Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sunshine And The Fish Bite

We wrapped up the year today with another cold one! But we had very little wind and with layers, it was nice...once the sun came out! I had met Allen and Lavern Webb up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp and after the quick safety orientation, we eased north and west to the outside of Tiger with plans to fish float rigs and live shrimp on the first of an outgoing tide. Crazy how just a month changes things...we had no real bites although the conditions were perfect for at least Seatrout. I'm guessing the water is now way too
cool for shallow water fishing.

Even though I dislike fishing the logs on a high tide, we were right there so we bounced around and began fishing jigs and shrimp deep, guestimating where the logs were. We got hung a few times on submerged branches, but it wasn't too bad. We'd had cloudy skies from sun up until about 9am but when the clouds dispersed the sun was warming and.....the fish began to bite. The two anglers began to hookup and catch Redfish, one after the other. Most were just a tad bit too short, but eventually Allen put a keeper sized Slot fish in the boat. We had at least two more that probably were legal but the were so close we didn't want to chance it.

We fished up and down the bank, camping out at Tiger Island and each time we moved we'd pickup a fish. most were Redfish but Laverne found a hungry Seatrout and we also had one small Black "puippy" Drum -an Amelia Island, Backcountry Slam of Redfish, Seatrout and Sheepshead. It probably had more to do with the tide getting down, but we all commented on how the fish began to bite once the sun came out. We weren't complaining and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Black And Red

I sure am glad I had that new North Face Tri Season jacket on this morning! Along with a few other layers. I had met Dale Bullard and his brother Danny down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and when we ran up the intercoastal I was all zipped up and balakava/knit cap and glove clad - and was very comfortable on that first run which is always a "cool" one. We made that stop in a side creek off of  Jackstaff and with a high and outgoing tide, began to toss live shrimp under some float rigs.

( I've been using some Matrix floats that I picked up from Academy
Sports  that seem to be made of denser foam which means they'll hold up better and cast further. They also use a flexible wire similar to the Bomber brand which keeps them from bending out of shape. One small detail that I like is a small washer between the float and bottom brass beads. The Cajun Thunder and Bomber floats don't have the little washer and over a period of time, the beads will "smush" up into the float.)

It didn't take long before Dale had put a keeper size Seatrout in the boat, but after fishing that spot and another, we had no more real bites, so we ran through Horsehead and around to some docks at Seymore's Pointe and began fishing jigs and shrimp tossed to the pilings. We had a good flurry of Seatrout catches then Danny seemed to have a bite. I'd of bet money that he had a big 'ole clump of oysters but Danny insisted it was a fish, and a big one! Sure enough, it was just big and wanted to stay on the bottom. Buy Danny worked it up patiently and soon landed a nice 20"+ Black Drum, boy what a fish!  We hit a few more docks, picked up a couple of feisty Redfish, then ran down to Broward Island to fish some logs.

I had hardly gotten the Minnkota on anchor and Danny hadn't even baited up yet as Dale made a good cast forward into the current. He said it had not sunk but a bit when, BOOM! FISH ON! It was a big one, too.  Dale played it perfectly  and as it got back in the current, he kept the pressure on, and after a good  battle, landed a 22.5" Slot sized Redfish. We picked up a couple of more smaller fish, bounced up and down the island, landed another Slot Red, then made one more stop back at some docks at Seymore's to add one more big Black "puppy" Drum to the box. We had to work for them today, but these two anglers made it happen and ended up with a nice mess of fish, so we called it another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Double Honey Hole

I thought for sure the cold and nasty weather would clear up this morning...NOT! But my guest anglers were  up for fishing and fishing we did! I had met Adam Alfrey,  his daughter Rose Marie and the two grandfathers Randy and Bill down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and we headed up the Nassau River to set up along side some exposed oyster shell on an outgoing tide. The 4 anglers were tossing jigs and shrimp up current and when Adam put a small Trout in the boat, I thought, "here we go"! But there weren't a
whole lot more, maybe one or two, caught along that stretch.

