Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bigger Trout Showing Up

Robert and Elizabeth Torregrossa were visiting Amelia Island from the Maryland area and took in a backcountry fishing trip along with their friend, Norman. We left the Atlantic Seafood dock 7am sharp, with cloudy skies and already gusty winds. The weather report called for a partly cloudy day with wind 15-20mph and gusts up to 25, and I think the weatherman nailed it! We hit the Lanceford Creek docks with the tide just starting back in, pitching our jig/shrimp combo up to the pilings. Although the "bite" seems to have slowed from weeks past, Robert did have something nail his bait half way back to the boat and he had a good fight on his hands. He played the fish expertly with the Shimano 1000FI reel spooled with Power Pro braided line and soon brought a nice 18" Trout to the net! Elizabeth and Norman both had good hookups with the fish fighting to stay on bottom, and they boated some pesky Stingrays. We moved to another dock where Elizabeth found the hot spot, catching 3-4 small Redfish and then Norman joined in, adding a couple of more small Redfish to the fish count. The wind was really blowing now so we headed to the shelter of Tiger Island;
I dropped the trolling motor and we made a pass with the anglers getting some bites, but no hookups. I anchored up near shore and it wasn't long before Robert caught a Flounder, completing their "inshore slam", and Elizabeth pulled in a Croaker. We fished "Manatee Creek" briefly, to be treated to a brief sighting of one Manatee, then move around to the front of Tiger Island and anchored. All the anglers joined in on some action, battling a few more small Redfish, a few small Trout, a couple of Snapper, then Elizabeth topped it off by hooking up to and landing a nice 19" Trout! We had used up all of our live shrimp so we called it a day, another great (although windy) one to be out on the water!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Showing at Riverside Arts Market

I've scheduled Saturday September 11th as my first date to show my leatherwork at Riverside Arts Market. If you're looking for something to do, please plan to visit the market and stop by and say hello. The market is located on the north side of the river under the Fuller Warren Bridge

Chelsea Marine Expands Product Line

I was in Chelsea Marine the other day and was pleasantly surprised to see that they have expanded their product line. According to Manager Jack Coker, they've struck a deal with West Marine to stock the store with Port Supply products. If you need some boating supplies, stop in and see what they have to offer!

Tailing Reds Coming Soon to a Flats Near You!

September 8th-12th have a "Tailing Reds tide" in the morning. That's Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat, and Sunday. I'm "booked" on Saturday, but so far have the other dates open. We'd want to be sitting on the flat at least two hours before the high tide. Wednesday's is expected at around 9:16am, then it's about an hour later each day. I provide a comfortable ride to the flat, put the bow up into the marsh grass, then wade to the tailing Redfish. We can fish with fly rods or spinning gear. Let me know if you're interested and we'll set it up!

Money Clips Ready

I just finished up a few money clips that I had put aside. This clips have magnets that hold your bills in place and there's a small pocket on each side - one for a credit card and one for your ID. These are great to use when you don't want to take your entire wallet. See more at my Artwork Page!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Slam Fishing

Mark Martin was visiting Amelia Island from St. Louis with his family and took in backcountry fishing trip this morning. We left the south end dock at 7am with the tide just starting out from a high. We ran up the Nassau River, stopping at oyster outcrops and tossing frisky live shrimp "hangling" under a Cajun Thunder float rig. We had a few bites at our first stop, but on the second and third stops Mark began to pick up feisty Redfish.
We lost a couple of nice fish then boated a few more Reds. At our last stop in Nassau Mark boated a couple of "poor mans Tarpon" - Ladyfish and another Redfish. We pulled up and ran through Jackstaff to its mouth then began a troll back along the oyster lined bank. Mark switched to the jig/shrimp combo and right off the bat hooked up with a fighter which he fought expertly to the boat and the waiting net - a nice Jack Crevalle. Mark was nailing his casts to the bank and caught a couple of Seatrout, another Red or two and a Catfish. With the sun getting hot, we decided to make a run for Broward Island, even though the tide was still ripping out, but we were rewarded with Mark catching another Redfish, then completing the "inshore slam", by catching a Flounder. With that, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on the water!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Spooled, Rained on, but Fish Caught

