Saturday, April 28, 2012

Early Morning Redfish Fight

A cold front had come through last weekend, dropping our April temperatures into the 50's, then it left us with some high winds the first few days of the week.  Yesterday was the first nice day we've had in a week with a forecast of temperatures in the high 80's and very little wind predicted.  All this lined up for a great day of fishing!  Adrienne and Russ Futrell had scheduled a back country fishing trip as part of their 20th wedding anniversary celebration here on Amelia Island, Florida.  They were staying at the Addison on Amelia, a quaint bed and breakfast within walking distance to the marina.  We met me at the Atlantic Seafood dock and pointed The Anglers Mark towards Lanceford Creek to fish the first of an incoming tide.  I promised Adrienne and Russ that we wouldn't be long fishing the docks, but I wanted to hit them first before heading up into the marsh, and luckily it was a good move!  The two anglers hadn't been fishing long when Russ's rod bent and line ripped out as the drag sang on his Shimano 1000FI reel, FISH ON!  He battled the fish from around the dock pilings and out into deeper water, playing the fish perfectly.  The big fish made a couple of strong runs, but Russ eventually wore out the fish and we landed a nice 26 1/2"  Slot Sized Redfish!  Only minutes later, Adrienne had a hookup, her drag sang, and FISH ON!  Her fish was smarter and headed for the dock pilings, OH NO!  I didn't say anything but  I was sure it was going to get around the barnacle encrusted pilings and cut itself off.  But Adrienne kept the pressure on, the fish came out....then went back into the pilings!  All she could do was keep the pressure on,  and sure enough, it came out again!  Luckily it now headed for deeper water where Adrienne wore it out, and then she slowly worked it to the boat and net, another 26 1/2"  Slot Redfish!  Both of these fish were released to be caught another day. We later moved to the marsh where Adrienne picked up another Slot Redfish, then she and Russ caught some hard fighting Blues, some high jumping Ladyfish, then Russ worked in another mid-Slot Redfish and a keeper sized Seatrout.  The anglers ended the day picking up a few more Seatrout, then we headed in, counting it as a great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Young Man Big Fish

Local resident Mark Dennis had his brother David visiting Amelia Island along with David's grandson, JJ, so they took in an Amelia Island back country fishing trip on The Anglers Mark yesterday morning. The weather report had been calling for a large storm to roll through later in the day, but when we eased out of the City of Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina the skies were clear and there was very little wind -  perfect fishing conditions.  The tide had been coming in for a couple of hours and the oysters had covered, so we made a stop outside Tiger Island to fish with live shrimp under floats with our Shimano Sradic 2500 reels on 7' rods.  Both Mark and David had some hookups with smaller Trout and Blues, then Mark had a good strong bite and a battle on his hands.  But the big fish found the oysters and cut itself off, OUCH!  Not to be deterred, JJ continued to fish and when his float went under and the drag began to rip, we knew we had another big fish.  Together, grandad David and JJ worked the fish, fighting it from bow to stern and eventually we netted a Slot sized 25" Redfish!  Eventually we moved around to behind Tiger and began to fish with the jig/shrimp combo.  The anglers weren't getting much action, but JJ again found the big fish!  He had a strong hookup, his rod bent, and the fight was on!  He battled the fish, this time all by himself, and we netted a very large, 19" Flounder, putting JJ in a firm lead in the Flounder category of  The Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament!  We moved on to the Jolley River where both David and Mark had hookups, long battles and releases of 3' Bonnethead Shark.  Mark rounded out the Amelia Island Backwater Slam by boating a keeper sized Seatrout, which wrapped up a great day to be on Amelia Island waters!

