Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Keeper Fish

I wrapped up my week fishing with Bob Blalock after I had met him out at the Goffinsville Park. Tomorrow's high winds will preclude fishing so today was the day  to catch some fish!  We had the last of an outgoing tide so we made the short run down to Broward Island and fished the logs with jigs and live shrimp.  As usual, Bob was making excellent casts but the fish were not cooperating!
I don't think we had a single real bite!

We came back to Seymore's Point and fished one dock with a float rig and it was only a few minutes or so before Bob had a strong bite. When he drag ripped we knew it was a decent fish and it turned out to be a Slot sized Redfish. After pictures we released it. After moving
around the corner and fishing another dock we had another hookup. The  drag ripped and as the fish made for the pilings but Bob kept the pressure up and worked 'em' out of there. After a good battle, he landed a nice 17" Black "puppy" Drum - keeper sized - but released. We also had a nice sized Bluefish caught in that area.

We then worked along the docks, dipping in and out. Bob had made an excellent cast up to some piling and was slowly working it back along side a floating dock  when, BOOM! Big fish on! Man was it ripping some drag!  Bob kept the pressure on but he soon felt the line rubbing on a submerged piling and I thought for sure we were going to lose it. But it eventually came free and when it was out in the open we felt like we'd have it to the net...and we did! The fish was a hefty 25" Redfish. examined the leader afterwards and it was frayed severely! This fish was released, too.

We went back around the corner, drifted some float rigs, and picked up another Slot Red - and this one Bob elected to take home to the frying pan! We caught two more smaller, but feisty Reds before we headed down to Pumpkin Hill to wrap up the day by catching a handful of hungry Seatrout. What a great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Holy Chalupa!

Every once in a while I get a person on the boat that has the "Anglers Mark". Today it was a 4-1/2 year old young angler named Luke.  Last night his dad Steve said he was chomping at the bit to go fishing and that he lived and breathed fishing. I met them and Grandad (Ja Ja) up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp and after our brief safety orientation, we headed over to Tiger Island to fish the logs on the very first of an incoming tide. 

Luke was ready to go and was quickly casting his own spinning gear rigged with jigs and live shrimp and sure enough, he was the one that "knocked the skunk off" when he hooked up and landed a feisty Black "puppy" Drum.  He then reeled in a hungry Seatrout. We had to deal with
the "baitstealers" and sand gnats for a bit but Luke was able to land one more drum before we  moved on.

Our next stop was up at Jolley Bank. We may have caught a small trout or two but as Luke drifted a float rig along the exposed oysters his rod bent and the drag began to sing, FISH ON!  Luke fought the fish mightily and after a good battle and landed a big 20.5" Seatrout!  I was trying to think of an exclamation when Luke nailed it with "Holy Chalupa"! Boy what a fish!

We fished the outside of Tiger and landed a couple of more Trout then ended up over in Bell River where we had some good bites but no takers. It was an outstanding day to introduce a young angler to the backwaters of Amelia Island.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Flounder Uptick

I've been telling folks we've been getting about one Flounder a week lately, but today, we had two! Hah!  I had met Paul Landahl, his daughter Beth and her partner Heather up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp early this morning. The sun was coming up in the east and the "almost full" moon was going down in the west! We made the short run over to Tiger Island and fished the logs and had...not a single real bite. Ouch.

After running thru Tiger and around to Bell River we set up near some flooding oysters and began to pick up some Seatrout. Heather "knocked the skunk" off with the first catch then both she and Beth landed a few more. Paul had decided to enjoy the beautiful day out on the water.

We then ran around to Lanceford Creek, fished between some docks and here Beth  caught a keeper sized Flounder (all fish caught today were released). We fished further down Lanceford and Beth put a nice 18"+ Seatrout in the boat.

Our final stop was down at Piney Island and when Heather had a good hookup that battled to the bottom I though sure she had a feisty Redfish but when it came to the net it was another, even bigger, Flounder. We wrapped things up after that and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Must Be Spring, Trout Getting Bigger

Cool and Sunny greeted Eric Slavens and I when we met up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp this morning. And what a beautiful day it was!  We made quick run over to Eagans Creek and set up on the downside of a dock to pitch jigs and live shrimp, but I think the tide was already too high because we had no real bites. We moved on down a ways and began tossing float rigs and this worked - Eric caught a few good Seatrout, with one or two being of keeper size (all fish caught today were released).