Brian and Leah Cochran were visiting Amelia Island from the Atlanta area and took in a backcountry fishing trip. We left the South end boat ramp early and ran up the Nassau River, stopping to troll at the oyster bed outcrops. I knew it was going to be a good day of fishing when I got a bite on the demo cast! Both Brian and Leah picked up the jig fishing technique quickly and soon they were getting bites. Leah soon caught a feisty Redfish and then had a couple of good battles with strong pulling Jack Crevalle. Brian got in on the action when he had a strong bite and drag began to rip off...and off...and off...and off. When the fish got to the end of the line it just kept going, but luckily the arbor knot held and Brian was left to reel in the entire line, minus the jig! We hit a few spots along the Nassau, getting Redfish here and there, then we cranked up and ran through Jackstaff to the mouth and trolled its oyster lined bank. Fishing was pretty hot here with both anglers catching Redfish and Brian adding another ferocious Jack Crevalle. Then Brian hooked up with something up near the bank and when it rolled we knew that this was the larger Redfish we were looking for! Brian worked the fish in, playing it perfectly, and soon we netted a nice, slot-sized 20" Redfish. We hit a few more spots, but the bite had slowed as the sun got up and when we felt sprinkles, we knew it was time to call it day. The run back to the ramp was in a downpour and all three of us were "soaked to the bone", but we still counted it as a great day to be out on the water!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fishing, Wildhorses, Rosette Spoonbills, and Manatees

Gary Williams and his wife, Missy were visiting Amelia Island from the Roswell, Georgia area, along with their kids Erin and Mia. Gary and Erin wanted to get in some fishing with a plan to pick up Missy and Mia later for some sightseeing. We left the Atlantic Seafood dock at 7am and with an incoming tide and the high expected to be around 11:20. Our first stop was the inlet to Tiger Island. Knowing there may be manatee's in the area I cut the big engine out deep and dropped the trolling motor to ease up to the still exposed oyster beds. We lowered an anchor and fished the beds, first with a float rig and then with the jig/shrimp combo. We could see the manatees rolling a short distance away and although we had a few bites, none took the hook so we pulled up, eased out, and ran to Jolley River. I started a troll of the marsh grass - the oysters were now covered. Gary and Erin were making great casts and the soon began to get bites and pick up Redfish and Trout. We anchored at a runout and both anglers continued to catch fish, mostly Reds and Trout, then Erin hooked up and had a good fight on her hands, which she won, netting a nice Black Drum. We had a few Blue fish, maybe a Ladyfish that through the hook, and some Croaker. We tried "Snook Creek" with no luck then ran back towards Fernandina, stopping on the outside of Tiger Island, and again caught a number of Redfish. We were joined by a pair of Ospreys that were catching their midday meal. Missy and Mia were back at the dock so we picked them up, made a pass of the backside of Tiger Island where we passed a couple of trees loaded with roosting Rosette Spoonbills and Egrets, then we eased around to "Manatee Creek" where sure enough, the Manatee were hanging out. Gary snapped some great pictures while the kids were able to experience the gentle creatures up close an personal. We crossed over to Beach Creek on Cumberland and when we rounded the first bend were treated to seeing a couple of wild mares and one of their foals. We again lowered the trolling motor and eased up close for some snapshots. Cruising the shoreline produced two pairs of Osprey's reining over their territory. We ended the trip with passes of Fort Clinch and Old Town, then headed in, counting it as a great day to be out on the water!

Monday, August 9, 2010

First Fish, Biggest Fish, Most Fish

Joe Segraves was in town, visiting from Kennesaw, Georgia, and treated his grandson, Gavin, to an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip. The guys were raring to go at 7am as we left the Atlantic Seafood dock with a live well full of frisky shrimp. We headed up to the Tiger Island inlet, shut the big engine down, and trolled in to the flooded marsh grass, with a high tide expected at 9:30am. We saw a few Manatee flippers but they were out deeper so we eased in and lowered over the river anchor. Gavin and Joe had a little competition going with a challenge to see who caught the first fish, the biggest fish, and the most fish and it wasn't long before the competition began! Joe got on the board with the "first fish" by catching a nice Seatrout but Gavin soon followed. After that it was tough to keep count as the anglers boated Trout after Trout after Trout, with a few feisty Redfish thrown in. Then Joe hooked up with a fish that had some weight to its fight; he played the fish perfectly and soon netted a 19" Trout! After each angler caught more Trout, a few Croakers, a few Blues, and even a Ladyfish, Gavin's cork disappeared and he had a battle on his hands; he cranked the beast in and we soon netted a 19" Trout that trumped his Grandfathers! When it seemed the Croaker and Blues were getting more prevalent than the Trout and Reds, we eased out of the area, cranked up, and went to the docks at Lanceford Creek. We had a number of nibbles, then Gavin had a hookup that ripped drag and had him going from stern to bow, under the anchor rope and back, with rod bent almost double. After many minutes of a battle, Gavin subdued a monster of a Stingray, which we photographed and released. We tried a few more docks, adding another Trout, then called it day, with Grandfather Joe getting the "first fish" category, but Gavin taking the "most fish" and "largest fish" to take the competition, but we were all winners, counting it as a great day to be out on the water!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

