Friday, November 28, 2014

A Tarnation Good Day of Fishing

PhotoI had the opportunity to fish this afternoon, this time with Sarah and Jason Lindshield who were in town for a short visit to celebrate Jason's birthday with a fishing trip. They were staying at the Hampton Inn and Suites which is just across the street from the City marina and the Atlantic Seafood dock, where I met them this afternoon. We made a long run up Bell River, around Tiger Island to fish "manatee creek" on a high and outgoing tide with float rigs baited with live shrimp and mud minnows. The water was still way up in the grass and the bite was slow but both anglers were able to put a Seatrout in the boat. We moved around to fish the deep water behind Tiger Island and again picked up a Trout or two. We adjusted our position, and had a few nibbles here and there. I even commented that it just felt like we were going to start catching some fish. And boy did we!  It was like the flood gates opened because both Sarah and Jason began to catch feisty Redfish, one after the other, and sometimes they both had one on! Jason had a stronger fish on that ripped his drag out, FISH ON!  He played the fish patiently but this big fish had been around the block once or twice and eventually found its way into the tree branches and broke itself off, OUCH! But then Sarah had another strong hookup and her fish ran deep, thankfully. She played the big fish perfectly and after a long battle landed a big 24" Sot Redfish! Jason followed that up with a 22" Slot Red of his own! And the fish just kept on biting. The two anglers fished different areas and put more feisty Reds in the boat, 3 keeper sized Seatrout and a handful of smaller ones, then Sarah landed a keeper sized Founder to round out an Amelia Island Back Country Slam then added to that by putting a keeper sized Black "puppy" Drum in the boat - a Grand Slam! We fished the area until sundown then headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing Amelia Island waters!

Cold But On Fire

Fishing the day after Thanksgiving is always fun and today we had clear, sunny skies, but a strong wind blowing and the temperature reading 39 degrees at launch time. I met Nestor Hernandez, his wife Monica and their kids Christina and Michael down at the Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina at sunrise and we made a run to Eagans Creek to fish the docks and get out of the wind. The tide was low and coming in and we had a bait well of mud minnows to do some jig fishing. The anglers began tossing the jigs and minnows to the pilings and they eventually began to get bites. The bite gradually built to red hot! Christina got the catching started by landing a couple of feisty Redfish then all four anglers got in on the action, catching one Redfish after the other. We had a couple of strong hookups and tried our best to dig them out of the pilings but they were having none of it and broke themselves off. But Nestor was patient and after hooking up to another big one, he pulled it out and played it patiently and after a good battle, landed a nice Slot 25" Redfish! We continued to fish the dock and landed a good handful of Redfish and maybe another Slot or two, one of which had 12 spots, a "money fish" in the Jackonville Spot Tournament.  We made a run around to Tiger Island, fished the deep water and caught a handful of small Reds. Monica put a keeper sized Flounder in the boat and then Michael hauled in another big Slot 23" Redfish. With that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing Amelia Island waters!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Eve Fishing at Amelia Island

With rain and wind forecast for this morning, Joe Ekhaml and I decided to postpone our scheduled fishing fishing trip to later this afternoon, after the front moved through, and it turned out to be a good call. I met Joe and his adult children, Jake, Joey and Kelsey down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp at noon and we could see the skies clearing off to the north west.  Although the wind was still blowing 13mph, we launched and headed up the Amelia River and into Jackstaff to fish the first of a very high and outgoing tide. I set up the anglers with float rigs and they baited up with live shrimp
and mud minnows and began to toss up to the marsh grass. We eased along the shoreline and after a pretty good while Kelsey finally had a hookup and boated a small Seatrout. But that was it for that particular area. We dropped back to another grassline and again fished it thoroughly but again, no real bites. We made a run through Jackstaff to the Nassau River side and fished Twin Creeks, this time with both float rigs and jigs, and again, no real bites! OUCH! But this crew were anglers, both optimistic and persistent and at our next stop they began to get good hookups. First Kelsey had her float disappear and after a good battle, landed a feisty Redfish. She may have landed one or two more then we all noticed that something was nudging Joe's bait and his float began to ease up current! Joe patiently let the fish take it and when the float went under he reeled in his slack and lifted his rod tip firmly, FISH ON!  And it was a big one!  The big fish made a run up the grass line then back and then boiled up- a big Redfish - but Joe kept the pressure on, letting it fight his bent rod. After a good battle, Joe landed a nice 25" Slot Redfish!  We continued to fish the area and had good action with Joey putting a nice Red in the boat and both Joe and Kelsey keeping up the pace with fish of their own. We made stop at Bubblegum Reef where Kelsey caught another Red then we made a run to Broward Island.  The wind was still kicking and the current was running pretty hard but the anglers worked tree lined shoreline with jigs on the bottom. The first area produce no fish but the second was on fire for a good while. All four anglers caught fish with Jake landing the only keeper Seatrout of the day and he also put a few Reds in the boat.  Joey had a strong hookup and we knew right off that this was a big fish. He played the fish patiently and perfectly as it fought out deeper and into the current. We both saw the big Redfish a couple of times but it was not to be. After what seemed like a 10 minute battle, the hooked pulled, and FISH OFF! But Joey was not to be deterred and later had another strong hookup and soon landed another Slot 20" Redfish.  It was a good way to wrap up another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Eight Spots No Spots Equal Money Fish

Steve Pautler was visiting Amelia Island for a conference and squeezed in an Amelia Island back country fishing trip this afternoon before getting down to business.  I met him down at the Big Talbot Island Park boat ramp and we headed up the Amelia River to fish a creek off of Jackstaff with float rigs and live shrimp on the very first of an outgoing tide. We had a a few small bites but no takers so we dropped back to Jackstaff "bank" and began to ease
along the marsh grass.  It wasn't long before Steve began to get bites, hookups and landings. He had a good variety of  hungry Seatrout, hard fighting Bluefish and feisty Redfish. One of the Redfish had eight spots which surely would have placed and won money in the local Redfish Spot Tournament. Later, one bite was really strong and when it bent his rod over and the drag began to rip, we knew it was a big fish, FISH ON!  Steve played the big fish patiently as it ran to deeper water then back again. After a long battle Steve landed a 3'+ Bonnethead Shark, which we released after photographs. We continued on up the bank and when we switched to jigs and fished a larger marsh run out, Steve landed a nice Flounder to round out his Amelia Island Back Country Slam of Seatrout, Redfish, and Flounder.  We made a run around to Nassau River to fish Twin Creeks and in just a short time Steve landed a couple of more Redfish.  One of these had NO spots, which is a $500 prize in the previously mentioned Spot Tournament!  After getting a couple more Trout here, we made a final run down to Broward Island as the sun was setting.  We found a handful of Redfish here, a Trout or two, and then Steve wrapped up the day with one more Redfish as the sun set on another great day of fishing at Amelia Island!

Monday, November 10, 2014

What's a Little Bit of Wind?

I had met Dick Miree and his friend Katherine down at the Atlantic Seafood dock early this morning with the weather forecast calling for 12-15mph winds by noon. But they hadn't picked up yet so we headed north to fish the logs of Tiger before the incoming tide got up too far. The two anglers were tossing jigs with live shrimp or mud minnows up to the bank and fishing it slowly down the river bottom.  The first area we fished produced no real bites so we adjusted our position and within a few minutes both anglers hooked
up, almost at the same time! We had a double! Katherine worked her fish in gradually and soon landed a feisty Redfish, then Dick patiently landed his, which turned out to be a keeper sized Slot Redfish. We fished that spot for a while longer then made another adjustment and it turned out to be a good one. Dick hooked up and landed a keeper sized Trout, and then he had an even stronger hookup and a battle on his hands, FISH ON!  Hep played the fish perfectly and after it ran from one side of the boat to the other, landed a very nice 24" Slot Redfish!  After he landed another keeper sized Trout, Katherine got back into action and after getting a strange bite (we both thought she might have been hung on the bottom), BOOM! The drag began to rip and we then knew she had a nice fish on!  Katherine worked it to the boat and landed a fine 18" Flounder to round out an Amelia Island Back Country Slam. She followed that up with a keeper sized Seatrout. We made a run to another spot, this time fishing with float rigs, and found a handful of smaller Trout. At our last stop Katherine found one more keeper sized Trout, and with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing Amelia Island waters!
 Here's a video of the Shark Fight:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

We Made The Right Call

The last two mornings I fished with Dan Tillotson and his son Paul. We launched both days out of the City marina to fish the last few hours of a incoming flood tide. Yesterday we fished north of the island, tossing float rigs with shrimp and mud minnows. Our first stop produced no bites but as we ran through Tiger Basin we made a stop to see if any Reds were tailing in the grass and sure enough, there was one slurping at the surface of an accessible grass flat!  We
had a weedless spoon ready but the fish was having none of it and eventually bolted. At our next stop Paul had the hot hand and landed a few Seatrout and a nice Bluefish but that was about it for the fish catching that day. Ouch. This morning we decided to go earlier and run south all the way down to Broward Island to fish the exposed logs before the tide came in. This turned out to be a good call because almost immediately the anglers began to catch fish. Within seconds of each other both hauled in keeper sized Flounder then they traded turns catching feisty Redfish. Then Paul had another heavy bite and we knew it was a Flounder again but we also could tell it was bigger. He played this big flat fish patiently and soon landed a nice 20" Flounder! We moved up and down the bank, picking up smaller Reds here and there and just before we decide to leave Dan had a stronger hookup, FISH ON! This was a bigger Red and ripped some drag, but Dan kept the pressure on and gradually worked it in to Paul and the waiting net, a nice 24" Slot Red!  We made a stop at Christopher Creek where Dan landed another Red and an almost keeper sized Black "puppy" Drum (rounding out an Amelia Island Back Country Slam), hit a couple of more spots, then called it  day, another great one to be fishing Amelia Island waters!

Big Red at Mother of All

I fished yesterday afternoon with Sherri Lowdenslager, her mother Ona and her friend Tiffany Schintgen  We left the Atlantic Seafood dock at 2pm to fish the backwaters on the last few hours of an outgoing tide. We made a run up to Jolley River and made our first stop at the "bank" and the conditions looked perfect with the oysters exposed. The three anglers were tossing jigs baited with live shrimp and mud minnows and within a few minutes were making excellent casts to the shoreline. But is was to no avail - only bait stealers were eating! We ran further up the river and this time the conditions looked even better as the marsh was blocking the breeze. It still took a while but finally Tiffany had a strong hookup and after a good battle, landed a nice feisty Redfish to get things started. We moved around to the MOA (Mother of All) and within a minute or two we got hookups. All three anglers began to catch fish with both Ona and Sherrie putting nice Redfish in the boat. They also had a couple of hungry Seatrout. Then Tiffany's rod bent double and the drag begag to rip out, FISH ON!  And it was a big one! It was tough to slow this big fish down but Tiffany played it patiently and went from bow to stern, from starboard to port and then back to the bow! But still the big fish was having none of coming to the surface!  Tiffany continued to apply gently pressure and after a long (and somewhat chaotic) battle, landed an oversized 34" Redfish to claim first place in The Anglers Mark 2014 Bragging Rights Tournament -Redfish Category (scroll down right side of this report to see standings). Boy what a fish. After photographs we made sure the big fish was revived and released it to swim off to the deep. The anglers picked up a couple of more Reds and Ona put a nice keeper sized Seatrout in the boat. We made our last stop at Tiger Island, caught a couple, then headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing Amelia Island waters!