We then moved down the creek and fished an exposed grass patch where I tend to get fish but no luck was had. Moving on to the west side of a dock, Eric fished a seawall and grass line and boy did we catch some fish! And they seemed to
get bigger and bigger! Every time I said, "that's the biggest fish you've caught today", he'd catch another one that was even bigger! They seemed to be fat with roe with the biggest one being just under 20".  Eric also landed an 8-spot Redfish. We fished that area for a good hour and when the bite slowed we made a run to Soap Creek...but the tide was up, the water was muddy, and there were no fish to be had.

But we'd had a great early morning fishing so we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Beautiful Day. Great Fishing!

You may have noticed that I haven't "reported" in a while!  Many of you know that my wife and I are building a small "cottage" downtown Fernandina Beach and we're in the last few months of getting it finished. I've been burning the candle at both ends - fishing, installing doors and trim molding and painting and installing flooring and....getting up and doing it all over again!  Needless to say, my "reports" have slipped. Once we get a CO on the house I'll be able to take a breather and will get back to reporting every trip.

But today's trip warranted  a report! I fished with Steele Clayton, meeting him down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early on a high
and incoming tide. We ran up the Nassau River and fished between some docks, tossing float rigs with live shrimp up near the flooding marsh grass. It took a minute or two, but when the bite started it didn't stop for over an hour. Steele landed Trout after Trout with most being undersized but eventually he landed a few "keeper"sized ones (all fish caught today were released).  Then he had one that was right at 20" which made for a good fight.  He also landed a nice 18" Black "puppy" Drum in that area.

We moved around the corner and fished another stretch and just when I thought it was all for naught, BOOM! Fish On! You can always tell when it's a big one when it dives deep, rips drag, and
doesn't want to budge. Steele played it expertly - you can also tell when you've got an experienced angler on the boat - he worked it slowly in, giving it some line when it wanted it, and soon landed a thick 24" Slot Redfish. We had no more than taken pictures, released the fish, and went back to drifting a shrimp when, BOOM! Big Fish On! I saw it roll and knew right off it was a big Trout. Steel worked it to the boat and landed a nice 23" Seatrout, boy what a fish.  This fish placed Steele in first place in the 2019 Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament - Seatrout Category(scroll down the right side of this report for standings)  Those were the only two fish we got at that spot!

Our next stop was down at Christopher Creek, now fishing jigs and shrimp. We worked a long stretch and picked up one fish. But boy was it a good one! Steele said he felt the fish take his bait, he tighted up and let the hook set itself. After a good battle, the fish was in the net and measured at 26" - another Slot Redfish. This fish placed Steele tied for 2nd place in the Anglers Mark 2019 Bragging Rights Tournament-Redfish Category.

We fished Pumkin Hill later but the tide was up really high and we had not a single bite so we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Getting Bigger

Wow! What a pretty day we had out on the water today! It was all sunshine, no clouds, and only a
slight breeze (to begin with) with I met Jay Michaud, his wife Courtney and their son Ben up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp.  We came south to Soap Creek and set up along some marsh grass on an outgoing tide that had an hour or so to go to hit bottom.

We had no more than got our live shrimp under float rigs out when Ben had a hookup and knocked the skunk off with a nice Seatrout catch. He went back to the same area and BOOM! Another trout catch.  We worked that entire bank but had no more bites after that.

Our next stop was over at some docks in Lanceford Creek and here we had some serious hookups! Courtney was tossing a live shrimp on a jig and when a big fish hit she set the hook and the battle was on!  But this fish must have been around for a while and found it's way into the dock pilings and BAP! Fish Off. Courtney had another good bite that fought for a while then threw the hook and later, Jay had the same.

We then ran to Tiger Island to fish the first of the incoming tide and although the conditions were absolutely perfect, we had no real bites, other than a couple of perch that Courtney landed (and the amount is still being debated). After fishing Jolley River briefly, we found that the wind was causing difficulties, so we continued on around to Bell River. Here, Ben caught another Trout on a jig and Courtney picked up a couple of 14" Seatrout (or were they 16"?) on a slip float rig.