35 Fish and Counting

Russ Henry was in town with his family, visiting Amelia Island from Valdosta, and took in a fishing trip with his four sons, Whiddon, Carter, James, and Will. I've seen the "ah-huh" look in folks eyes when I tell them we're catching 20 Redfish, or 25 Redfish in a four hour trip, but it's the truth! Granted, there's not much size to them, but they're fun to catch, hitting hard and putting up a robust fight. We left the Atlantic Seafood dock promptly at 7am and headed up to Jolley River, anchoring at a good runout. Whiddon got the ball rolling by hooking up with a nice looking Seatrout, then all the others joined in catching Trout at first, then Redfish must have moved in and it was non-stop catching for about an hour or two. Luckily, Russ was helping out as "first mate", de-hooking fish and running bait on one end of the boat while I was re-rigging, snapping pictures and netting fish! More than once did we have a "double" hookup going at the same time! We moved on up the river to find more Redfish, Trout and a we had a couple of nice fights with Bonnethead Sharks who were determined not to be boated.

They eventually found an oyster bed to cut themselves off on, but it was good experience for the young anglers to have a big fish on. They were keeping count of their fish catch and the last I heard it was up in the 30's. One of the young anglers found an oyster bed that was holding Black Drum and he pulled in three, two of them keeper sized. We made one more stop at the MOA (Mother-of-all) spots where we ended the day with a "moneyfish" 17-spot Redfish. Guess where I'll be stopping during next year's Spot Tournament? With the "moneyfish" in the boat, we called it a day, another great one to be out on the water!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Big Big Ray's

Jordan Laycook was in town with his family, visiting Amelia Island from the Baltimore area. He and His father-in-law, Clark, took in a backcountry fishing trip today. We ran up the Nassau River, stopping at a couple of spots, with the tide high and just starting out. We fished the marsh grass with shrimp and mud minnows under floats and both Jordan and Clark picked up Redfish, we had caught a few when Clark had a hookup that took him deep and around the stern of the boat. Clark played the fish beautifully and we soon netted a nice Jack Crevalle. We eventually ran around to the mouth of Jackstaff and trolled the bank, now lined with oysters, tossing the jig/shrimp combo. Both anglers again picked up a few Redfish, then a Seatrout and then a keeper sized Flounder.
We ended the day by heading down to the docks at Longpointe thinking we may pick up a few more flounder, and had a few of the mud minnows chewed up pretty good. There was tons of bait down there between the docks and something was nailing it so we eased up with the trolling motor and Jordan hooked up to a powerful fish. He battled the fish around the boat for what seemed like an eternity, but then he brought it to the surface, a huge Stingray. Then both Jordan and Clark hooked up with these large Stingray and we had a battle going on at both ends of the boat! Both were boated, dehooked, and released, then we turned towards Sawpit, counting it as another great day to be out on the water!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Car for Sale, Slight Water Damage

When we arrived back from our fishing trip today the Jacksonville Sheriff's Dive Team was salvaging this automobile out of the Sawpit Creek. They guestimated that it was probably stolen and then driven down the ramp and dumped to get rid of it.
The officers also said that there were at least two more in the creek but that they were in such bad shape it wasn't feasible to salvage them.

First Cast, Slot Red

Johan Falkman and his Father-in-law Warren Phillips took in a Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip while visiting from the Atlanta area. We left the boat ramp early and ran up Nassau River. The oyster lined bank has been looking good all week and I usually make it the last stop, but on a hunch, made it our first stop today. Johan cocked the Stradic 1000 and fired away with a 1/4oz jig tipped with shrimp making a good cast to the base of the oyster bed and BOOM, fish on, first cast!
We knew right off that it was a nice Redfish because it rolled two or three times near the bank then Johan had a battle on his hands, playing the fish perfectly, and bringing it to the net, a 22" Slot Redfish! For an hour or so the guys caught Redfish, hooking up with one after the other, first Warren, then Johan. Warren hooked up with a hard fighter - I first thought it was a Bonnethead Shark, but it never really ran far, so I changed my guess to a big Red, but after Warren played the fish like a pro, we netted a 20" Jack Crevalle, a beautiful fish! After catching more Reds and two Flounder, we moved on to the mouth of Jackstaff to catch more Redfish; most were small, but fun to catch on a great day to be out on the water!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Youthful Slam

