Boy what a beautiful day we had today! I had met Kay and Dale Bullard at the southend boat ramp at Big Talbot Island Park this morning, a little later due to the high tide - and we even waited a little longer because the parking lot was flooded. But once it receded we launched and headed north up to the Horsehead area to fish the first of the outgoing tide with float rigs and live shrimp. The water was very still and it was almost like bream fishing with bobbers on a lake - except they weren't biting! But these anglers were persistent and it paid off. They picked up a feisty Bluefish then a little later we switched to a jig and shrimp and as Kay perfected her cast she picked up a nice Seatrout along the banks of Jackstaff. We made a second swipe and when Kay thought she had hung on an oyster she applied some pressure but the drag began to rip! FISH ON! And what a fish it was! She played the fish perfectly and when this wiley fish found a crab trap rope to wrapt itself around we deftly repositioned and the fight was back on! When the big fish came to the surface Dale commented that "it looked like a manhole cover"! I had thought that it may be a big Redfish but when I saw the stripes I knew that it was a huge Sheepshead. Kay worked the big fish to the net and landed the big 23 3/4" fish. All of our hearts were pumping after this fish fight! This fish put Kay into first place in the 2013 Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament and set a new record for The Anglers Mark! (Scroll down right side of this report for standings) We it a couple of spots in the Nassau River then headed over to Broward Island where both Dale and Kay had good hookkups with feisty Redfish and we also picked up another Trout. With that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Hooray! Today was the first day in over a week that we didn't have double digit winds! I had met the Wasserman family - Michael and Ali along with their two kids Annie and Corie, down at the City marina for an early morning Amelia Island back country fishing trip. We headed north with only a slight breeze, but overcast skies and made our first stop outside Tiger Island at "Manatee Creek" to fish with live shrimp under floats. We had no bites there and across the creek so we moved on up into the creek as the high tide finally started to come out of the marsh grass. After not getting any real bites we moved back around to the front side of Tiger and even though we only had one "bait stealer", I could see that some fish were beginning to get active. We made our last stop as the tide began to really move out and the fishing heated up! Young Annie hooked up and boated a feisty Redfish, then landed another shortly after. Corey had a hookup and the two young anglers began to "double team" the fish with one holding the rod and the other reeling! They worked out a great system and landed fish after fish from their secret spot. Then dad Michael got in on the action and picked up a few hungry Seatrout then began to pickup Redfish, too. Ali was snapping pictures of the fishing team as the action continued. Corey reeled in a nice Flounder to round out the family's Amelia Island Back Country Slam and they all stayed busy fishing up until the last minute. I had told the kids that they should always tell the truth but it was sometimes OK to fudge the truth in fishing so when Corey announced that they had caught 1000 fish we all had a good laugh! With that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Fat from yesterday's Thanksgiving meal(s), we decided to get in some Amelia Island back country fishing Friday morning. I had met Matt Block and his sons Dempsey, Copeland and Hunter down at the Atlantic Seafood dock and with a pretty good breeze blowing we headed north to fish the Tiger Islands. I had thought we'd get in some float fishing but as we entered Tiger Basin I saw that the oysters were well exposed on the outoing tide so we went with the jig and shrimp combo. And boy was the fishing on fire! These young anglers didn't waste any time putting fish in the boat, almost one after the other. They landed umpteen Redfish with at least three going 23", 24" and 25" and probably had a few others in the slot. Copeland had the biggest Red while Dempsey put the most in the boat. Hunter added a very large Flounder and caught a nice fat Trout, too. The Block brothers had what I'd call an "Amelia Island Grand Slam" by landing Redfish, Seatrout, Sheepshead and Flounder. We had a great time catching fish and headed then headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Sunday, November 17, 2013
That's what Patrick Verner's dad used to say when he needed to get out of the house and go fishing. That was our plan yesterday when I met Patrick and his wife Michele down at the marina to get out into Amelia Island's back waters for an afternoon of light tackle fishing. Patrick and Michelle were visiting Amelia Island from the Orlando area and staying at the Elizabeth Pointe Lodge to celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary and knew of no better way to top the weekend off than to get out on the water and "wet a line". We had somewhat of a breeze out of the north east so I headed up to Tiger Island to have the land mass block the wind but when we rounded the island there were at least 3 boats fishing the area, maybe even 4. I knew that there was a Trout Tournament going on and knew that there would be more boats than the usual weekend traffic. Nevertheless, we found a spot to squeeze in and set out to toss some live shrimp on a jig to the shoreline. Our first cast was up near some logs and as Michele worked it back slowly, BOOM! FISH ON! And a big fish it was! She played the fish patiently and after a long battle, landed a nice 24" Slot Red! From then and about 2 1/2 hours it was FISH ON! FISH ON! The couple caught and landed at least 9 Slot sized Redfish, more than we could count undersized Redfish, a good handful of Seatrout of which at least one was keeper sized, and then Michele rounded out her personal Amelia Island Backcountry Slam by boating a 14" Flounder. (IF we had been in the Tournament, Michele could have entered her catch in the Slam category). Crazy. That's what we were all saying about the fishing trip. Just Crazy. With only about 45 minutes to go before sundown, we headed around to the outside of Tiger and set up behind an oyster bed and immediately began to catch fish on float rigs and live shrimp. Here, Patrick had the hot rod as he boated Seatrout after Seatrout with three being keeper sized to 17". He also had a feisty Redfish which we hoped was going to be a Big Seatrout then he hooked up with something even bigger, FISH ON! He played this fish perfectly and patiently and eventually landed another big Slot Red, measuring in at 24". Crazy. Just Crazy. We headed in as the sun was going down, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Jacksonville Florida resident Mike Kaiser had set up an Amelia Island back country fishing trip for yesterday morning with his daughter Kathryn so I met them at the Atlantic Seafood dock at 8am to fish the first of an outgoing tide. We headed north to fish the flooded oyster beds outside of Tiger Island with live shrimp under float rigs. Good for me that Mike and Kathryn were patient anglers because the water was still way up in the grass and we had no real bites at the first areas we fished. But we were treated to the procession of a submarine leaving Kings Bay and heading out to the ocean. We eventually made run up to the Jolley River and found a nice marsh runout to fish. Mike hooked up with a nice hungry Seatrout then Kathryn followed it up with one of her own. We fished Snook Creek with no luck then headed back to fish Jolley Bank. I switched the two to jigs/shrimp even though the oysters were still covered but these two worked the rig perfectly and both landed some feisty Redfish. Our last stop was at Tiger Island and here the anglers patience paid off. Kathryn had the hot rod, landing a number of Redfish, Seatrout and a Sheepshead to round out her very own Amelia Island Backcountry Slam, and Mike got his too, by picking up a Flounder along with Reds and Trout. It was a beautiful morning and a great day to be fishing out on Amelia Island waters! Can you find the raccoon in one of the pictures?
