Saturday, December 31, 2016

Great Trip to Wrap up the Year

Although the day started out somewhat "cool", it warmed up nicely and made for a great day of fishing. I had the pleasure of fishing today with the Tesiero's - Don and Kelley and their growing kids Trey and Marie and we met at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp. I hadn't fished "Temptation Cove" in quite a while but the tide was right for it today - high and incoming - so we buzzed down the river and eased into the cove to fish the flooded grass with float rigs and live shrimp. And got not a bite. Ouch. We then ran up Lanceford
Creek and around to my favorite grass patch and here Marie got things started when she hooked up a hungry Seatrout. Then all the anglers were finding fish, tossing their baits out to drift over some flooded oysters, and catching Seatrout. When the bite quite we ran around to Bell River and fished a point, and again Marie put a Trout in the boat.  I had plans to run through Tiger and fish the outside as the tide started out but I couldn't resist stopping at the logs and I'm sure glad we did! Leave it up to Marie - she found a nice feisty Redfish. Trey had been making pinpoint casts all morning long and
here he went in right along side a log and caught the only Black "puppy" Drum of the day. We moved down the island and just when I thought the bite was done, BOOM, FISH ON! BOOM another fish on!  Don had a big one that was ripping line with no plans to come in and Marie had another at the stern. She worked her fish in expertly and landed a nice Slot sized Redfish, but her dad was still battling  his. He fought it valiantly and after a good battle, brought it to the surface where Trey netted and landed a nice 26" Tournament sized Redfish, boy what a fish! We continued to fish - Trey picked up a couple of nice Reds, Marie added another Slot Redfish and then Kelley got in on the action and landed the last Redfish of the day. With that, we wrapped it up, counting it as another great day, and great year, to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Cold Day Double Slam

Boy what a cold front will do! We had shirtsleeve weather yesterday then a front moved through with high winds and rain...then we woke up to 40 degree temperatures with the wind still with us! But my trip wasn't until 1pm and by that time it had risen to the 50's and the wind was just under my "cut-off" of 15mph, and we had a Plan!  I met Jeff Sousa and his father-in-law Skip down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp and we headed up the Nassau River. The wind was blowing out of the northwest so we eased in behind Seymore's Pointe and this did the trick - the wind was
blocked enough to make for some comfortable fishing. The two anglers began to toss jigs with live shrimp to some dock pilings and it wasn't long before Jeff "knocked the skunk off" when caught and landed a feisty Redfish. He picked up a hungry Seatrout then we bounced around to the other side of the dock and here the fishing got good!  Skip put a keeper size Seatrout in the boat (all fish were released today) then Jeff had a strong bite and BIG FISH ON!  This fish was ripping drag and doing its best to get back into the pilings but Jeff kept the pressure on and after a good battle landed a nice
22" Black Drum, boy what a fish! Skip put a smaller Drum in the boat and they landed a couple of smaller Reds - they  both had a "Slam" in the first hour of fishing.  We moved on down to another dock and this one was even better! They landed feisty Redfish after feisty Redfish the it was Skip's turn for a big fish. His hookup was strong and the big fish made some drag ripping lunges deep, but it was  no match for Skip. He worked it patiently to the surface, subdued the beast, and landed a nice 26" Tournament sized Redfsih! After picking up a good handful of more Redfish, we move a few docks down and again, a bunch of Redfish, and another couple of keeper sized Black Drums. Our last stop was down at Broward Island. The tide was still going out and the two anglers added another Trout and another Redfish to the catch total. We saw a Salt Marsh Mink AND a Bald Eagle(can  you spot it in the bottom picture?) while we were there, which rounded out another great day of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

In Search of Redfish on a Fly

The large version
Find the Mink!
I met Keith yesterday at noon up at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp with plans to target Redfish with a fly rod. We didn't have a "flood" tide so I knew it would be blind casting spots that we typically catch fish with bait and spin gear. I think everybody and their brother is off this week because the parking lot was packed with trucks and boat trailers. We decided to make a long run away from the area and up the Bell River to fish some dock pilings with a weighted "Live Shrimp Fly". It wasn't long before Keith was making excellent casts to the pilings and we worked them pretty good, but had no takers. We  moved around and into the Jolley River, stopped at the MOA, fished it thoroughly, then continued on around to Snook Creek. Boy was it a pretty day! There was only a slight breeze, the tide was down to the bottom, and it was easy casting...but again no takers!  We made our final stop around at Tiger Island as the tide started back in and this did
the trick. Keith was putting the fly up on the bank and between the stumps with an intermediate sinking line and he had his first hookup, a hungry Seatrout. We bounced up and down the island and after Keith had made a spot on cast, a nice fish chased his fly down and, FISH ON! He played the fish perfectly and soon landed a feisty Redfish.  After moving one more time (and spotting a Salt Marsh Mink) Keith picked up another Trout on the fly, then we headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Reds Got Bigger and Bigger

