Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Keep to Catch Ratio


We had a front move thru last night that brought lots of rain, big winds, and cooler temperatures. When I stepped out this morning it was about 10-12 degrees cooler than yesterday - right at about 61. But the forecast called for just a  bit of wind left over and sunny skies so when I met Tim and Laura Wolfe down at the south end boat ramp early this morning they were raring to go. We ran up thru Middle River and around to Pumpkin Hill and began to fish with float rigs and live shrimp, tossed up near the grass and left to drift naturally along the bank.  That first spot didn't produce anything but bait-stealing nibbles so we moved down a bit. Here, Tim, who was taking up the stern, had let his float and bait drift close to some small grass islands and when the float went under he was ready, set the hook, and brought to the boat a feisty Redfish.

We moved around and into Pumpkin and fished a couple of more grassy island. We thought we had spotted a Redfish roll up behind us as we were in a shallow flat but after Tim hooked up and easily brought a big fish to the boat we saw that it was an ugly Gar fish!

Our next stop was over at Christopher Creek, now fishing jigs on the bottom. We worked the docks and rocks and banks and both anglers were making excellent casts but we had no takers. After making a short run over to Seymore's Pointe we set up outside a grassy point as the tide changed and started out and again, not takers.

I had begun to get a bad feeling that the previous night's front was affecting the fish bite because even the bait stealers were taking a break! But we kept on fishing!  We ran down to Spanish Drop, worked that bank with float rigs, then switched back to the jigs, and Tim put another feisty Redfish in the boat. Back to the docks we went, now fishing the jigs, but to no avail. Back to Twin Creeks to squeeze in just a few more minutes and, BAM! Big Fish On!  Tim had a hookup on a jig and mud minnow. He played it perfectly but we both noticed that the big fish never made a decent run. I think that change in the weather had him confused! Tim was patient, worked it to the boat, and we netted a nice 25" Slot Redfish. Only minutes later Tim had another hookup and brought in a nice keeper sized Trout. 

Although we didn't catch a lot of fish, our  "keeper to catch ratio" was pretty good and with the nice weather, it made for another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Before The Fog Lifted

I fished with the Lancaster team today, Justice and Chase and Mark, meeting them down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early as the sun rose. We made the long run thru Middle River and around to Pumpkin Hill and set up alongside some flooded marsh grass with the tide expected to hit high in just 30 minutes.  Chase was on the bow, Justice in the middle and Mark took up the stern - and the stern was where all the action was. Mark was letting his float rig drift with the current and picked up a handful of fish - Trout, Jack Crevalle, and Mangrove Snapper. 

We eased along and worked in and out of the little pockets and then Chase got on the board with a Trout catch. He later picked up a feisty Redfish.  We buzzed around the corner into Pumpkin and worked up to some grassy islands where Mark hooked up - he thought he may have had an oyster, but this one pulled back. He worked it thru some grass

and brought to the net a nice 17" keeper Flounder. Just as we netted it Chase put another Redfish in the boat. There had been a fog set in for a bit and it seemed we caught most of our fish before the fog lifted!

Our next stop was around at Seymore's Pointe, fishing the corner of some grass as the tide started out and here Chase picked up a couple of Mangrove Snapper and a hard fighting Jack Crevalle. We ran down the Nassau and worked along some now exposed oysters, tossing jigs and live shrimp and mud minnows, to no avail.  

We went back to some docks at Seymore's, stuck with the jigs and played cat and mouse with some Snapper. But finally we had strong hookup, Fish On!  Justice graciously offered the rod to Chase who battled the big fish out from the dock pilings - that fish made a couple of runs to the pilings but Chase applied the pressure at the right time, and worked it out. After a good fight he landed a Slot sized 22" Redfish.

After running thru Horsehead and fishing briefly over at the mouth of Jackstaff we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Oversized Redfish Makes Quite The Battle at Amelia Island, Florida

The days can't be any prettier here at Amelia Island! 

I fished early this morning with Todd and Debbie

Johnson, meeting them up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp. We headed north and west to the outside of Tiger Island to fish a tide that had been going out for about 2 hours. Our first stop was at a large drainage where the two anglers began pitching jigs and mud minnows. I was hoping for a Flounder bite but we didn't have much luck. 

