Sunday, March 29, 2020

Out of the Fog

I picked up Robert Stettner and his friend Henrietta over at the Oyster Bay marina early this morning and we made a brief jump around to some docks on Lanceford Creek to fish some mud minnows on a jig on the first of an incoming tide. It wasn't long before Robert "knocked the skunk off" when he hooked up and landed a keeper sized Seatrout. But there wasn't much happening with the minnows (we had some frozen shrimp that we tried but only nibbles) so we made the long run around to Tiger Island, passing thru a thick low lying fog as we went.

The conditions were still good and it paid off -
Robert landed a feisty Redfish, then he had a big bite and, Fish On! Robert played it patiently to the boat as it ripped drag and soon had it boatside and....BAP! Off it came! Robert had done everything right but the fish just must have not been hooked good. Boy what a fish!  We fished down the bank and then came back to the "scene of the crime" and sure enough, Henrietta had a strange bite and landed a nice 16" Flounder - the biggest of the year so far. Robert quickly followed that up with a keeper Flounder of his own.

We eased thru Tiger basin and around to Bell River and set up fishing a flooded shell point and here the action heated up - the two anglers were regularly catching small Trout, with one being of keeper size. We decided to move around the point but by this time the sun was up, the tide was high and the fish quit biting, so we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Corona Virus and Fishing Update

So far I'm up to 8 cancellations due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but I'm happy that folks are staying put and being safe. I have had a couple of folks fish the last couple of days and for those of you out there that are sitting at home and wishing you were fishing....we've had some really good bites.

The Flounder are beginning to move in - we caught 3 small ones (13") yesterday and about 5 today, with the biggest being around
15".  We've caught a handful of small Reds both days, a handful of small Trout both days, with a keeper here and there, and a Black "puppy" Drum.

Today one of my guests, Brooke, hooked up with a big Redfish, fishing a flooding marsh line at Spanish Drop and boy was it a battle. The big fish got over into the marsh grass eventually and locked down the line. We eased over to the grass and laid the boat up beside it and tried to dig the fish out of the grass, to no avail - the leader broke, OUCH!

But later we had another hookup by Maria and this one too tried to get up shallow. But Maria worked it out, fought it valiantly, and landed a nice 30.5" oversized Redfish which we photographed and released.  Brooke also caught and landed a Spansh Mackeral, all the way up at Pumpkin Hill!

We've had a couple of great days of fishing...ya'll stay safe...and hope to see you when this is all over.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Short Trip, Nice Catch

With the craziness of what's going on with the Virus, I was able to squeeze in a short trip with the Traylor family this afternoon - Mark and Heather and their two sons Hibbs and Smith. I met them this afternoon up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp and we jumped across to Tiger Island and even though the wind had picked up just a bit and when we got there, it was like fishing on a pond.

I had a few mud minnow over from the morning trip, and half 'o pound of shrimp that I picked up from Atlantic Seafood last evening so we baited up some jigs and began pitching. Almost
immediately, Mark and Hibbs hooked up and Fish On!  The fought the fish valiantly, played it perfectly, and soon landed a nice Slot Redfish.

Heather was pitching a jig and dead shrimp and hooked up and her and Hibbs worked it in patiently and landed another Redfish.

We worked that bank, up and down, then the duo of Mark and Smith had another strong hookup and, Fish On! It was an epic battle, but they were up for the battle and landed another Slot Redfish.  Later, we moved across the creek and caught a feisty little Stingray.

In just the short time, this fishing family, making memories, caught 5 Redfish (three were in the Slot size) and the Stingray, so we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Building a Mess 'O Fish

Despite the Virus scare and concerns, I was able to get out on the water with John Fredericks and his fishing partner Dan early this morning, launching from the north end boat ramp on an outgoing tide.
We ran over to Lanceford Creek, fished some docks, and almost immediately hooked up and landed a keeper sized Seatrout on a jig and mudminnow, fished on the bottom.  He picked up one more then we moved down a dock or two, then back, but had no more real bites.