I fished this afternoon with Gregg and Dannie Fitzgerald, this time meeting them up at the Eagans Creek boat ramp. The fog from this morning was still set in so we had to ease out of the creek and around to our first stop at Tiger Island. The two anglers were tossing live shrimp and minnows on jig heads to the exposed bank and with the tide just a  standstill it took just a few minutes to get a bite. But bite they did! Gregg started it off by picking up an nice feisty Redfish, then they each began to catch one here and there.
Then Gregg would put a Slot sized fish in the boat, and Dannie would land one just a tad bit bigger. Then Gregg put a nice 22" Slot fish in the boat...and Dannie found a big 26"er! Again, the Salt Marsh Minks were up and down the bank, fishing, and checking us out. Dannie landed a keeper sized Flounder and the two anglers had a good handful of smaller but feisty Redfish to catch. The fog finally burned off around 2pm and it made for a beautiful afternoon
to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Foggy Fishing

Wow!  This morning was one of the foggiest days of fishing I've had in a very long time.  I met Darlene and Connie down at the Eagans Creek boat ramp and the fog was so thick we had to "putter" out of Eagans and all the way to our first stop on the north end and outside of Tiger Island. The two anglers were tossing live shrimp under float rigs but we had no significant bites. We eased around to the mouth of Jolley and began to troll along the bank, again tossing the float rigs, and here Darlene had a nice hookup and landed a keeper sized Seatrout. The tide was high and going out and we
finally began to see some movement. We did the first 100  yards, had a few bites, but no more takers, so we "puttered" further up the river, going slow in the thick fog.  Just outside of Snook Creek we began our troll. Darlene's float had slowly disappeared so she tightened her line and set the hook and BOOM! Fish On!  We could tell this wasn't a Trout because the drag was ripping, but Darlene was up for the challenge and played the fish expertly to the boat and landed a nice 21" Slot sized Redfish. We worked the bank thoroughly, eased up into Snook Creek and fished it with jigs, came back out and fished further up the river, then headed back and around to Tiger Island. The Salt Marsh Minks were out - we saw three different ones - and we also picked up a small Flounder. Connie persisted and found a nice fat Seatrout up by the logs.  It was STILL foggy with only about 30 yards of visibility, but as we headed in we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Monday, December 26, 2016

Rain Can't Stop Us

Most folks were off today and many of us went fishing! Today I met Gregg and Dannie Fitzgerald and their sister Mali down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp under some foggy skies. We ran up the Intercoastal and dipped into Jackstaff and on into a smaller creek to fish a large marsh run out on the first of an outgoing tide. After the long holiday weekend, the bait shop was out of live shrimp but we had a bait well full of lively mud minnows to bait our float rigs with. It wasn't long before the three anglers began to
get significant bites and then Dannie had a nice hookup and landed a nice hungry Seatarout. They then added another Seatrout and a Bluefish or two. We bounced over to Jackstaff's Bank, eased along the shoreline, switched to jigs and minnows, and here Mali put a Trout in the boat, picked up on the bottom. We next ran through Jackstaff, down the Nassau River to Spanish Drop area and fished a couple of oyster lined banks (even though they were still covered). But alas, no real bites. And It was here we began to get rained on. Ouch. But these anglers were up for some fishing, good weather or
not, so we bounced back up to some docks at Seymore's Pointe and pitched to some pilings. We landed nice feisty Redfish and Gregg got on the board with another Trout. We worked both sides of the dock and on the other side picked up another Redfish and a Blue.
Our final stop was down at Broward Island, running through the rain. The tide was getting down and after picking one more Trout and losing a really big one in the logs, we called it a day, another great one (albeit wet) to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Hand Select Big Bait Best Bait

