Thursday, August 6, 2020

Getting Out On The Water to Remember Our Friend Raymond Keen

It was sad news to get that our friend and fishing buddy Raymond Keen passed away suddenly Saturday evening. He and I were "tied at the hip" thru out high school and many of us knew him from school and playing on the Fernandina Beach HIgh School Pirate football team together. A few years ago Tony French, Raymond, Daniel Rhodes and myself decided to re-unite on the "field" of fishing so we set up a back water trip here at Amelia Island. We had an outstanding time, caught many fish and planned to repeat the trip annually. We fished two more times together (Daniel missed last year due to a bad oyster he ate) but unfortunately, we had our last fishing time together with Raymond. Since his passing I've given a lot of thought to what drew me to Raymond as a friend. I think I recognized way back that Raymond had a "good heart" - he meant well, wanted to do the right thing, and didn't have any meaness within him. He was a good guy.

Tony came in from middle Georgia last night for the service this afternoon. We put out an invite out to Daniel but he had to work with such short notice. So Tony and I went fishing, partly to honor Raymond with one more fishing trip, and partly to get out and enjoy a day of fun fishing for ourselves! We launched out at Goffinsville early and made the short run over to Broward Island. The tide was still going out, but was due to stop at anytime. I found out early that Tony's "strategy" was to catch fish quick and keep me busy netting fish and keep my bait out of the water! He landed a couple of feisty Redfish, a keeper sized Flounder, and a Jack before I could even wet a hook! Finally I hooked up and landed a hungry Seatrout. From then on we were catching fish -Raymond really would have enjoyed it! More small Reds and keeper sized Flounder. I went in between two logs and hooked up and landed a nice Slot sized 21" Redfish. We worked down the bank for hour or so, then moved on north.

 Now knowing Tony's strategy, I had a jig baited and ready to go, and tossed it to the bank, let it drop, and, BOOM! Big Fish On! It was a good battle but we won it and landed an oversized 28.5" Redfish.

Our next stop was back down the Nassau River where we fished the flooding grass with float rigs. We added to the catch a couple more of keeper sized Flounder. We hit Seymore's Pointe to try for Mangrove Snapper, then made one final run down to Pumkin Hill.

I picked up a small Jack Crevalle then Tony, drifting his float up close to the grass, hooked up and landed a keeper sized Seatrout. It had been hot the last hour and we were really feeling it but Tony gave it one more drift, this time baited with a mud minnows, and BOOM! Big Fish On! The drag was ripping and the fish was digging deep then it came up and boiled and we new it was a big Redfish. Tony played it perfectly, fought it valiantly, and soon landed another Big Oversized 30" Redfish, boy what a fish! And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, and a good time to remember our friend Raymond.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Positive Energy Down The Line

We had another beautiful day today when I met Russell Beard and his two sons Russell and William up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park.  The sun was out, we only had a slight breeze and there weren't but a handful of boat trailers in the parking lot. We made the short run up to the Jolley River and set up fishing the bank with float rigs and live shrimp. I could tell that I was going to have an easy day when I saw that these three guys were anglers and could make the casts.  But the fish weren't cooperating, other than a flounder that William got right up to the boat.

But after running further up the Jolley, just past Snook Creek, things picked up. The trio landed Jack Crevalle, Seatrout, Mangrove Snapper and then William hooked up, battled, played perfectly, and landed a nice Bonnethead Shark. Russell The Younger hooked up and landed a feisty Black "puppy" Drum. No Cap.   We then came back towards the mouth of the Jolley, fished it briefly, then continued on.

Our next stop was on the outside of Tiger where Russell Sr. Battled a huge
Bonnethead (for our light tackle). Russell was zeroing in on the fish and credited the "positive energy" he was sending down the line! Moving further closer to the mouth of Tiger, we fished some flooded oysters, then both Russell Sr. and I saw a Flounder bust some bait, coming out of the water. Russell made an excellent cast with a mud minnow as bait, waited a bit, then saw his float begin to move off. Russell tightened the line, set the hook, and Fish On!  Russell worked it to the boat and landed a keeper sized Flounder.

The final stop was around in Bell River. Although the action wasn't much, Russell The Younger did put one Mangrove Snapper in the boat to claim the GPK.  It was a beautiful day and a great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Post Isaias Fishing

The hurricane Isaias passed us by with hardly a blip here at Amelia Island - I even heard someone say they had to turn on their sprinkler system to water their yard!  Today was my first day back fishing after a good break and I met Chris Sampson, his daughter Carlie, and her friend Dan down at the south end boat ramp early and after making a short run up the Nassau, we set up to fish a tide that had been coming in for a couple of hours. We were tossing live shrimp under floats. These three anglers were getting good drifts along the flooded marsh grass but I don't think we even got a nibble, which is unusual to say the least. I did notice that I wasn't seeing any baitfish and that the water temperature had dropped about 3 degrees from last week.

