Sunday, December 5, 2010

Trout on Fire

Albert Hudson and his wife, Nancy fished today at Eagans Creek and Albert reported that the Trout bite was on fire!  He counted 30+ Trout hooked up with only 3-4 of those being undersized and the largest being 23"!  Albert and Nancy were fishing on the bottom with an egg sinker/fish finder rig using live mullet.  Albert said when the bite slowed he could "jig" the rig a little bit and that would produce a bite.  Hopefully the cold weather expected this week won't last too long and all of us can enjoy some of this fine Amelia Island Trout fishing!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WIN a fishing trip!

In my never ending effort to network, I'm offering my fishing friends a chance at a FREE 1/2 day backcountry fishing trip.  I'll provide the bait, tackle, rods, reels and fishing license for up to (3) anglers.  To "enter" this drawing, send me (3) THREE legitimate e-mail addresses of your friends or family who are interested in fishing.  I will add them to my distribution list for this "newsletter" blog.   You've probably noticed that I don't send any correspondence but once a month - the Amelia Island Fishing Report blog, so don't worry about me harassing them with any junk.  PLEASE let them know that I will be adding them to the list, and of course, they can always reply back to be removed.  Your name will go in a "pot" to be drawn for the free trip.  Once I reach 500 new names for the distribution list we will hold a drawing.  Thanks and good luck!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Trout-rageous Fish'n

Can you think of any better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than to plan a Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip to start the holiday week off?  Probably not, so that's what Fred Fishel and his wife have done the last couple of years.  Fred had arranged a fishing trip with me, scheduled for today, so we met at the south end boat ramp (Talbot Island) at 1pm and headed up the Nassau River.  Fred couldn't have picked a better day with clear, sunny skies and the highs expected to reach 75 and only light winds expected.  The tide was still going out, slated to hit bottom around 2:45p, but the oyster beds were exposed so we started out pitching our 1/4oz jigs tipped with live shrimp.  It didn't take long for Fred to get warmed up and he soon began to boat Seatrout and a few Redfish to go along with them.  It was amazing to see how these fish were biting - the trout would peck, peck, peck - almost like the aggravating "bait stealer" pinfish, but then they'd take a good gulp and ...fish on!  Although there wasn't a whole lot of size to them, they were fun to catch, and there was plenty of catch'n!  The Redfish were totally different:  they would attack the bait ferociously and put up a fight that made you think that this was a slot fish for sure, only to find out that it was a Rat just feeling it's oats!  We hit a few spots in Nassau then headed around to the mouth of Jackstaff  for more of the same, plenty of Trout with a few Redfish.  At one point we were catching small Trout with almost every cast and decided to move on to see if we could find more of the same, but larger.  With daylight running out, we headed over to Broward Island to fish the shoreline cluttered with tree limbs and stumps.  Between sightings of Osprey, we had a few bites and then had a 16" Sheepshead chase a jig/shrimp to the boat before finally taking the bite and the fight was on!  We netted the fish, admired it's chompers, then released him to be caught another day.  The sun was setting and a full moon was rising so we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on the water!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Anniversary Fish'in

15 years ago I had the pleasure of attending Michael and Abby Stalvey's wedding and today I was honored to be present on their anniversay for an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip!  Mike and Abby couldn't have asked for a more picture-perfect day to celebrate their anniversary - it was cool, but not cold, very sunny and only a slight breeze.  We left the Fernandina Beach city marina promptly at 7:30am and headed up to Tiger Island to fish the first of an outgoing tide with live shrimp under Cajun Thunder floats.  We had a couple of bites then Mike hooked up with a feisty, hard fighting Redfish.  We eased along the shoreline, pitching the float rigs up near the grass and had a few bites, but no real takers.  After about 30 minutes we cranked the big engine and ran up to Jolley River, anchoring at a nice runout.  Abby's first cast produced a nice Seatrout, which she expertly fought to the boat and waiting net.  Then Mike got in on the action, catching Trout and Redfish.  Eventually we moved on up the river and found some good Trout action at another nice runout - both anglers were pulling in fish.  After a few hours of fishing we made a pit stop at Dee Dee Bartels to stretch our legs, then headed up into Eagans Creek where Abby really turned it on, catching Trout after Trout and putting a couple of nice keepers "in the box".  Mike joined in with a keeper Trout, too.  We fished the rockpile north of Jefferson Smurfit and the docks in Lanceford Creek and although the fish bite had slowed we all agreed that it was another great day to be out on the water - total fish count -(27) Trout, (5) Redfish, (6) Blue's!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jacksonville Oyster Beds, to Reopen?