Boy was it great to be back fishing after a long 12 days off! I had
the pleasure of fishing again withAdam Alfrey, his daughter Rose Marie, his dad Randy, and father-in-law Bill. We met up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park and boat ramp early, and made a run up the Bell River with plans to fish some docks on an outgoing tide. Why so far? The bait shop was a zoo with anglers trying to get in and get bait, and the parking lot had a few dozen boat trailers, so I knew that spots close by would be crowded. The strategy worked - we had the Bell to ourselves and I believe Rose Marie's first cast netted a nice hungry Seatrout, the first fish of the day! We were fishing with live shrimp on jigs on an outgoing tide and we found a good handful of the Trout, but the biggest was just a tad shy of legal size. We ran around and into the Jolley, stopped at the MOA, which unfortunately did not produce, and continued on around to the mouth of the Jolly where we worked the bank slowly, fishing up current. Again, no real bites. The wind had begun to kick up out of the NE so we made a run to Tiger Island and this did the trick! We were mostly out of the wind and we began to get good fish. Six year old Rose figured out that if she picked out the bigger of the shrimp (medium sized) she had more luck catching big fish, and catch them she did! Rose would have a hookup and could reel the big fish all by herself! There was a couple of times where her grandfathers needed help so she would reel those in too! The four anglers caught about 10 Redfish with three of them being Slot Sized fish, and they also had a few 12" Black "puppy" Drum to round out their Amelia Island Back Country Slam. We fished until the baitstealers were all that was biting then we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

North Wind and Fly Fishing

It was a beautiful morning today, albeit somewhat "breezy", as the weatherfolks like to call it. I had the pleasure of fishing with Mark Thibodeau again, a fly fisher. This time we met down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp and headed up the Nassau River to fish an outgoing tide with an intermediate 8w sinking line and a new "live shrimp" fly that I had tide this past week. As usual, Mark was making excellent casts, and into a 9mph wind, at that. We worked along one shell bank, then an outflow, then another, but had
no real bites. Our next stop was over at some docks at Seymore's Pointe. Mark was putting his fly right up next to some pilings and in between, and this did the trick. He had a good "thump", set the hook, and patiently worked in a nice keeper sized Flounder (all fish were released today). And just a few minutes after that, he had an even stronger bite and a hookup. This fish had more "shoulders" and made a run across a shallow mud and oyster flat but Mark kept the pressure on and soon landed a nice feisty Redfish. The wind was picking up so we ran down the Nassau River and past the Oyster Factory and found a haven on the lee side of the land mass where we worked some more docks. We had no bites so we continued on down to Broward Island - my "go to spot" for the day. Unfortunately the tide was still ripping out and meeting the wind head on and this made for some difficult fishing and boat handling. We gave it our best but even though the tide was getting down to where it needed to be, it was just not meant to be. We ran back and through Jackstaff, fished the far bank, then headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on the water here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fly Fishing Shrimp Pattern

Last week I fished with a guest who wanted to fly fish here at Amelia Island, Florida. He was making excellent casts with a "shrimp fly" (right) that I had tied in years past. We had a good tide but we were getting no takers. Luckily, he was open to tossing a live shrimp on a spinning rod and wouldn't you know it, BOOM! Redfish on the first cast. He went on to catch  a few handfuls of feisty Reds and a couple of Slot sized fish and some nice Seatrout. So why wouldn't they eat the fly? If the Reds were relying on smell then there's not a whole lot I can do about that other than squeeze some scent on the fly. There's a chance the fly was getting pulled out of the zone too fast so I think I'll try a longer leader and maybe invest in a sinking line (we were using a floating line at the time). And then I got to thinking I needed to tie a fly that at least resembled a live shrimp color. So I stopped by the fly shop this morning and here's what I came up with:


Here's the "recipe" for my Live Shrimp:

1/0 O’Shaunesy Hook
Grey Thread
(2) Mono Shrimp Eyes
(2) Copper tentacles
Brush and Wing Fibre -grey/natural
1” Stream Brush streamer material – natural
Scuplture flash – natural,
Large Dumbbell eye
Tan Marabou
.025 lead

Tying Instructions:
Place hook in vice with point down.
Wrap thread at bend and then up to eye.
Tie on dumbbell eye at hook eye on top of hook.
Tie in about a ¼” of .025 lead behind dumbbell
Roll hook over. Behind dumbbell, tie on clump of tan marabou, hanging over hook eye. Trim to   
       make “tail” of shrimp.
Roll hook over. Wrap thread back to bend of hook.
Tie on mono shrimp eyes on each side of hook. Place a drop of glue between eyes at hook and let 
      dry to keep eyes spread out. Glue thread and lead and dumbbell, too.
Tie on tentacles, hanging out from bend of hook.
Tie on clump of Sculpture flash hanging out from bend of hook to form head
Tie on small clump of Brush and Wing Fibre hanging out from bend of hook to form horn.
Tie on Stream and Brush streamer material
Wrap thread to dumbbell eyes.
Wrap Stream and Brush forward to dumbbell eyes, tie off, cut.
Whip finish., glue