We moved around to Soap Creek and began
pitching float rigs to a large outflow, then moved up the bank and alongside of a now exposed oyster bank and, BOOM!, Dan had a hookup. He played it patiently and landed a nice 21" Slot Redfish.

After making along run around and up the Bell River, we fished some docks, tossing jigs and minnows and jigs and a Mirrolure grub, white with chartreuse tail, and this paid off. The two anglers caught and landed  a handful of Seatrout, and one of those that John caught was right at 20".

We continued on around, thru the Jolley, past the MOA and fished a now exposed oyster bank. We worked along that bank for 30 yards with now bites but when we got to a drainage, BOOM! Fish on! John was on the rod and he played it perfectly, worked it to the net, and landed an nice 25.5" Slot Redfish.  After stopping at Jolley Bank and fishing the whole stretch of oysters, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Fresh Air and Sunshine

I'm hoping all of you are hunkered down and doing your best to avoid the virus that affecting us all. I've had a handful of cancellations but I'm still getting out on the water for today and tomorrow. Although the forecast called for a 35% chance of rain, when I hitched the boat up this morning it was only about a 5% chance and that was pretty accurate! I don't advertise it but once in a while I put a "shared trip" together, placing anglers with others to create a trip where they share the fee and today we pulled another one off. Estelle Wolfman was camping at Talbot Island and needed a fishing partner and Jon Slaughter answered the call. We all met up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park early this morning. It was so calm the 'ole sand gnats (no-see-ums) were right at home!

We ran up to the Jolley River and began fishing Jolley Bank with float rigs with mud minnows on an outgoing tide. Both anglers were making excellent casts but we had no takers.  We ran on up to "Snook Creek", switched to jigs and minnows and again, no luck. We fished the MOA - no bites there, then crossed over to some exposed oysters and finally, Estelle hooked up and "knocked the  skunk off" when she landed a hungry Seatrout. Jon added a Trout, Estelle caught another, then Jon put another in the boat. Jon had a somewhat stronger bite, hooked up, and landed a feisty Redfish.

We made the run back around to Tiger and fished the logs but all we found was a barely legal Flounder bur it did round out the duo's Amelia Island Back Country Slam of Trout, Redfish and Flounder.

After a short break we headed over to Eagans Creek and set up down current of some dock pilings. Within minutes Jon had a strong bite and, Fish On!  Jon worked it out from the pilings, played it patiently, and soon landed a nice 26" Slot Redfish, boy what a fish!  Just minutes later, BOOM! Estelle had a hookup and Fish ON!  She fought it in an Epic battle, worked it to the net, and landed a big Slot Redfish.

We bounced down two docks and BOOM! Big Fish On - but this one got up in the pilings and broke off. BOOM! Big fish on, and again, it ran up into the pilings and broke off. After that, it was like someone turned the light switch off. We hit one more spot then called it a day, another great one fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, March 16, 2020

What a Difference a Day Makes!

We went from almost summertime conditions yesterday to a tad bit cooler, cloudier, and windier today which made all the difference in the "catch" for the day. I met Howard McClure and his son-in-law David up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp early and we then made the long run out to Bells River to try and stay out of the 13mph wind and fish an outgoing tide. After setting up between two docks the two anglers began tossing jigs and live shrimp - David on the bow fishing up current while Howard took up the stern fishing some dock pilings.  It was David who had the first strike,
hooking up a small but hungry Seatrout. After he caught one or two more, Howard joined him and too began caching Trout.

We moved down the bank to another set of docks and here we caught Trout again, but this time we had a few that were of keeper size (all fish caught today were released). We worked back up thru the docks and picked up a fish or two, all on jigs and shrimp, all on the bottom.

