I had met Russ and Denice Kesel along with their two sons Noah and Sam this morning at the Atlantic Seafood dock, downtown Fernandina Beach, and we headed up towards Tiger Island on the very last of an incoming tide. The oysters were flooded so we tossed float rigs with live mud minnows for bait. I think our first cast produced a bite and from then on the family were catching fish. Noah got it started early and kept the hot rod as he reeled in a few hungry Seatrout and a couple of them were "keeper size", even though the Kesel's were practicing good game management by tossing their fish back today. Both Russ and Sam picked up some Trout, too, and Noah added a feisty Redfish. We moved on around, closer to Tiger, and again the anglers picked up Trout, a Blue, some Ladyfish, and even a Needlefish. Our next stop was the docks of Lanceford, but even though the tide had been going out for over two hours, the oysters weren't showing and the fish weren't biting! We hit another set of docks and had no luck there. OUCH. Our last stop was back at the first set of docks and this timethe oysters were popping out of the water. Russ picked up a hungry Snapper then we had a strong hookup and FISH ON! Denice fought the fish back and forth behind the stern and kept the pressure on as it made some strong runs. With husband Russ manning the net, the duo eventually landed a large, 25 1/2" Slot Red! I lost track of when, but either before, during or right after that battle, Russ landed a keeper sized Flounder, to round out the Slam. With that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Blair Bennett treated his two young angler grandkids to an Amelia Island back country fishing trip on The Anglers Mark this morning. We met at the Atlantic Seafood dock at the City of Fernandina Beach Marina at 7am and headed up Lanceford Creek to fish the dock pilings on a falling tide. The oysters were still covered but we still went with some 1/4 oz jigs and mudminnows, makin sure we didn't get up into any oyster beds. Young Ella started the catching early by hooking up with some hungry Snapper. Later, both she and Ezra caught some feisty Redfish. Ezra had something heavy on his line and we all thought that maybe he had another "Oyster Fish" when it started pulling back! He kept the pressure up and eventually worked in a nice 19" keeper sized Flounder, putting him in a tie for 2nd in The Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament! With Redfish caught and now a Flounder, it was just a matter of time before these young anlgers had rounded out there Amelia Island backcountry Slam, and sure enough, Ezra reeled one in, all before 8:30 AM! We eventually made run up to Jolley River to fish some creek runouts and the catching continued. The Redfish didn't quite make it into the slot but they were fun to catch and put up a good fight. On our way back into the marina we saw a couple of Manatee lolling in the shallows so we pulled up and watched, then called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Friday, July 27, 2012
We coudn't have asked for a prettier morning today with clear skies and a slight breeze blowing. Ken Grinstead and his adult son Matt met me at the Atlantic Seafood dock at the City Marina at 7am this morning and we pointed The Anglers Mark up the Lanceford Creek to fish some of the dock pilings. The tide still had a couple of hours to completely hit bottom so we tossed some live mud minnows on jigs up to the pilings an fished them back slowly. Just when I thought that maybe the fish were not going to show, Matt's rod bent over and his drag ripped out, FISH ON! We were close to the pilings and Matt worked the big fish in quickly and we soon saw that it was a perfect, in the slot, 24" Redfish! The anglers continued to fish with both Matt and Ken hooking up with small, but feisty Redfish. Then Ken had a fish on, but this one acted like dead weight with little pull thrown in and sure enough, it turned out to be a keeper sized Flounder. The bite slowed so we headed up to the Jolley River and fished the very last of the outgoing tide at a creek runout. Both anglers again had fiesty Refish, then they picked up some Seatrout to round out their Amelia Island Back Country Slam. When the tide changed, we found one more oyster bank to fish and again, the anglers caught Redfish and Trout. One time they both hooked up with a "double" hauled in Redfish. As we neared the end of our first pass, Ken had a strong hookup - this Redfish was bigger than most, and after a battle where he played the fish perfectly, we landed another nice Slot Redfish. We made one more pass, picking up a few more fish, then called it day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