Monday, December 5, 2016

Big Trout, Tourney Red, Most Variety

I got to fish again with Dave Little this morning and this time he brought along a couple of other friends, Chris and Rob. We met again down at the Big Talbot Island Park ramp and after a good start yesterday, decided to repeat the plan, so we headed over to Broward Island. There was less breeze and more gnats when we got there but the fish were biting. All three anglers were making excellent casts and began to hookup with feisty Redfish and hungry Seatrout. A few of the Trout were of keeper size (all fish caught today were released). Chris was biding his time, getting his casts down when, BOOM! FISH ON! He played the fish expertly to the boat and landed the biggest Trout of the day, a nice 22" fish. We worked up and down the bank, picking up a fish here and there. They added a small Black "puppy' Drum to the catch, a small Sheepshead, then Rob put a really nice Sheepshead in the boat. We made a run back down the Nassau River to the Spanish Drop area and worked some flooded oysters. They again put Trout in the boat. Our next stop was over at some docks at Seymore's Pointe. It
seemed like every fish caught by Rob was a different species- he had a Bluefish, a Flounder, a Ladyfish, and a Snapper. The trio even landed a Blue Crab! But as that was being hauled in Dave had put his jig and shrimp up near a piling and BOOM! Another Big Fish on!  This was a big fish! He played it patiently and let it make a few big runs, but as it made it's way to the pilings he applied the pressure and worked it out. After a good battle Dave landed a 26 3/4" "tourney" Redfish, boy what a fish!  We finished the day over in Jackstaff and landed another handful of Seatrout, a great way to wrap up good day of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Trout Swarm The River

We went south today, fishing out of the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp. I met Dave Little, his brother Andy, and their friend Hal early and we headed up the Nassau River with plans to make the long run around to Broward Island.  The anglers first cast got a nibble and the second got a feisty Redfish -  not a bad way to start the morning. From then on and for about an hour and a half, they were catching fish! They landed a good handful of small but feisty Redfish, then they'd put a Slot fish in the boat. Interspersed were hungry Seatrout with a keeper sized one now and then. Then another Slot Red (all three anglers were using 1/4oz jigs and shrimp, either live or recently dead). Dave added a feisty Black "puppy" Drum and a Sheepshead to garner his very own Amelia Island Back Country Grande Slam. We fished it thoroughly then headed over to Christopher Creek where Andy put two fairly nice sized Blue Fish in the boat. Our next and final stop was around at Seymores Pointe fishing some dock pilings. We began to get Seatrout almost immediately and burned through the bait, catching one after another, with a few of them in the keeper sized range and then the largest of the day caught by Hal. When we ran out of bait I switched them to jigs and Contender plastic grubs and they continued to catch Trout right up until closing time! Now that's the way to have a great day fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Super Grande Slam

We had a cool morning today, with just a slight wind that was supposed to pick up as the day went on. Greg Bancroft and I launched up at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp and ran around to the Jolley River to fish some structure as the tide continued to come in. Greg was making excellent casts with an 8w fly rod and shrimp pattern, but had no takers. The minute we switched to live shrimp and  a jig, BOOM! Fish On!  Crazy. But that's what they wanted and Greg caught fish after fish: feisty Redfish that just missed the
Slot, then he put a nice 19" Slot Red in the boat. He picked up a Trout now and then, and finally got a keeper sized 18" one. We worked the bank thoroughly with Greg catching a feisty Black "puppy" Drum to make it a Slam, then he added a keeper sized Flounder to make it a Grande Slam, then he added a Sheepshead to make it a "Super Grande Slam"!  And to top it off, he had a strong hookup and a Big Fish On! Greg played it patiently and worked it slowly to the boat. The fish rolled up and we saw it was a really nice Slot Redfish. It was no match for Greg and he landed the 24" Slot Red -biggest fish of the day. We fished the area a tad bit more then ran around to the Bell River, found a Trout and a Blue, then continued over to Lanceford Creek where we wrapped the day up catching one hungry Trout after another - another great day fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.