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!

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