of fun at the waters edge, we moved up to the picnic tables and had a good picnic. Great times with kids can be had here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, May 7, 2018

One of Each

We survived Shrimp Festival and was back at it today, fishing an afternoon trip with Josh Denham and his friend David. I met them down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and we made the short run up the Intercoastal to dip into Jackstaff with plans to fish float rigs and live shrimp up to the flooding grass on a still-incoming tide.  We had a couple of bites but no takers but then Josh's float disappeared with a vengeance and, Fish on! He worked it patiently to the boat and landed a nice keeper sized Seatrout. Shortly after that he had a furious bite and this was a big fish! It ripped the drag as it raced around the boat,
taking Josh from bow to stern and around the engine. But it was no match for Josh and after a good battle he landed a hard fighting Jack Crevalle.

Our next stop was over at Christopher Creek, now fishing with jigs and shrimp on the last of that incoming tide, and we did pick up one feisty Redfish. We came out of there and back to Seymore's Pointe and David got on the board with a nice Black "puppy" Drum catch.

Our next stop was down along the Nassau, pitching jigs on an outgoing tide now. I think David had been holding back because his rod got hot - he hooked up and landed a high flying Ladyfish, then fought a big Catfish to the net. It seemed like we were getting "one of each" species!  But then Josh finished it off with another big Ladyfish catch. It was a beautiful day to be out on the water and another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Right Time Right Place

The beautiful weather continued - what an awesome day to be out on the water here at Amelia Island! I met Dennis Brizzi and his buddy Hal out at the Goffinsville Park boat ramp early this morning and the tide had been coming in for about an hour so we made the quick run to Broward Island and set up off the bank in about 28' of water. Both anglers were tossing jigs and shrimp to the bank and....BOOM! Big fish on! I think it was Dennis's 2nd or third cast and he had a big one. And Hal hooked up too! Hal's came in first and it was a big fat keeper sized Seatrout. Dennis's was ripping drag, back in the current and it was going
to be a while! He played it perfectly and eventually landed a 26.75" "Tournament Sized" Redfish. I bet we hadn't been fishing 5 minutes! 

For another 30-45 minutes we caught fish. The duo landed another couple of Redfish, a keeper sized Flounder, another smaller Flounder, and then another Slot Redfish. Finally! We were seeing some mullet and this was the first day I've noted the water temperature being over 70 in the backwater.

We move down a bit and fished the island with jigs. Dennis put a keeper Trout in the boat, then both angler's rods ripped, WE GOT A DOUBLE!  Hal was fighting his fish up at the bow and Dennis was at the stern while I was ready with the net to see who's came to the surface first. Dennis worked his in and landed another Slot Redfish but Hal's was digging deep, not knowing it was to no avail! Hal kept the pressure on, played it perfectly and soon landed a big 25.5" Slot Redfish - they had their limit!
After fishing a short stretch with no more bites (the fish had met their match), we ran back north.

Fishing some rocks at Seymore's Pointe, Dennis battled and subdued a big Ladyfish....and I believe that was the last fish with had for the day!  The fishing was unbelievably crazy good for the first 45 minutes of the trip, then it fell off to nothing...but that first stretch made for some good memories of a great day of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.