Friday, November 25, 2011

Hunkered Down Redfish

Joe Lukasik and his family were visiting the Jacksonville area for over this Thanksgiving week holiday so Joe and his two teenage sons, Alden and Christian, took in an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark this morning.  We met at the Atlantic Seafood dock in downtown Fernandina Beach at 7am and headed down the Amelia River to fish the still flooding oyster beds and marsh grass with some live shrimp under floats.  The wind was blowing pretty good so we anchored and the anglers pitched their rigs up near the marsh grass.  Alden was the first to hook up with a hungry Seatrout then Joe caught one, too.  They went back and forth catching a few Trout with Joe landing a nice 19" one.  Christian was feeling a little left out but not for long!  We had a cork disappear and when Christian grabbed the rod the drag ripped out and the fight was on!  He battled the fish for a while then all of a sudden the fight came to a halt.  We even questioned whether Christian even had a fish in the first place!  His line was tight but wasn't moving and Joe and I both wondered aloud that maybe he was just hung in the oysters.  Well, he was hung but the fish was still attached, hunkered down tight in the oysters.  Soon he came out and the battle was on again!  Christian played the big Redfish perfectly and brought it to the net to be measured at 26", in the Slot.  Later we fished Lanceford Creek in three spots and picked up a Trout or two then tried behind Tiger Island where there seemed to be an armada of fishing boats, then we headed over to Eagans Creek to get out of the wind.  The anglers picked up a few more small Trout, then we made our last stop at some flooded oysters on the outside of Tiger Island on the first of an outgoing tide.  There wasn't much going on until Joe's float was yanked under and then he too had a fish fight on his hands!  He worked the fish in and to the net and we measured another nice Slot Redfish.  The anglers perseverance had paid off and helped wrap up another great day of fishing on Amelia Island!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sand Gnats for Breakfast

Ted and Bonnie Simendenger were visiting their daughter, Gracie and other family in Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday and took in an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark this morning.  Although it was a cool, there was no breeze at all and when we anchored at our first stop in Lanceford Creek, the sand gnats soon found us.  But these anglers were game and we fished the area for awhile, picking up some hungry Seatrout on live shrimp floated over the flooded oyster beds.  We moved to fish some of the Lanceford docks and it with the first cast we had a good Redfish hookup and Bonnie fought the fish perfectly to a waiting net.  Then Gracie's float rig disappeared and the drag ripped out, FISH ON!  She played the fish expertly and after a good battle, brought a Slot sized 23" Redfish to the net for pictures and release!  The anglers picked up a few more Redfish and Ted added a few keeper sized Seatrout to the catch, but the gnats had overcome any fear of the bug repellant and Skin-so-Soft and we were all covered with the swarming critters!  It was almost unbearable so we pulled anchor and left fish biting at this great fishing hole!  We made a long run up to Jolley River and when we arrived we found that there was a nice breeze and NO GNATS!  The shoreline looked real fishy with the oysters now exposed but the anglers worked an entire bank with their jig and shrimp combo with no real bites.  We tried a creek run out and had no bites but on the next stop we found some good Redfishing!  Ted was the first to hookup and he played the fish perfectly then all three anglers got in on the action, catching 7-8 more Redfish.  At one time both Ted and Bonnie had a fish on and then Ted and Gracie had the double hookup, making for a great way to wrap up a day on Amelia Island waters!

Deep water Redfish

Andy and Katrina Herrin were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary this week and included an Amelia Island backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark.  I met Andy and Katrina at the Goffinsville Park and Boat ramp yesterday afternoon at Noon and we immediately made a run to Broward Island to catch the first of an incoming tide.  When we got there we found the tide was still trickling out so we started easing along the bank from the north end, against the tide, with the anglers pitching their jig/shrimp combo to the bank.  Although Andy did have a strong bite, the fish didn't hookup and we had no other good bites until we reached the sound end of the island.  The tide started back in so we anchored out from some tree limbs and Andy tossed a deep Trout rig up beyond the limbs and let the float drift with the current and, FISH ON!  He played the fish perfectly and brought the feisty Redfish to the net.  Andy had found a hot spot because for 30 minutes he could duplicate the same method and usually get a hookup.  In addition to a few smaller Reds, Andy boated two Slot sized keeper Redfish and a couple of nice 18" Seatrout. Both Katrina and Andy had some of the smaller Trout, too. We trolled the  south end of the island for a little while and had no real bites, so we made a run to Seymore's Pointe where Andy added a keeper sized Sheepshead to the well.  Our day ended over at "Bubblegum Reef" with Katrina catching Seatrout until we ran out of bait, and with that, we called it a day, another great one to be out on the water!