So we moved around to the Jolley River and began easing along the "bank",  now tossing float rigs and alternating between live shrimp and the mud minnows. Both Todd and Debbie were getting excellent drifts but  it wasn't until the  oysters started to show when we began to get bites. The duo began to catch some feisty Redfish and and a Trout here and there and since we were getting some good action, I let the boat drift back in the current and we fished the "bank" a second time, and it paid off. 

We ran further up the river, to just shy of Snook Creek, pitched to the bank with the float rigs, and again caught a Red or two.  We then bounced across the creek mouth, eased in to the oysters

and after Debbie had made an excellent cast, BOOM! Big Fish On!  We couldn't tell it was big at first but when it got out to deeper water it was giving Debbie quite a pull. But she was up to the challenge and worked it slowly to the boat and we eventually netted a big Oversized 28" Redfish. After a quick picture or two, it was released and thrashed off to deep water. Boy what a fish!

Our next stop was around the corner and now the oysters were really exposed. We switched to jigs and minnows and continued to catch fish. Todd got hot fishing off the stern and picked up Redfish, a small Flounder, and Trout to tally an Amelia Island Back Country Slam.  After fishing the MOA briefly, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

Beautiful Fish Catch'n Day


I fished with Michael Boone today, meeting him down at the south end boat ramp early and boy what a pretty morning it was! I just couldn't get over it! We ran up the Nassau River and made a stop at the Spanish Drop area. The tide was going out but the oysters were still covered so we went with float rigs. I had live shrimp and minnows in the well so we went with shrimp first. Michael was tossing to the marsh grass and getting good drifts and we got a number of "nibbles" but no takers for a good bit. But then things turned on and we were catching fish!

Michael hooked up and landed some hungry Seatrout, then some feisty Redfish - a good handful of them - then we had a strong bite and this one was bigger! Michael worked it patiently to the boat and soon landed a nice 24" Slot Redfish. After pictures (and admiration) we released it  - all fish caught today were released.  He also caught and landed a couple of Jack Crevalle along that stretch, not to mention an aggravating Pinfish.

We moved up the way to Athens Drop and here we found a couple of more feisty Redfish that were right at the Slot size. When Michael though he had a clump of grass he reeled it to the boat but it turned out to be a small Flounder - but a Slam none-the-less!

Our next stop was up at the docks of Seymore's and although the mullet were in huge numbers, we only managed a couple of Mangrove Snapper. After fishing Broward Island briefly (and seeing a Bald Eagle), we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

NOTE: Almost every fish caught today was on a mud minnow

Thursday, September 24, 2020

They Even Looked Like Fall Redfish

 I fished with William and Dara Blalock this morning, meeting them out at the Goffinsville Park boat

ramp early enough to see the sun coming up over Amelia Island. We made a quick run down the Nassau to the Spanish Drop area, turned into the current and began working up alongside a shell bank that was beginning to be exposed on an outgoing tide. Both Dara and William were making excellent casts but it seemed Dara had the hot hand early, landing a good amount of hungry Seatrout, along with a hard fighting Jack Crevalle.  We worked that bank up to it's end then William began to put fish in the boat. He landed a couple of feisty Redfish, another Jack and a couple of Flounder, one of which was of keeper size. (All fish caught today were released). Dara finally put a keeper sized Seatrout in the boat while William landed another Red.

We moved on up to Athens Drop where I had high hopes for some quality fish but all we managed was a Catfish!

Our next stop was over at some docks at Seymore's Pointe. Dara had offered William her rod that was already baited with a mud minnnow - he made the cast and, BOOM! Big fish On! It took all that William could do to keep the fish out from the dock pilings and it made a run or two towards them. But Willliam worked it out for good, played it perfectly, and landed a beautiful copper colored Redfish that was so big we would have to have debated with the Game and Fish guys if we had wanted to keep it!  Dara was fishing live shrimp and caught a handful of Mangrove Snapper.

