Saturday, January 30, 2010

Trout Season Closed in February

Don't forget that Trout season is closed for the month of February in North East Florida. We can still fish for Redfish, Sheepshead and Black Drum though! We can catch the trout, but they just have to be released for another day of catching.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2010 Southeastern Fly Fishing Show

If you've ever thought about taking up Fly Fishing or if you're already a Fly Fishing Fanatic, you'll want to plan to attend the 2010 Southeastern Fly Fishing Show hosted by the Southeastern Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers. This years show will be held at Unicoi State Park just outside of Helen, Georgia, nestled in the North Georgia Mountains. Unicoi is one of Georgia's most beloved State Parks where outdoor enthusiasts enjoy hiking, biking and access to some of the best fishing Georgia has to offer. There will be speakers, numerous educational programs, casting instruction and fly tying demonstration sessions with over 30 of the best fly tiers in the world. I've attended a couple of these shows and I can attest that the folks at these shows are the nicest Fly Fishers you'd ever want to meet. The Fly tiers are more than happy to show you their art and the Fly casters will help with every facet of your casting. There will be about 20 commercial fly fishing vendors exhibiting the latest fly fishing equipment and guide services. If you want to immerse yourself in two days of fly fishing stuff, plan to attend this show June 4-5, 2010. Visit the 2010 Southeastern Fly Fishing Show page for more details!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Big Red Deep

My daughter Ashley, her husband Nathan, and my new granddaughter Burgandy were in town over the weekend and I got to visit with the new baby! Nathan and I were able to get out for some fishing Saturday and even though the weather called for "partly cloudy" skies, we only saw the sun peak though the clouds a couple of times. The for casted winds were 7-11mph but most of the day seemed like 15mph+. We began the day trolling the Jackstaff banks and if we got close enough to the shoreline, the marsh grass blocked the wind, somewhat, but we were probably on top of the fish! We eventually pulled up and ran to Seymoure's Pointe, anchored out of the wind, and began to cast our baits up near the rocks and near a dock pilings. In a short while we had a hookup on a jig/shrimp combo fished deep in 10' of water. The big fish put up a good battle and made numerous runs but we wore him out and netted a 28" 9 lb Redfish. Another boat fishing nearby at the end of the dock was using fish-finder rigs on the bottom and caught a handful of puppy drum. We trolled the rocks for a while then called it a day, another great day to be on the water!

All Dressed Up and Ready for Action!

Sometimes the winter colds keeps me off the water so I spend my time getting tackle ready to go. These topwater lures had some rusty trebles that needed to be replaced. I "dressed" the rear trebles by locking them in my fly-tying vise and tying bucktail and flash on them. Pretty, huh? When the water temperature's warm I'll be ready for some topwater action!

Meal of the Month: Blackened Sheepshead

What do you do when you've got fresh Sheepshead fillets? Butter them up, toss them in Blackening seasons and sear them in a hot skillet! Serve them up with some fresh stir-fried vegis.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I named him Big Gulp, then let 'em go.

After suffering through about 10 days of sub-freezing temperatures and no fishing, I was about to go stir crazy. It was still on the cool side this morning when I launched at the North End, but the sun was coming up and there was only a slight breeze. I had acquired a smorgasbord of bait comprised of live shrimp, finger mullet and a hand full of fiddler crabs with the intention of trying some new spots. The tide was low and coming in so I quietly trolled some shallow areas near Tiger Island looking for any any Redfish wakes. The wakes I saw were HUGE, but made by dolphin as they pushed up into a creek, and then back out again. Finding some downed trees, I anchored up and experimented with live shrimp and fiddler crabs, either on a jig or under a float. I soon had a bite that took my shrimp under a float, so I quickly baited up and tossed it back to the same location. The cork disappeared and the fight was on! After a number of powerful pulls, the fish gave up and came to my waiting net, a 20" Sheepshead. I had no more real bites so I moved on and ended up down below Shave Bridge in a small creek. Again I anchored and used both jig and float rigs. The float rig was the ticket and I soon had a bite, and lost my shrimp. I tossed another to the same spot, hooked up, and boated another 18" Sheepshead. Thinking I might just catch a mess of Sheeps, I tossed another bait, saw my cork disappear and soon realized THIS was a fight! The fish "pulled drag" down the creek a few times, then crossed the creek and ran up into the marsh grass and as I worked him (or her?) out I saw it roll and it's tail came out of the water...a large Redfish! He went in and out of the grass trying to shake the hook but I kept the pressure on, eventually boating the fish, weighing in at 12lbs and measuring 31". On the way back to the ramp I was treated to a sighting of a larger Osprey perched on a dead tree. Now that's a great day out on the water!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Name the Project Boat and WIN!