We ran up to Seymore's Pointe, fished some dock pilings with jigs and shrimp, and here, Carlie put a nice keeper sized Mangrove Snapper in the boat. She landed another couple, one of which was keeper size, before we moved on. We eased around the corner, fished some rocks with the floats, then move on.

Our next stop was down a Pumpkin Hill. Chris and Dan got on the board with a Ladyfish and Jack Crevalle catch, respectively and Carlie added a feisty Redfish to her catch total. Then after we had moved down the bank a ways, things heated up a bit. Dan had a Mangrove Snapper bite, then Carlie and Chris had a "double" - Carlie landed her feisty Redfish quickly but Chris's big Jack Crevalle took him around the stern a couple of time before he was able put it in the net.

We fished Christopher Creek with jigs then came back out, headed to Twin Creeks just as the tide started back out, and went back to the float rigs. Carlie had made an excellent cast to a grassy point, let her float drift out with the current, and BAM, she hooked up and landed a keeper sized Seatrout.
We had beautiful weather all day, the sun was out, we caught some fish, so we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Overcast Made It Nice

I fished this morning with Jean Ann (Sofi) Sofinowski and her fishing buddy Carolyn, meeting them up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp. We had just a slight breeze and overcast skies which made for some very pleasant fishing. The tide had been going out for a couple of hours so we ran up to the Jolley River and fished the "bank", working float rigs down the bank with live shrimp as the oysters were just beginning to show.  I think the first "demo" cast we had a bite, a hookup, and a Sofi reeled in a feisty Redfish! That's the way to start a trip!

We slowly worked along that bank and both anglers landed  a handful of small but fun to catch Redfish. The Sofi, working off the stern of the boat and we could tell this was a bigger fish - it stayed up close to shore for a bit, and then rolled. But Sofi kept the pressure on, worked it out from the oysters, played it perfectly, and landed a nice 21.5" Slot sized
Redfish. We picked up a few more fish, one of which was a hungry Seatrout with a spot that had no pigment!

Our next stop was on up the Jolley where we switched to jigs and picked up a couple of more fish. The MOA produced nothing so we continued on around to the Bell River and fished some docks. We did get some bites there, but not takers. We were running out of time and wanted to fish the Tiger Logs so we made the run. Carolyn put a Mangrove Snapper in the boat, we landed another Trout, then we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Watermelon or Chocolate Covered Steering Wheel?

What would YOU rather have to eat?  A piece of watermelon or a chocolate covered steering wheel?  That was one of he questions posed by  young Ava as her parents Chanterelle and John and her older sister Alexa fished the back waters of Amelia Island this morning. I think I picked watermelon.

 We had met up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park early this morning and then ran over to Lanceford Creek and then up into Soap Creek to fish an outgoing tide with mud minnows (no shrimp today). It was a gamble - we do it every day - but it turned out not to be such a great one. These anglers were making excellent casts but we didn't get much more than a nibble.

We then bounced around to fish some docks  and this paid off. Chanterelle had put her bait out deep, between two pilings and she finally had a hookup, and, Fish ON!  This fish was pulling some drag and at first wrapped itself around a post. But Chanterelle kept the pressure on and when the fish came around we moved out to deeper water where Chanterelle played it expertly to the boat and landed a nice 21" Slot Sized Redfish.  We fished some more there,  moved up a couple of docks, then moved on.

Our next stop was around at Tiger Island where we had to creep in to the mouth at the last of an outgoing tide.  But we got around to the logs, still fishing jigs, and here had a hookup. Young Alexa reeled it in patiently and landed a keeper sized Flounder.  We then ran around to the Jolley River and fished the oysters as the tide started back in. John got on the board with a Flounder catch and a couple of Redfish catches. Chanterelle had switched to a float rig, drifting it along the edge, and picked up one more keeper sized Flounder.

We had seen dolphin, Rosette Spoonbills, Blue Heron's, Egrets, Osprey and wild horses on Cumberland Island and as we headed in, we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Breakout Monday

I was back down at Sawpit Creek boat ramp today, meeting the Gross family early - David and Kerry and their kids Madeline and Drew.  We met early and ran up the Nassau River to make a quick stop at Spanish Drop. There was bait getting popped everywhere and as soon as these anglers got their jigs and shrimp in the water they were catching fish.  Ladyfish, Ladyfish, Flounder, Ladyfish, Jack Crevalle, Flounder, Ladyfish, Flounder...boom, boom, boom! Madeline contributed one of the keeper Flounder, Drew put the only slot Redfish in the boat, then David added a couple of more keeper sized Flounder. Kerry got in on the action with a nice Jack Crevalle catch, a feisty Redfish catch, and a Seatrout catch. We
lost track  of all the fish we caught!

We moved up to Athens Drop with the tide still having about an hour or so to the bottom, fished jigs and shrimp and mud minnows and here, David hooked up with something big,  patiently fought it to the boat, and landed a big 22" Seatrout, a fish big enough to force a 2nd place tie in the Anglers Mark 2020 Bragging Rights Tournament-Seatrout Category(scroll down the right side of this report for standings). We picked up another couple of fish before we moved on.