Steve and Tana Storey were in town with their kids, visiting from the Tallahassee area, and took in an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip. We left the south end boat ramp early and headed up the Amelia River to the Horsehead area to anchor at a runout in Jackstaff Creek. With Steve, Tana and I helping with the casting of the jig/shrimp combo, we were soon hooking up with fish. Conner, the oldest was reeling in his own fish, catching Redfish and Croaker and with some help, 3 year old Bryce joined in to catch a few too. Conner even began to pickup casting the spinning reel and Bryce overcame her fear of sharks to proclaim that she had caught one! Steve and Tana got in some fishing of their own: Tana caught the only Seatrout, catching a couple at the mouth of Jackstaff while Steve caught a few Bonnethead Sharks, some Redfish, and Croaker. We moved around to Bubblegum Reef where the kids manned a couple of bottom rigs, catching Croaker after Croaker with a Redfish added also. Steve completed the Inshore Slam by catching a nice keeper sized Flounder. The sun was up by now, the clouds had moved on and there was no breeze so we called it a day, another great one to be out on the water!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Every Fish in the River!

Clear skies, no wind and a livewell full of shrimp, what else is there to do but go fishing?! William Pleasant and his family were in town, visiting from North Carolina, so he and his two sons, Ben and Alex, took in a Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip. We left the South end boat ramp at 7am and headed up the Amelia River to Jackstaff to begin fishing our jig/shrimp combo during the last of the outgoing tide. It wasn't long before we had hookups, catching feisty Redfish and Croaker, not very big, but fun to catch. Then Ben had a rod-bending hookup and the fish took him deep, then around the stern of the boat, but Ben played him beautifully and soon brought to the net a slot-sized 20" 4lb Redfish! We continued trolling the bank and soon Alex's line took off with a zing and we all guessed "shark", but we were wrong. The fish ran like a shark at first but then hunkered down like a Redfish, but never rolled. Alex went around the boat a couple of times then finally worked the fish to the surface, a 22" Jack Crevalle! We ended up catching more Jacks, Reds, some Puppy Drum, a Ladyfish, a few small Bonnethead Shark, Trout, then Ben dangled his hook over the side to a circling 4' Bonnethead and soon the fight was on! The shark pulled the drag but Ben worked 'em in and we soon were getting pictures of the beast. We moved around to Nassau Sound, caught a few more Redfish and Jacks, then Ben and his dad, William added a couple of keeper sized Flounder and Alex picked up another Drum. We were still getting bites when we ran out of shrimp, but the sun was high overhead so we called it a day, another great one to be out on the water!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Manatee Pictures

Here's a few more pictures of the Manatee herd that surrounded the boat yesterday. There's one where four snouts come out of the water together and also one where three manatee were swimming with the one in the middle on its back. Neat,huh?

What does a Manatee's Breath Smell Like?

Brandt Kessler was in town with his family for a much needed break as a small business owner, visiting from the Atlanta area, and was eager to take in some backwater fishing. I picked him up at Elizabeth Pointe Lodge (they were staying at the Captain's House) and we headed for the North end boat ramp, launching just a little after 7am. The tide had hit bottom at around 6:30am so we had the entire incoming tide to fish so we ran up to the Jolley River to get away from the weekend boat traffic and began a troll of the oyster lined banks. It wasn't long before Brandt was picking up small, but feisty Redfish, a few Croaker, and even a small Snapper.
It was great fishing, then BOOM, Big fish on! The drag ripped, the pole bent and Brandt settled in for a long fight. We knew it wasn't a shark because the fish hunkered down deep then it rolled a couple of times at the surface, signs of a Big Redfish! Sure enough, after Brandt battled the fish expertly, we brought to the net an out-of-the slot, 28" 8.5lb Redfish! We snapped some pictures, eased the big fish over the side to swim off to the depths. What a fish!
We went further up into the river, caught a Red at the MOA (Mother-of-All) spot, then came back around to "Snook" Creek and anchored. Brandt caught a couple of more feisty Redfish, a couple of Trout and then hooked up for another battle with a drag ripping Bonnethead Shark. We got it to the net and I tossed him into the floor of the boat to be grappled with for pictures. The tide was up so we headed back to Tiger Island with the intentions of fishing the outside marsh grass but as we eased up to the area with the trolling motor we were greeted by a herd of Manatee lolling and cavorting in the shallows. I eased the river anchor over the side and soon Brandt and I were surrounded by the herd. They were coming up to the boat, laying their snouts along the side; we watched as the rolled and lolled and nuzzled each others snouts, only a foot away from the gunwale. Fishing was forgotten for the moment as we both grabbed cameras and snapped away. At times they were so close we got a whiff of their breathes - my first impression - was the smell of "fresh cow manure"!
After about 30 minutes we eased out of the area, with a small group chasing us, and went around to a grass patch to finish up the day with a few more Redfish, Trout and finally a Flounder. What a great day of fishing and spending time out on the water!