A Variety of Fish Catch'n

Jaime Maloney was visiting his in-laws here at Amelia Island so he scheduled a backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark along with his kids Aidan and Maeda and his father-in-law Bill Cutler.  We left the Atlantic Seafood dock at 7:30 Friday morning and headed up to Tiger Island on the during the last two hours of an incoming tide.  Fishing the outside of some downed trees, Bill had a strong bite and a wild fight with a large Ladyfish.  The young anglers had good catches of small Flounder then Aiden hooked up with a hard fighting, keeper sized Sheepshead.  Maeda joined in with the "keeper" catching by reeling in a nice Seatrout.  Jaime added to the dinner fare when he pulled in a nice 16 1/5" Flounder that put him in a tie for first place in The Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament, flounder category!  We moved on to the Jolley River where the anglers picked up a few more smaller Trout, a Sea Bass, and another Ladyfish.  With that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Find Me a Redfish Please

Redfish have been few and far between this week so when my cousin, Jim Garner and his buddy Brad Anderson stepped on the boat yesterday afternoon at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp I was hoping we'd find some Redfish.  We made a run up the Nassau River just as the tide was turning and starting back in to fish Broward Island with jigs and shrimp and artificial grubs.  Brad hadn't fished in years but after a little warm up to get the rust off he was ready to go.  His first real cast was to some downed tree limbs and because I was just getting things arranged for a slow troll of the bank, I didn't see the hookup, but..... FISH ON!  And it was big one, too!  The drag screamed on his Shimano Stradic 2500 as the line ripped out and soon Brad was on the way from the bow to stern as the big fish headed out to deeper water.  Brad worked the fish up but this beast was having none of it and again headed deep with the drag ripping.  After a long battle we finally saw the big Redfish come to the surface and Brad pulled him in to the waiting net.  The fish measured 27 1/2", over the slot, so we snapped some pictures then released the fish, making sure it swam easily away.  Brad now holds the lead in The Anglers Mark 2012 Bragging Rights Tournament in the Redfish category!  What a great way to start a fishing day!  We worked the bank slowly and picked up a couple of small, but feisty Seatrout, then Jim had a good hookup on a jig and Temptation Bait chartreuse grub. He played the fish perfectly and we soon landed a nice 19" Seatrout.  The bite slowed so we headed back up the river to fish a few more spots.  Out from behind the island, we were exposed to the wind blowing 15-20 and it made it very difficult to fish. But the anglers persevered and continued to cast until the sun was setting.  We called it day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters.

Trout Bite

Mike Eddins, his wife Erika and Mike's dad Phil made the trip yesterday morning to Amelia Island to fish the backwaters with me on The Anglers Mark.  The tide had just started out and the marsh grass was still flooded so we headed up to Jolley River to fish an outflow with float rigs and live shrimp.  Erika got the action started early by hooking up to a hard fighting Blue then she brought in a nice Seatrout.  Mike also added a Blue.  We fished a couple of more spots with the float rigs then switched to a jig/shrimp combo as the oysters began to show.  We had a good stretch of oysters that we fished and picked up another couple of Trout.  We made a move to Lanceford Creek and fished the docks where Mike found some larger keeper sized Trout out deep.  The anglers picked up a couple of those, found some smaller ones at another dock, then we headed in, counting it as another great day of fishing!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I had the pleasure of fishing with the Neal family again on Friday morning, but this time we launched from the Sawpit Creek boat ramp at Big Talbot Island Park.  We left the ramp at 7:30am and headed up the Nassau River, making a stop at a large runout in the marsh.  The oysters were still covered, but the tide was going out and we fished with jigs on the bottom and a float rig.  We had no real bites we made a move back down the river to fish an oyster outcrop.  We found that if we fished a jig and shrimp combo down deep we would feel a subtle bite and could hookup with Seatrout.  Pinson IV (P4)  "the FishFinder", figured it out and got the catch going.  Later, we ran around to Jackstaff Creek and fished the now exposed oysters.  Pinson SR. had a hookup and an exciting fight with a high jumping "poor mans Tarpon" - a Ladyfish.  We found a sandbar to fish across and again the anglers found Trout, in deeper water, picking up our baits from the bottom.  Pinson added a Flounder to the catch.  At our last stop, P4  hooked up with a hard fighting Drum, then a Sheepshead to round out an Amelia Island Grand Slam of Seatrout, Flounder, Drum, and Sheepshead.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Shark Infested Waters

