Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Good Variety Here at Amelia Island In March

I fished with Tom and Betty Lane Owensby this morning, meeting them up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park
early with plans to fish a tide that had been coming in for about an hour. We made our first stop around at Tiger, fished the logs, and picked up a few fish. Tom reeled in a couple of sneaky Sheepshead and a feisty Redfish, and a minnow. No kidding - he tossed out a jig and shrimp and brought back a minnow that was smaller than his bait! Betty had a good hookup and landed a hungry Seatrout. 

We then ran around to the Jolley River and fished
the "bank" and it was Tom who had the pleasure of tangling with a big Gar Fish! Crazy. I thought it was a big Trout when it hit a shrimp under a float rg up in the shallows. After fishing Snook Creek for a bit, we continued on around to Bell River and switched back to jigs. Both Tom and Betty hooked up with some nice sized Seatrout and Betty reeled in big Whiting to wrap things up. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Amelia Island Bait And Tackle Has New Home

 The next time you visit Amelia Island you just have to stop in and check out the new home of Amelia Island Bait and Tackle...and it won't be hard to's just 4 doors down from the original location. Just walk down to the north end of the building and you'll find the spanking new store loaded with all the tackle, rods, reels, accessories and knowledge to help you catch more fish while visiting our island. And they've got a bunch of new angler shirts and hats to make you look good while you're fishing.  Need Ice? They've got it out front. Need bait? The new Bait Pod will be right out back, with some new fangled lights and air condition to keep the live bait kicking!  Pull your boat around back and come in the back door for all your tackle needs. Stop in and say hello to Nic and Lisa and Chris the next time you're in the area or need some bait and tackle. CLICK ON ANY PICTURE TO ENLARGE.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Heading South To Bubblegum Reef

 ....should be the title to a Buffet song!  When I met Fred Wammock up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park this afternoon the boat ramp was just crazy - and boats and kayaks and PWC's were buzzing we decided to make the long run south to get away from it all. We made a brief stop behind Piney Island and fished some docks where Fred picked up a hungry Seatrout, then we continued on down the intercoastal to dip into Jackstaff. The tide was low and still going out as we worked the exposed shell bank with jigs and live shrimp but we didn't get a even a nibble. 

We ran thru Horsehead and around to the Nassau River and pulled up just shy of Bubblegum Reef with plans to drift floats and live shrimp along the exposed shell (yesterday we picked up a big Trout and Big Redfish in the same spot). But we didn't get much of a bite! We then pulled up to Bubblegum Reef and switched back to jigs and shrimp.

Fred had been making excellent casts all afternoon and his next pitch to the Reef proved to be on point and it paid off. He had a

"bump bump", set the hook and had a good battle with a nice keeper sized Sheepshead. We had a few more bites then we decided to ease to the outside of the Reef and set up current.

Dropping baits back proved to be the trick and led to a smorgasbord of fish bites. Fred reeled in another Sheepshead, then picked up a keeper sized Seatrout, then a keeper sized Mangrove Snapper, then he got into some nice Black "puppy" Drum - boating three that were of good size. He put one two more keeper sized Seatrout (the biggest was 16.5" before we moved on. 

Our last and final stop was down at Broward Island. The tide was right, the wind was blocked and boy was it beautiful!  Fred wrapped up with an Amelia Island Grand Slam by catching a feisty Redfish to go along with his Seatrout, Black Drum and Sheepshead. We headed back north and had a fly by by a majestic Bald Eagle and as we cruised back we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Little bitty bite Little bitty bait and BIG fish


We had a beautiful morning today to fish with Jeff and Penney Parks. I met them down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp mid morning to fish the first of an outgoing tide.  We made our first stop up the Nassau River where we fished float rigs and live shrimp. We had bites but no takers so we moved up the river a bit and did the same thing at Twin Creeks and this paid off. Penney found a "hot" spot and plucked a good handful of Seatrout out of there while Jeff cleaned up the rest.

Our next stop was up at some docks at Seymore's Pointe. We fished float rigs out an outflow then switched to jigs and shrimp to no avail. After making the run down to Broward our efforts paid off. Jeff was fishing a live shrimp on the bottom, letting the current sweep his bait

and he said, "I just had a little bitty bite..." and BOOM! Fish On!  The fight started out like a small fish but when it decided it was  caught, it grew up, ran deep and ripped the drag. We worked the boat out away from the logs and it then it was all Jeff applying the pressure. After a long battle and a lot of patience, Jeff landed a 29.75" Oversized Redfish, boy what a fish!  And shortly after that we picked up our first keeper Trout, 22' deep on the bottom.  Then Penney added a couple of keepers to the  box, fishing deep.  We fished the island pretty good, working the edge under the keen eye of a Bald Eagle, then made our final run.