The Waterbug project boat is coming along, finally. I had to postpone putting the final coats of paint on it with all of the below freezing weather that we've had lately. The bow plate and seats are mounted, a hatch cover is made and attached for the bait/dry well and I've found a Evinrude 15hp engine to power it. I still have a few things to do such as complete the trailer wiring, mount some rod holders, come up with a trolling motor mount and put on the pin striping...and give "it" a name! If you have any ideas, send them to me and I'll include them in the options that the "Executive Committee" will choose from. If your entry is chosen I'll provide an Anglers Mark cap, your choice of one of my leather covered flasks or journals, and a goody bag of tackle that I've put together. Get your entry in by the end of February for it to be considered. Here's some info that might help: It's a 15'Waterbug, I'll fish it in shallow salt water and fresh water creeks and lakes. I'll be fishing for Redfish, Trout, Flounder, Drum and bream and bass. I'll be using light tackle or fly rods. My wife's name is Carol, my daughter's name is Ashley, my grandaughter's name is Burgandy. I have two dogs, Bear and Andy. I'll fish mostly out of Amelia Island, but I'm planning some fly fishing trips around Florida. My favorite beer (for now) is Bud Light Lime. The boat's been passed around a lot (one member of the Executive Committee has already suggested a name but it's unprintable and got nixed). Feel free to use any Lawrenceisms. I do leather work, fishing related. I'm a proud member of the Gator Nation. My Charter Boat is The Anglers Mark. Good luck!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Head Start for Kids

I participated in the Peck Head Start "Transportation Day" oganized by Ms. Jay Velez, a Family Support Specialist. Ms. Velez had vehicles from Emergency Services, Fernandina Beach Police Departments, Tow Services, Taxi and a number of others, 10 in all. The kids were between 3 and 5 and seemed to really enjoy climbing on The Anglers Mark. Each got to try on the youth life vests that they would be required to wear (under 13 yrs old) while the boat is under way. I also had a couple of spinning rods with topwater lures, hooks removed. I would toss the lure out and let them sit in the bass seat and reel the lure back in. You would have thought they had the biggest fish on in their lives! It was fast a furious with a staff person handing up two kids at a time, tour the boat, try on a vest, reel in a lure, take the vest off, then hand them off to the staff person. I had a great time and hope to get invited back next year. Another great day in a boat...although not on the water!

Picture of the Month: Huge Striper

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Valentine's Special saves you THOUSAND$!

With Valentine's day as the next big holiday I wanted to remind all of you who want to find the perfect gift for the angler in your life. You better believe that your angler would like nothing more than to get out on the water, enjoy some beautiful sunshine and fresh air, see wildlife and feel the tug of fish ripping out line. Seriously, I've had spouses call or email me to say that they haven't seen their significant other more relaxed in years after they've taken in one of my fishing trips. Give me a call and we'll set it up! I'll produce a nice, personalized Gift Certificate; my 1/2 day rate is reduced to $300.00 through February. Just think, rather than spend THOUSANDS on boat payments, gas, oil, insurance, boat supplies, boat storage, tackle, and bait you can send your spouse/friend fishing a couple of times a year! Let 'em get away from it all and send 'em fishing!

From Football to Fishing

Peter Pray from the Atlanta area was in town to see FSU and Bobby Bowden's great game and extended his visit to get in some Amelia Island fishing. Although the air temperature was in the mid 30's, he and I both were dressed warmly and with the sun shining, we left the dock around 10am. It was a high tide, just starting out and we had a wind blowing 15-20mph, so we headed to Lanceford Creek for some protection. Peter warmed up and was tossing a jig/grub to the dock pilings as we trolled by. With no real bites, we pulled up and tried another dock system, but anglers had staked it out (and were pulling in trout left and right), so we moved on. We fished some run outs along the intercoastal, motored down to "Poteat cut" and anchored at a run out, spending a short time sharing some tasty Publix sandwiches that Peter had brought, then we moved on to Jackstaff, switching to a buctail jig tipped with mud minnows. The wind was really cranking now and my trolling motor was straining against the wind and current. We attempted to fish the rocks at Seymour's Pointe but the anchor continued to pull, so we trolled the docks. With bites few and far between we pulled up and ran back up the intercoastal, stopping at Rayonier's warehouse. After only a few casts of his jig/grub, Peter had a couple of good bites on the bottom, then UMPH, the fight was on! Peter played the fish like a pro and eventually boated a nice, fat 20" Trout. We also picked up a nice 18" Redfish from up in the pilings on one of the bucktail jigs tipped with a shrimp. This was some fairly tough fishing, but Peter stuck with it and prevailed. Other than the wind, it was a beautiful day to be out on the water.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Striper Fishing Hot in the St. Mary's and Nassau

Veteran angler Bud Hill reports that his son Skip and grandson Dustin Hill were fishing with jerk baits in the St. Mary's River yesterday and pulled in 10 nice Stripers up to 8lbs. A neighbor of mine reported that he and a fishing buddy fished the Nassau up near the I-95 bridge, trolling and fishing the runouts and pulled in 5 Stripers. He mentioned that the fish were striking up top rather than deep.