David Olson and his friend Linda planned a fishing trip with me this afternoon so we met at 2pm at the Atlantic Seafood and pointed The Anglers Mark to the backwaters of Amelia Island.  We had somewhat of wind, but it was a beautiful day to be out.  We made our first stop at a marsh run out on a high and outgoing tide.  We quickly dubbed Linda the knickname "fishfinder" because she seemed to have a knack for finding where the fish were!  She caught a couple of Seatrout  on a float rig with live shrimp then David joined in on the catching.   As we were holding the boat in a small creek, Linda's rod bent over and the line began to rip out, FISH ON!  She fought the fish perfectly and eventually subdued it, bringing a nice Bonnethead Shark to the boat for release.  After she fought another won to the boat, David hooked up with one, too, and played it expertly.  We stayed and caught a few more shark, then moved on to fish some now exposed oyster banks with jig/shrimp combos.  Later we moved to get out of the wind and fished some dock pilings on Lanceford Creek.  We boated a keeper sized flounder and a fat Seatrout, then headed in, counting it as another great day to be on Amelia Island waters!

Sundown Redfish

Pinson and Tina Neal were visiting Amelia Island, Florida again and along with their kids Landon and Pinson (P4), took in an afternoon fishing trip on The Anglers Mark.  We left the Atlantic Seafood dock at the City of Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina and headed downriver to fish a flooded oyster flat south of Rayonier pulp mill. The tide had been coming out for an hour or so, but the oysters were still flooded so we used a float rig.  We had no bites.  We made our next stop at the Lanceford Creek docks and although the conditions seemed to be getting right with the oysters beginning to show, we had very little action.....until Pinson Sr. hooked up with something big!  It acted like a concrete block, but every once in a while it would rip some drag, so we knew it had to be a "fish", right? He fought the fish perfectly and after a long battle, pulled up a very large Ray!  Landon then got in on the action and caught a nice keeper sized Flounder that put her in first place in The Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament!  We made a run to Tiger Island where the logs were now showing.  P4 had a good fight with a nice Redfish.  Things were still slow so we moved on to the Jolley River and with the tide almost out, the anglers began to pick up fish.  Almost immediately they caught a couple of Redfish then a few Trout and Blues and then more Trout.  We made a second run of an oyster bank and Pinson and Landon had a "double" hookup with Redfish.  At the end of the evening we had a huge 4-5' Ray come swimming in from the year, up to the osyter bank, then turn and head right for the boat, almost bumping the engine!  It went under the boat and headed out to deeper water.  What a way to end a great day of fishing in Amelia Island waters!

First Shark of the Year

Buddy and Mindy Peterson were in town with their kids Jack and Ben and took in an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark yesterday morning.  We left the Atlantic Seafood dock at 7:30am and headed up to Jolley River to fish the incoming tide with jig/shrimp combo's.  The oysters were still showing and the anglers worked the bank, picking up a few feisty Seatrout.  We moved on up into the river, still fishing the oyster banks, and Mindy had strong hookup that began to rip the line off of her Shimano Stradic 1000 reel.  She fought the fish around the boat a couple of times and just as we thought we were going to see the fish, it would head for the bottom and Mindy would have to work it back in.  Eventually she won the battle and we netted a hefty Bonnethead Shark!   Buddy, Jack and Ben were able to pickup some Trout and Ben won the ugliest fish caught contest by reeling in a Stingray.  With that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Trout Come Through

Andrew and Melanie Berlin were visiting Amelia Island again with their two sons, Ben and Daniel, and took in a backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark.  We left the Atlantic Seafood dock at the City of Fernandina Harbor Marina at 2pm today and headed up to the Jolley River to fish an exposed oyster bank on an incoming tide.  Although the anglers had a few nibbles, we didn't pick up any fish, but as the tide began to cover the oysters we did have sightings of both Sheepshead and Trout swimming in the shallows.  We fished a few more spots in Jolley then headed over to the outside of Tiger to fish with float rigs over some flooded oysters.  This did the trick and both Daniel and Melanie were able to hookup with some fat, keeper sized Trout.   Ben was making excellent casts and Andrew picked up some Trout along the way.  We fished behind Tiger where Daniel had a strong hookup, but the fish found it's way into the downed trees and broke itself off.  After fishing south of Rayonier, we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gear Tip: Scrap Line Holder

I've had a couple of comments about my scrap line/leader holder.  It's a recycled cylinder that those drink mixes come in.  I cut an "X" across the top of the cap and whittled a hole.  Whenever I have a scrap piece of line I shove it down in this makeshift holder so that it doesn't blow out while the boat is running.  It fits perfectly in a coozie and then into a cup holder.

Wildlife Sightings Highlite of The Day

Scott and Jacquelyn O'Melia , along with their kids Palmer, Scottie, and Lady, were visiting Amelia Island again and took in an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark today. We headed out on a beautiful, sunny morning, but with stiff breeze.  On the way to our first spot on Lanceford Creek, we saw Dolphin rolling in the water and soon after anchoring Palmer spotted an awesome Bald Eagle cruising the shoreline.  We fished the docks of Lanceford but had very few bites so we headed up to Jolley River to fish the oyster banks.  We saw an Osprey looking for fish like we were!  5 year olds Scottie and Lady got to know the live shrimp real well and settled in to enjoy one of their first fishing trips.  Fishing behind Tiger Island we finally hooked up with a good bite and Palmer battled in a feisty Redfish.  While fishing Tiger we were treated to a sighting of a Sea Otter scampering along the shoreline.  As we left Tiger, we crossed over to Cumberland to view a small herd of wild horses, then made our way back to the marina, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Double Hookup on First Casts

Wade Dial and his son, Pearson fished with me on Sunday morning.  We left the Atlantic Seafood boat ramp at 7:30am and headed up Lanceford Creek to fish the dock pilings on an outgoing tide.  The oysters were just beginning to show so I set Pearson up with a float rig and live shrimp while Wade tossed a jig/shrimp combo.  We had just gotten their lines out when Wade's rod bent over and his drag began to rip out, FISH ON!  He handed the rod off to Pearson for the battle, then we saw that Pearson's float had disappeared!  Wade grabbed that rod and we had a "double" fish fight going on!  We landed Pearson's Slot Red then we got Wade's in for a "double" Redfish catch on the first cast of the day!  We continued to fish the falling tide and these anglers stayed busy, catching Redfish and keeper sized Seatrout for about two hours.  We moved on to Jolley River, caught a few Trout, then called it a day, another great one to be on Amelia Island waters!

Spot Tournament Caddyshack Style

I had planned to fish in the Jacksonville Florida Times Union Redfish Spot Tournament this weekend with friends Tim Parker and Brian Knicley, so we fished on Friday to see if we could find some fish biting.  We met early at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and headed up the Nassau River to fish the exposed oyster beds. It wasn't long before we were picking up a bunch of Trout and a few Reds here and there.  Tim and Brian were using Temptation Baits and were putting fish in the boat, while I was using live shrimp to catch some, too. Fishing was outstanding on Friday and the weather was beautiful.  We followed the same game plan on Saturday and left the Sisters Creek boat ramp to run north to Nassau River.  We picked up Trout again early and then added a couple of Redfish, with one in the Slot, but with only two spots.  A storm was rolling in and it began to rain heavily.  As it began to thunder I hooked up with a BIG fish and had a long and drawn out battle.  The lighting began to pop and crackle and the thunder boomed as we fought the fish around the boat and eventually landed it.  Tim noted that it had NO SPOTS, worth $500 if the first no-spot entry, but this one was way over the size limit, measuring at 33 1/2", so we returned him to the water.  We made run for cover and got out of the storm.  After the lighting passed we were able to get in some more fishing, albeit in the rain, and Brian had the hot rod going.  He hooked up with a couple of Trout, a small Red, a Puppy Drum then he had a strong hookup that ripped drag off his reel. FISH ON!  He battled the fish around the boat, from bow to stern and back to bow, then eventually wore it down and brought it to the net, a legal 26 1/2" Red with 5 spots!  We gave the fish some fresh water in the live well, pulled anchor, and made a run through the rain to check in.  Our fish gave us 30th place in the tournament but better than that, we took home some crazy fishing memories!