After a 8 minute rundown to Broward Island we set up to fish the bank. Dara was on the stern and beat

William to a stump, making a perfect cast right up along side of it and it had only hit the water before, BAM! Fish On!  Dara played it like a pro, worked it out to deep water, and landed a nice22" copper-Red, what a beautiful fish. We eased down the bank where Dara put another Trout in the boat then it was Williams' turn for a big Redfish. 

I saw his line moving up current and so did he!  William let the fish take it, eased his line in tight and set the hook! Another big fish. William played it paitently, worked it to the boat, and we netted another23" copper Red. We had one more battle with a big Red later but this time this one fittingly won the battle. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

No Wind Today!


After a few days of some serious NE wind blowing we were finally able to get out today. I had met Matt Park  and his two sons Dillon and Joseph up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp early and we headed down the river with plans fish oysters beds along Lanceford Creek.  We worked along, pitching to the beds and it was young Joseph who "knocked the skunk off" by catching and landing two hungry Seatrout. Dillon got on the board with a Ladyfish catch and what looked like a small Sea Bass. We did have a Manatee sighting!

Little did the young anglers know but dad was "laying back"!  We fished Tiger Island logs on the first of an incoming tide and even though it was 'right", we had very few nibbles and no real bites. We then ran up to the Jolley River and fished a bend that had some exposed oysters. Matt began to light up the leader board. He hooked up and landed a feisty 5-spot Redfish, then caught a Trout or two, then another Redfish, then another Trout or two.

Our final stop was at Snook Creek, pitching jigs and drifting float rigs. We did have  a few takers on the float rigs but they must not have had any size to them.  We fished down to the last mud minnow then called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

North Carolina Wild Trout

 Even a fishing guide has to "get away" once in a while so last week Carol and I headed up to the Blowing Rock, NC area to take in some hiking, waterfalls, antiquing, and we may have found a micro brewery here and there!  Of the seven days we spent away we got in 4 good days of long and sometimes strenuous hikes and one day of wading a mountain stream fly fishing, and a short hike back to the guide's truck. I weighed this morning and it looks like I lost 5 pounds during the trip!

After a few days we had made a move down to the Newland area and on Monday had set up the guided fly fishing trip with Dustin Kemp who works with the Mountain Bound Fly Guide service. When we talked over the phone Dustin had asked some key questions and when I said I'd prefer to wade for some wild trout he said he had just the perfect place in mind. The fish wouldn't be big or all that plentiful, but we could wade a half day, catch some wild fish and experience the North Carolina mountains as they should be.

We met Dustin outside of Banner Elk and got in his truck which was immaculate, clean, and set up for fly fishing with a lockable rod rack on top, and a "Cap" on the back that kept all of his waders, boots, and tackle safe and dry. We drove just a short distance then down a long lane along the mountain stream, and found a parking spot up in the bushes right beside the water. Although I had my own waders and boots, Dustin had brought a spare set for Carol and he laid out a changing pad for her to suit up on. Dustin unloaded a Mystic 4w Rod with a TFO reel and Weight Forward Floating line. He had taken a tapered leader, left about a 4' butt section, but tied in another 4' section of 6x leader where he tied on a floating #18 dry fly. From there he went to 7x leader with two dropper Midges, #20's, one after the other, about 12" apart.

The plan was to work up stream with Carol tagging along behind (and taking pictures). We didn't want to above the fish - they'd spook, run, and never bite.  Dustin pointed out the small pools behind rocks, shutes, runs, and tails and advised where I should "drop" my fly(s). The strategy was to sneak up the stream and "drop" the fly up ahead of the fish who (we hoped) were pointing up-current looking for something to sweep down-current where they could gobble it up!

At first, when I had a chance I'd strip some line and try to get an actual fly cast in. I could do it but I soon found out that wasn't going to work. The water was ripping thru here and there and as soon as it caught the floating fly line it would sweep the whole shebang out of the target zone. Afterwards, I realized that I had met my match in patience- Dustin gently reminded me that we were "dropping" the leader into the target zones and after a bit, it finally clicked!  The 9'-10' leader with dry and fly and dropper flies was all I needed to fish the pools and runs - pitch it with a slow roll cast, left it drift, then pitch it again or a time or three, and move on. The fly line rarely hit the water.

