Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Redfish Along The Oyster Beds

Boy what a beautiful morning we had today - cool, hardly a breeze, and just a little fog to start the day. As I launched The Anglers Mark there were two shrimp boats anchored out from the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp.  The sun was just coming up and the boats had their lights on and were a peaceful sight.  I met Charlie McClain at 7:30am and we headed up to the Jolley River, taking it slow at times, because of the fog.  We started a troll against the new incoming tide and the oyster beds were fully exposed.  Our first pass of a 100 yard stretch didn't produce a bite, but I knew there had to be fish here so we hit the "jackrabbit" button on my new Minn Kota I-Pilot and ran downstream to make another pass.  We'd made it about half way up the bank when we began to get strong hookups with hard hitting Redfish.  We picked up a few rat reds and put a couple of small Slot Reds in the boat when all of sudden Charlie's rod bent and drag ripped - FISH ON!  He played the big Red perfectly and worked it from stern to bow and back to stern, with the big fish ripping line as it tried to shake the hook.  Eventually, Charlie wore the fish out and we soon netted a nice 24" Slot Redfish.  We picked up a few more smaller Reds, then made our way down the river, now tossing live shrimp under floats, and picked up a few hungry Seatrout.  We ended our catching by sight fishing for Redfish laying up in the  shallows.  With the sun to our backs we could see the Reds laying in wait for baitfish to swim by and we were able to get one of them to eat our shrimp on a jig.  After one more stop, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Big Redfish Wraps The Day Up

Tracy Smith, along with his daughter Tara and her grandmother, Lyn took in a Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip this morning on The Anglers Mark.  And boy what a beautiful morning it was!  There wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was just cool enough and breezy enough to keep the sand gnats off of us.  We headed up to Jolley River to fish the first of an incoming tide and on our first pass of an oyster lined bank the anglers began to pick up fish.  Using light tackle gear and jigs tipped with live shrimp, they tossed to the base of the oysters, let it fall to the bottom, and slowly worked it back to the boat. BOOM!  FISH ON!   Both Tara and Lyn boated nice Seatrout with one in the keeper size then Tara reeled in a fiesty Redfish.  Tracy got in on the action and hooked up with a hard fighting fish and played a nice Slot sized Redfish to the net.  They added one more Slot Redfish then we moved on to Tiger Island to fish the downed logs.  The tide was already up and the fish just weren't biting so we moved out to the outside and tried our luck with live shrimp under float rigs.  Again, no hungry fish were found!  We made a run down the river to south of Rayonier mill and fished the now flooded oyster flat and marsh grass.  Even though the bite was not fast and furious, Tracy did hookup with a nice puppy drum and Lyn hauled in another Seatrout.  Then, just as we were about to wrap the day up, a float went under and the drag began to rip out, BIG FISH ON!  Tara fought the fish from bow to stern and back to bow and even though the fish made a couple of runs, Tara kept the tension on and we eventually netted a big 24" Slot Redfish.  What a way to end a great day out on Amelia Island waters!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Father and Son and Amelia Island Fishing

Jonathan Mayer and his dad Bob were visiting Amelia Island with family and decided to take in an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip with me on The Anglers Mark.  We picked a low, outgoing tide to fish yesterday afternoon, met at 2pm at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp, and headed up to Jolley River to fish the exposed oyster banks.  Although the tide was perfect, we had fairly stiff wind and after getting only  a few nibbles, picked up to run further up the river.  At the second stop we had more of the same, maybe a nibble here and there, but no takers.  However, these anglers were out to enjoy their time on the water and kept casting optimistically for that first good bite.  We made a move to behind Tiger island, starting a troll on the north end, and it wasn't long before the anglers optimism paid off.  Jonathan had a good hookup, played the fish perfectly, and we soon netted a hungry Flounder, a fish Jonathan was hoping to catch on this trip.  Not long after, Bob got in on the action by hooking up on  strong bite.  He worked the feisty fish to the boat and we netted a nice Redfish.  We fished the entire bank a couple of times but had no more action, so we pulled up and ran to Lanceford Creek to fish the dock pilings.  Jonathan did hookup with a fat Sea Bass, but the fish just weren't cooperating any more.  After another stop, and with a storm rolling in, we decided to call it an evening and headed in, counting it as another great day to be on Amelia Island waters!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Big Red Big Trout

