Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fathers Day and Manatee's!

Coming up in June, I'm sure you won't forget Fathers Day! What's a better way to help dad celebrate his day than to send him out on the water for a relaxing day of fishing? I do all the work, provide the bait, tackle, rods, reels and fishing license - all he really needs is a hat and sunglasses. No hat? I'll include a special The Anglers Mark ball cap! I can produce a nice gift certificate and provide the ball cap for presentation on Father's Day, and then schedule a 1/2 day fishing trip at his convenience, just give me a call and we'll set it up!

I saw my first manatee's of the year the other day so now's the time to schedule a boat tour for your family or guests. In addition to the regular seating on The Anglers Mark I put a couple of nice deck chairs on board for your comfort and install my bimini top for some shade. During boat tours I can take up to (6) passengers with the first hour running $125 for the boat, then $75 per hour after that. Most tours average about (2) hours. There's a good chance we'll see the manatee up close and personal!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tailing Sheepshead, Manatee, Drum and More

I had the pleasure of fishing this morning with Gordy and Kirsten Holland, who are regular visitors from the Atlanta area. We left the dock at Atlantic Seafood at 7:30am with only a slight breeze and clear skies and headed to the Tiger Island area. We started off tossing topwater lures but had no strikes. We did come across some Sheepshead tailing in the grass and Gordy tossed a jig/shrimp combo but had no takers. We crossed the river to what I call "manatee creek" and sure enough, had our first manatee sightings of the year, with two or three swimming by and checking us out. We fished behind Tiger Island at a full high tide (9am) then headed for Lanceford Creek to fish the docks.
The tide had just started out when Kirsten hooked up with something big that took drag; Kirsten fought the fish expertly, but the wiley fish must have known to stay up in the dock pilings and eventually broke itself off! OUCH! Later Gordy had the same thing happen - a nice hookup, a strong battle, drag ripping and then a break off in the dock pilings! Gordy said the fish were just "nibbling" on his shrimp so he tightened his drag and on the next nibble, set the hook and fought the fish out from the dock pilings. The fish tried it's best to stay on the bottom, but Gordy fought the fish to the boat and net, a 6lb 20"+ Black Drum! Both Gordy and Kirsten continued to offer there jig and shrimp up to the dock pilings and both pulled out some feisty Red Drum, too. We stopped at another dock and Kirsten added to the "Slam" with a keeper sized Seatrout. With that, we called it a day, counting it as another great day to be out on the water!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Morning Redfish

Pat Devlin and his friend, Lumpy Workman have fished around Florida together for years, and with Lumpy in town, they gave me a call and we went fishing! We left the Goffinsville boat ramp at 7:30am with the tide still needing a couple of hours to hit bottom. We ran through Jackstaff and with only a slight breeze, started our troll of the shoreline back up through the creek. The guys had a few bites and with only about 50 yards of fishing, Lumpy felt something pick up his jig/shrimp combo so he set the hook, and Fish On!. He knew right off that the fish was big so he kept the drag loose, playing the fish up to the boat, under the boat, and around the boat and then away from the boat! The FINNS braided line did it's job and eventually he brought the beast to submission and we netted an over sized Red that weighed over 10lbs and was just at 28" We fished the bank, getting a few more bites then headed to Bubblegum Reef where we picked up a few Jacks, a couple of Puppy Drum, a Sailcat, and a Trout. The tide hit low so we pulled up anchor and headed to Broward Island to finish the day with another couple of Drum. The sun warmed things up so we called it a day, another great one to be out on the water!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Recipe of the Month: Maryland Crab Cakes

This Crab Cake recipe comes from Brandy Shirley of the Palm Coast restaurant JT's Crab Shack, also published in the Coastal Angler Magazine

(1)lb back fin crabmeat
(pasteurized can ok-$9 at Lofton Creek Seafood)
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
2 eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Gently combine all and shape into 6 cakes and saute in a little oil. Top with a little mixer of 4oz Dijon, 4oz mayonnaise, 2oz Sriracha hot chili sauce, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic and the juice of 1/2 a lemon, mixed together.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nassau County Boat Ramps made Accessible

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I launched from the Edwards Boat Ramp the other day. What I failed to mention was that the old dock was missing and site work was being done overlooking the ramp. I asked for information from the County and Tim Milligan, Assitant Director of the Nassau County Building Department replied back with this release:

"Nassau County retained the engineering services Gillette and Associates of Fernandina Beach for the design of both Edwards Road (Nassau Landing) and Wilson Neck to have a paved accessible parking with an accessible route (ADA compliant sidewalk) with a ramp to the new floating docks in order to make the boat ramps accessible for all. This allows mobility impaired individuals the opportunity to board a vessel. The work was bid out with the low bidder, SteMic Enterprises, Inc. of Fort Myers, Florida being awarded the contract for both locations.

Wilson Neck concrete has already been poured in place with Nassau Landing following close behind. The floating docks have been fabricated and are ready for shipment with the installation to begin as soon as they hit the ground. The boat ramps will remain open during most of the construction".