When the bite slowed we continued on, made the turn in Jolley and made a brief stop at the MOA but had no real bites. Our next stop was at Jolley Bank where we tried to fish some exposed oysters but the wind was just too much so we picked up and ran around to the back side of Tiger Island where we had it to ourselves and the wind was blocked, making for some very comfortable fishing. Working the bank, David picked up two more Trout of keeper size while Howard landed a surprise Flounder that could have been kept, too.  Although our options were limited with the wind, we were able to find a couple of areas to fish and it made for another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Making The Best Of It

Laurin Titus and her sons Charlie and Mac had plans to got to Puerto Rico for Spring Break to target Peacock Bass but with the Corona Virus outbreak, they decided to make just a quick trip to Amelia Island and take in some back country fishing on the Angler's Mark.   I met them down at the Sawpit Creek Boat ramp and we made quick run up the Nassau River and made a stop at the Spanish Drop area with plans to pitch jigs and live mud minnows up to the exposed oysters on a low and outgoing tide.  Mac was on the bow, Charlie was at the stern, and mom was snapping pictures of our beautiful ecosystem here at Amelia Island.

In just a short moment, Mac hooked up and expertly landed a nice Slot sized Redfish. After pictures it was released as were all fish caught today.  We worked the bank, move up to another marsh runout and fished that to no avail, then moved on.

Our next stop was over at Pumpkin Hill, again fishing the exposed oysters. We didn't have any real bites the first stretch but after moving down the way to a spot vacated by some other anglers, BOOM! Charlie had a good bite and, Fish On!  He played it perfectly and after good battle landed a big 26" "Tournament Size" Redfish, boy what a fish!  We kept fishing that bank and it was Mac's turn to land a nice Slot sized Redfish, which he had patiently worked to the boat.

We then moved on down to Broward Island, cruising past the watchful eye of a Bald Eagle, and set up  outside of some downed logs. We didn't get a whole lot of bites, but Mac did bring in the first Seatrout of the day.

Seymore's Pointe was our next stop where we set up outside of some dock pilings. Here, Charlie had the hot rod and pulled out two feisty Redfish.  After running thru Horsehead, we fished one final stretch of oyster lined bank and again, Charlie found a couple more Redfish, one being in the Slot size. And with that, we called it a day, another great on to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Fish at Every Spot

We fished five different spots today and didn't get skunked at a one of them!  I had met Paul and Laura Amos down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early this morning and boy was it a pretty one! Not a cloud in the sky, only slightly cool, and just a slight breeze. We headed up the Nassau River and made the longest run of the morning, up to Pumpkin Hill and found a stretch of exposed oysters to work with jigs and live shrimp and minnows. Paul was on the bow and Laura was on the stern and it didn't take long for them to hookup and land some Redfish. Paul put a feisty fish in the boat to knock the skunk off
then both he and Laura tangled with and landed a Slot sized fish of their own. We added a couple of more Reds then we moved on to Broward Island.

Soon to be renamed Gnat Island, Browed looked really good as worked the logs with jigs but the sand gnats were almost unbearable. But almost simultaneously, both Paul and Laura hooked up with a couple of hungry Seatrout. After both Paul and I inhaled sand gnats, we decided to move on and let them have the island.

Our next stop was back at some docks at Seymore's Pointe. Paul started it off with feisty Black "puppy" Drum catch then he and Laura really got into some Redfish. Most of them were right at 16-17" but they were fun to catch and gave us a good amount of action.

We then ran down Spanish Drop, worked the bank with float rigs, and caught another feisty Redfish. Our final stop, after running thru Horsehead, was at the mouth of Jackstaff and here Paul put one more Seatrout in the boat before we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Redfish Catch Picks Up

Today was the first non-windy day I've fished in weeks, and boy was it a beautiful day!  I met John Fredericks and his fishing buddy Dan down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early this morning and we made a long run up the Nassau River and around to Pumpkin Hill. The tide still had about an hour of going out so these two anglers were pitching jigs and mud minnows - no shrimp today at the bait shop.  We had fished about 10-15 minutes when Dan, after making an excellent cast, had a strong hookup and, Fish On! Dan played him perfectly as the big fish rolled a half a dozen times and....BAP, fish off! It just came off.  Dang it!  Then not 10 minutes later Dan had another strong bite, a good fight and BAP! Fish off!  This one snapped the leader right at the hook.

