Monday, August 15, 2016

Day One: Tournament Redfish

Fontis Clark was celebrating his first day off in retirement with a fishing trip in the back waters of Amelia Island today, and he brought along his daughter Tiffany and friend Eric to help enjoy the day. I met them out at the Goffinsville Park boat ramp early with a bait well full of live shrimp and mud minnows and we made a quick run around Seymore's Pointe, through Horsehead and to a creek off the mouth of Jackstaff. All three anglers were tossing float rigs up near the flooded marsh grass on the very last of a high tide. It took a while but they began to pick up some fun-to-catch Ladyfish, the poor man's Tarpon.  Although they caught a handful it was kinda hard to call them "skunk off the boat" so when we eased across the creek and started  up another bank we were hoping for something a little more substantial. And substantial we got! Frontis had made an excellent cast to a likely pocket that was boiling with baitfish and almost the minute his rig hit, BOOM! A big fish crushed his bait and FISH ON! His rod bent double and the drag on his reel sang and when the big fish rolled up near the shore we knew it was a big Redfish! Frontis kept the pressure on and patiently worked the big fish closer and closer to the boat and even though it made some hard, deep runs the leader held. The fish came to the surface and I could see with my Breakline Polarized Sunglasses that this fish might even be oversized! Then the fish made a deep run behind the boat and got in the now, outgoing current so Frontis had to work his way to the stern of the boat. After  good battle he was able to land a nice 26.5" Tournament sized Redfish. (Redfish over 27" have to be thrown back so anything close to that limit could be a potential winner in any Redfish Tournament). Now THAT'S skunk off the boat! The anglers got their baits back in the water and minutes later, at the same spot,  Eric hooked up, patiently fought, and landed another Slot 20" Redfish. We stayed at the same spot and Tiffany got on the board with her own Slot 22" Redfish. After that, we worked the bank, picked up some smaller Reds, a Seatrout, and a small Flounder to round out an Amelia Island Back Country Slam, then made a run back through Horsehead to fish some banks down at Spanish Drop. The anglers caught a few more Reds, another keeper sized Flounder, a couple of Mangrove Snapper, and Tiffany did battle with a beast of Bonnethead Shark. It was a great way to spend the first day of retirement and a great day to be out on the water and fishing with family here at Amelia Island, Florida

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