Our last stop was back at "Bubblegum Reef" - we tried to fish the wreck but kept getting hung up so we eased back and drifted floats long along the now exposed shell bed. Penny had a good hookup, played it perfectly, and brought to the net the biggest Seatrout of the day - an 18" fish. Jeff followed her along the same edge with an "little bitty bait" - a "popcorn" shrimp - and had a hookup right along the shell -BAM- 
another big fish. We were hoping that this one would be in the slot but the longer he fought the more we knew that it too was going to be oversized and sure enough, after a good battle, Jeff landed another Oversized 28" Redfish!  We had to call it a day then, a great way to wrap up a good day of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Wednesday and Thursday Trips

 I fished Wednesday morning with Chris Yarborough, his son Conner,  and his BIL Chris and nephew Magnus. We fished the outside of Tiger at a large runout with, jigs and live shrimp, but had no fish. We then  hit the Jolley, fished float rigs and live shrimp but again, no fish. After fishing Snook Creek to no avail, we ran to  Bell River, switched back to jigs and began to catch Seatrout deep! Birthday boy Conner got hot, an caught 6-7 Trout, while Magnus reeled in a "Bonus" fish, a Sheepshead, and then Seatrout. Later, Chris picked up a Trout. Conner coined a new slogan -  "Just Catch 'em"!


Yesterday afternoon I fished with Michael Boone and  his wife Ricki, meeting them up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp. Our first stop was around at Tiger Island where Michael picked up a couple of Black "puppy" Drum and a feisty Redfish. Ricki tricked a sneaky perch to take her hook. We then fished the Jolley River with float rigs - had no real bites - then motored around to the Bell where we picked up a handful of Seatrout on jigs and live shrimp and 3" Storm shad baits.

This morning I fished south, meeting Lee and Emmett Kubersky down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. We fished Seymore's Pointe a bit and picked up a Seatrout on a float rig, then fished some docks in Nassauville with jigs to no avail, then we ran back to Twin Creeks on the Nassau and had some good action catching Seatrout under the float as the tide was going out. Our next stop was down at Broward Island and boy did things "light up".  Our first cast produced a BIG bite and Fish On! Emmett was on the rod and he patiently fought it, working it in slowly as it made deep runs. Once in the net, the big Redfish measured at 26" - a fat "Tournament" sized Redfish. We went back to the same spot and BOOM! Bigger Fish on!  This fish stayed deep and ripped drag but Emmett was up to the task and eventually landed an Oversized 29.5" Redfish! And he wasn't done yet! Emmett caught and landed a nice 17" Seatrout (all fish caught today were released) and rounded out an Amelia Island Backcountry Slam with a Sheepshead catch.  And that wrapped a good two days of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Perseverance And the Tide Flips The Switch

 After a terrible weekend of blowing winds, we were back to fishing today when I met Justin Palmore and
his son Will down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. We made a short run up the Nassau and eased up to fish a shell bank as the tide still had a couple of  hours of going out. Both anglers were getting good casts up current with their jigs and live shrimp, but we had no takers. We moved up a quarter mile and fished a marsh run out and again, not a nibble. 

The tide had only an hour left of outgoing so we decided to fish some dock pilings with the jigs and shrimp. We were working the pilings good, getting a nibble here and there, but we had no fish. Ouch.

After making the run down to Broward we fished the last of the outgoing - no
bites. This was getting serious! Even the Bald Eagle perched in a dead pine was getting disappointed! We moved down the way as the tide turned, fished one area, moved to another and....somebody flipped a switch! BAM! Fish On! Justin worked it to the boat and landed a Slot Redfish. BAM! Big Fish On!  Will played it like a pro, worked it to the net, and landed a big "Tournament" sized Redfish - 26"!  BAM, another Slot Redfish. BAM, BIG FISH ON!  Justin fought it valiantly for what seemed like 20 minutes, brought it to the net -32" Oversized Redfish! This fish moved Justin in to first place in the Anglers Mark 2021 Bragging Rights Tournament-Redfish Category.   WHUMP! Will had a hookup deep, worked it in, and landed a nice 18" Seatrout. After that Will was in his "honey hole" and pulled out one 18" Seatrout after another. These fish moved Will into a tie for first place in the Anglers Mark 2021 Bragging Rights Tournament-Seatrout Category (scroll down the right side of this report for standings) 