For a 63 year old man it was strenuous work to keep my balance - I fell  in once,  and cracked my shin another time - and I kinda wondered if I need to invest in some felt bottom wading boots - mine have rubber soles and were quite slippery on the submerged rocks.

We worked the stream for about  4 hours and had numerous "hits" and "spits", hooked up and landed a small Rainbow, hooked up and played a couple of Browns, and each time Dustin had pointed out where they would be. As the morning wore on I was getting tired and hungry and thirsty - should have taken Carol's advice and brought along that Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich she had offered to make.

But Dustin had a couple of spots left that he wanted to try, and both ended up producing fish. One spot was a huge boulder that had a small pocket behind it then another smaller boulder. I had flipped the fly(s) into the pocket 2-3 times, had something take it and run on the 2nd time, but missed it, then I went back a 4th time, right up beside the big boulder and BAM! Fish On! It put up a quite a tug for a 8" fish but boy was it fun! Dustin netted it, a Brown, and after Carol snapped a pic, we released it. 

We moved up a ways and after we got to a huge slab of stone, Dustin advised that I would probably have to climb up on the slab, lean over and flip the fly(s) over into the pool just beyond. I think it was my first cast and BOOM! I didn't see it but felt it and, Fish On! This one put up another good fight but Dustin had jumped up ahead of me, leaned in and netted a beautiful wild Rainbow trout, boy what a beautiful fish! Again, pictures and release and then we called it a day, another great one to be fishing a mountain stream in North Carolina!

If your every up in the Banner Elk, Boone, Blowing Rock area of North Carolina, contact Dustin Kemp with Mountain Bound Fly Guides. He was professional, friendly, accommodating, and patient. I got the impression that he would travel a bit to get to you if at all possible. They also offered an array of longer float trips. You can Email them HERE, or call 828-292-3882

Recipe of the Month: Cajun Potato Salad

 This recipe came across Facebook, presented by Blue Plate Mayonnaise and it looked pretty good. 

Making the recipe as presented meant left overs for a day or so!.


3 pounds white potatoes, peeled, cut in 1-inch cubes ( I used some deluxe gold potatoes)

1/2 pound bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled

6  green onions, chopped, white and some of the green parts

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

2  tablespoons dill relish, or pimientos drained ( I used the dill relish)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon creole seasoning ( I used Old Bay)

1/2 cup light Blue Plate Mayonnaisse

1/2 cup light sour cream

Paprika and celery sticks for garnish.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water in a large pot over medium high heat for 15-18 minutes, until tender.

( I checked them constantly to make sure I didn't over cook them). Drain and cool slightly.

Place potatoes in a large bowl, add bacon, celery, relish, salt, pepper, creole seasoning.  In a small bowl, stir mayonnaise and sour cream until blended. Pour over potato mixture as much as you like. (I poured about half of it, stirred, added about a quarter more, stirred).  Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with paprika and celery sticks.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Fly Fishing Amelia Island

I fished today with James and Nicole Bush, meeting them up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp early. We had cloudy skies with a forecast of 60% chance of rain before the morning was over but these anglers were game to fish so we headed out and over to the back side of Tiger to try our hand with some fly gear.  James was casting the fly off the stern in deep water with an intermediate sinking line and a weighted black Troy James Fly while Nicole fished from the bow with a a jig and live shrimp on spinning gear.  James was making excellent casts and putting the fly up close to the bank, letting it slide down the river bottom before the current really got to coming in. He had a few "bumps" but no takers. We eased down the bank working in and out of the logs and it was Nicole who put the first fish int he boat,  hungry Mangrove Snapper that was just a smidgen below the size limit. 

Then it was James' time to hookup. I had just commented about a perfect cast he had made up near the shore and alongside a log when, BOOM! A slot sized Redfish hit it and
came out of the water. James had done a strip set and had the fish. He worked it perfectly out of the logs and into deeper water. I inched the boat out deeper and felt for sure that we had the fish. But James said he felt the fish "lock down" - a sure sign that it was wrapped around a log or stump and, BAP! Fish Off! Boy what a bummer.