 The Jacksonville City Waterways Commission is looking at whether to reopen local oyster beds. See:  Jacksonville Oyster Beds to Reopen?  1st published in the Jacksonville Times Union.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Red Drum Assessment

From the Florida Guides Association:
FWC seeks input on possible changes to red drum rules.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is continuing a series of public workshops to review its analysis of the latest red drum (redfish) stock assessment and discuss possible red drum rule changes. In September, the FWC held red drum workshops in Panama City, Tallahassee and Cocoa.

The FWC wants to hear what people think about its proposals to create regional management areas for red drum and raise the daily bag limit from one fish to two per person in northern Florida. The Commission also wants to receive comment on possible red drum rule changes in southeastern Florida.

The FWC encourages interested people to attend the workshops, which will take place from 6-8 p.m. as follows:

Wednesday, Nov. 17

Joseph P. D'Alessandro Office Complex
2295 Victoria Ave.
Fort Myers

Tuesday, Nov. 23
Jacksonville Public Library
Southeast Branch
10599 Deerwood Park Blvd.
Jacksonville

Monday, Dec. 13
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
100 Eighth Ave., S.E.
Karen A. Steidinger Auditorium
St. Petersburg

Tuesday, Dec. 14
City Hall Council Chambers
123 N.W. Hwy. 19
Crystal River
In addition, the Commission has scheduled a special red drum video workshop from 6-8 p.m. EST on Dec. 15, where people can attend at FWC offices in Tallahassee, Lakeland, Panama City (5-7 p.m. CST), West Palm Beach, Lake City, St. Petersburg, Ocala and Marathon, or participate by telephone. More information regarding the video workshop will be announced later this month.


Anyone requiring special accommodations to participate in the workshops should advise the FWC at least five days prior to the workshop by calling 850-488-6411. If you are hearing- or speech-impaired, please contact the FWC using the Florida Relay Service at 1-800-955-8771 (TDD) or 1-800-955-8770 (voice).

For more information regarding the FWC's management of red drum, including an upcoming online survey, go to MyFWC.com/RULESANDREGS and click on "fishing - saltwater."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Smoke on The Water


I fished the Nassau Sportsfishing Trout Tournament Saturday with two friends, Leon Freeman and Don Hughes.  We arrived at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp early, launching at 6:30 in order to make the check out at the City marina by 7:00am.  Even though the temperature was hovering around 39 degrees with the 17mph wind causing white caps and making it feel more like 30, we had good omens  having drawn the number one (actually number 201) boat, being the first at the boat ramp, and checking out first.  The tide was still coming in, expected to peek at around 9:00am, so we headed back up to Tiger Island to fish over some oyster beds with live shrimp under a float.  The frigid air blowing over the warmer water created a "Sea Smoke", prompting me to break out into the Deep Purple tune, "Smoke on the Water", to my angling companions chagrin!  Our first stop didn't produce any bites, but we made a quick run and another stop where we began to pick up some fish - first a small Redfish, then another, but then we had a good battle with a slot-sized Redfish and had "one in the box".  Leon was picking up some Trout at the front of the boat, then Don got in on the action with a Trout or two, and then he brought a keeper Trout to the boat and into the box; we were one Flounder away from a "Slam Entry"!  Then Don hooked up with something big and we were all pumped!  The fish ripped drag and was soon 50 yards from the boat. Don fought the fish from the bow to the stern, around the stern and back to the bow, and around again.  He eventually worked the fish to the boat before it dived and went under the boat, around the engine and then he began to submit.  As I saw the float and leader come out of the water I leaned over an put the net down in the water to get our trophy and...AAW MAN, a Bonnethead Shark!  I grabbed the leader, held it tight, and the shark broke off with the last laugh.  Leon suggested a move to a nearby spot that he had fished in the past and it paid off quickly.  Fishing over oysters near a grass bed we soon found Trout and had hookup after hookup.  Unfortunately, the fish were all 14 3/4", almost so that we commented that we were catching the same fish over and over!  We moved to behind Tiger Island and fished deep with jigs, then headed around through Bells River to the mouth of Lanceford, again fishing deep with jigs, but no real bites.  Finally, the tide had changed so we headed south, cutting through Horsehead and on to Spanish Drop to fish the runouts.  Here, we picked up another Redfish or two and a couple of Trout, but nothing of any size.  We fished jigs deep along the rocks of Nassauville then headed to Jackstaff to fish the now exposed oyster beds.  Knowing that we were one fish away from a "Slam" entry, I hit a spot or two where we had caught Flounder before and sure enough, Leon picked one up, but it was just shy of 12", and then I had an even littler one.  We did have one more hookup with a Redfish, but he was small and wouldn't have helped our cause.  Luckily, the weather had warmed somewhat so we ended the day enjoying fishing with friends and counted it as another great day to be out on the water!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Double, Double, Double