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Boat Ride up Boggy Creek

I did a boat ride trip up Boggy Creek Saturday with Betty Smith, her daughter Ivey, and her Sister. We launched from Edwards Boat ramp and cruised up the creek, taking it easy, looking out for logs. We found that the old "Hump Back Bridge" had been rebuilt with concrete, to our disappointment - the old bridge was always a neat sight. But we had beautiful weather, a slight breeze and as we began to get back into the swamp we found wild roses blooming along with "swamp orchids", water lilies and other beautiful flowering plants. As we round one bend we trolled under a large birds nest and were greeted by a mother Osprey, chirping her warnings. Although we did not see any alligators or Skunkapes, we did see a swimming snake and basking turtles. We tied off and had a great picnic of "Dagwood" sandwiches, chips and dill pickle spears. The bugs weren't too bad and a good time was had by all, another great day to be out on the water.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Redfish Hole

Jim and Frank Klein were in town from Texas, visiting friends, and had scheduled a fishing trip for yesterday morning. We left the south end dock at 7:30am and ran up Nassau River, making our first stop at "Leon's Spot" - I anchored and the guys began to toss live shrimp under a float up to the runout. Jim hooked up with something big that gave him a good battle, but he played the fish to the boat, a huge Stingray. We pulled up and ran to the mouth of Jackstaff and began a slow troll along the exposed oyster lined banks as the tide finished dropping. Frank picked up a feisty Blue, they both had bites, then FISH ON! Frank boated an aggressive Redfish, then Jim, then Frank. We anchored up and the guys ended up catching (5) Reds in the one spot, then Frank had a bigger fish on, pulling drag and refusing to come to the boat. The FINS 10#lb Windtamer braided line held, as usual, and Frank fought the fish into submission and we netted a 20" Puppy Drum. We also had our first Bonnethead Shark of the year. We crossed the creek, picking up a small Trout, a few more bites, then Ran to Broward Island, trolling the bank on the very last of an outgoing tide. Frank caught a nice keeper-sized Trout on a red headed jig with white Gulp mullet, tipped also with a piece of shrimp, then Jim picked up another Redfish, our 6th of the day. With the sun now heating things up, we headed to the boat ramp, counting it as another great day to be out on the water!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fly Fishing Opportunities

Save these dates on your calendar and give me a call for some tailing Redfish wading:
Saturday May 22, Monday May 24 and even Tuesday May 25. All of these high tides are in the late afternoon/evening; we'd leave the dock around 3pm. Wear some wading shoes.

Spanish Mackerel should be feeding on the Glass Minnows at Nassau Sound, best during a high falling tide in the morning. Best bets are the mornings of Saturday May 8, Sunday May 9, Monday May 10, Tuesday May 11, Wednesday May 12, Monday May 24, Tuesday May 25, Wednesday May 26, Thursday May 27.

I have the fly rods and flies, fishing license and bottled waters, all you need is a hat and sun glasses!

Monday, May 3, 2010

4 Guys Fishing

I had the pleasure of fishing this morning with Don Smith and his friends, Jerry, Norm and Don, all residents of Amelia Island. These guys were all good natured and seemed to really enjoy getting out on the water as the sun came up. The oyster lined banks of Sawpit Creek were looking good so we started off pitching our jig/shrimp combo to shore line, getting a few bites, but no takers. We did get the rust knocked off of our casting so we cranked the big engine and ran to the mouth of Jackstaff as the tide just started back in. We had some good bites, a few takers, but no fish boated when the 2nd Don hooked up with something big that fought out from the bank, headed to the stern of the boat, rolled and flipped, then headed down river, never to be seen again! OUCH! We moved on to Broward Island, fishing the log strewn shore line, again with the jig, and Jerry hooked up out deep, had a good fight on his hands, but eventually boating a nice, fat 19" Trout! There was a flurry of bites and a few more trout were caught. We made a couple of more stops but with the sun getting high and temperatures hitting the 90's, we called it a day, another great one to be out on the water!

Skunkape Sighting and Big Bluegill

Carol and I took the "Pleasure" up Lofton Creek for a test run the Friday of Shrimp Festival. Lofton Creek, north of S.R. 200 is a nice creek for small boats, canoes and kayaks. There's plenty of logs and overhanging trees, lots of swamp area, and it's easy to access with a nice boat ramp. We puttered up the creek, taking it easy because it's been years since I've been all the way up to Pages Dairy Road. There are more logs than I remember and the kicker bumped up and over a few. I'd gotten my camera out to take some pictures of the train trestle and I let the boat drift closer to shore to get a better angle. Just as the current carried us up against the swampy shoreline there was a loud roar and a hairy, vile smelling beast came out of the muck, rocking the boat violently, almost sending both Carol and I overboard, and me snapping pictures the whole time! A Skunkape! The 7' tall creature crashed the

palmettos and disappeared into the blackness of the swamp leaving us with hearts racing - we cranked the outboard and gunned it back towards the ramp, knowing that we had escaped with our lives! On our way back we passed a couple and their son, who were high-fiving after just fighting to the boat a feisty slab of a Bluegill. This picture that I took does not do it justice (just like the Skunkape picture), but if the fish was turned, you could see it was a huge Bluegill. They were about 200 yards north of the S.R. 200 bridge.