But Dan and John were not to be deterred. They continued to pitch the jigs and began to pick up some hungry Seatrout. When the tide turned we fished Broward Island and here John hooked up and reeled in a nice 20" Slot Redfish, then he
hauled in a 24" Slot fish. We landed another Trout or two then made the move back to Seymore's Pointe area. We fished some docks for a bit, but had no takers, then ran back to the Spanish Drop area. We fished the back end of a bend with jigs then switched to float rigs and the minnows, up near the grass and, BOOM! Dan had a strong hookup. He patiently played it to the boat and landed a Slot Redfish, then as we were measuring it John caught  and landed another Slot.  The sun was out, the temperatures had warmed and it was another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Brag'n Rights Re-Visited

Yesterday was our annual Fernandina Pirate football teammate fishing trip, rescheduled and rescheduled and we finally pulled it off! But, Unfortunately, one of the team members decided to go out the night before to a (Jacksonville) seafood restaurant and must have had a bad oyster 'cause he called in sick with stomach issues. I guess we're going to have to institute a "curfew" like the coaches did in the old days!

So it was me, Tony French, and Raymond Keen who met out at the Goffinsville Park boat ramp and boy was it a pretty morning - except for the north winds that were blowing 10-12mph with a forecast saying they'd be 17+ by noon. But we had a game plan with the first stop being around in Christopher Creek and it was like a lake fishing. We pulled up quick to the "honey hole" but we didn't get a nibble, so we swung around and fished some dock pilings, worked them thoroughly, then came back around to work our way out. I had a good bump, a hookup, and knocked the skunk off with a nice feisty Redfish catch.  The other guys were in awe.  As we worked around the corner and were about to leave Raymond landed a fat Seatrout.

We came back to the rocks along Nassauville, still protected from the wind and began to drift slip floats. But none of us were "feeling" the float rigs so we decided to try our luck with the jigs and live shrimp up around the rocks. We drifted with the now outgoing tide, pitching to the rocks, up by pilings and it paid off. Tony hooked up with an "almost legal" Redfish, then went back to the same spot and he said the fish hit it with a vengeance! BOOM! Big fish on!  It was an even battle for a minute or so but the wiley fish found its way around a dock piling and the line tightened down. Tony gave a little when he needed to, pulled a little to see if the fish would come around, gave a little when he needed to, and then there was a Bump Bump!  I thought the fish had come off but it had just come around the piling! Tony applied the pressure, I eased the boat out into deeper water, and the battle was on! It took a few minutes but soon the big fish tired and Tony brought to the net for pictures, an oversized 32.5" Redfish, big enough to claim first place in the Anglers Mark 2020 Bragging Rights Tournament -Redfish Category. (Scroll down the right side of this report for standings).

We continued to fish those rocks and picked up another feisty Redfish or two, another small Trout or two, then we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

No Bait Drum

I fished this morning with Arthur Grace, his son Conner and his friend Lee, meeting them down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp on a tide that still had a few hours to bottom. We made a quick run around to the old bridge at Sawpit and set up behind it, fishing jigs out into the deeper water, baited with live shrimp. I haven't fished this area in years but I had heard they were getting Trout. We didn't.

After a brief run in with a sandbar, we made the run up the  Nassau River to some docks at Seymore's Pointe. The March winds had already
picked up so the docks were a welcoming calm.  I had two of the anglers tossing jigs but I planned to set one up with a slip float rig to drift behind the boat. I had just dropped it over the side of the boat to check for the bobber stopper depth with no bait on the hook when I felt a tug and, Fish On!   I handed the rod to Lee who expertly worked it to the surface and landed a nice keeper sized Black Drum!  But that was about all we got so we moved on.

The next stop was down at Broward Island and again we had somewhat of a wind block. All three anglers began to get nibbles, a bite, and finally we began to put a couple of Seatrout in the boat. They were down deep and the bite was so subtle you had to really be on you toes to hook one up.  We fished the island with just minutes left in the trip, then ran back, but made another stop to fish the Seymore docks, this time on an incoming tide and I believe that made a difference.