JB Renninger's brother-in-law Tim and his wife were visiting the area and being avid anglers, they decided to take in an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip.  They couldn't have picked a better day because we had clear skies, almost no wind, mild temperatures and the tide was perfect with just a couple of hours left in an outgoing tide.  We got an early start and headed up to Jolley River to ease along the oyster lined river banks, tossing a jig/shrimp combo.  After only a few yards, Tim was hooked up with a hard fighting Blue, then he had another and another.  JB got in on the action with a hard bite and then the fight was on!  He eventually brought to the net a feisty Redfish, then both anglers were hooking up time after time and a number of times we'd yell, "we got a double" as both anglers had fish on!   JB hit the jackpot when he worked to the boat a nice 21" slot Redfish.  We hit a few more spots:  Sue's Flounder hole, and caught fish.  Snook Creek, and caught fish.  Mother-of-all, and caught fish.   Then we headed around to the Tiger Basin inlet where JB had a good bite, a hard fighting fish, but this one was different.  After a good battle, the fish was subdued and we soon netted a great 18" Flounder.  We also added a couple of more feisty Redfish and then another keeper sized Flounder.  We never even attempted to count the fish, but estimated it at about 25-30 Redfish, 6-8 Trout, 4-5 Blues and a few other species thrown in!   I had a feeling that the anglers had had enough of "catching", so we headed in and met their spouses to enjoy a much needed break at a downtown Fernandina  Beach restaurant, counting it as another great day to be out on the water!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Georgia/Florida Football....and Fish'n!


John Nuckolls and Dick Bloozer were down from Atlanta this weekend to take in the huge Georgia/Florida football game and being avid anglers, they set up an Amelia Island backcoutry fishing trip!  We left the south end dock at 7:30am, just before sunrise, and headed up the Nassau River to begin fishing the exposed oyster banks during the last hour of a falling tide.  Dick was tossing a jig/Gulp (white shrimp) and John was casting a jig/paddle tail plastic and it wasn't long before both fishermen were hooking up with Seatrout.  They stayed pretty busy with the Trout and every now and then hauled in a feisty Redfish or Bluefish and had a couple of "double" hookups.  Some of the Trout were keeper-sized but the anglers were more in to  the catching, so they released the fish to be caught another day.  We fished a couple of oyster outcrops in the Spanish Drop area then headed around to the mouth of Jackstaff and fished the bank as the tide began to creep back in.  The guys had a few good bites, but no real fish, so we headed up a small creek and found more Trout ranging from 12" to 18", then John hooked up with something that hunkered down, but he soon fought a nice 18" Flounder to the boat.  We moved around to Seymor's Point where Dick caught another fat Redfish on his first cast to the rocks.  Although we had a few more nibbles, nothing was biting, so we crossed the river to Bubblegum Reef and anchored between the now covered oyster bed and the wreck.  BOOM!  Trout on. BOOM!  Trout on.  BOOM!  Trout on!  The guys caught one fish after another for a few minutes then continued to pick off Trout in numbers for another 30 minutes.  The sun had risen high and our stomachs were grumbling, so we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on the water!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nothing Under 40"