It was a beautiful morning when I met Shawn Boggs and his 11 year old son Jackson at the Big Talbot Island Boat Ramp at 7am today. The bait shop was out of live bait, but I had a bag full of fresh dead shrimp, so we headed up the Nassau River to fish some oyster outcrops on the last of an outgoing tide. The anglers warmed up tossing jigs and shrimp to the exposed oysters. We had very few real bites but when we pulled up we were able to catch a few live finger mullet with the cast net. Our next stop was at Bubblegum Reef and after I positioned the boat Jackson placed one of the live mullet up next to the stucture. Over my shoulder I advised him to let the mullet wiggle around for a while and maybe a fish would find it when I heard him ask, "Like this?" RIIIIIIIIP the drag went and FISH ON! He played the fish perfectly, keeping it turned away from the structure and eventually fighting it to the back of the boat. It made a number of hard runs but he kept the pressure on and brought him to the waiting net. We celebrated the "thrill of victory" with some high fives on the "home run" of a first fish and got some pictures. When we measured it we found out that it was over the slot, a 27 1/2 fish, placing Jackson tied for 3rd in The Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament! We made sure he swam off to be caught another day. Shawn joined in by picking up some fiesty Redfish, then Jackson hooked up again using a finger mullet. He worked this big fish to the boat and net and this one measured 24", in the Slot! And again, his drag ripped out, his rod bent, and another Big FISH ON! Jackson did great, working the fish away from the structure, but this fish hadn't gotten oversized without learning a few tricks. He headed for deep water behind the boat and took the line right under the boarding ladder, snapping the line, FISH OFF! Aaah, "the agony of defeat"! But these anglers fished on and caught a couple of more feisty Redfish and Jackson also added nice Puppy Drum. We caught another couple of dozen finger mullet then headed for Broward Island to fish the very first of an incoming tide. The bait was moving along the shoreline and fish were busting it so we set up about 40 feet from the bank and offered some mullet on our jigs. Shawn was the first to hookup, catching a nice Trout then both anglers were catching them. Some were fat but undersized but they were able to get a couple over the 15" size limit. The sun had gotten up and the breeze that we had enjoyed all morning seemed to die, so we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
The Anglers Mark this morning. The tide was dead low when we met at Atlantic Seafood so we headed up to the Jolley River to fish the exposed oyster banks. If you wanted some action then this was the place to be! Non stop bites and catching and releasing for about 2 hours. There wasn't a whole lot of size to the Redfish and Flounder that the anglers caught, but there was a bunch of catching. They mixed in two handfulls of Croaker, some hard fighting, hard jumping Ladyfish, a couple of Snapper, and a nice Bonnethead Shark. We continued to fish until we ran out of bait then stopped in and picked some more up. Our next stop behind Tiger Island didn't produce any real bites so we came around to the ocean side and again the anglers were catching fish. Ed rounded out his personal Amelia Island Back Country Slam when he picked up a Seatrout. After more Trout, Ladyfish, and Snapper, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Monday, July 23, 2012
The Anglers Mark this morning. We headed up to the Jolley River on the very first of an incoming tide and with a slight breeze to out backs. Using 1/4 jigs and live shrimp, the anglers began making presentations to the oyster lined banks and the bite began almost immediately and lasted for about 2 hours. Although the Croakers were thick, the anglers picked up some nice Seatrout and feisty Redfish, too. Then Mike had a strong hookup and his drag ripped out, FISH ON! He played the fish perfectly and after a good battle, he directed the fish into the waiting net. This 24" Slot Red was a nice fish! Shortly after that Mike and Joe had a double hookup and when they got their respective fish in, it turne out that Joe's Trout trumped Mike's Redfish! Joe went on to catch a couple of keeper sized Flounder (the family released all of their fish) to round out his personal Amelia Island Back Country Slam. For a while, Emily was on fire, hooking up Trout after Trout, enough to earn the label, Trout Queen! We fished outside of Tiger later and picked up a few more small Trout and Ladyfish, then called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Sunday, July 22, 2012
The Anglers Mark this morning. We headed up to Jolley River on the first of an incoming tide loaded down with a bait well of live shrimp. I dropped the trolling motor along an oyster lined bank and we began to inch along, casting jigs and shrimp to the exposed oysters. From the first cast the young anglers were getting bites, hooking up often and keeping their parents and I busy getting them re-baited and back in the water. They caught small, but hungry Trout, feisty Redfish, and Croaker's and were getting their casting down when Willis had a strong bite, his drag ripped out, and FISH ON! When he yelled "DAD!", David pitched in to help hold the rod and when we realized that the fish was BIG, David took over and began an epic battle, fighting the fish from bow to stern with the fish making some strong runs in between. Eventually he subdued the beast and we finally netted an oversized 28 1/2" slot Redfish! Wow, what a fish! This put the duo into First place in The Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament -Redfish Category. We continued fishing the bank, had a few strong hookups and breakoffs, continued to pick up small Trout and small, but fiesty Redfish, then we made run to the outside of Tiger Island where the anglers continued there catching ways. Harper caught the largest Seatrout, a keeper sized one and both he and Willis added Ladyfish to their catch. The sun was up and hot so we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Ralston Creswell was in town with his friends Quinn and Zack and took in an Amelia Island back water fishing trip on The Anglers Mark this morning. We met at Atlantic Seafood and headed down the river to fish Temptation Cove with two hours remaining on an incoming tide. Although we had a few nibbles on our mud minnows under a float, there were no takers. We headed back up to the outside of Tiger Island and fished some flooded oyster beds and here Zack picked up a feisty Redfish and Ralston picked up a hungry Trout. We moved on around to the mouth of Tiger Basin and fished a spot until the tide started out then we headed up to Jolley River to catch the first of an outgoing tide. All three anglers caught some small trout and small Redfish then Quinn had a good strong hookup and FISH ON! He played the fish briefly but the wiley Red must have buried his snout into the oysters and, FISH OFF! Ouch!we continued to fish the flooded oysters and Zack rounded out his personal Amelia Island Back Country Slam, picking up two Flounder in a row. We had a couple of Ladyfish then we made a second run of a good bank and this time the anglers were tossing jigs and mud minnows. Zack had turned on some music and it may have been the trick because we had only fished a short while when Ralstons drag ripped out and his rod doubled over and he had a big battle on his hands. He played the fish perfectly and we soon netted an oversized 27 1/2" Red, which put Ralston tied for 2nd in The Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament, Redfish Category! Later, Zack picked up a nice keeper sized Trout. With that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
John Allen and his family were making their annual visit to Amelia Island and made a point to get in an Amelia Island back country fishing trip on The Anglers Mark. John and his son Andrew along with their friend, Gage, met me at the Atlantic Seafood dock, downtown Fernandina Beach, at 7am, and we headed up the river to make our first stop outside of Tiger Island. We had live mud-minnows and just a few live shrimp and with the tide high and going out, the anglers were tossing float rigs over some flooded oyster beds. And got no real bites. However, after making a second run up to the Jolley River, John was positioned in the stern of the boat and was fishing the bank with intent, and it paid off because his float soon went under and his rod bent from a big fish, FISH ON! He patiently played the big Red and after a good battle, we netted a nice 23" Redfish. We continued to troll along the bank and both Andrew and Gage picked up some hungry Seatrout then Gage had a good hookup and boy was this fish big! He worked the fish to the boat after a long battle and after netting and pictures, we found the Big Red to measure 26 7/8"! Andrew later landed some keeper sized Trout to round out the trio's Amelia Island Back Country Slam and with that, we called it a morning. We met later that afternoon down at the Talbot Island State Park ramp and this time they included John's nephew, Jacob. There were thunderstorms to our west, so we made quick stop at the Longpointe docks then made a run up to Bubblegum Reef, but had no real bites at either spot. The storms moved off so we ran down to Broward Island and though the fishing was slow, Andrew did find a hungry Trout. We slipped in to Christopher Creek and the fishing (and catching) heated up. Andrew had the hot rod today and boated three nice keeper sized trout while the others picked up some smaller ones. I was a little surprised that we didn't catch any Red's here, but the Trout were fun to catch. After another stop or two, we headed in with the sun going down, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Sunday, July 15, 2012
I fished yesterday afternoon and the wind had picked up making fishing very diffucult for my guests, David Jones, his kids Sam, Melissa, and Keith who also had along with them their Uncle Dave. The weather was actually very nice, sunny with just a few clouds, but very breezy. We hit Jolly River, fishing float rigs with live shrimp and soon found that trying to toss the wind-catching rigs to the grass line was very tough. But the anglers persevered and we fished on! Melissa was the first to hook up and reeled in a hungry Seatrout. Later at a runout, Uncle Dave found another Seatrout, but the real bites were few and far between. Sam found a Snapper near the logs of Tiger Island but although we were finally sheltered from the wind, the fish just weren't cooperating. The good news is that all of the anglers casting improved over the course of the trip and some new skills were picked up, and the family got to get out on the water together, making the fishing trip a success in some ways.
