Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Against The Wind

I flipped a coin today and lost. The forecast called for some fairly high winds but it also indicated that it'd be nice day, other than the wind. The winds made it really tough to catch a fish. I met Jeannette Socket and her husband Jimmy up at the north end boat ramp and we ran with the wind down to Lanceford Creek, thinking we could tuck in behind a land mass and get some float fishing in on a high and still-incoming tide. Both Jimmy and Jeannette were making excellent casts but we had no real luck, and the wind followed us.

And it got stronger. After trying to fish a flooded
marsh bank we ran back through the wind and into Eagans Creek. After puttering up the creek to some likely docks, we switched to jigs and shrimp and worked the docks. Although it was a tad bit easier it was still pretty tough fishing. When you cast to a spot in one direction and the jig is blown 30' off, that's pretty difficult to fish dock pilings!

We ran back to the Eagans Creek bridge with the tide now flowing out and both Jimmy and I had some good bites and hookups, but both came off as we worked them to the boat.

I knew the NE wind was really kicking by now but we gambled and made the run back to Bell River, through Tiger Basin and around to Tiger Island and even though the tide was all wrong, the wind was blocked somewhat. After making a cast to one of the hidden pockets, BOOM! Fish ON! Jimmy played it perfectly and after a good battle, landed a nice 24.25" Slot sized Red. Skunk off the boat!
Crazy day. Tough fishing, but with that one fish we were able to count it as another great day to be out on the water (and not at work!) here at Amelia Island, Florida

Monday, October 16, 2017

Hot Redfishing Early And Bigger Fish Come Later

We got in a fishing trip this morning before a big blow comes through. I met Jim Merkey and his son Derrick up at the north end ramp and we headed over to the outside of Tiger Island to fish a marsh line on the first of an outgoing tide. The two anglers were tossing float rigs and live shrimp and I think the first cast produced a hungry Seatrout!  We worked the bank slowly, picked up another Trout, then it was like a wildfire of Redfish catching!  Both Jim and Derrick landed one Redfish after the other. We had a couple fish just a tad bit under 18" and most were in the 16-17" range. A good handful had multiple spots with one of them totaling 18 spots. A legal entry would be a sure winner in this weekend's upcoming Redfish Spot Tournament.

When the bite slowed we ran out and up along Tiger and made one short pit stop at a marsh runout with plans to fish jigs on the sandy bottom. After getting a Trout on the initial cast, Derrick landed a large Stingray and a small Flounder to round out the duo's Amelia Island Back Country Slam of Redfish, Seatrout and Flounder.  We got a good cast net full of finger mullet then headed up to the Jolley River - all the way to Snook Creek.

It didn't take long for bites. Derrick hooked up and landed a keeper sized Trout and shortly after that Jim did too, an even bigger one. They caught a couple of more Trout and a good handful of the small but hard fighting Redfish. After hitting one more spot in the Jolley (and getting one Red) we ran around and made our final stop at the logs of Tiger.

Fishing the pockets with jigs paid off! Another first cast and BOOM! Big Fish On! We had been waiting all day for that drag to rip and rip it did! Derrick was on the rod and played the big fish patiently. I though once it had made its way  up into the logs but Derrick applied the pressure and worked  it out and after a good battle landed a Slot sized 23.75" Redfish. Now that's the way to wrap up another great day of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Eco-Fish'n-Crab'n Trip

We still haven't seen cooler temperatures here at Amelia Island yet, but that hasn't adversely affected the fishing! Today I met Craig Feiberg and  his sons Asher and Rory up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park and boat ramp and we had a plan! I had loaded three crab traps and had some dead Mackerel to bait them with and we also had some live mud minnows and shrimp - so we were ready to go!

We ran over to Tiger Island and set out the traps then turned around and made our way up to the Jolley River to set up just off some
expose oyster beds. There was a fairly stiff wind blowing away from us so it made for perfect casting and drift of our float rigs. Wouldn't you know it, first cast, BOOM! Fish on! Young Asher worked it in and landed an feisty Refish! From then on we were getting hookups. Both Craig and Rory reeled in Reds then Cory caught and landed a hard fighting Black "puppy" Drum.  We fished that bank for a good 45 minutes until the bait stealers took over.

Our next stop was back at a Cumberland Island beach. I eased the
Anglers Mark up close to shore and we tossed out the anchor and waded ashore! The Feiberg boys did some beach combing and came back with a great bucket of shells!