We ran further up the river to some docks at Seymore's Pointe and fished back to the pilings. Adam had the hot rod early and began to put one after the other Seatrout in the boat. Young Rose Marie joined him and she too began to catch fish. We bounced around to the other side and both Adam and Bill caught a couple of fat Weakfish, one of which was 17".

After moving further down a few docks we found a nice spot that was holding some Redfish. They had to cast to a certain spot but when the did, BOOM! Redfish on. Most were in the 16-17.5" range, but Rose Marie did put a nice Slot fish in the boat. When that slowed we ran down to Broward Island and here things got hot. The tide was at the very bottom, still going out, which made it just right to fish the downed logs. We found one "honey hole" right off - Randy worked it good and landed a good handful of Reds, Rose Marie began to follow him in and she too caught a few Reds, then Bill joined in. As that spot slowed, Bill found another spot just up the way within casting distance and it was just as loaded as fish as the first spot. Adam squeezed and caught his share of fish - again, most just a tad short, but we did land a few more that were in the Slot size, one that was up to 20". We fished it until we ran out of bait then called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Redfish On Every Cast

Foggier today than yesterday! When I met Bob Blalock up at the Dee Dee Bartels park I already had my navigation and stern lights on and we crept away from the boat ramp, taking it easy out thru the channel and around to Tiger Island. We eased up to some flooded oysters and began tossing live shrimp under a float with a short leader and....BAM, Redfish on! I think Bob had more stamina than I did and he needed it - he was getting a fish or a bite on every cast! It was crazy. Most of the Redfish were short but as we moved around we began to get into some bigger, 20" Slot sized fish. Two
hours later I looked at my watch and we were still catching fish.  It seemed like when the tide changed and started out was when the fish bite began to slow.

We bounced over and fished a large creek mouth on the first of an outgoing tide, then ran up to the Jolley River to fish a spot that had been hot from yesterday's trip. However, the conditions were a tad bit different and although Bob did put a feisty Black "puppy" Drum in the boat, there wasn't much going on.

We continued on around to the Bell River and set up off from some docks and switched to jigs and shrimp, tossed to the shore line, and fished slowly back. This did the trick. Bob found some fish and put a good handful of Seatrout in the boat. We did find one that was of keeper size. We worked in and out of the docks, caught another Trout or two, then headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Foggy Morning Fish Catching Bonanaza

The radio announcer was warning about the fog as I trailered my boat to the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp this morning and sure enough, when I launched, there was fog causing a tad bit of visibility issues. But my navigation lights and stern light were working and when Jim Barron, his son David, and grandsons Wyatt and Walker walked up we were ready to get out on the mirror like water and get some fishing in!

It was a short jump over to Tiger Island and with a high and incoming tide, we found some flooded oysters to toss live shrimp under floats to. In short order Wyatt had a hookup and landed a feisty Redfish. Then it was almost bedlam! All anglers were hooking up! Walker had a big one on - you could tell when it ripped drag and boiled up out by the marsh grass - it was going to do it's best not to come to the boat. But Walker worked it patiently and after a good battle, landed a nice 24" Slot Redfish. Both David and his dad Jim were putting fish in the boat then it was Wyatt's turn to
fight the big fish. These Reds were fat and had some "shoulders", but Wyatt played it perfectly and he too landed a 24" Slot fish. We worked up and down the bait, sometimes having "double" hookups, and caught a good umpteen Redfish.

When the bite finally slowed we made the run through Tiger and around to Bell and set up at a grassy point as the tide began to change.Walker and Wyatt found a hot spot for hungry Seatrout and landed a good handful of them. We came back to the outside of Tiger and now the tide was really moving out. I think we landed one or two Seatrout then we made one final run, and a good final run it was!