Lisa Alexander treated herself and her son Danny to a birthday back country fishing trip on The Anglers Mark yesterday morning. After meeting up at Atlantic Seafood at 7am, we headed over to Lanceford Creek to fish the first of an outgoing tide. The oysters were still flooded, but the anglers warmed up on some hungry Snapper around some dock pilings. We moved on to the Jolley River and after using the Minnkota I-Pilot to "anchor" us at a creek run out, the fish catching heated up. Both Lisa and Danny began to hookup with hungry Seatrout and feisty Redfish. They were keeping a tally in a friendly competition and were staying neck and neck and at one time had a "double" with both anglers reeling in fish. Lisa completed her inshore Slam when she reeled in a nice Flounder, then a little later, Danny had a strong pull on his line, the fish stayed deep, but Danny worked him and we landed a nice, keeper sized Flounder to give Danny his inshore Slam. I think they counted a total of 23 fish between the two of them and after a couple of more stops, we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Friday, July 13, 2012
Quinton White and his daughter Stephanie and son Garrett fished with me this morning, meeting me at the Atlantic Seafood dock at 7am. We had a high outgoing tide and with mud-minnows in hand, we headed to Jolley River to fish the grass pockets of an oyster lined bank with float rigs. Our first pass produced a number of bites from hungry Seatrout and feisty Redfish. We netted a number of fish before Quinton hauled in a keeper sized Trout. The oysters were showing well above the water line when we made our second pass so this time the anglers were tossing jigs and mud-minnows, letting their baits get down to the bottom, and again, they hooked up with Trout and Reds, Trout and Reds, with a keeper sized Trout thrown in. We made a run further up into Jolley and although the bite had slowed, the anglers added another keeper Trout, this one the largest. Our last stop was at Tiger Island where we found one Trout to wrap up the day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
The Anglers Mark yesterday afternoon. We headed north out of the Fernandina Beach City marina and with the tide high and just starting out, found a grass patch to fish some live mud minnows dangled under a float rig. The wind had kicked up for some reason and made it very difficult to cast, so we moved around to Manatee Creek and tried the same. Although we had a few nibbles, there were no takers, so we headed up to Jolley River. The current was really flowing now and with the wind gusting, the anglers had a tough time, but they persevered! Callie got things rolling by picking up a couple of Rays, then she had a good bite and reeled in a Flounder. This must have opened the doors because all of the anglers began to catch fish. Both Carter and Landon caught Trout and a whole bunch of Blue Crabs! If we had wanted to have a Crab boil, we'd have a had enough! The anglers added more Trout and a few feisty Redfish to round out an Amelia Island Backwater Slam! The sun was headed down so we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Monday, July 9, 2012
The Anglers Mark this morning. We headed up the Nassau River on the very last of an outgoing tide and stopped to fish one oyster outcrop that was loaded with moving bait. BJ had one hookup with a high flying Ladyfish but that was all we found. Our next stop was at Bubblegum Reef on the very first of an incoming tide. I set the Minnkota I-Pilot to anchor just north of the structure and we began to toss mud minnows on jigs, letting them sink to the bottom before bumping them back. It wasn't long before BJ had a strong bite and his rod bent, FISH ON! He played the fish perfectly and when the big fish made a run at the stucture, he was able to turn him and keep him out in open water. The fish took BJ from bow to stern and back but we eventually netted this "Tournament Red", a 26 1/4" beast! We continued to fish the area, picking up a couple of more small Reds and small Trout when once again, FISH ON! This one was even bigger and bulled down deep, but BJ kept the pressure on and after a couple of trips around the boat, landed a fatter, 26 3/4" Tournament Red! We fished the spot for a while, then made a run to Broward Island to fish the exposed logs and stumps. Here, the anglers picked up a couple of more "rat" Reds, a few small Trout and then a keeper sized Trout. BJ had something on that was big and battled it for a good while, but this one was not to be! After fishing Jackstaff Creek and picking up a few more fish, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be on Amelia Island waters .