 The windy conditions continued Saturday afternoon but my fishing party of Rob Eddy, Kristine Davis and their friends Jenny and Todd Underwood were not to be deterred.  We headed up to Jolley River with a great tide - the last of an outgoing - and began to fish the exposed oyster beds with the jig and shrimp combo.  We had only trolled a few yards and the anglers began to hookup with feisty, hard fighting Redfish.  The bite was fast and furious with a number of "double" hookups and even a "triple" of fish caught.  Rob, Kristine and Todd had caught fish, but Jenny was handicapped at the rear of the boat, so she had to persevere, which she did and soon boated a nice Redfish.  We anchored at the mouth of a small creek and more Reds and Trout were caught.  Then, Rob hooked up with something big and a battle was on!  He fought the fish expertly as the drag on the light tackle combo ripped out.  The fish went deep then went from the bow to the stern to deeper water.  Rob worked it in only to have the fish continue around the stern and back to the bow and shallow water, then it continued on around, heading deep again!  Rob was doing everything right, but the fish gave a small, crisp jerk, and broke itself off, never to be seen.  Ouch!  All anglers had caught plenty of fish, with me snapping away with the camera, but I had one angler proclaim that they only took pictures with fish over 40"!   We continued to fish Jolley, picking up a few more fish, then headed back to the shelter of Tiger Island.  The anglers caught another Red or two, then a Flounder to complete their Amelia Island Inshore Slam.  We hit a few more spots, but with the bite slowed, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on the water!

Full Moon Fishing




New to the area Aiman Banawan finally found some time off and scheduled a backcountry fishing trip with his wife Ghada and their two sons Amer and Adam.  I launched early and had a great veiw of the full moon sunsetting beyond the City Marina and when the Banawan family arrived at 7:30a we headed out for some fun fishing!  The wind was forecast to be blowing 10-15mph but it really seemed like at least 20mph from the NE so I headed to the shelter of Tiger Island and its calm waters. One drawback to the windbreak was the "no-see-ums" were active, but we had some Skin So Soft and after application we got lines in the water and it wasn't long before fish were being caught.  Aiman was helping out with the boys and they each caught fish - a Snapper and a nice Croaker, then mom caught a Flounder.  We had the welcome company of a large Sea Otter that swam around the boat, too!  After a restroom break at Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp, we headed up into Eagans Creek and anchored.  Both boys hooked up,  Adam (Spicerman) with a nice, hard fighting Redfish which once boated was aptly named "fishy";  then Amer hooked up and caught another Seatrout.  We also fished behind the shelter of Rayonier warehouse and also behind their retention pond, where we had a number of bites, but no fish.   With that, we headed in, counting it as another great day of family fishing!

Catch'n in the River and Off the Dock!


Will Steih was in town, visiting from Nashville with his wife to celebrate their 10th anniversary. While his wife was enjoying spa treatment at the Ritz, Will and I went to the backcountry to take in some Amelia Island fishing!  We left the south end Sawpit boat ramp at 2pm and headed up the Nassau River with the tide still going out.  Our first stop was at the Spanish Drop area;  the oysters were showing so Will began to toss a jig and shrimp combo to their base and it wasn't long before he was hooking up with feisty Trout with a couple of Redfish thrown in.  He was nailing so many Trout that I began to call him "Trout King"!  After hitting a few of the points at Spanish Drop we headed on around to the mouth of Jackstaff where Will continued his "trouting" ways,  hauling in a few more and then he boated a nice 17"er.  We fished a finger of a sandbar and Will hooked up, this time proclaiming that the tug felt different, and sure enough, he expertly landed a 17" Flounder, completing his Amelia Island Inshore Slam!  We tried a few more spots, but the bite had slowed so we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on the water.  I walked up to the parking lot to get the truck and as I was backing down I could see Will hauling in another Flounder!  As I backed the boat in he hooked up with a Redfish and landed two more flounder while I loaded the boat.  What a way to end the day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Too Many Fish to Count!


Anglers Terri Rumler and Bobby Carty were visiting Amelia Island for their annual "get away from it all" and took in a backcountry fishing trip with me.  The weather was beautiful with a high of 80, a slight breeze, and only a cloud or two in the sky.  We headed up to the Jolley River and reached our first spot to fish the exposed oyster banks.  The tide had been coming in for about an hour.  Terri and Bobby were tossing 1/4oz jigs with live shrimp and it wasn't long before both were catching fish!   Zip Ziiiiip Zip, the drags would go, another Redfish had attacked the bait and the anglers worked them to the boat.  Fishing and catching was fast a furious for an hour or two.  Bobby switched to Gulp baits and we soon found out that it didn't matter what color or style he used, the fish were biting anything that was tossed out.   In addition to Redfish, they caught Seatrout, Croaker, Snapper, and a small Puppy Drum.  Fish on! Fish on!,  we had a "double" and I was running back and forth to net each Redfish as we trolled the bank.  Eventually we moved on, coming back around to the mouth of Tiger Island, anchoring, and more fish were caught.  The bite slowed so we made one more stop at the eastern side of Tiger where we had a few bites and Terri found a couple of more Redfish.  With those in the boat, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on the water!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bear and Redfish

