Monday, August 31, 2009

Tailing Redfish

Don't forget...September 18, 19, 20, and 21st have some great high tides in the morning, a perfect time to hunt those tailing Redfish. The air temperature should be just right! I've got some openings so give me a call and we'll set it up. Plan to wear some old shoes 'cause we may be out stalking them in the grass!

Fishing with the manatees

With the idea to squeeze in one more fishing trip during the weekend, Carol, myself and Hugh John McDonald launched the boat Sunday afternoon at the north end ramp with a few hours of sunlight left. As we boarded the boat, friends Don and Sue Hughes pulled up in their boat and let us know that a "herd" of manatee were at the mouth of Tiger Island. We cruised over, dropped the trolling motor and eased up into a creek and Carol immediately spotted manatee boils and snouts. We drifted out of the creek with the meandering manatee and as Carol snapped pictures, Hugh John and I noticed that fish were feeding on bait as the high water left the grass. We baited our hooks with live shrimp dangling under a float and began casting. The Sea Trout bite was on with trout after trout boated and released with a few Jacks, Lady Fish and "baitstealers" mixed in. I eventually hooked up with a fish that I immediately knew wasn't a feeding trout and the fight was on. My braided line and fluorocarbon leader held and the fish was reeled to the boat and to Carols waiting net - a 29" Redfish! We snapped a couple of pictures then got our bait back into the water and caught trout after trout after trout. With most of them undersized and the sun get closer to the horizon we decided to pull anchor and run to Jolley River. It wasn't but one cast after anchoring when Hugh John's float went under and Trout ON!
He expertly worked the fish in and we knew we were in to some bigger fish. His next two casts produced fish and soon Carol and I joined him, jockying for position to get our casts in. In addition to trout we picked up a few rat Reds and had non-stop bites and action until the sun went down, catching approximately 30 fish for the few hours we were out. With lightning crackling on the horizon we pulled anchor and left 'em biting, another great day on the water!

Fishing Trip for Football Tickets

With the college football season about to kick off I thought that I'd mention that I'd be willing to trade a 1/2 day fishing trip for 1-3 anglers for TWO Florida/Georgia tickets. I'll provide all the bait, tackle, rods, reels and fishing licenses for the anglers....all you need is a hat and sunglasses. Let me know and we'll set it up. You can plan to fish while you're here for the game or I'll produce a gift certificate for use at a later time.

BIG Trout, BIG Redfish, BIG Sheepshead

Friday Carol I fished with Denise and Bill Sweeney (from Waldorf, Maryland) along with Hugh John McDonald (from Hermosa Beach,CA). After launching from Sawpit Creek early AM we were chased south by a rain storm; it passed and we immediatley ran to the mouth of Jackstaff and in no time had a double hook up with Hugh John reeling in a small Bonnethead then Denise fighting to the boat a nice, fat 23" 4lb Sea Trout. The way it was bending the rod I first guessed a Redfish, but it soon rolled at the boat and we saw all of the spots. My "first mate" Carol did a superb job of netting the fish and from then on the fishing got better. Denise had the hot rod early and boated shark after shark, then Hugh John joined in with a feisty Jack Crevalle and Denise countered with a hard pulling Sailcat then Hugh John hooked up and valiantly fought an epic battle to boat a large, 5' Bonnethead. When Denise hooked up again and I heard the drag ripping I guessed wrong again, thinking Shark, but when it rolled up at the bank and we all saw the reddish tinge we knew she had on a huge Redfish. She fought the fish expertly to Carol's waiting net and when measured, turned out to be a 30", 10lb Redfish! Pictures were taken and the beautiful fish was released to swim away. A little later Bill joined in on the action to have something big take his jig/shrimp combo and head to the ocean, outrunning the trolling motor, spooling the reel and snapping the leader. We pulled up and ran to Broward island on an incoming tide where Bill continued with the hot rod by snagging the Bait Stealing Bandit - a fat Sheepshead. We ended the day with a few more fish being caught all (small Reds and Trout) then headed in as the sun got hot, another great day of fishing!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Canada Drift Boat Fishing

Carol and I traveled to Canada last week to have our wedding ceremony and were able to get in some fishing the day after. We had set up a trip down the Bow River with guide Richard "Rocket" Miller who picked us up at the hotel Fairmont at Banff Springs at 2pm. Rocket works with Tightline Adventures located in Banff and had all the gear -flyrods, reels, flys, waders and boots ready to go and had in tow a Clackacraft drift boat. We had a short drive to the launching site where Rocket set out lounge chairs for us to put on our waders and boots. After a brief orienatation we began our drift down the river. Rocket instructed us to cast our Dry fly's up near the bank and coached me on "mending" the line before the current began to make the fly move in an unatural way. We also cast some weighted tips with Clouser Minnow flys where we were instructed to make our cast as close to the bank as possible then strip the line back, cast and strip, cast and strip. I had the most trouble with the heavier sinking flys with their weight giving me casting issues. With the Dry fly's I was able to work in some good casts on occasion with an occasional pile up or line Snafu. Rocket was patient and taught us a number of flyfishing tips, along with pointing out wildlife and interesting features on the shore. We fished until dusk with a planned ending at a couple of "flats" where we expected to see the Trout rising to feed on the many bugs fluttering over the water. Although we did see some rises, they didn't seem to be consistent and wouldn't take when we tossed our fly to the rise. For the day we ended up catching a few "elusive" Brown Trout and missing a few bites but had a great time and saw some beautiful scenery; we were treated to sightings of Bald Eagle, Beaver, Loon and other shore birds and had a coyote cross our path on the way back to the hotel. Another great day of fishing!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Girls Day Out