Friday, November 15, 2013
Jay Bogdan was in town for work and we squeezed in a super early Amelia Island back country fishing trip this morning. We met down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and launched the boat with a high tide pushing water up into the parking lot. After running north up the Amelia River we eased off into Jackstaff and tossed a topwater lure with no luck. We moved on up into the marsh, switched to live shrimp under a float and began to fish the flooded marsh grass. We found a nice run out to fish and Jay began to hookup with hungry, hard fighting Seatrout. He landed 5-6 in a nice flurry then as the bite slowed we moved on to fish a bank with the oysters beginning to show. Jay commented it was his 3rd cast with a jig/shrimp combo and something bumped his bait then bit it hard, FISH ON! This fish bulled down deep then rolled at the top, nd I knew it was a big Redfish! Then the line went slack. OUCH! Fish Off? Nope, he was running right at us! Jay quickly reeled up the slack and he was back in action, keeping the pressure on the big fish. We battled the fish down the creek with Jay going from bow to stern to midship to stern and back to midship before we landed the big 32 1/4" Redfish! Boy what a fish fight! This fish placed Jay in 3rd place in The Anglers Mark 2013 Bragging Rights Tournament(scroll down right side of this report for standings). We continued to fish the bank and it's runouts, had a few nibbles, then called it a day, another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Friday, November 8, 2013
We had a very nice day forecastd today, except for the wind. I'd set up a morning trip with Kent Hendershot and his friends Nick and Mark and we met at the Atlantic Seafood dock. They were staying at the Addison on Amelia, just a short walk to the marina. It was already blowing but there were clear skies so we decided to give it a shot. And a shot it was, almost like one of those Red Bull's! We headed up Bell River to fish some dock pilings and after turning The Anglers Mark into the current and wind, the anglers began to cast a jig/shrimp combo up to the pilings and an adjacent oyster bed on an incoming tide. It wasn't long before the fun started! All three anglers began to get hookup after hookup. I had pruchased 6-7 dozen live hrimp this morning and we were going through them like wildfire. Redfish, Seatrout, Black "puppy" Drum, and Sheepshead were caight, one after another. In an hour and half time iI guestimate these anglers landed 30-40 fish! They weren't real big -only about 4 were "keeper" sized (and all were thrown back), but they were real aggressive and fun to catch. However, the wind changed directions and picked up and the party was over. WE tried one more spot but it was just too difficlult to fish so we all agreed it was time to head in and count it as another great morning to be fishing Amelia Island!
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Yesterday morning was some really tough fishing. The Northeast winds had blown the water in and made the high tide even higher and we struggled to find a bite, much less to find a fish! But yesterday afternoon as the water came out of the grass we found some fish. The Raynor group had set up two boats through Captain Jeff Crumpton and I was the lucky 2nd boat! I had Anne Raynor, her sister Judy and brother in law Herb and their friend Mary on my boat and we pointed it south to fish the Horsehead area on the outgoing tide. We found an oyster bank to cruise and when Mary hooked up with something big I thought "big Redfish". But this fish kept going then held on the bottom and I knew it was a late season shark. It was group effort landing the 3 foot long beast but these ladies were up to the task and after a long battle we landed the fish, snapped some pictures and threw it back. Again, Mary had a strong hookup and a long shark fight insued. And again the ladies landed an even biger Shark. Then a third shark was caught by Anne and landed. Three big Bonnethead Sharks were landed on light tackle by these ladies! When Judy had a strong hookup I thought, "oh boy, here we go again", bu this fish, even though it was putting up a good battle, didn't hang to the bottom but zipped around the boat. Judy played the fish perfectly and we soon netted a nice Jack Crevalle. We made a move around to the Nassau River side of Horsehead, fished a nice runout, and here Anne pefected here jig fishing technique. She landed three feisty Reddfish, a hungry Seatrout and a keeper sized Flounder. We hit one more spot, caught a few baitstealers, then headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Monday, November 4, 2013
Boy, yesterday sure was a pretty day with the sun shining out on Amelia Island waters. I had Fernandina Beach resident Bill Mooney and his son Cody meet me at the docks at 8:30am, just as the tide peaked, and we headed over to Lanceford Creek to fish some flooded marsh grass. We only had a nibble or two so we made a run around to the outside of Tiger where Cody got the "skunk off the boat" by landing a hungry Seatrout. Bill followed that up with a hard fighting Bluefish. We moved on up into Mantatee Creek and fished a couple of spots but had no real bites. I next stop was on the south end of Tiger Island even though the anglers had a few nibble ( and one Whiting) I was beginning to wonder if the day wasn't going to be made for "catchin". But luckily both Bill and young Cody were out to have a good time and practiced their patience and it paid off! The tide had dropped and the logs were showing and the fish began to bite. BOOM! Fish on! Boom! Fish on! Cody found a secret spot and landed a couple of feisty Redfish. Bill picked up a Snapper and Cody landed another Redfish. Then Bill began to catch feisty Redfish one after another at his spot and Cody joined him. I had lost count of how many Redfish they had caught but Cody was keeping track of them as his dad told him he'd have to count on his toes! Bill landed a nice Slot 25" Redfish and before we left Cody added a big 19" Sheepshead. With that, we called it a daym another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!