Carol and I took in a day of "fun" fishing and brought along our dog, "Bear", for the trip.  We'd had to wait an a AC technician to check out our unit so we didn't launch the boat until around 1pm.  We headed out to the jetties and tried our luck with a whole crab on the bottom with some serious heavy tackle, but after not getting any bites for about an hour, we came back to the mouth of Jolley River.  We anchored and dropped the heavy tackle with crab again. No bites here so we headed up Jolley to fish the oyster lined banks.  Carol's first cast with shrimp on the bottom produced a hard fighting feisty Redfish!  It wasn't long after the first when she hooked up again and had another Redfish in the boat.  I knew I had to get started so I started tossing a 1/4oz jig tipped with shrimp and soon I was hooking up, too!  We fished the bank for about two hours and ended up with 12 Redfish and we also had a nice 15" Flounder to go with them.  The weather was beautiful and the fishing was great, another great day to be out on the water!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Coast Guard Bill Update -- No New Taxes!

This from the Florida Guides Association newsletter:    
     There is good news on H.R. 3619. One section of the Coast Guard Authorization bill would have opened the door to multiple layers of taxation on outfitters, fishing guides and tour boats. Sec. 301 would have authorized state and local governments to levy new taxes on good and services delivered on navigable waters while leaving foreign commerce exempt. A call to action was issued asking members to contact their legislators and ask them to oppose the bill.       The good news comes from Senator Snowe's office. Senator Snowe serves on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that had oversight on the bill. It read, "Just wanted to let you know that the Coast Guard bill passed both House and Senate last night and is on its way to be signed into law by the President. We ensured the section you were concerned (Sec. 301 of HR 3619) about was NOT in the final bill, so you are in the clear."
       FGA received the news from David Brown, Executive Director American Outdoors Association who thanked FGA for their help in defeating Sec. 301. "Thanks for all your help on this bill. You helped turned the tide. The Coast Guard Bill passed without Sec. 301 - so not new taxing authority is in the legislation."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cool Morning Fish'in

Repeat guests John Angus and Cpt. David Black brought along friend Jed Litsey for some cool morning backcountry fishing at Amelia Island.  There wasn't a cloud in the sky when we left the south end boat ramp at 7:30a this morning and headed up Nassau River to a creek runout - "Leon's Spot".  I anchored just west of the runout and the wind and current positioned the boat just off of the runout for these anglers to target.  A couple of the guys started out with live shrimp under a float - the tide had been going out for about 2 hours and the oysters were still covered - and they had bites right off, but David began tossing a jig/gulp combo and he had hookups and fish in the boat within minutes. Wow! What a great way to start off a fishin trip!  Jed and John switched to the jig and baited them with live shrimp and soon knew they were right at home with the combination.  Both had hookups and boated feisty Redfish.  John was at the stern of the boat and had a good shot at the largest runout and it seemed to payoff with Seatrout being caught.  Then he and David had a "double" hookup with David bringing his hard fighting Redfish to the net, but it took a while for John's fish to be subdued.  He was using a Shimano Stradic 1000FH on a 6'6" rod, 10lb Power Pro line and 12lb Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon leader.  The fish pulled hard and long, taking John's rig  under the boat, up to the bow and back around the stern.  Finally, John saw the flash of color and pulled up a nice, powerful Jack Crevalle.  All three anglers stayed busy for a couple of hours, catching Redfish, Trout, and Ladyfish.  We eventually move on and hit a few spots in Jackstaff with most of them producing a Red or a Trout, although not in the numbers of the first stop.  As the wind picked up we called it a day, another great one to be out on the water.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Topwater Aficionados