The day stayed nice, we caught some fish, so we counted it as another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Bragging Rights Blow Out

I fished this morning with the father and son duo, Wes and Wes Reinhardt, meeting them down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp.  We made the quick run up to Seymore's Point and fished some docks on an outgoing tide with live shrimp under float rigs...to no avail. Not a real bite. We came around to the east side and fished some of the rocks and again, no fish, other than a handsized Sheepshead. 

The tide was getting low so we buzzed down to Broward Island and pitched jigs and shrimp and mud minnows and again, no real bites. Back to
the Goffinsville area we went and broke out some slip float rigs. Finally, the two anglers each hooked up and landed a hungry Seatrout. Although the skunk was off, I wasn't feeling too good about our catch total! 

The tide had changed so we headed back to Broward and this did the trick. First cast, BOOM! Redfish. Then for about an hour the two anglers were catching fish. When Wes Sr. had a hookup and the fish came towards the boat, we were thinking "rat red", but then it bulled down and the battle was on. I was clearing the deck, removing the jump seat and makin room for Wes because sure enough, the big fish took him from the bow, down the starboard side to the stern, across the stern, and back up to the bow. Boy what a fight! But Wes was up to the challenge and after a long fight, landed an oversized 32" Redfish which blew out the Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament and seized first place in the Redfish Category (scroll down the right side of this report for standings) After pictures it was released to swim off (and all fish caught today were released).

Then it was Wes jr's time to get hot. He boated a slot sized Redfish, a few smaller ones, and later added a keeper sized Flounder to his catch to round out his Amelia Island Back Country Slam of Seatrout, Redfish and Flounder.

Although the day started slow, the fish turned on and made for a great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Amelia Island Back Country Grande Slam

Although we had windy conditions predicted, the sun was supposed to shine so I met Todd Schroeder and hid dad Dennis down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early this morning for a half day of fishing. We made the run up the Nassau River and found a couple of docks to fish between with float rigs and live shrimp. We had only fished a bit when Todd hooked  up and "knocked the skunk off" with a Seatrout catch. We had a number of bites after that but no takers so we moved on around the corner and set  up as the tide began to stop moving. Luckily for us it was still moving and after Dennis had made an excellent cast, his float disappeared, he tightened
his line and the circle hook set, and FISH ON!  We could tell this was a big fish - the drag was ripping and the fish was digging deep. But Dennis kept the pressure on and after a good battle, landed a bulky 26" Redfish. Boy what a fish.

We worked up and down that stretch for a while to stay out of the wind and when the tide started back in it was Todd on the bow who got hot.  He landed a few Redfish, one of which was a 20" Slot size, then he caught a nice keeper sized Sheepshead to round out his Back Country Slam.

It seemed like the wind had died down so we buzzed down to Broward Island and began tossing jigs to the bank. Todd stayed hot by picking up a couple of more Redfish. We worked down the island and here Todd found a keeper sized Flounder to round out his Amelia Island Back Country Grande Slam of Seatrout, Redfish, Sheepshead and Flounder.

After one stop, we headed in. The sun was out and had warmed things nicely. We had  few fish in the box so we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Trout Uptick

We had another beautiful morning today when I met Don McKenna and his son Ryan up at the north end ramp. We launched at 7am and it was still dark with the time change but when we got to our first spot at Tiger Island the sun began to peak up over the horizon. The two anglers were tossing jigs an live shrimp and the tide had only been coming in for about an hour - I thought we'd have some good action, but it took a while. We worked along the logs and finally picked up a small Trout or two, then a feisty Redfish, then Don landed a keeper sized Seatrout.

We then buzzed around and  up to the Jolley River and began fishing the bank, and again caught a Trout or two and then one of keeper size.  Our next stop was up at Snook Creek and although we had some good bites, we had no takers. After coming back to Tiger and around to Bell River we set up along a marshy pointe and drifted float rigs with the current. We may have gotten a fish or two there, but we decided to make the run around to Lanceford Creek. We were fishing a lone grass patch when both anglers began to put 14" Trout in the boat, one after the other. It was a good flurry of fun fishing. Ryan added a small Flounder and Don added a small Black "puppy" Drum to round out there Amelia Island Back Country Grande Slam.