Whenever I catch fish at a certain spot I always ask myself, "why here?"  Well, we had fairly deep water, flooded oysters up near the bank, a large creek flowing out, and a back eddy happening. We got into some more Redfish and it was every angler for themselves! We put 8-10 Slot Redfish in the boat, another good handful of small ones, a few Trout, and a small Black "puppy" Drum. Then Wyatt wrapped things up when he hooked, fought, and landed the biggest fish of the day, a 27.5" Oversized Redfish! Now that's the way to wrap up another great day of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Chasing Snookie's Big Sister

We had an absolutely beautiful morning today - slightly cool and almost zero wind which made for a run up the river on water that was like glass. I had met David Martin and his son-in-laws Mike and David down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early and we headed up the Nassau River and around to Pumpkin Hill thinking that surely we'd find some nice Trout on the last of an incoming tide. All three anglers began tossing live shrimp under float rigs and we had a few wayward bites now and then, but no real action. Then David's (the Sr.) float went under and when he tightened up and set
the hook we were thinking, "alright, Trout on". But the fish began to make a run for deeper water and then the drag began to rip and, BIG FISH ON! The fish wasnt' but about 15 feet from the boat so the battle progressed right at us. David kept the pressure on, thru numerous runs and soon landed a big 24" Black Drum. Boy what a fish.  We fished that area and around the corner for another 30 minutes and had no more bites - crazy.

It was almost high tide and Christopher Creek was accessible so we
bounced over and fished some dock pilings with jigs and live shrimp. Again, just a few nibbles, then as we reached some marsh grass, BOOM! Someone must have thrown a switch! All three anglers began to hookup  up with fish - Redfish, Redfish, THEN A SNOOK! Another Red, another Snook. Triple hookups on Redfish, then another Snook! They caught 4 Snook in all - the most I've ever had in one day (just one Snook is rare this far north) and a couple of them were bigger than we usually get -about 18-10".  Mike had the biggest Redfish, a nice 22" Slot fish. The anglers could also claim and Amelia Island Back Country Slam of sorts - Black Drum, Red Drum and....Snook!

When things slowed down we made the trip back to Seymore's Pointe and fished some dock's. It didn't take long to begin catching fish. They added a couple of Trout (Grande Slam) and then David (Sr) put a keeper sized Weakfish in the boat (Super Grande Slam) and David (the younger) put a keeper sized Seatrout in the boat. Mike added a couple of Reds on a Temptation Bait Co. fluke. When the bite slowed we ran thru Horsehead and fished the mouth of Jackstaff with some artificial stuff but had no more takers, so we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Demo Cast Pays Off

We had an afternoon trip today, and a beautiful one it was! I had met Richard Morris and his friends Eddie and Dalton in town and we made the short run up to Dee Dee Bartels Park, launched, and then made a short run around to Eagans Creek with plans to fish the last of an outgoing tide. As always, I made a "demo" cast to get things started and when something picked up the live shrimp on a jig...I handed it off to Dalton and BOOM! Fish ON! Dalton worked him in and landed nice feisty Redfish! From then on it was non stop
catching for about 2 hours. This was the same dock we fished Monday and we never did run into any big Black Drum, but the Reds were more than enough!

Rich got  hot and put 2-3 Slot Redfish in the boat, Dalton added a Slot, and Eddie added a Slot
Before it was over we were "culling" Reds to stay within our limit. The anglers did catch a few smaller Black Drum while we were there. and had one Sheepshead to round out their Amelia Island
Back Country Slam.  With the limit in the box, we decided to make a run around to Bell River and set  up outside a deep hole.

Again, Rich hooked up and this one was big, ripping drag as it dove deep. But Rich kept the pressure on and soon landed the biggest Red of the day - a 23" fish.  They caught a few smaller Reds, a Seatrout (Grande Slam) and a Flounder (Super Grande Slam) before we moved on. Later, we fished some oysters beds with float rigs but the bite had died. The sun was creeping down and the temperatures were following it so we headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Banner Day On a Cool One

The last time I checked my truck thermometer this morning before I hitched the boat it was 34 degrees! But the forecast called for sunny skies and almost no wind and warming to the low 60's, so Tim Parker and I decided to brave the early cold and get out and fish the backwaters of Amelia Island.  We launched from Dee Dee Bartels and made the short run around to Eagans Creek and set up current from some crusty dock pilings. As I was getting the trolling motor locked on anchor Tim was already tossing his TBC "Temptation Bait Company" shrimp colored fluke and....BOOM! Fish On! Tim
worked it patiently to the boat and landed a nice feisty Redfish. Now that's the way to start a fishing trip!