There's nothing like getting out on the water with a group of friends so John Norris hosted his two daughters Ashlan and Aubrey and their two friends Allison and Evelyn for a day of fishing the backcountry waters of Amelia Island. We left the dock promptly at 7:30am with just a light breeze and sunny skies to run up to Jolley River for a day of fishing. As a I mentioned to John, there's nothing special about the Jolley other than you see very little boat traffic - and I don't think we had a boat pass us all day, although one may have slipped by while we were fighting a fish! We anchored up at a small run out and it wasn't long before the girls were hooking up with fish. They started off with a "double" with one of the lady's fighting in a Ladyfish while another hooked up and brought a Flounder to the boat. All of the girls caught fish, with Croaker providing non-stop "bait stealing" action; some weren't so lucky as the girls got used to their ways and hooked up with a few. Excitement built when a Bonnethead shark swirled at the rear of the boat and sure enough found one of our live shrimp on a jig...and the fight was on! The lady's eventually boated a few of the shark, lost a few to break-offs, caught a couple of neat Stingray and then John wrapped it up with a nice Redfish. We made it back to the dock in time to beat the looming rainclouds and counted as another good "girls day out" on the water!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fishin' till you run outa worms!

I met Frank Wright, his friend Mary Beth, and her grandson Jared at the south end boat ramp yesterday morning at 7:30 to take in some fishing on a beautiful day. Jared was visiting from Minneapolis on his summer break and had done some lobstering down in the Keys but hadn't gotten in much fishing. We ran up Middle River a ways, anchored at a runout and got our spinning rods unlimbered with some live shrimp under corks. With no bites on the last of an incoming tide, we pulled up and headed to Bubblegum Reef, anchored and switched to the jig and shrimp combo. Jared was first to boat a fish with a large Croaker. We ran up into Jackstaff, anchored and that's when the fishing began to heat up. The whole party hooked up with what turned out to be elusive and somewhat wiley Bonnethead Shark. With the tide beginning to go out we trolled the marsh grass and as the oysters began to show, we started getting bites and catching fish non-stop. Everyone joined in, catching 6-7 Redfish with Jared pulling in the largest; they also caught 5-6 Trout, a large Vemillion Snapper, Black Drum, Flounder and some hard fighting, poop slinging "poor mans Tarpon" - Lady Fish. After a few more line ripping runs from the Bonnetheads, a determined Jared hooked up and fought a 4' shark to the boat and into a waiting net. We snapped pictures and tossed the rascal back. As we continued to fish, Mary Beth volunteered to sew my catch net up where the shark had eatin a hole through it! We fished until we ran out of shrimp and left them biting, counting it another good day of fishing!

Non-Stop Fishin' Action

I fished with Ray and Jeff Goetze Tuesday morning and the fish bit from start to finish. Jeff will be starting back to Clemson University in a few weeks to begin his Senior year and the guys wanted to get in some fishing before heading back to their home in Greenville, S.C. We left the dock at 7:30 sharp and headed up to my favorite get-away spot, the Jolley River. Fishing the east side marsh grass on the last of an incoming tide we began to pick up Seatrout on our live shrimp under a cork. We anchored up at a runout and caught 6-7 trout, then pulled up and ran up to a larger creek mouth. Both Ray and Jeff hooked up with Bonnethead sharks; we had a few break off but the guys expertly played a few in and eventually boated a couple for pictures. Both Ray and Jeff were excellent casters and as the tide started out began to catch Trout (another 7-8), Redfish (4), Vermillion Snapper, Jacks, and a Stingray. Writing in my journal that evening I tried to count up the number of fish that we caught and arrived at about 30 - and we left them biting. A great day of father and son fishing!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Recipe of the Month: Bourbon Bacon Scallops

Carol and I had these as appetizers at Sliders Seaside Grill at Fermandina Beach on Amelia Island. We liked them so I hunted up a recipe on I added some jumbo shrimp to the skewers:

(6) slices of bacon

(3) T minced green onions

(2) T Bourbon

(2) T Maple syrup

(1) T Soy Sauce

(1) T Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

24 large sea scallops

1lb jumbo shrimp

Heat a skillet and fry the bacon for 4-5 minutes, until limp and partially browned; remove from skillet, drain and set aside to cool. In a bowl, combine the green onions, bourbon, maple syrup, soy sauce, mustard, and pepper and stir well; remove about 2 Tablespoons of marinade and set aside. Add the sea scallops (and shrimp) to the marinade in the bowl and toss to coat. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Soak 6-8 bamboo skewers in a dish of water. After the scallops and shrimp have marinaded, wrap a piece of bacon around the scallop and then skewer. I alternated the shrimp and bacon wrapped scallops. Grill until the the bacon is crisp and the scallops are opaque; turn about half way through. Baste with the set aside marinade and serve.