Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall Fishing and Football!

I've had a few customer's ask me when the best time to visit Amelia Island. For me, the answer has to be Fall. As the weather and water begin to cool off it seems the fish bite picks up and it' much more pleasant to be out on the water. If your favorite team is playing that afternoon or the next day, that's icing on the cake! I fished yesterday, leaving the dock around 7:30am. The air was cool, but nice and there was only a slight breeze. There was a high tide (6.97') expected at 8:45am so I checked a couple of my usually spots that tend to have some tailing reds show up, but there were none to be found. I eased up to a grass flat that I've never fished and was there only a minute or two and saw a tail pop up. It wasn't within casting distance from the boat so I lowered a river anchor over the side, grabbed my flyrod and a couple of spare flies and stepped off into the grass. I inched closer to the tail and made numerous casts but the fish wouldn't eat and eventually disappeared. Luckily, there was another tail flopping around about 50 feet away so I slowly worked my way in that direction. Again, the fish wouldn't eat my fly (a shrimp pattern) so I switched to a Dupree Spoon Fly. That didn't work either. I eventually got a little too impatient and nailed the fish with a cast - whoosh - he was gone! With no more tails showing I went back to the boat. It was already full high tide, but I motored up the river a ways, finding another nice flat, and saw a huge tail about 50 yards away. After lowing the river anchor I again eased myself into the water and slowly worked my way over to the fish - a fish that was vigorously eating away on the bottom. Before I got there, another tail popped up closer to me so I changed directions and made some casts in his direction. These tails were not redfish tails; they were black and probably attached to a Sheepshead or puppy Drum. All told I probably cast at 4-5 fish on this flat. None would eat the spoon fly; I had one more fly in my pocket and they wouldn't eat it either. I remember thinking how great it felt to be out on a beautiful day stalking fish early in the morning. I eventually ran around to Jolley River and caught a few trout (all small but one), a few reds (all undersized, but fun to catch) a bonnet head shark, a ray (with no tail) and a nice black drum. They were all caught on live shrimp. The keeper trout and drum made great meal; a buddy stopped by so we fried them up with some hushpuppies and added a spinach salad!

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