We threw back a handful of smaller fish, kept a handful of Slot Reds, and a good "mess" of Seatrout. It brought home - just keep on fishing 'cause you never know when the "switch" will flip and it will be another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, March 19, 2021

We had a B.A.D. Trip

 We squeezed in a fishing trip this morning - after last nights storm with high winds and rain and expected blow tomorrow and the rest of the weekend. I had met my cousin Jim Garner and his brother-in-law Chipper out at the Goffinsville Park boat ramp early this morning. The wind was blowing the forecasted 12mph which we thought we could deal with and soon the sun came out to make for a beautiful day. 

After a short run around to some docks at Seymore's we set up to fish with jigs and live shrimp, tossing them to the base of the dock pilings on the last of an outgoing tide. The duo of anglers started off with a nibble here and there then WHAM! Jim had a hookup and a battle on his hands. The fish tried to get into the pilings but Jim applied the pressure, worked it out and fought it to the net - a nice 20" Black "puppy" Drum.  Shortly after Chipper followed that up with one of his one. He played it perfectly, worked it out from the pilings, and landed another nice 18" Black Drum.

A short while later Chipper had one chase his bait down, hooked up, and Big Fish On!  It was pulling hard and deep but Chipper was up to the task and fought it valiantly to the boat. We netted it, weighed it at 8.5lbs and measured it to be 24.5" - a Big Az Drum!

I know folks are catching the big Bull Drum right now, some weighing 50-60lbs and typically being caught in big reels and heavy line, but these fish we caught are being landed on size 1000 reels, 10lb test. It makes for a good fight!

We fished Broward Island for a bit and picked up a good handful of Seatrout, then came back to Nassauville Rocks and again caught a handful of Seatrout, one of which was of keeper size. The sun was up, the fish box had some nice fish in it, so we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

We Don't Show This Spot To Just Anybody

I don't often get the request to catch a "small" fish but the thought was that it'd be nice to take a couple of fish home for dinner and the real big ones would be too much. I had just met Tom Hardy and his long time fishing buddy Bill Dunn  up at Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp and we then eased down the river towards Eagans Creek to fish the first of an incoming tide with jigs and live shrimp. As you know, you don't want to take many folks to your favorite spot but sometimes you just gotta do it!

Within minutes the two anglers began to catch BIG Redfish. I kept a tally as they went:

Bill-26" Slot Redfish
Tom 29.5"  Oversized Redfish
Tom 26" Slot Redfish (w/ 16 spots)
Bill   30.5" Oversized Redfish 
Tom 23.75" Slot Redfish

Bill  25.5" Slot Redfish
Bill  18" Seatrout
Tom 26.5" Slot Redfish
Bill  28.5" Oversized Redfish
Tom  24.5" Slot Redfish

Bill's 30.5" Redfish moved him into 2nd place in the Anglers Mark 2021 Bragging Rights Tournament and Tom's 29.5" fish moved  him into third! (Scroll down the right side of this report for standings)

...and then we had a small "Rat Red" and small Seatrout!  Boy  what a morning of fishing. Then the high winds moved in and it all went to pot! But with all that big fish catching, when we called it a day, we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Breakout Day

 With the fish bite being "down" the last week or so we needed a day like today. I had met Dave Burkhartand his fishing  buddies Ed and Robert out at Goffinsville Park on a dead low tide. After a short ride over to some docks, we set up current and tossed jigs and live shrimp. It didn't take long before we got some action!  Dave was fishing deepest with a jig and he pulled in a few hungry Seatrout then Robert hooked up and battled a nice keeper sized Black "puppy" Drum to the boat. Then all three of the anglers were catching fish - Drum up by the docks and Seatrout out deeper. After fishing a second dock where we caught more Drum (we had a total of 4 keepers), we moved on.

Our next stop was down at Broward Island. The tide had been coming in for an  hour or two but it was worth a shot and it paid off. Ed had gone to the bank and

let his jig fall slowly with the current when, BAM! Big Fish On! Ed played it patiently and kept the pressure on when the big fish went deep. After a good battle he boated an Oversized 27.5" Redfish,  boy what a fish!