Brothers Andy and Terry Dillard love to fish and their favorite style is the use of topwater lures.  We arranged a backcountry trip and planned to meet at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp on the north end at 6:15am this morning.  It was a beautiful morning with no wind and the bright stars shining as we eased away from the ramp with our navigation lights on.  We crossed over to Tiger Island and fished a oyster bed/marsh grass outcrop, with the anglers tossing their lures in the dark.  Although the sun wasn't quite up we could see the outline of the marsh grass and here the topwaters "burp" through the water.  Every once in awhile we would hear something roll on the plug, but we had no takers.  The sun came up and the sand gnats came out for a while so we were rubbing on insect repellent for awhile.  At one point Terry pointed out a massive raccoon ambling along the marshy shore.  We fished around Tiger Island then moved up to Jolley River with the tide finally starting out.  Again, the guys had "spits" at the lures as they made pinpoint casts to fishy spots in the grass, but no takers!   However, these anglers were intent on fishing the topwaters and they "endeavored to persevere"!  We move up to Snook Creek, fished the mouth, then trolled up into the creek.  Terry broke the ice by making a perfect cast to the mouth of a runout.  He said the Trout struck just as the all-white Zara Spook hit the water, and Fish On!  We moved further up the creek and this time I was watching as Terry's lure landed at the mouth of another runout.  He let it pause for a couple of seconds and when he twitched it, BOOM!  Another Trout strike and the fish thrashed aggressively to free itself, but Terry played the keeper sized fish to the net.  We had a couple more fish up in the creek then we cranked up, came out, and ran around to the "Mother-of-All".  The tide was still up, making the spot less than desirable, so we trolled further up Jolley.  Andy got in on the action by expertly casting his all white Zara Spook to a runout that Terry had just vacated, and BOOM, fish on!  We caught a couple of more but as the sun got high the "spits" slowed, so we called it a day, another great one to be out on the water!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rockytop Catch'n Fish

Adam Alfrey was visiting Amelia Island with his wife, Olivia and their beautiful daughter Rose Marie, along with Adam's parents Randy and Denise and Olivia's parents Bill and Kathy - all hailing from the Knoxville, Tennessee area.  Although they were a little disappointed about the outcome of the Volunteer/Gator game on Saturday, they didn't let it hinder them having a good time doing some backcountry fishing!  Adam, Randy and Bill met me at the Atlantic Seafood dock at 7am and with live shrimp already in the livewell, we headed out and were on our first spot shortly after we left the marina.  It wasn't long after the guys tossed out their shrimp under a float that they began to hookup on fish - Redfish and Trout.  The tide had just started out so we had plenty of time to spend at this shallow area with oysters and marsh grass as structure to target.  The anglers were making great casts and caught fish after fish after fish.  When the pinfish (baitstealers!) moved in we hoisted the anchor and moved around to "Manatee Creek", anchoring, and continued to catch fish.  I switched Adam to a jig/gulp combo and he immediately began to pickup Redfish, then Bill switch too and he caught a few, too.  When the bite slowed we pulled anchor, trolled in closer, and I tossed the cast net for a few dozen perfect sized finger mullet.  We ran up to Jolley River, fishing the east side, with the oysters still covered, but it didn't hinder these anglers!  The finger mullet were the trick with the feisty Redfish gobbling them up and all anglers boated fish,  then Randy hooked up with something that had "shoulders" and he patiently fought the fish to the net - a 18" slot Redfish!  We moved up the river, trying the "Mother-of-All", only to have a few bites but no takers, then we stopped back by  "Snook Creek" where the action heated up again!  The guys boated Redfish after Redfish with a few Trout thrown in.  Most of these fish were caught on Gulp Mullet, Baitfish and Shrimp patterns.  With the sun now up and the action slowing, we headed in to change "crews" - dropping off the satisfied Grandpa's and picking up Olivia, the baby and mothers Kathy and Denise. We toured Fort Clinch, cut across the channel to the southern tip of Cumberland Island, and were treated to the sighting of a small herd of wild horses!  After checking them out with binoculars we cruised up the coast and entered Beach Creek and as we rounded a bend we had another herd of horses come galloping through the palmetto's  to find grazing near the shoreline.  Majestic Osprey's were flying from perch to perch in their wild and untarnished habitat - and as we headed back we all agreed it was a great way to spend time with family out on the water! What a beautiful day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nassau Sportfishing Association 24th Annual Trout Tournament