Joe Pomilia had finished up a conference out at the Omni and scheduled a Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip with me on The Anglers Mark. We met at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp on the north end of the island at 2pm yesterday and headed up to the Jolley River to fish the exposed oysters with a jig/shrimp combo. As we eased along the bank we began to get hookups and had one real strong one. FISH ON! Joe played the big fish expertly, working in gradually and we soon netted a huge, over the slot Redfish! After getting pictures we released the beast to the river. We continued to work the bank and Joe added another couple of Slot sized Redfish then he had a good hookup. You could see the fish shaking its head and when it got close to the boat we saw that this was a nice 21" Seatrout. We netted the fish, snapped some pictures, and released this fish also. The bite slowed so we hit another few spots, finding one more Red at some dock pilings. With the tide way up and the day getting long, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Reds Turn Hot on Oyster Beds

Dana Hannaford set up a Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip with his friends Tommy and Robert yesterday, so we launched The Anglers Mark at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp on the north end of the island and headed over to Tiger to fish the first of an outgoing tide. The anglers were tossing live shrimp under float rigs and were making good casts to the marsh grass, but we had no real bites.  We headed up to Jolley River and fished a run out and found some hungry Seatrout.  Even though they were fun to catch, there wasn't a whole lot of size to them so we found an oyster lined bank to fish.  It wasn't long before Dana had a strong hookup and after a good, well fought battle, he worked in a nice 26" Slot Redfish!  We worked the bank, making two or three passes and Robert picked up some feisty Redfish along with a nice Slot red, all caught on Gulp shrimp. Tommy added a keeper sized Trout and a nice Slot red.   Later, the anglers picked up more feisty, but undersized Reds, but added another Slot to their catch.  As we were moving to Tiger Island, we were treated to a submarine sighting out in the river. We fished the downed logs behind Tiger and Tommy hooked up with another Slot Red, caught out deep, then added a small Flounder to round out an Amelia Island Backcountry Slam.  With a good mess of fish in the box, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on the water!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weird Looking Redfish

My guests last night caught about 12-15 Redfish along with this weirdly faced Redfish (top left).

Small Trout to Big Redfish

Cy Yelk and his friends Jimmy Johnson and Bob Miller set up a Amelia Island backwater fishing trip on The Anglers Mark yesterday evening so we met up at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp at 2pm to fish the first of a falling tide.  We made a run up to Jolley River and positioned the boat at a marsh run out and the anglers began to toss live shrimp under Cajun Thunder float rigs up to the grass line.  It wasn't long before they began to hookup with 14" Seatrout.  We edged along the grass and found one good run out that produced another 6-8 trout, then we moved on to "Snook Creek" and anchored.  We had no real bites there so we made run back to Jolley Bank and fished it's shoreline.  Jimmy had the hot rod here and pulled in two hard fighting, head shaking Trout along with a feisty Redfish, all on the float rigs.  We fished behind Tiger Island and picked up one Trout on a jig/plastic grub then we move on to Lanceford Creek to fish the dock pilings with a jig/shrimp combo.  Our first and second stops produce no real bites and I was beginning to wonder if we'd caught all that we were going to catch for the day.  But the tide was getting right, the sun was going down and, FISH ON!  The anglers began to hookup up with hard fighting Redfish and caught them non-stop for the next hour! The fish ranged from 17" on up into the slot with the two largest being 23" and just shy of the upper limit of 27".  This fish put Cy in the lead for largest Redfish in the 2012 Bragging Rights Tournament.   Twice we had double hook ups with fish being fought on both sides of the boat! We also boated 4-5 more Trout to 19", a couple of puppy Drum and a Sheepshead.  With four Trout and four Reds in the box and the sun going down, we headed in, counting it as another great day of Amelia Island fishing!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Redfish Bonanza

Tim and Emma Everett were making their annual visit to Amelia Island and set up an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip along with Emma's brother Rob and friend Ryan.  We met at the Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina Friday at 2pm and headed up Landsford Creek to fish the last of an outgoing tide.  Using The Anglers Mark new Minn Kota I-Pilot 101lb trolling motor with built in GPS and compass, we "anchored" just south of a dock and began to toss our jig and shrimp combo.  The tide was extremely low - the lowest that I recall in a long time and I was wondering how it was going to affect the fishing when Tim yelled "FISH ON" and he had a battle on his hands. He played the slot sized Redfish to the boat and net and we measured it at 23" - not bad for the first fish of the day in less than 5 minutes!  The other anglers joined in and began to catch feisty, hard fighting Redfish, and more than once we had a "double" hookup.  Of the 12-15 Redfish, three ended up being in the Slot, but as the bite slowed, we made a move to behind Tiger Island to fish the first of the incoming tide.  I was somewhat surprised that we didn't find any Redfish, but we the anglers did pick up a couple of Trout, one measuring well over the 15" minimum size.  Our last stop was on the outside of Tiger Island, fishing the flooded oyster beds with float rigs, and Emma pulled in the last fish of the day, a hungry Trout.  With that, we headed in as the sun slipped down over the horizon, counting it as another great day to be on Amelia Island waters!