Thursday, February 15, 2018

We Thought The First One Was Big

Finally! A beautiful morning! After a couple of days of nasty weather, this morning was picture perfect when I met Eric Brooks up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp. It was right at high tide when we left the dock and headed over to the outside of Tiger with some float rigs and live shrimp. We made our first stop at some flooded oysters and worked the grass line in hopes for a cruising Redfish or hungry Trout. Not a nibble. We crossed over the creek and fished another marsh line thoroughly, tossing up current and
letting the bait drift naturally along the bank and again, no bites.

We began to make a run through Tiger and even though the tide was still really high, we made a pit stop at the logs thinking we could give them a brief shot. I pin pointed Eric where to cast and he did so perfectly..."left of the stump"! It didn't take long and BOOM! Big fish on!  Eric must have been living right because he was way up amongst the roots but he worked the big fish out, kept the pressure on, and landed a nice 25" Slot Redfish! Now that's the way to knock the skunk off the boat!

After getting some pictures he went back to the same spot and again, it didn't take long, Bigger fish on! This one ripped drag just like the first one but it was determined not to come to the boat. But Eric was up to the challenge and after a good battle landed an oversized 27.5" Red. Now that's a nice fish. We released it after getting some pictures and it swam lazily to the bottom. This fish eased Eric into third place in the 2018 Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament-Redfish Category (scroll down the right side of this report for standings).

We caught a handful more of Reds but most were in the 17" size range and then we added a nice 16" Seatrout. When things slowed we ran over to Lanceford, fished some dock pilings, and Eric picked up one more feisty Redfish.  Our final stop was up Bell River where we found we could toss our jig and live shrimp up current, let it go to the bottom, and then just keep the slack out of it and wait for the tap, tap, tap - set the hook and bring another Trout to the boat. It was a beautiful day and we wrapped it up catching Speckled (and sometimes Spotted) Seatrout and counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

From Gloom To Glory

The forecast last night called for cloudy skies but that was an understatement.  I  met Doug Mackle, Stan Jackson and their buddy Matt up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park this morning and the air was so thick with moisture I couldn't wear my glasses! But we were all bundled pretty well so we headed down the river and into the Bell with plans to fish some flooded oysters beds with float rigs and live shrimp. The anglers were making excellent casts to the marsh grass but we had  no real takers.

We ran around to the mouth of Lanceford and fished a grassy island
and even though we did have a nibble, we had actual bites. The tide had been going out for a while so we headed over to Eagans Creek and found some docks to fish. after working three or four with jigs and shrimp and no luck, we finally hit on one that had fish.

Doug got things started when he hooked up with a nice fish and after expertly playing the fish, he landed a slot Redfish. Then all three anglers got in on the action and we forgot about the gloomy weather!  Matt put a fish in the boat, another Slot, then Stan landed another, this one the biggest at 21.5". We caught a good 8-10 Reds and a couple of hungry Seatrout. Although the day started out really slow and gloomy, we ended it on a high note and all was well, making it another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

If You Wanna Catch A Seatrout

You're almost guaranteed to catch a Seatrout of you get out and fish these days. I had three straight trips this weekend, including today, where we had good catches of Trout. Today, I met Doug and Ramona Leische and their cousin Mark up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp, early. We made a run over to Lanceford Creek and fished the edges of docks with 1/4 oz jigs and live shrimp (Doug was tossing a fly w/intermediate line, for the love of it!) on the first of an outgoing tide. After tossing the jig/shrimp combo up current,
first cast, boom! Fish On!  Ramona worked it in slowly and landed a keeper sized Seatrout! Now that's the way to start a trip! Later, Ramono put a small but hard fighting Black "puppy" Drum in the boat. 

We fished up and down the docks, tossing to the bank, letting it fall slowly down the rive bottom and had good action catching a number of Seatrout, most just undersized, but we had another keeper along the way.

Doug was one of the better fly casters that I've had on the boat lately and he worked his sinking line diligently. As it turned out, Doug was a retired fly-guide who has fished Idaho, Alaska, Florida, and many points in between. While comparing stories we both realized that we had met Joan Wulff, an icon in the fly fishing community. Ramona shared a photo of Doug in his younger years that he had taken with Joan and Lee Wulff.

After working the docks thoroughly, we ran up to the Jolley River, fished some now exposed oysters but had no real bites. We made our way around to Tiger and joined two more boats fishing the bank. As I set the anchor, here came two more boats - it was a Sunday Boat Show!  Mark had made an excellent cast and it wasn't long before he had a hookup and landed a nice feisty Redfish. It must have telegraphed out that experienced anglers were in the area because that was the last fish we caught for the day! After working the island, a long bank with deep water, and then some more oyster beds, we called it day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Grabbing Sheepshead Bragging Rights

I fished this afternoon too, this time with Dennis and Barb Lockard, and leaving out of the Sawpit ramp. The morning fog had lifted and it was turning out to be a beautiful day. We ran up the Nassau River and straight to Broward Island to catch the first of an incoming tide. Dennis was on the bow fishing the first pocket with a jig and live shrimp and wasn't having much success when he felt a light bump, set the hook, and FISH ON! This fish went deep and was ripping drag but Dennis kept the pressure on. I thought for sure, "Redfish", the way it was pulling but as Dennis fought it to
the surface we saw that it was a really nice sized Sheepshead. Dennis worked it expertly to the net and we landed  big 19.5" Sheepshead, the biggest of the year on the Anglers Mark, and set the standard for the 2018 Bragging Rights Tournament (scroll down the right side of this report for standings). We continued to fish the bank and began to pick up some Seatrout, fairly regularly with a couple being of keeper size.