Make plans to fish in the 24th Annual Nassau Sportsfishing Association's Trout Tournament!  Captain's meeting will be at Tiger Point Marina on Friday, November 5, 2010 at 6:30pm.  The Tournament will be held on Saturday, November 6th with check out at Fernandina Harbor Marina  beginning at 6:30AM.  Weigh in will be at Tiger Point Marina with the line opening at 3pm and closing at 4:30pm.  The awards dinner will be at Tiger Point Marina on Saturday at 7pm.
Entry fee is $120 per boat with checks made payable to N.S.F.A

There will be three prize categories with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each category:  Largest Trout, Aggregate (3 trout), and Slam (Redfish, Trout & Flounder).

There is also a youth tournament for kids 16yrs and under with  1st thru 4th place prizes.  Register at Atlantic Seafood, Amelia Bait and Tackle, Leaders and Sinkers, and at the Captain Meeting.  If you have any questions, contact Tournament Director Allen Mills 904-261-9481

Fish Catch'n Train Rolled In

I had the pleasure to fish with CSX train engineers Mark Warwin, Eric Bailey, and Michael Harvey this past Saturday morning.  We left the Atlantic Seafood dock, eased out of the no-wake zone and headed up river to Tiger Island.  We made our first stop within 15 minutes of leaving the dock and after anchoring near some oysters and marsh grass, we soon had a "double" hookup with Redfish!  The guys were tossing live shrimp under floats with the tide having started out about an hour earlier.  They picked up a few more Reds and a keeper sized Flounder.  We move on around the island and with me dropping the trolling motor and the anglers all began to catch fish.  I looped around to our starting point and lowered the anchor again.  Eric had the "hot" spot at the front of the boat, making pin-point casts to an oyster outcrop and caught Redfish after Redfish, with Mark and Michael picking up the slack further along the shoreline.  We eventually pulled up and ran to Jolley River, again trolling the shoreline, but this time the guys had switched to a jig/shrimp or jig/Gulp, tossing their bait to the now exposed oysters.  They were all catching fish, but Mark seemed to have it down, catching plenty of Redfish and Trout - yep, they got a "slam"- on Chartreuse Gulp Swimming Mullets and Lime Tiger 3" Shrimp.  We made two passes of the same bank with the fishing hot, then headed up river to pick up a few more.  As the tide began to hit bottom we headed back around to Lanceford Creek, anchoring at a dock system.  This time Michael had the hot spot and pulled in a few more Redfish.  We ended the day with plenty of fish catch'n, actually too many to keep track of, and headed in , counting it as another great day to be out on the water.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Art Stuff Ready for Riverside Arts Market

All of these 8oz flasks are fresh out from under the stamping tools!  In addition to most of them being new designs, I used some "gold flake" on the Salmon Flies and the Compass Rose.  Each flask is $95 and comes with a SS funnel - just in case you decide to use it!  I'll be at the Riverside Arts Market under the Fuller Warren Bridge, booth 602, on Saturday September 11th.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Backcountry Grouper Fish'n

We couldn't have picked a more perfect day to get out and do some fishing; only a slight breeze, very few clouds, and an early start.  Art Benton was visiting Amelia Island with his wife after coming down from Atlanta for the long Labor Day weekend and staying at the Elizabeth Pointe Lodge.  Art and I left the City boat ramp at 7am sharp, idled through the no-wake zone, then headed up the Amelia River.  We anchored at a few patches of marsh grass around Tiger Island with the tide just starting out and Art cast a fly rod, trying a smorgasbord of fly's - chartreuse Clousers, Shrimp Fly's, and a Fiddler imitation but we didn't have any takers. We ran up to the Jolley River, fished one more spot with the fly rod, then we switched to spinning gear to get down on bottom with a jig and Gulp mullet.  We almost immediately began to get bites and then Art started the action off by hooking up and bringing to the net....a small Grouper!   Although I've seen them before in the backcountry, it's been a while since we had one on the boat.  Catching the Grouper was like turning the "fish catching switch" on because Art had non-stop catching for the next hour or two.  We eased along the oyster banks with Art pitching the jig and Gulps with the chartreuse Swimming Mullet being his favorite.  He hooked up with Redfish after Redfish, almost all of them up near the now exposed oyster beds.  Later, we moved around to the "Mother of All" spots with the tide being about perfect, and Art caught more Redfish, then he had a hookup and a fight and  expertly fought a 18" Flounder to the net. With that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on the water!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lost Count (of fish caught) by 8:20am!