After catching some nice finger mullet to supplement our bait, we fished Seymore's Pointe with float rigs for the Mangrove Snapper but had no luck. We then motored down to Broward Island with the tide still going out. We saw a Bald Eagle (to add to the numerous birds we'd seen today) then fished the bank, drifting backwards and slowly working our baits. David put another 20" Seatrout in the boat (released) then had a strong hookup out deep, and FISH ON! This was a big fish and luckily it came out deep where David gently applied the pressure, worked it up, fought it as it ran, then Drew netted the big Oversized 30.5" Redfish, boy what a fish!

We'd had good weather all morning, a slight breeze, some cloud cover, but it was serious sunshine now, so we called it a day and counted it as another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. Edit...and the family had a great fresh cooked fish dinner at Kitchen 251!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Adding Them Up

We didn't catch anything real big today, but if you added the variety of fish caught, it was almost like a marine biology class!  Flounder, Redfish, Seatrout, Jack Crevalle, Mangrove Snapper, Croaker, Stingray, Catfish...I may have missed one!  Laura and Lane Outler and their son Landon fished with me this morning and after running over to Tiger Island we set up and pitched jigs and live shrimp to the downed logs on the last of an outgoing tide. Laura got things started off early and pulled into a commanding lead on the "fish count" - she caught a keeper sized Flounder and a feisty Redfish.

Then Lane took over and caught a Jack Crevalle and a Croaker. Then all three began to catch fish - Mangrove Snapper, feisty Redfish, more Flounder, another which was of keeper size.  We fished the island thoroughly then ran up to the Jolley and fished the "bank" as the tide was coming in. Lane put a healthy Seatrout in the boat, we caught  a few Croaker that were keepable, then we continued on up the

Our final stop was fishing some cut-bait and that paid off with another Croaker or two, a Stingray caught by Laura, and a Catfish caught by Landon.  The clouds had blocked the sun most of the trip, we had a slight breeze and it made for another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Chasing the Prize

Back to "work" today, fishing out of Dee Dee Bartels Park where I met Mark and Jen Woodard and their daughter Lilli early this morning. We had a dead low tide so we scooted across the river and dipped into Tiger and fished the logs with jigs and live shrimp. Lilli's casting had improved since last month and she was really getting her bait up to the right spots. But it was her mom Jen who "knocked the skunk off" when she put a hungry Flounder in the boat, then added to that with a small Black "puppy" Drum.

 We fished up and down the bank and the three anglers caught more Drum, some small but feisty Redfish, a couple of Croaker, and a couple of more Flounder, one of which was of keeper size. Then Jen made it an Amelia Island Back Country Slam when she hooked up and landed a keeper sized

Our next stop was up at the Jolley where we ran way up the River and stayed with the jigs. We picked up another Redfish and a Whiting before we moved on to Snook Creek where we finally were skunked.

Coming back to the outside of Tiger, we fished some now flooded oysters to no avail, then buzzed thru Tiger and over to Bell where we setup for the final challenge. Lilli was vying for another GPK but it was dad who put the bigger fish-a Seatarout-  in the boat to take home the prize and bragging rights for another year. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Friday, July 24, 2020

Mangroves Save The Day

If fished with Suzanna Braun, her friend Garland and her son Michael yesterday morning, meeting them down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. We had  low tide up at Seymore's Pointe at 7:30am so I made that our first stop to fish float rigs with live shrimp and mud minnows up near the rocks and the decision paid off with a good handful of Mangrove Snapper catches. All three anglers put fish in the boat but it was Garland who had the biggest of the year, one that measured right at 14".

I know that these fish don't compare to a Slot sized Redfish, but their a challenge to catch on a 3/0 circle hook and when you do get one over "keeper" size of 10", they put up a pretty good fight. You can keep 5 a piece (which we rarely do) and can get some palm sized filet's off of each to make for a good dinner.

Our next stop was down at Broward Island where we pitched to the logs on an incoming tide with jigs and shrimp and minnows.  We
picked up a couple of feisty Redfish and Michael hooked up with a hungry Seatrout.  After easing up to Pumpkin Hill we switched back to floats and tangled with a high flying Ladyfish. Although the morning started with some good action on the Mangroves, the latter part of the trip was a struggle to find some fish. But we had a good breeze blowing and were treated to flocks of birds taking off from the marsh as we passed by so we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Redipe of the Month: Real Key Lime Pie

This one is easy!  You can get Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice at most grocery stores and the recipe is right on the back of the bottle!

(1)  9" Graham Cracker pie shell
(1)  14oz can condensed sweetened milk
(3)  Egg yolks - the whites are not used
1/2  Cup Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice

Combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice and blend until smooth.  Pour filling into pie shell and bake  at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes then refrigerate. Just before serving, top with whipped cream and garnish with lime slices.