Father Daughter Grandfather Fishing

Jevon Anderson and his family was visiting Amelia Island for the Thanksgiving weekend and scheduled a backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark yesterday. Jevon and his young daughter, Ginger, along with grandad Tom met me at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp at 7:00am and we headed up the Nassau River on a high and falling tide. We made our first stop at Spanish Drop and anchored to fish the nice creek run out with live shrimp under floats.  Tom was the first to hookup with a lively Seatrout, which he played perfectly to the waiting net.  The anglers picked up a couple of Trout there then we moved back down the river to fish an oyster outcrop to pick up a few more Trout.  The anglers found that Ginger turned out to be the perfect fishing partner as she was more than eager to fetch a new live shrimp for her dad and grandad!  We made a run to the mouth of Jackstaff and trolled the now exposed oysters and again, the anglers caught a couple more Trout along with a feisty Bluefish.  Ginger commented that the "Bluefish" was actually green!  We ended the day fishing the Longpointe docks but had no real bites, so we called it a day, another great one to be on the water!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SEC East Champs and Amelia Island Slam Fishing

Tom Pool and his son, Jackson kicked off a great weekend by taking in a Georgia Bulldawg win between the hedges in Athens to secure the SEC East Championship, then they hopped in their car and made the trip to Amelia Island to take in some backcountry fishing on The Anglers Mark.  I met Tom and Jackson at the south end Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp and we headed up river to the mouth of Jackstaff to fish a high and falling tide with float rigs and live shrimp.  The anglers were making excellent casts and were getting some action, but the trout seemed to be wary and would make hit and run attacks on our baits.  This put us on our toes and we soon boated a couple of nice Seatrout.  We tried our hand at Bubblegum Reef, picking up a handful of baitstealers, and then fished  few of the oyster outcrops in Nassau River where we had a few bites but no takers.  Our next stop was at Broward Island and although the tide was schedule to be low at Sawpit at around 9:45am, we still had an outgoing tide at Broward.  We had only been trolling and pitching to the log strewn bank for a few minutes when Tom had strong bite and hookup, FISH ON!  Not to be outdone and only seconds later, Jackson yelled, "FISH ON!" and we had a double hookup!  Both anglers played their respective fish perfectly and we soon netted Tom's feisty Redfish then we had Jackson's in the boat, too.  After some picture taking we released both fish to be caught another day.   We continued to troll against the tide which was still going out at 11:30am.  Jackson caught a another nice Seatrout and as we reached the southern end, Tom had a good hookup but the fish immediately headed for the logs and broke itself off!  OUCH!   But Tom went right back with his jig and shrimp combo, got a hookup and had a good fight on his hands.  He handed the rod off to Jackon who completed the catch of a nice 15" Sheepshead, rounding out an Amelia Island  Backcountry Slam of  Seatrout, Redfish, and Sheepshead.  With that, we called it a day and headed in, counting it as another great day of Amelia Island fishing!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Redfish Bite on Fire

 Randall Cobb was visiting Amelia Island with his wife and scheduled a light tackle backcountry fishing trip on The Anglers Mark. We left the Atlantic Seafood dock at the Fernandina Harbor Marina and headed up to Tiger Island to fish the outside oyster banks as the tide began to fall. I was somewhat surprised that we had no real bites on our live shrimp under floats, but the afternoon was young so we headed on up in to Tiger Basin. Randall switched to a jig and shrimp combo and began to pitch it to the exposed logs and FISH ON! His drag ripped on the Shimano 1000 reel and the 10lb braid held as Randall fought the 17" Redfish to the net. For the next hour Randall caught Redfish after Redfish, all in the 16"-17" range, just undersized, but fun to catch. We decided to ease on up the bank and then Randall had a really strong hookup and a battle on his hands. He fought the fish expertly and even when the fish got up into the downed logs, Randall held on and eventually the fish came out and once he was subdued, we netted an nice 23" Slot Red! We fished the area more and Randall picked up a keeper sized Sheepshead, some more Rat Reds, and then another strong bite, FISH ON! This time we pointed the trolling motor to deeper water and Randall had all of the water to fight the fish. When it came to the net we found that it was even bigger, a fat 24" Redfish! We eventually move on to Jolley River, hoping to find some Seatrout and we did, catching 10-12 trout, all undersized, but fun to catch, and they rounded out an Amelia Island Slam of Redfish, Sheepshead, and Trout for Randall. We headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing Amelia Island!

Pentanque and Fishing

Anthony and Cindy Alejandro along with their friend Charlie were in town for the the 2011 Pentanque American Open and scheduled a day of fishing yesterday after playing in the weekend tournament.  They were staying at the Hampton Inn and Suites for the tournament and it made it real convenient to participate in the event, enjoy the downtown area, and take in a fishing trip by just stepping out the back door and walking to the Marina!  We left the dock at 7:30am and headed up Lanceford Creek to fish the flooding grass and oyster beds with live shrimp under floats.  The Seatrout were biting and all three anglers began to hookup with the hungry fish.  We stayed there for about an hour, catching Trout after Trout, but they were all undersized so we headed over to "Temptation Cove" to see how the fish were biting there.  I was a little surprised that we had very few bites as I had fished there this weekend and had done great.  I was almost ready to leave when Alejandro's float went under, he set the hook, and FISH ON!  He fought the fish perfectly and after an extended battle, brought to net and nice 24" Slot Sized Redfish!  We caught one other undersized Red then move on to the outside of Tiger Island.  The grass was flooded and the Trout bite was hot and this time there were "keeper" sized fish mixed in with the smaller ones.  The anglers guestimated that they ended the day with about 40 Trout and almost a dozen of those were up to 17".  Both Cindy and Charlie hooked up with feisty Redfish as well.  With Trout and a Redfish to clean, we headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing Amelia Island!

Late Evening Fishing!

Lee Williams, his wife Helen and their friends Caleb and Sondra Didriksen were visiting Amelia Island from Texas and took in an Amelia Island backwater fishing trip on The Anglers Mark.   We left the Sawpit Creek Boat ramp Sunday afternoon at 2pm and headed up to the Horsehead area to fish the entrance of Jackstaff Creek on a high and outgoing tide.  I anchored at a runout and the anglers unlimbered with some float rigs and live shrimp "hangling" and it wasn't long before they were all having hookups with Seatrout and Bluefish.  The Blues were feisty but the Trout were just undersized so we moved across the creek to find that there were Trout, but still undersized.   We made a run through the creek to the Nassau River and pulled up to troll the now exposed oyster banks with jigs and shrimp.  The anglers had some good bites then Caleb's line went taunt and he had a strong hookup, FISH ON!  he played the fish expertly and after a good battle, we netted a nice 21" Slot Redfish!  We fished the area a 2nd time, had good bites, but no takers and then headed up river to make a pit stop at Goffinsville Park.  Here we found that the FWC game wardens were writing citations for undersized Trout and there were a couple of glum faced teenagers on the receiving end!  We made our last stop at Broward Island and even though we had no real bites, we were all treated to a nice sunset that cast a glow on the island.  We headed in after dark counting it as another great day to be fishing on Amelia Island!

NSFA Backwater Tournament

The Nassau Sports Fishing Association held their annual Backwater Tournament Saturday and I fished it with friends Tim Parker and Brian Nicely.  Tim and I met Friday morning early to get out on the water and see if we could find some fish, and we did!  Our first stop was at the Rayonier warehouses and we tried some jigs deep along with a live shrimp floated deep, but had no bites.  We moved to a different spot and were really exposed to a 15-20mph wind, but this was where the fish were!  We caught a number of Trout in the keeper sized range and had large Slot Redfish taking our shrimp under a float.  We also had a 14" Flounder, so if the Tournament was on Friday, we'd have done good!  Another spot produced fish, too, with Tim pulling in a nice 25" Slot Redfish, and we both added Seatrout.  Saturday morning, day of the actual Tournament found us, along with Brian, launching at 5:30am, with very little wind.  After checking in we made a bee-line to the spot where we had caught fish, and sure enough, BAM! Fish on!  We caught Seatrout in the legal range until we didn't want any more and added Redfish up to 26 1/2" with all anglers pitching in. Brian was using Tim's Temptation Bait and was keeping up with the live bait catches.  Tim picked up a Flounder but it was just undersized.  "No Problem", we thought.  It wasn't even 9:30am and we had a large Redfish, some decent Trout and we just needed a Flounder to enter the Slam category of the Tournament.  It was not to be!  We fished Tiger Island, Jolley River, Jefferson Smurfit, and Old Towne and could not find a Flounder.  Ouch!  But we all agreed that it was probably the best two days of fishing we had ever had  and we went home satisfied that we had given it our all and had some great stories to tell, fishing with friends and catching fish!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We Didn't Even Try to Count 'em All.

Martin Evans was visiting Amelia Island with his wife, Ruth and staying at Elizabeth Pointe Lodge.  If you have never stayed at this oceanfront Bed and Breakfast, then you don't know what you're missing!  The staff at Elizabeth Pointe Lodge give 5-Star service that rivals any high-end hotel or resort and it's only a bike ride away from Historic Fernandina Beach, Fort Clinch and all the restaurants, shopping and attractions that make Amelia Island such a wonderful place to visit.  For more things to do or places to eat, see Amelia On The Water!  Martin met me at the Fernandina Harbor Marina early this morning and we headed up Lanceford Creek to try and get out of the 15-20mph NNE winds on the first of an outgoing tide.  I slipped around a land mass and anchored up to fish the marsh grass with live shrimp under floats.  No kidding, on our first cast, after a few seconds, the float disappeared and FISH ON!  Martin played the fish expertly and after an extensive battle with numerous drag ripping runs, we netted a 5lb, 25" Slot Redfish!  The wind was blowing, but the sun was peaking out and the fishing was great!  Martin landed another of the large Slot Reds, a few "Rat Reds" and we also had a couple of Seatrout.  We moved on up the creek and anchored up to fish the still exposed oyster beds and boy what a spot!  Martin caught Redfish after Redfish, most in the 16-18" range, but every once in a while he'd hookup with a "Big Un" and after a good fight, he'd bring to net another large Slot Redfish.  On occasion he'd catch a Seatrout, most in the 14-15" range, but a "keeper" sized fish here and there.  As the tide reached it's bottom the fishing slowed so we called it a day, another great one to be on Amelia Island waters!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wind? No Problem for this group!

When Mills Gallivan and his wife Carol Anne, along with their friends Bill and Kathy Coates walked up to the boat ramp at Atlantic Seafood yesterday afternoon I gave them the same disclaimer I'd given that morning, "the wind's howling, but we can run west and get in behind a land mass, but that's where we'll be all day".  These anglers were game and ready to have a great time out on the water, so we headed out, got a little wet crossing the river, but eventually found some protection from the wind.  It was so nice that most of us shed wind jackets and enjoyed the sunshine!  The fish were still biting and soon all the anglers were catching fish.  We had a few keeper sized Seatrout and a whole bunch of 16-18" Redfish.  With 12-15 fish caught and released and the bite slowing down, we made a move to the south, but to a spot still protected from the wind.  Upon anchoring, the lines weren't out for more than a few minutes when floats started disappearing and the catching commenced again!  Kathy was keeping an eagle eye on her float and was hauling in fish, but Carol Anne, Mills, and Bill joined her to catch their share, too.  Then, Mills made a pin-point cast up by some marsh grass, his float disappeared, and the drag ripped out, FISH ON!  He played the fish perfectly and after a good battle, brought to net a nice 24" Slot Redfish!  Again, the group landed another 12-15 fish at this spot and the big slot Red rounded out another great day to be fishing on Amelia Island!

Can you believe 35 Redfish?

When I met George Bowlin and his friend Ray at the Fernandina Harbor Marina yesterday morning there was a light mist and the wind was "howlin".  We talked about our options and all I could come up with was to head to an island and get out of the westerly wind.  We'd be there all day but hopefully we'd catch some fish.  Boy that was an understatement!  We suffered through the trip across the river but when we arrived we found that most of the wind was blocked so we anchored up and started fishing with live shrimp under floats.  It wasn't long before both anglers were hauling in fish.  I thought, well there's 3, 4, 5 Redfish and then they caught a couple of  keeper sized Seatrout.  Then things got fast and furious with a couple of "double" hookups and George and Ray were catching them as fast as I could get them de-hooked and back into the water!  We were wondering if maybe we would catch at least 20 Redfish, but then the anglers easily surpassed that number and kept on going!  We had a few "keeper" sized Reds, but on the low end of the slot and as the tide changed the count was up around 30 fish!  We made a slight relocation to account for the incoming tide, picked up a few more smaller Reds, then Ray had strong hookup out in deeper water and a Big fish fight on his hands.  This fish was wily and eventually found some structure to break itself off!  OUCH!  But Ray had found the big fish and George followed up with a good, strong hookup and this time he knew to keep the fish headed away from the structure.  He fought the fish like a pro and brought to net a nice 25" Slot Redfish!  Then Ray hooked up with another one and he too played the fish perfectly and landed another 25" Slot Red!  They caught another of those big Reds and added a 18" keeper sized Black Drum to round out the trip with 35 Reds, 2 Seatrout, and one Black Drum!  Boy what a great day of fish catching, especially when we almost canceled the trip!