We fished the island up and down and Nicole, fishing the bait, hooked up and landed a feisty Redfish before we moved on. Our next stop was over at Lanceford Creek. I had switched Nicole to a float rig, gave her a demo cast, and float disappeared!  I lifted the rod, hooked the fish and handed it off to Nicole who battled it valiantly from Stern to Bow and back to Stern. The fish was ripping drag and made multiple runs but Nicole was up to the task and soon brought the beast to bay - a 4' Bonnethead Shark.  Nicole added a Seatrout to her catch before we moved on.

James had been dealing with the wind that had picked up after we left Tiger but he was making the most of it, getting in some fine casts. We added another Trout and a Ladyfish before we headed in. Just as we were getting back to the ramp we spotted a Submarine cruising thru the channel up by Cumberland which made for a great way to wrap up a good day of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Labor Day Weekend Fishing at Amelia Island Florida

We kicked of the Labor Day weekend today fishing with Kaci and Dax Gingras. We met up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park and made quick jump over to the back side of Tiger Island. The tide had been coming in for a couple of hours but he logs were still showing so we baited up with live shrimp and and began to work the bank with quarter ounce jigs. The "baitstealers" let us know right off that they owned the bottom so we switched to lively mud minnows and worked on. Dax "knocked the skunk off" when he hooked up and landed a keeper sized Flounder. But that was about it for that spot.

After a short run around and up to the Jolley River we turned in and fished back up current with float rigs and shrimp and minnows. Both anglers were making excellent casts and getting good drifts but we had no takers, so we moved on up the river. This paid off! Kaci's float had disappeared and after she caught up to it she lifted her rod, set the hook and Fish ON!  Kaci played it perfectly and worked to the boat a nice 18" Seatrout. A bit later Dax hooked  up with one and landed one just a tad bit smaller. He also put a feisty Redfish in the boat and infant Cobia!

We hit a spot back towards the mouth of the Jolley but had no luck then made the run back to Bell River to set up on a point to fish the last of that high and incoming tide. This turned out to be the best spot of the day. Both anglers began to hookup with Seatrout with a couple of them being of keeper size. They battled with high flying ladyfish and put an almost legal Mangrove Snapper in the boat. But boy was it getting hot! We fished out of bait then called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Honeymoon Bliss

You can't get much happier than get married over the weekend and taking an Amelia Island back
country fishing trip just a couple of days later!  Brian and Kaitlyn Greenup were visiting Amelia after their wedding and I fished with them today, meeting them down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. We ran up the Nassau River, stopped at Spanish Drop and began tossing float rigs baited with live shrimp to the marsh grass.  Brian battled a couple of hard fighting Jack Crevalle and Kaitlyn put her first Seatarout in the boat.  We landed a handful of fish there then moved on.

Our next stop was down past Middle River, fishing a new spot that looked good a low tide a week ago, but it didn't pan out. I plan on trying it again, though. We continued on to Pumpkin Hill and set up to drift our floats along the marsh grass on a high and incoming tide, this time baited with Mud Minnows.  We had a nibble or two then Brian hooked up and, Fish On!  This fish was ripping drag and had no intentions of
coming in. But Brian was up to the fight, worked it penitently to the boat, let it run again, then brought it to the net. It was a big Oversized Redfish - boy what a fish. Only minutes later he had another hookup - another big Red. Brian brought this one in handily and we netted a nice 23" Slot sized Redfish.  Kaitlyn  added another Seatrout to the catch while Brian boated a Mangrove Snapper.

We ran up Christoper Creek and switched to jigs and minnows. Kaitlyn worked another Trout to the boat but that was about all we had until Kaitlyn had made a perfect cast up to the corner of some marh grass. She had snagged a couple of oyster shells during the morning and this looked almost like the same but we could tell it was pulling back!  Kaitlyn slowly reeled it in and then the fish decided to fight, throwing a huge splash. But Kaitlyn kept the pressure on and brought to the net a massive 22.25" Flounder, big enough to move Kaitlyn into 2nd place in the Anglers Mark 2020 Bragging Rights Tournament-Flounder Category (scroll down the right side of this report for standings).

We finished up fishing at Symore's Pointe, had no real luck but with a couple of really big fish in the boat we headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.