As we moved down the bank we got into more Redfish. Ed put a Slot Red in the boat then Dave battled a big one, in and out of some tree limbs, but he prevailed and put another Slot Red in the boat. We added a couple of more smaller Reds them moved down the bank where Ed caught a small Flounder to round out an Amelia Island Back Country Grande Slam of Seatrout, Black Drum, Red Drum and Flounder.

We then moved up to Pumpkin Hill and drifted float rigs where we picked up

some Seatrout, one of which was of keeper size. After fishing some more docks back at Seymore's Pointe where we added a couple of more keeper sized Trout, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

I Jumped the Gun

 In my last report I mentioned that the fish bite was on the uptick. But boy was I wrong. We had two really slow days, yesterday and today - I didn't have much to write about yesterday! And today, I fished with the Risko family, Tami and Toby and their two kids Vivian and Simon and it was slow for most of the morning.  We met down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and ran up the Nassau and around to Broward Island. The tide had been coming in for about 2 hours but I thought for sure we'd get there in time for a bit of a bite. I was wrong. We worked the bank up and down and had nary a nibble. However, we did get to see a majestic Bald Eagle fly by.

We then fished Pumpkin Hill, both sides of the pointe, with float rigs and live shrimp, to no avail. Our next stop was around at Seymore's Pointe and here perseverance prevailed. Vivian was drifting a float out the back, along a grass line, and had a good nibble that took her Shrimp. She went back to the same area with a good drift and BAM, she had a hookup. Vivian played the fish perfectly to the net and landed a fat hungry Seatrout. 

After that she

zeroed in and was ready when she had another bite, and caught another one. 

Up on the bow we were drifting the grass when we saw our float slooooowwwllly go under. After tightening the line we had a hookup and, Fish On! This was a big fish - it was ripping drag and heading East. But Simon was on the rod and he kept the pressure up. Simon made his way to the stern and the deck was cleared and the battle ensued. The big fish made a couple of deep runs, ripping the drag as it went, but Simon was up to the task and patiently brought it to the net - a nice 26" Tournament Sized Slot Redfish. 

Once we were back to fishing Vivian went back to her "spot" and had another Trout hookup. Her dad Toby jumped in there and caught another one before the bite slowed. We then made the run thru Horsehead, fished one more area, then called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Uptick In The Fish Bite


Another beautiful day with warmer temperatures, both air and water, seem to have helped with the fish bite. 

This morning I fished with Mark Richardson and his son Braden, meeting them up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp. We fished Bell River, Soap Creek and Lanceford Creek with float rigs and live shrimp and picked up a Seatrout at each spot on high and rising tide. 

Just as the tide started out we had made the run up to Bell River docks and switched to jigs and shrimp and we had a "break out" catch. The father/son duo caught a good handful of Seatrout on the bottom, picked up a handful of small but feisty Sheepshead. They also added a feisty Redfish to the catch. We fished a couple of those docks and picked up more Trout.

This afternoon I fished with Tod Schroeder, his dad Dennis, and his daughter Alana, again meeting them at the Dee Dee Bartels Park. We quickly made the long run up the Bell and it paid off with some nice Seatrout catches on the bottom  on jigs and live shrimp. Alana topped the catch with the biggest Seatrout catch of the day - a 16"er.  We also had some small but feisty Sheepshead and a feisty Redfish.

We fished a bit in the Jolley River until the tide started back in then ran around and eased in to behind Tiger. Here the trio caught a few more Redfish, two of keeper size and again, Alana pulled out the biggest Redfish. 

Both trips caught fish and had some good action which made for another great day of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Three Going On Four

 Boy what a beautiful day to come back to work to! I had been off for a few days but had a planned fishing trip this afternoon and boy was it beautiful! I met Shane and Janny Sims and their son Cooper down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and we headed up the Nassau River with sunny skies, just a slight breeze and temperatures in the low 70's. 

We fished Spanish Drop with jigs and live shrimp, tossing to an exposed shell bank and it was Shane who "knocked the skunk off" with a hungry Seatrout catch. He picked up another one deep, then Janny got in on the action and landed one herself.  We fished Twin Creeks briefly, then moved on up to Athens Drop, then made the run up to some docks at Seymore's.  Although the tide was still going out, the current was running in and the first stop down current produced nothing. But we moved around so that our jigs and shrimp could drift back to the pilings and this did the trick.  Cooper had a strong bite and it was Fish On! He patiently worked the fish away from the pilings, battle it to the net, and landed a 18.5" Slot sized 20 Spot

Redfish - enough spots to take home money in our Amelia Island Guides Association Redfish Spot Tournament to be held this November! And moment later he had a stronger bite - Big Fish On! Again Cooper played it perfectly and put a nice 23" Slot Fish in the boat.  Shane jumped in there and picked up another Redfish before we moved on.  After fishing another dock or two we made a run.