Conner hooked up and landed a feisty Redfish and just seconds later, Lee put another keeper sized Black Drum in the boat. Then Conner wrapped things up with a final Seatrout  catch. Although we had to find places to be out of the wind, the sun was out, we caught a few, and it was another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Recipe of the Month: Savory and Spicy Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts

I was at a neighborhood outing the other evening and neighbor
Fancie Melville brought this snack
that she had found on the MealPLannerPro website. It was really a hit and can be a great appetizer to put out before you cook up that fresh catch of fish!

2 1/2 Cups Mixed Raw Nuts (pecans, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, macadamia, almonds)
2 TBS unsalted butter
2 heaping TBS fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
1 TBS Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2  tsp Sea Salt
1/4  tsp Fresh Cracked Pepper
1  1/2 tsp Pure Maple Syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Spread nut mixture and cook for 15 minutes.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Seatrout Down Deep

If you've read between the lines of the last few days fishing reports you may have seen that the "fish catching" had been very slow with fish catches of 2-3 the norm. Today I met the Concannon family - Andy and Leslie and their adult sons Justin and Ryan-down at the south end boat ramp with only a slight breeze blowing and beautiful sunny skies. We ran up the intercoastal and dipped in to Jackstaff and began fishing the exposed oysters with jigs and live shrimp on the last of an outgoing tide. I don't think we even had one bite! After crossing over the creek and fishing a sandbar point to no
 avail, we ran thru Horsehead and around to some docks at Seymore's Pointe.

These anglers were making excellent casts to the dock pilings but we had no real bites. The 2nd dock we fished we did have a brief hookup that ripped a bit of drag, but it threw the hook.  We were going on about an hour and a half with no fish in the boat and I was beginning to wonder if the pattern over the last few days was going to hold.

Our next stop was down at Broward Island, still fishing the last of an outgoing tide and things picked up just a bit. Ryan put a keeper sized Seatrout in the boat then Justin landed a feisty Sheepshead. We worked down the bank and picked up another Trout or two. When the tide turned and started back in we moved to the end of the island and had a good flurry of fish catching. Justin picked up a nice 17" Seatrout, then another, then he tangled with a wiley Redfish that after a good battle, found its way under a submerged log - we saw the line tighten down - and BAP, fish off! But Justin was game and went back to the same area and pulled in a keeper sized Sheepshead. Then it was Andy's turn to hookup with a bigger fish and after a good fight, he landed the biggest Trout of the day, a 19" fish.

We made one more stop back along the Nassau River and just as we were about to leave, Ryan found a wayward Weakfish/Sandtrout and added it to the fish box for dinner! And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Kick'n Up

I fished yesterday with Howard McClure and his buddies Joe and Brian, and met them down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. The forecast the night before had called for a bit of wind but as I launched the boat we saw that there was only a breeze which was going to make for some comfortable fishing, but little did we know!

We ran up the Nassau River and all the way around to Broward Island, stopping just short of it to fish some exposed oysters with jigs and live shrimp on the last of an outgoing tide. The trio were making excellent casts but we had no real bites.  When it looked like the tide hit bottom we moved down to the island and fished the deep drop off with perfect conditions but the fish just didn't cooperate. After fishing a few areas along the island we moved on.

Our next stop was back at some docks at Seymore's Pointe. The wind had picked up just a bit so this did the trick and gave us some protection. We worked one dock pretty good but only picked up one "baitstealer" but at the next dock we finally had some action. Both Howard and Brian hooked up and landed a feisty Redfish each.

We came around the pointe and fished a slight indent in the rock bulkhead and got a few bites. Then Brian got his bait up real close and sure enough, Boom! He had a hookup. This fish was pulling a bit of drag, especially when it got back in the current, but Brian kept the pressure on and landed a nice 5-spot Slot sized Redfish.

The wind was really kicking up now so we ran back to Christopher Creek and got into some shelter but the fish were having none of it. We headed back in and boy was it blowing! The incoming tide was bucking against the west wind and we were rocking and rolling all the way back to the dock. But it was a beautiful day otherwise so we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.