The wind was kicking so we ran back to Tiger Island and the shelter  and behind it and set up with jigs and shrimp and minnows, fishing the bottom. We had bites on almost every cast but they seemed to be bait stealing Mangrove Snapper.  We decided our best luck would be to check the crab traps. The first trap had no crabs, OUCH! But the
second trap had a nice large Blue Crab. The third trap had a small crab and a fish! It was a fun day to mix things up  -do some crabbing, do some fishing, and do some beach combing and we counted it as another great day to be out on the water here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, October 9, 2017

tails, Tails, TAILS

I fished with Jake Karamol today on a planned fly fishing for tailing Reds trip. We met at 8am up at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp and headed up to the Jolley River to do some blind casting while we waited for the tide to come in. Jake worked an exposed shell bank with a 8w outfit, tossing a shrimp fly pattern to the edge and letting it bounce naturally down the slope. We worked it thoroughly but had no strikes.

We hit another bank, did the same, switched flies, but had no luck. After running back to the Tiger Island area we checked out some grass flats but they just weren't high enough to have any fish. We blind cast some more around some now flooded grass then ran back into Tiger Basin to check out some more flats. Finally, the tide was up and Jake was the first to spot a Redfish tail . But it must have ate what it was after and the tail never showed again.

(ZOOM PICS! CAN YOU FIND THE TAILS?)

We moved to another expansive flat and sure enough, way off in the distance, there was another Redfish working the flat. Jake and I got out and waded towards it as it fed from right to left and as we got closer we saw another couple of tails pop up. We were in the thick of things! We waited patiently to see if they would come our way - the didn't - so we move on to try and head them off. These fish must have had sense about them because they fed just out of casting range. A couple of these fish were HUGE!

Finally, a darker tail was working towards us. He was coming right at us! As it got closer I guessed - Sheepshead - and turned out to be right! That fish fed right up to us  but wouldn't eat the Dupree Spoon Fly that I had tied of for the Redfish. He got closer and closer so all Jake could do was try and drop the spoon in front of it like we were using a cane pole in a pond for bream! It came closer and closer, right up to us - I could have dipped him if I had a net, then it moved on off. Crazy!

We continued to stalk, but the tide got up, then we didn't see tails but huge wakes. They moved here and there but never in range. It was an awesome morning ( we had a Bald Eagle fly by-see boat pic) and a great way to spend a day fly fishing out on Amelia Island waters.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Drum Time

After fishing a windy morning trip Friday - a day that had some pretty stiff winds and a super high and incoming tide, and a day that garnered just a handful of Trout - I went out again in the afternoon with Howard Mclure and his friends Kirk and Pete, this time fishing a tide that had been going out for a couple of hours.

We made our first run up to the Jolley River and fished an exact bank that produce nothing on that higher tide. These anglers were tossing live shrimp under floats and making excellent casts to the
bank and getting great drifts over the submerged oysters.  Pete got hot early and put 2-3 Redfish in the boat with one of them being in the Slot size - a keeper! Then Kirk found his groove and he too began to get fish, but his were nice, keeper sized Black "puppy" Drum. The trio put a good handful of Blacks and Reds in the boat, keeping me busy for a good while. We worked that bank over good then moved back to the mouth of Jolley and fished it too.

Our last stop was back at Tiger Island, fishing the logs on the very
last of an the outgoing tide and had good bites. We picked up a handful of feisty Redfish then we had strong bite. Howard worked it in patiently and landed one of the bigger Black Drum's of the day. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

A Trout Here. A Trout There.

I fished with the Pete Nolan group Friday morning - a group of guys who came down for a weekend of fishing here at Amelia Island. I took three anglers while Captain Jim Johnson took 2 and we headed our separate ways to fish the back waters of Amelia Island. I ran my guys around to the outside of Tiger Island and set up along some marsh grass on a high and incoming tide. A real high and incoming tide! Not the best of conditions, especially with the wind blowing 12-13 and forecasted rain showers, but these anglers
were game to get out on the water and fish.

They began making casts with their float rigs and live shrimp to the marsh grass and it wasn't long before we picked up a couple of Seatrout. I thought, "oh boy, here we go", but that was the extent of our catch. So we ran around behind Tiger, peeked at some flooding flats, then continued on around to Bell River, but to no avail. We buzzed back through Tiger and around and up to the Jolley River and fished some more grass and picked up another Trout.

Continuing on, we made a final stop in the upper reaches of Bell River, fishing some docks with jigs and here we found a couple of more trout down on the bottom. Although it was an overcast day with a wind blowing the water further up into the marsh, we made the best of it and were able to put a few fish in the boat, and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.