Some of my guests know I "rate" my fishing trips as to the quality of our "fish catch" and so far the day was grading out around a "3" with 0 being the worst and 5 being the best.....

Our next stop was down at Broward Island with the tide still having about 30 minutes to low. Shrimp were jumping at the mouth of a runout but we had no takers until we fished a jig alongside a log and BAM, hookup and Redfish in the boat. We drifted a bit with the current and Shane outsmarted a Sheepshead, hooked it up and landed it to garner and Amelia Island Back Country Slam of Seatrout, Redfish and Sheepshead.  

The tide was coming to a stop so we moved down the way a bit, and began to drift with it. Cooper hooked up and landed a Slot Redfish, then had a bigger one on that threw the hook. Then Janny had a BIG hookup, the drag ripped, the fish went deep, and found a log to wrap around a break off. Double Ouch! But as we eased down the bank we must have gotten into a school because it was a bite on almost every cast. Both Janny and Cooper had hookups - we had a double! and both landed them - both Slot Redfish. Then Cooper had another bite and this one was big! He played it perfectly, worked it slowly, and soon netted an Oversized 27.5" Redfish - boy what a fish!

And with that, we called it a day - a Four in my book - and another great day to be on the water here at Amelia Island. The next time you're on the web or in need of some fishing shirts or hats check out a young entrepreneur's Fishing Apparel line at Coopers Fishing. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Blustery March Fishing at Amelia Island

 Although the forecast called for (finally) some sunshine today, it also called for winds beginning at 13mph and getting up to 17mph as the day wore on, which can sometimes make for a tough time fishing. And it did!  I had met Steve and Lara Bunkowske and their two angler kids Nate and Alex up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp early and with the wind already whipping, we headed over to Lanceford Creek to fish some dock pilings with jigs and live shrimp. Even though the boat was not cooperating in the wind, these anglers were able to get some good casts and finally it was Nate who outsmarted a wily Sheepshead, hooked it up and brought it to the boat to "knock the skunk off". 

We fished another dock to no avail, then headed over to Soap Creek and set upwind from an exposed oyster bed. Steve and Alex were on the stern pitching to the oysters and although we weren't getting many bites, Alex had the big hookup and, Fish On! Alex played it perfectly and worked it to the net to land a nice 21" Slot Redfish, boy what a fish!

We later fished Tiger Island logs on the first of an incoming tide, the best time to be there IMO, but it was not to be. The wind was affecting my boat handling and the anglers casts and the fish didn't want what we presented to them. But it was a beautiful sunny day so when we called it  day, we counted it as another great day to be out on the water here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Playing The Edges

After a couple of days of nasty weather we had a gorgeous day greet us this morning! Sunshine, clear skies and only a slight breeze and right about 50 degrees when I left the Dee Dee Bartels Park dock with Bob and CJ Bengston.  We flipped a coin - Tiger Logs or Lanceford Docks?  Then we headed over to Tiger Island and began fishing with jigs and live shrimp on the very first of the incoming tide. Both anglers were making excellent casts to the bank and letting their bait slide down the river bottom. We eased along teh bank and Bob had a brief hookup and the drag ripped and, fish off! Ouch. But he went back and minutes later it paid off with a hookup and Fish On! Bob played it perfectly and soon landed a big 26 1/2" "Tournament Sized" Redfish, right on the upper "edge" of being legal.

We continued down the bank and Bob added another Slot Redfish, this one with 7 spots  and legal at 18 1/2", just over the bottom "edge" of the Slot -he was playing the edges! As we worked back up the island both he and JC caught and landed a couple of "feisty" Reds, then it was CJ's turn to fight a big one! She had a good bite, set the hook then played it patiently to the boat and net. The fish measured at 23" - a  nice Redfish (all but one of these Slot Redfish were released).

After a run around to Lanceford Creek we fished some dock pilings where Bob outsmarted a feisty Sheepshead, then we fished Soap Creek with float rigs and picked up a handfull of hungry Seatrout. After fishing Bell River briefly, we made the run thru Horsehead, toured Cumberland Island and saw some wild horses, then the Fort, then headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.