Sunday, July 8, 2012
The Anglers Mark Saturday morning so we met at the Atlantic Seafood dock at 7am and headed up to the Jolley River to fish the incoming tide. Collin is just 7 years old but already has the skills to do his own casting and catching! We began to ease along the oyster lined bank, pitching jigs and mud minnows up to the edge and bumping it back slowly. Collin was the first to hookup with a hungry Seatrout, then Wesley added one, this one big enough to keep. Wesley had a feisty Redfish and Collin hauled in a Blue Crab then Collin's rod doubled over, FISH ON! He played the big fish all by himself and after a good battle, we landed a nice, 22" Slot Redfish! Later, Collin was fishing a mud minnow under a gloat rig and when his float disappeared, he set the hook and had another strong fight with a Slot Redfish, this one measuring at 21"! The anglers picked up a few more hungry Trout then we headed on up the river to fish on the bottom for Shark. All of the fresh water from the recent tropical storms must have chased the Sharks out of the back country because we had no bites. We made our last stop outside of Tiger Island and within a few minutes Wesley and Collin were trying to see who could get in the water fast enough with their baits because the Trout and Ladyfish were in a feeding frenzy! Collin added another keeper Trout to the box, then we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
Garvin and David Smith were visiting from the great state of Alabama and took in an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark Friday morning. We met down at the south end, just over the bridge at Big Talbot Island Park at 7am and headed up the Nassau River with clear skies, a slight breeze, and a rising tide. We hit the logs of Broward Island first and although that incoming tide was perfect for the spot, we had no real bites, other than a rare Catfish! Our next stop was a Bubblegum Reef and here David picked up a feisty Redfish on a mud minnow under a float, tossed up near the grass. Once the tide covered the oysters I figured I could get into Christopher Creek and with the land mass blocking the wind, the anglers were free to comfortably fish the bank. They soon began to pick up small, but feisty Redfish on mud minnows under floats, then David's rod bent over on a strong bite, and FISH ON! He played the fish perfectly and after a good battle, we landed a nice 22" Slot Redfish! Later, we were fishing a mud minnow on a jig down deep and something took it hard. The rod bent and the drag ripped out! Garvin fought this fish and it was a protracted battle on light tackle, but the Shimano Stradic 1000FI was up to the task! Garvin played the fish beautifully and we eventually landed it, to be measured at 27 1/4", photographed, and released. But this fish put Garvin in 3rd place in The Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament - Redfish Category! The anglers picked up a few more smaller Reds, a Snapper, and then we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!
run south to fish the Horsehead area. The angling crew was made up of Russ, Carter and another son - Will. We eased along the bank at Jackstaff and Carter picked up another Ladyfish, but we had no other real bites. Later, we held the boat steady at Bubblegum Reef and Will hooked up and played a feisty Redfish, caught on a mudminnow under a float. Shortly after we had a hard hit and, FISH ON! Carter worked the fish to the boat and we soon netted a nice 24" Redfish. The wind picked up a little bit so we headed back to the marina area and fished some docks at Lanceford Creek. The tide had just started in and we were tossing mud minnows on jigs up to the pilings when the rod bent and drag began to rip. Will had a good battle that made his arms sore, but he stuck with it and landed a "Tournament Red" - 26 3/4" in length! With that, we called it a day, another great one to be on Amelia Island waters!
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Chris Collins of the Macon, Georgia area had set up a Amelia Island back country fishing trip for his son Cameron and his son-in-law Dave Sauer this morning, so we met at the Fernandina Beach Marina and headed up to the Jolley River to fish the last couple of hours of an incoming tide. The live shrimp have been scarce in the bait shops so we were once again using mud minnows under the float rigs. The tide had covered the oysters as we started a troll of the bank and it wasn't long at all before Cameron picked up a nice Trout then Dave had a hookup that doubled the rod over and ripped the line out, FISH ON! He played the fish perfectly and after a protracted battle, landed a huge, over-the-Slot Redfish that measured 28 1/4", putting him in first place in The Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament, Redfish category! I can't remember the last time that I stayed at one spot the entire fishing trip - I don't think I ever have. But today was the day and the fish were hungry. Cameron picked up a Slot Red then both anglers yelled FISH ON! and we had a double battle going on that soon produced two more Slot Reds! Dave picked up a 19" Flounder and found another keeper Flounder later on. All told, the anglers had five Slot Reds in the boat, not counting the oversized one that Dave released. We were still looking for that keeper Trout to round out the Amelia Island Back Country Slam when Cameron hooked up, his rod bent, and drag ripped. It was a big fish and we all thought that here's number six Slot Red but when Cameron got him to the net we realized that it was a large 20" Seatrout! We picked up a few more smaller trout, then called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!