When the bite slowed we made the run back to Seymore's Pointe
and fished  some dock pilings. Although the bite wasn't on fire, the two angles did pick up a few Seatrout.

Our final stop was in Christopher Creek. It only took a few minutes and Dennis had put feisty Redfish in the boat. We worked our way around a bend, found another Red, then it was Barbara's turn to fight a big fish. We'd had a good hookup and this fish was intent on getting tangled in some structure but Barb kept the pressure on and soon landed a Slot sized 22" Redfish.  He/she must have put out the alert because that was the last fish we caught for the rest of the trip! But the skies had cleared, the sun was out, and we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Fishing In A Fog

Boy was it foggy this morning! I had met Tanya McDermott and her friend Donald down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and visibility wasn't but about 50 yards so we inched our way out of Sawpit and up the intercoastal to make our first stop along a bank in Jackstaff. I had both anglers tossing float rigs with live shrimp in hopes that maybe we'd find a Redfish along the bank but we only had one nibble.

We ran through Horsehead and around to Seymore's Pointe and set up stream from some dock pilings and Donald "knocked the skunk" off when he landed a hungry Seatrout then a fat Redfish. We dropped back and fished another dock and here Tanya had the hot hand, landing a couple of nice Trout.

Our next stop was down at Pumpkin Hill and here we again worked some oysters beds where the mud flats were draining but to no avail. Our final stop was down at Broward Island, fishing the logs, and as the fog lifted, both anglers found fish. They landed  a good  handful of Seatrout and handful of feisty Redfish. Although we started out in a god, we had good action later and it turned out to be a great day to be out on the water here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Mixing In Some Fly Casting and Fishing

I also fished yesterday afternoon, this time meeting Doug and Joan Paul down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. We had a little bit of everything - fly gear with floating lines, fly gear with intermediate lines, and spinning gear set up for jigs and float rigs! We made our first and longest run up the Nassau River and around to Christopher Creek where we were sheltered from the SE wind which made for some perfect fly casting conditions.

Doug set up on the bow with a 7w outfit strung up with WFF line
and a "Troy James" brown bug. He was making some good casts to the marsh grass that I new had a shell bottom edging it. We worked that bank then switched to an 8w rod/reel lined with intermediate line and baited with a small chartreuse and pink Clouser. We worked the docks and rocks, letting the line sink and drag the clouser down thru the water column.

For the most part, Doug was working on his cast and his line handling skills and quickly picked up the concept of using a roll cast to get the sunk line back to the top of the water and then make his back cast. We worked up and down the bank then Joan decided to try her hand with the spin gear and a live shrimp. She was making excellent casts which soon paid off with a couple of bites and brief hookups.

We ran around to some docks at Seymore's Pointe and fishing from stern, worked dome dock pilings with the fly rod and jig/shrimp.  After not getting bites, Joan completely ignored my instructions and went to the bank with a cast and promptly hooked up and landed a nice feisty Redfish! This never fails to happen. Later, at another dock, she hooked up and landed a fat but hungry Seatrout.

We had a good day of casting and fishing and being on the water so we counted it as great to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

He Had The Touch

Finally, back at it today!  I fished this morning with Frank Boehm and his buddies Jack and Darrel Severson, meeting them first thing up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park and heading north and west to give the Tiger Islands a shot at the very bottom of a low tide. We worked the pockets with live shrimp and "Ozzie Jigs" tossed to the bank and fished slowly back. It didn't take long before Darrel had a hookup and BOOM! First fish in the boat, a nice keeper sized Seatrout. I thought, "here we go!". But it was slow going after that, even after
the tide turned and started back in - we had some bites but no takers.

We made the run around to Lanceford Creek and fished Oyster Bay dock  on that incoming tide. The guys were making excellent casts but again, no takers. After briefly fishing some oyster beds we found some docks with deeper water and this did the trick.

We found that we could toss the jig up near the dock, let it go to the
bottom then bounce slowly down the river bottom and after soft "bump", set the hook and , fish on! Jack seemed to have perfected the hang of it as he was "on fire". But both Darrel and Frank caught fish too. Darrel hooked up with a feisty Redfish and then Jack put a 10" Black "puppy" Drum in the boat.

Most of the Trout were in the 14" range but we did have a couple that were of keeper size. Although it was a tad bit windy we were able to find some areas to fish that had land mass blocking the breeze and it turned out to be another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida