Friday, October 28, 2011

Fishin is Dawg Gone Good!

John Nuckolls and his friend Dick were visiting Amelia Island this weekend to attend the annual Florida/Georgia football game and pre-scheduled a Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark. We met early at the Atlantic Seafood dock at the City Marina and headed up Lanceford Creek with a baitwell of live shrimp, an armory of tackle, and a whole lot of hopes for a good fishing day! We anchored just south of a dock on an incoming tide and fished the already covered oyster beds with Dick throwing a jig and white Gulp Shrimp while John was tossed a a Strike King Spinner Bait and I was using a live shrimp under float. We all got bites and boated some nice, fat Seatrout, a small Redfish, and a Flounder. Our next stop was to the outside area of Tiger Island and as I trolled up to the spot John made a cast and had an immediate hookup and a good battle on his hands. He played the fish perfectly and we netted a keeper sized Trout. Both he and Dick caught a few more Trout and I picked up a couple, too. We made a brief stop behind Tiger to check the flooded grass, fish the log strewn bank, then headed up to Jolley River to fish the now flooded grass line. It wasn't long before we were hooking up with aggressive Trout and we again boated some keeper sized fish. Then John's float slunk under, he set the hook and FISH ON! This fish didn't give up as easily as the Trout and his drag ripped out, and John worked him back in and eventually brought to the net a 4.5lb Slot Sized Redfish! Dick stayed with the white Gulp Shrimp and he steadily picked up Trout. When the Trout began to get small we moved on to "Snook Creek" and anchored to fish the first of the outgoing tide. Again, we caught Trout, some of them keeper sized, and then Dick had a hookup that wanted to hang to the bottom. He played the fish like a pro and worked it to the boat and we soon netted a nice 16" keeper sized Flounder. He also picked up a Puppy Drum and I picked up hard fighting Bluefish. Our last stop around the corner produced a couple of more Trout and then we called it a day. The anglers estimated that they had caught about 40 fish this morning. The skies were overcast from time to time - we got sprinkled on once or twice, but the temperatures were great, there was very little wind, and the water was very clear. Although all fish were released, I tallied "keeper" sized fish of our 3-man bag limit of 15 Trout, one Slot Red, and two keeper sized Flounder.   That's Dawg Gone good fishing!  What a great way to hookup with fishing friends and spend time out on Amelia Island waters!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Doubling Up

Kathryn Birmingham and her friend John Denton scheduled an Amelia Island backwater fishing trip yesterday afternoon on The Anglers Mark.  We headed up the Nassau River and made a dash straight for Broward Island to catch the first of the incoming tide.  It couldn't have been a better guess because the anglers immediately began to pick up Seatrout on a jig/shrimp combo.  As we neared some downed logs Kathryn's rod bent and dragged ripped out, FISH ON!  Then John yelled, FISH ON! and the couple had their first double of the day.  Kathryn played her fish like a pro but the large fish was just too much for the tackle and broke off after a good fight,  but John still had one on and he worked the fish in and we soon netted a nice 20" Flounder!  We fished the log strewn shoreline for the next two hours and both Kathryn and John caught Redfish, Trout and even picked up another Flounder, nailing down an Amelia Island backcountry Slam.  They had at least one, maybe two more "Double" hookups with both playing fish to the boat.  Most of the Redfish measured to 17" with a couple within a hair of being Slot sized.  We moved on to Seymore's point, anchored,and the anglers picked up a few more Redfish on live shrimp under floats, then we ran over to Jackstaff Creek and although we were now out in a wind that had picked up, Kathryn and John persevered and picked up a couple of more Trout. With that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Two Men and a Boat

Kevin Gannon and his wife were visiting Amelia Island for the first time on vacation and Kevin arranged a backwater fishing trip with me on The Anglers Mark yesterday. We met early AM at the Sawpit Boat Ramp, Big Talbot Island Park, and headed up the intercoastal on a beautiful but cool morning. I thought I'd stop by a new spot a fellow captain had told me about so we eased up to the marsh grass and began casting a live shrimp under float on a still high, but outgoing, tide. We had no bites but the spot was looking good. As we motored out of the area the Captain (me) wasn't paying attention and soon realized we'd found ourselves on a mud bank! Folks, this doesn't happen too often, but fishing the backwater you're always bound to find an oyster bed or mud bank. I don't advertise that I offer complimentary exercise options but Kevin was soon given the opportunity to participate in a strenuous morning work out! We both were in the water up to our thighs at times and after 30 minutes of pushing and pulling and tugging and motoring we had the 3700lb boat floating in deep enough water to continue our fishing trip with both of us a little wet and muddy but ready to catch some fish! Kevin couldn't have been a better sport about the whole thing and with his great attitude it paid off because later we found a few Trout in Jackstaff Creek then after we moved around to Nassau River and fished some oyster outcrops the fishing got better. He hooked up and expertly played a Slot sized Redfish to the boat then picked up a keeper sized Flounder. When we reached one particular oyster outcrop he hooked up again, his drag ripped and after fighting the fish perfectly, we soon netted an even bigger Redfish. Kevin found that he could let his jig/shrimp combo fall into a hole outside the outcrop and when it did, BAM! FISH ON! His third Slot Red was the biggest, coming in at 25+ inches and on a 1000FH Shimano and light rod, that's a nice fish to end a trip with!  Kevin also added another Flounder and a small Puppy Drum to round out a "Grande Slam" of inshore fish.  We called it a day, and a memorable one at that! Another great day to be fishing on Amelia Island!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Becks Outboard Inc. to the rescue!

After finishing my fishing trip this afternoon I went to load the boat on the trailer and the engine wouldn't even fire!  OUCH.  I had to use the trolling motor to get the boat up to the trailer and winch it up.  The battery tested OK so I called Beck's Outboard Inc. located at 1257 Broward Road in Jacksonville, Florida and spoke to Charles who diagnosed the problem over the telephone with "sounds like you have a bad starter".  He advised me to bring the boat to their shop and he could check it out so I headed over and sure enough, Charles made a quick test and determined the starter was bad.  He removed the old starter and had a new one in stock to replace it - the test and repair was done in less than an hour!  I'm sure they can't get you in and out like that all the time, but I really appreciate them making the effort to get me back in business - they saved the two trips that I have scheduled for tomorrow!  Becks Outboard Inc.  sells Evinrude engines 25hp and up and they service Johnson and Evinrude engines.  They also have parts for those engines and trailer parts too!  They're a family business and give excellent service and most importantly, they know what they're doing when it comes to servicing Johnson and Evinrude engines.  Thanks Becks!

Logistical Slam

Charles Odom and his workmate Dennis were visiting Sawgrass in Jacksonville on business and scheduled an Amelia Island backwater fishing trip on The Anglers Mark today.  We left the Sawpit Creek boat ramp at 8am and headed up the intercoastal to the mouth of Jackstaff Creek to fish the oyster banks on an outgoing tide with jig/shrimp combos.  The guys were making excellent casts and soon began to pick up bites and eventually had some good strikes and hookups with hungry Seatrout.  We crossed the creek and fished a sandy point and the action picked up, again with Seatrout hitting their presentations.  We moved on to Nassau River where the bites continued and then Charles had a hard bite and fought the feisty Redfish to the boat.  A couple of more Trout were caught then we headed up to Broward Island to wrap the trip up on the very last of an outgoing tide.  Charles caught a small Flounder then his rod got really hot as he picked up a couple of keeper sized Trout.  We were almost ready to head in when Charles felt a heavy weight on his line and he set the hook expertly - playing a good sized Flounder to the boat to nail down an Amelia Island backcountry slam! With that we called it a day, another great one to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Perfect 10

Bill and Joan Sank were visiting Amelia Island, Florida and staying at the Elizabeth Pointe Lodge this week and scheduled a backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark.  As I was coming over the bridge this morning the weatherlady on the radio said today was a Perfect 10 and she couldn't have nailed it better!  I met Bill and Joan early, 7am, at the Atlantic Seafood dock and we headed up Lanceford Creek to fish the docks and get out of the still present wind coming from a front that came through over the weekend.  We anchored first south of a dock to fish the last of an outgoing tide and Joan was the first to hookup and boy what a fish it was!  She worked the hard fighting fish to the boat and we netted a 20" Flounder!  We tried the other side of the dock and had no real bites then headed on up the creek to try another dock system.  This proved to be the ticket as both anglers began to catch fish and once, both had a hookup and we had an exciting "Double Hookup" going on!  Joan's eventually threw the hook, but Bill played his feisty Redfish to the net for pictures and release.  Then Joan had a strong bite, her rod bent, and the drag ripped out - Redfish ON!  She fought the fish for a while and then Bill pitched in for a "teamwork" catch of a large, slot sized, 25" Redfish!  Later, Joan cranked in another slot Red, then Bill got in on the action with his rod getting bent and drag ripped - he played the fish perfectly and we soon netted another 25" slot Red!  Wow what a day!  We even had a couple of hookups that were big fish that found a way to throw the hook, but the anglers still were not done.  Bill caught a couple of more smaller, but feisty Redfish and then he caught a 15" Flounder.  All fish were realeased to be caught by some other lucky angler!  The weather was unbelievably great and the fishing was even better as the couple wrapped up another great day to be on Amelia Island waters!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Flounder on a Fly

John Stewart was in town with his family attending a wedding and staying at The Residence Inn here on Amelia Island and he squeezed in a fly fishing trip on The Anglers Mark.  We left the Atlantic Seafood dock at 7am and headed up Lanceford Creek with the air temperatures a cool 58 and wind blowing 10-14mph, but we felt like we could get out of the wind behind the land masses of the Blackrock area, and it worked.  John was making excellent casts with the 8 weight rods to dock piling on the first of an incoming tide, but we just couldn't get a hookup.  At our next stop, there were very good signs of fish feeding on the finger mullet staging to follow the tide up into the oysters so John patiently worked a shrimp fly across the bottom and FISH ON!  He made a strip set and hooked up to a Flounder which he played perfectly to the boat and net for pictures and release.  Although we had a couple of more bites we had no hookups so we made a move to run up to Tiger Island and fish the flooding oyster beds. Wrong move!  The wind was really blowing and it would have been a terrible experience so we ducked back in to Eagans Creek to fish the creek mouths.  Here, John had another hookup as a Trout chased down his black and green Clouser and he again fought the fish to the net for pictures and release.  As we wrapped up the fishing, the sun was warming the day up, the wind was blocked and we were seeing Rosette Spoonbills, Cranes, Egrets, and Osprey - what a great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

First Casts

For his birthday, Rick and Lisa Alexander treated their son Danny and a couple of his friends, Nick and Tanner, to a backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark at Amelia Island, Florida.  We left the Atlantic Seafood dock at 7am with temperatures in the mid 60's and a stiff wind blowing, but these anglers were not to be deterred.  Heading up Lanceford Creek we found an area where the wind was blocked and baited up our jigs with live shrimp.  On the first cast, up near some pilings, we had a strong bite and Tanner reeled in a hard fighting Sheepshead - what a way to start the morning!  All the young anglers joined in and soon we were getting good bites.  Nick picked up an aggressive Snapper then Tanner's rod bent and, FISH ON!  He played the fish perfectly and brought to net a nice Redfish.  We moved to some more docks up Lanceford and Rick got in on the action by catching a Flounder, then Nick rounded out a sure-fire Amelia Island backcountry slam by picking up a Trout out in deeper water.   Danny was determined to get on the board and he wasn't to be denied!  He worked a jig/shrimp combo out from the docks and WHAM!  FISH ON!  He played the feisty Redfish like a pro and brought it to the net for pictures and released the biggest fish of the day.  We made one more stop up in Eagans Creek and Nick had the hot rod here, hooking up a couple times with "The Poor Man's Tarpon", thankfully releasing them at boatside.  With that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on the Amelia Island waters!