Luckily the hurricanes passed us by and headed north so we had beautiful weather for fishing this morning. Tim Parker and his son Wes met me at the south end boat ramp at 7am and we headed up the Nassau River for some backcountry fishing. The tide had been going out for a few hours so the oyster beds were already beginning to show as we dropped the trolling motor and eased along the banks. Tim and Wes started off pitching Rootbeer w/chartreuse tailed DOA plastics on a 1/8oz jig while I was tossing a 1/4oz jig/shrimp combo. It wasn't long before we were all reeling in fish and had numerous "double" hookups of Redfish. Shortly after 8am we realized that we had lost track of how many fish we'd caught and the bite continued for another couple of hours! Tim boated a fat keeper sized Trout while Wes brought in Redfish after Redfish. Then the anglers added a larger Flounder and then another keeper sized Flounder. Wes hooked up with something bigger and fought the fish expertly around the stern of the boat only to have the fish find a way to break itself off! Ouch!  We eventually moved around to the mouth of Jackstaff and the catching continued with more Reds, Trout, Stingray, Croaker, and Bluefish. Our last stop was at Broward Island and although the tide was perfect in my book (dead low, just starting in), the bite and had slowed. Wes persevered and did bring in a Ladyfish and added one more Redfish. With tons of "catching", we called it another great day to be out on the water!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bigger Trout Showing Up


Robert and Elizabeth Torregrossa were visiting Amelia Island from the Maryland area and took in a backcountry fishing trip along with their friend, Norman. We left the Atlantic Seafood dock 7am sharp, with cloudy skies and already gusty winds. The weather report called for a partly cloudy day with wind 15-20mph and gusts up to 25, and I think the weatherman nailed it! We hit the Lanceford Creek docks with the tide just starting back in, pitching our jig/shrimp combo up to the pilings. Although the "bite" seems to have slowed from weeks past, Robert did have something nail his bait half way back to the boat and he had a good fight on his hands. He played the fish expertly with the Shimano 1000FI reel spooled with Power Pro braided line and soon brought a nice 18" Trout to the net! Elizabeth and Norman both had good hookups with the fish fighting to stay on bottom, and they boated some pesky Stingrays. We moved to another dock where Elizabeth found the hot spot, catching 3-4 small Redfish and then Norman joined in, adding a couple of more small Redfish to the fish count. The wind was really blowing now so we headed to the shelter of Tiger Island;
I dropped the trolling motor and we made a pass with the anglers getting some bites, but no hookups. I anchored up near shore and it wasn't long before Robert caught a Flounder, completing their "inshore slam", and Elizabeth pulled in a Croaker. We fished "Manatee Creek" briefly, to be treated to a brief sighting of one Manatee, then move around to the front of Tiger Island and anchored. All the anglers joined in on some action, battling a few more small Redfish, a few small Trout, a couple of Snapper, then Elizabeth topped it off by hooking up to and landing a nice 19" Trout! We had used up all of our live shrimp so we called it a day, another great (although windy) one to be out on the water!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Showing at Riverside Arts Market



I've scheduled Saturday September 11th as my first date to show my leatherwork at Riverside Arts Market. If you're looking for something to do, please plan to visit the market and stop by and say hello. The market is located on the north side of the river under the Fuller Warren Bridge

Chelsea Marine Expands Product Line


I was in Chelsea Marine the other day and was pleasantly surprised to see that they have expanded their product line. According to Manager Jack Coker, they've struck a deal with West Marine to stock the store with Port Supply products. If you need some boating supplies, stop in and see what they have to offer!

Tailing Reds Coming Soon to a Flats Near You!


September 8th-12th have a "Tailing Reds tide" in the morning. That's Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat, and Sunday. I'm "booked" on Saturday, but so far have the other dates open. We'd want to be sitting on the flat at least two hours before the high tide. Wednesday's is expected at around 9:16am, then it's about an hour later each day. I provide a comfortable ride to the flat, put the bow up into the marsh grass, then wade to the tailing Redfish. We can fish with fly rods or spinning gear. Let me know if you're interested and we'll set it up!