It was almost time to leave but we wanted to hit one more spot and it sure paid off! Both Don and Ryan landed nice keeper sized Trout and it made for a great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Black Cat Got Nothing

I was heading to the boat ramp this morning when a black cat ran across the road in front of me and made me think..........nope, I thought, surely we're going to catch some fish - it was such a pretty day!  I met Bruce Byrd, his son James and grandson James Jr. (JJ) up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp, made short run, and fished the outside of Tiger Island with float rigs and live shrimp on an incoming tide.  I don't think we had  decent bite there but after running thru Tiger basin and setting up along some flooded marsh grass, James "knocked the skunk off"
when he hooked up and landed a nice Seatrout.

JJ soon found that he was skilled at netting fish and took over those duties for the rest of the day!  We had another trout or two then Bruce hooked up and expertly landed a fat keeper sized fish. We then ran over to Lanceford Creek and fished some flooded oyster between two docks - had no bites - so continued on around to a lone grass patch and this did the trick. Both Bruce and James began to catch Trout and had a double hookup once which kept JJ busy with
the netting. We moved on up the creek a bit and James was able to get his bait out first and BOOM! Fish ON! James worked it to the boat patiently and landed another keeper sized Trout.

We fished Soap Creek and landed a Trout or two, buzzed over to Temptation Cover and fished it a bit, then wrapped up the day back on the outside of Tiger. The bite had slowed but it was an absolutely beautiful day to be out on the water here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Big Red Big Trout

Although the skies were overcast and a brisk breeze was predicted, we felt like we could find a few spots of shelter from the NW winds today, so I met Robert Fredericks and his fishing partner Dan down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and we made the run up Nassau River to slip into Christopher Creek with plans to fish the top of the high tide. Both anglers began pitching jigs and live shrimp to likely spots...but we had no real bites for a good 40 yard stretch. I was just about to give  up on the spot when John's rod bent, his drag began to rip, and FISH ON!  I knew right off this was a big fish - it wasn't
turning - but John kept the pressure on and fought him to a standstill, then slowly began to work 'em in. The big fish made a few more runs then finally tired and came to the net - a nice 26" upper-Slot Redfish, big enough to take first place in the 2019 Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament-Redfish Category (scroll down the right side of this report for standings). This bite must have turned a switch because both John and Dan put a few more feisty Redfish in the boat after that. John also landed keeper sized Flounder(this was the second one in a week we've caught)  But the tide was dropping so we ran out of there and came back to the Seymore's Pointe area.

We set up along some flooded shell-the tide was coming out now- and began to toss float rigs with live shrimp. It didn't take long until Dan began to hookup with Seatrout. He got hot!  He landed a couple of keeper sized fish, then a nice 18" Trout then he topped it with a 20" Trout - good enough to take second place in the Bragging Rights Tournament-Seatrout Category!  We caught a good handful of Trout before the bite fell off then we came back towards Goffinsville, fished some slip floats, and again, caught a handful of Trout. The morning  had gotten darker, the temperature cooler, and the wind had picked up, so we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Rain Put the Fire Out

I fished with three generations today - Bruce Byrd, his son Mark and grandson Jace, meeting them out at the Goffinsville Park boat ramp early with plans to run over to Horsehead and fish the first of an outgoing tide. We set up along a marsh line and began tossing float rigs and live shrimp and it wasn't long before we were catching fish. Last week's struggles were a distant memory!

Mark got hot early and began to hookup with Trout and then he began to share the rod with young Jace. But Jace soon found that he could be in all the action if he ran the catch net so he landed both his dad and grandad's fish from then
on out. Bruce had just made a good cast up close to the marsh grass and when his float slowly went under he tightened the line, let the circle hook set itself and Fish On!  Bruce worked the fish patiently to the boat and landed a nice 20" Slot Redfish. We picked up a couple of more fish then moved on down the Nassau.

We fished 2-4 marsh run outs with float rigs and jigs and caught one or two fish then as we were fishing Seymore's Pointe it began to rain then we had some lighting so we buzzed back to Goffinsville and let the storm cell pass. We thought we'd get some more fishing in so we bounced down to Pumpkin Hill, had one good bite, then the bottom fell out so we called it a day. Although the rain got us wet, we still had a great morning out on the water here at Amelia Island, Florida.