We fished that dock for over two hours and put  umpteen Redfish in the boat - I lost count at 7 Slot Reds with the biggest being 23".  While Tim continued to work the dock I went deep and found a few Seatrout and for the day we landed a good handful of them, the biggest being just 16", but we did have few of them that size.

Then, just when I thought things might slow down, the Black "puppy" Drum began to bite. It was non-stop action and more than once we had a "double" hookup. Tim and I were handing off the catch net as we landed our limit in 18-24" Drum. Things finally slowed down so we made a run around to Tiger, fished a bit, landed a few more Redfish and a Trout or two, then called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Sunday, December 3, 2017

December Snook Fishing

Yep, we got another Snook here in North, north Florida! I had met Duane Schumacher and his daughters Jasmine, Samantha and Savanah out at the Goffinsville Park boat ramp early this morning on the very last of an incoming tide and we popped down to Pumpkin Hill and set up off some flooded oysters. I think the demo cast produced a hungry Seatrout which young Savanah reeled in!
Duane and Samantha figured out that they could let their floats drift down along the marsh grass with the current and BOOM! 
Seatrout caught! We picked up a few there then eased on around the corner and Jasmine got on the board with another Trout catch, too.

The tide was still coming in so we ran back to Christopher Creek and fished the docks and rocks, now switching to jigs (we had both live shrimp and mud minnows). Duane made an excellent cast up to some marsh grass and immediately hooked up with a nice feisty Redfish. He went back to the same spot and landed another Red. He went back to the same spot and hooked up with what we thought
was going to be a Seatrout, but no, it was a sleek Snook! It's always cool to catch one of those.

We fished on around the bend, hit some docks, and the Redfish bite got real hot. All four anglers were catching fish, and they were biting on both shrimp and minnows. Although the bite was fast and furious, so was the "no-seeum" bite! We took all we could stand then cranked and ran!

Our next stop was outside some flooded oysters at Seymore's Pointe and again, we found some Trout and a couple of Redfish. We then bounced down the Nassau River hitting marsh run outs and each stop produced Seatrout. Although the day stayed overcast and cool for the entire trip, we had some good action throughout and we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Assassin's Cove Hot For Redfish

Today was like "fishing on a pond" - the rivers were so still the water was like glass. I met Brian Parent and his friends Pat and Brian up at the north end boat ramp early this morning at dead high tide and we ran over to the outside of Tiger with plans to drift float rigs and live shrimp over some flooded oysters. We had only been fishing for a short while when the anglers began to pick up some Seatrout. Most were undersized but we did put one or two in the box.

We crossed over and fished another marsh line and here things really heated up. BOOM!  Seatrout. BOOM! Seatrout. BOOM! Seatrout. We caught one after the other. Again, most were smaller, but we did get another keeper to go in the box. We decided to move on, breaking one of the cardinal rules, "never leave fish to find fish"....but it paid off!

After leaving the Tiger area we cruised up to the Jolley River and found a nice bank to fish, one that had submerged oysters. It was on
fire with Redfish. Pat, the "Assassin" went in and hooked up, FISH ON! He played it patiently to the boat and landed a nice Slot Redfish. Both Brian's followed him in and from then on for about an hour is one Redfish after the other. I quit counting Slot Reds at #12 but I'm sure we had a few more than that. Dozens of smaller Reds were caught and tossed back. A couple of Trout were caught, too.

When the bite finally slowed we cruised around to the Bell River, picked up some small Mangrove Snapper around some docks, then came back to Fernandina for a reload of bait. We fished mud minnows for a few stops, had a one Trout, then called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida