Tuesday, March 29, 2022

10 Spotter


If we had been in the "Spot Tournament" we would have been running to check in! This morning I fished with cousins Adam and Patty Garner, meeting them early down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. We headed up the intercoastal, turned into Middle River and headed around to the Pumpkin Hill to set up fishing float rigs and live shrimp on the last of an incoming tide. Both Adam and Patty were getting excellent drifts in outstanding conditions, but we had no takers. We move down the bank, fished a "cove", then moved around the corner and fished some grassy island, to no avail. 

After a run back to the Seymores Pointe and fished a large outflow on the first of an outgoing tide and here we knocked the "skunk" off. Adam had a good take, tightened up his line and a set the hook. He played the fish patiently to the net and landed a 10-Spot Slot Redfish. The duo of anglers continued to toss their floats up current and let it drift around a corner and they picked up another couple of feisty Redfish. 

We ran down to Spanish Drop and fished a bank with the float rigs, then moved back and fished it again with jigs and shrimp. Adam had made a good cast up to the bank, bumped it over some shell, and BAM - he had a hookup. After a brief battle he landed another nice Redfish. 

Back to Seymore's we went with plans to fish some dock pilings now that the tide had been going out for a bit. Pitching jigs, we had not bites until there was a faint bump and a hookup. Patty was on the rod and expertly landed a "just short" Flounder. Our final stop was over at the mouth of Jackstaff, fishing with the Artic Pelicans, then we headed in and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Not Much To It

 After a big wind yesterday, it calmed around midnight and it made for a beautiful fishing day for today. Although still just a bit cool, it warmed to a nice, balmy day of fishing. I met Ed Johnson and his fishing buddies Ken and Don down at Sawpit Creek boat ramp early and we ran up the intercoastal and dipped into Jackstaff, passing a pair of Bald Eagles resting a shell bed. We set up at a large marsh run out and began casting float rigs and live shrimp. It took a few minutes but finally we "knocked the skunk off" with a few hungry Seatrout catches. Before we left, Don had a strong hookup and his drag began to rip, the line heading east. It didn't slow down for a bit and I guessed, "shark", and if so, it would be the first of the year on the Anglers Mark. Don played it patiently and after a good battle we saw, sure enough, a shark fin. We boated it, dehooked, and released it. 

We ran thru Horsehead around to a large outflow and fished with the float rigs, but had no luck. We then motored down the Nassau and set up into the current at Spanish Drop. The trio of anglers picked up some Seatrout, with one that Ken caught being of keeper size. Then, after Ed had made a good cast  up near the bank, his float almost immediately disappeared and, Fish On!  We didn't think there was much to this fish for a little while, but we should have known - it stayed up by the bank even though Ed was applying soime pressure. I realized that this was a big fish about the time it got back in the current then it was Game On! But Ed was up to the task and played it expertly (Ed was the Nassau Sportsfishing Angler of the Year last year). The big fish stayed deep for a while, and when Ed worked it to the boat it would bull away, but eventually it wore out and came to the net, a 26 15/16" thick Redfish, boy what a fish!

We worked that bank thoroughly and picked up a handful of smaller "rat" Reds, then moved up the river and fished another run out, then further up to fish Twin Creeks. Just north of there Ken hooked up and landed keeper sized Flounder on a jig and shrimp.

Our final stop was over at some rocks at Nassauville, fishing jigs dropping down a sloped river bottom. Ed hooked up and landed a keeper Trout then Don had a strong bite and put the biggest Trout in the boat, another keeper. We had had some excellent weather and some good action so as we headed in we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Like It Was Scripted

We had a beautiful day to greet us this morning - just a bit cooler than yesterday, but clear skies and the forecasted winds of 12mph didn't seem so bad, coming out of the North West. I met Todd Johnson and his cousin David (when's the last time you fished with your cousin?) down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early and we made a quick run over to the docks at Longpoint and drifted live shrimp under slip floats on a tide that had been going out for about 3 hours. I liked the conditions, but we didn't get a bite.

We continued on up the intercoastal and dipped into Jackstaff and then into a side creek and switched to fixed floats and began tossing them with live shrimp to the marsh grass and oysters beds. We were seeing movement here an there and one time we saw a good swirl up between two small mounds of oysters. Todd was on the bow and made a good cast to the spot and let it sit. We both saw the float a"bob", then it slowly went under. Todd tightened up, lifted his rod and then we heard the ZIP, ZIP, ZIP of the reel drag. It was like it was scripted!  The fish boiled a few times but Todd kept the pressure on. We had to move the boat up to get away from a crab pot but as soon as we did Todd brought it expertly to the net - a nice 22" Slot Sized Redfish!

We fished that spot for a bit more and with the outgoing tide, the boat bottomed out on a mud bank but we were able to back off with the big Yamaha. With all that noise, we moved across Jackstaff and fished that bank for a good stretch,  to no avail, then we  made the run thru Horsehead over to Seymore's Pointe. Setting up between two docks, we switched to jigs and shrimp and got into some feisty Redfish. Both Todd and David were catching fish  and at one time we had a "double".

Bouncing between docks, we switched back to slip floats and picked up some Trout here and there, with one of them being of "keeper" size.

Our last stop was down at Littlefield Creek, back to pitching jigs. Here, David got "hot", landing one Trout after another as Todd and I looked on, not even getting a nibble.  Two more of the fish were of keeper size. David had mentioned that this would be a good spot to try a "Carolina Rig" so I rigged one up, hooked up a lively shrimp, and gave it a toss. Sure enough, BAM! Fish On! Another keeper sized Seatrout! Todd gave it a try, using the Carolina Rig, and, BAM! He had a hookup and landed  a Trout.

I'm not sure how they would work in a real swift current, but here the current had slowed and two casts caught two fish! We headed back to the ramp with some nice fish in the box, the sun shining and the temperature warming so we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, March 25, 2022

In Fine Company

After a terrible, long day of non-stop rain  yesterday, we awoke to clear skies, a tad bit cooler temperatures, and slight winds today. I met Eddie Byrd and Bob Kossman up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp on a tide that still had about 2  hours to finish hitting bottom. We made the run  over to Lanceford Creek and fished some docks on what I thought should be an ideal tide. But all we had were nibblers! We worked some oyster shells where there was some movement going on, then fished another dock then moved on. 

Our next stop was over at Soap Creek, towards the end of the tide, and boy, I hadn't seen it this low in a while! There were sandbars where I didn't know there were sandbars! We fished with jigs and shrimp and Bob finally "knocked the skunk off" with a Seatrout catch. 

We dropped back towards Fernandina and fished some marsh drainages and here we got a wildlife show! There were 3-4 Salt Marsh Minks(Google says that's a "company") running along the

bank and swimming out into the river, and behind us, Porpoise were busting fish they had corralled in a small cove.

After a run back to Tyger Island, we worked that bank with the jigs and shrimp on the first of an incoming tide. Eddie got on the board with a keeper sized Seatrout catch, then Bob followed that up with one of his own. The wind had picked up so we made our last stop over at Eagans Creek, working in between docks and picked up a handful of small Trout, a Catfish, and a Stingray! It had been a beautiful day, we had some seen some wildlife, and had a couple of fish in the box for dinner so as we headed back, we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Kicking Off the Bragging Rights

We had some winds forecast for today, 12mph to begin with and getting up to 17mph as the morning wore on. But it was out of the south so we decided to launch up at Dee Dee Bartels Park. The tide had hit low a little after 7am and after I had met Don Walters and his fishing buddy AlexBournias we made the short run over to Tyger Island and fished the logs on that incoming tide. Unfortunately the water was muddy, kicked up by the winds, and we had no real bites - only nibbles on our live shrimp on a  jig.

We came out from behind Tyger and boy was it choppy! The spray from that south wind was coming over starboard but when we turned the corner we quit getting wet and made our way down the river, turned into Lanceford, and found some dock piling to fish. Here, the two anglers got some bits and Don "knocked the skunk off" with a nice Redfish catch. After fishing one more dock we came back to Soap Creek and fished some shell beds and again, Don found a feisty Redfish.

The wind had picked up so we ran back to Eagans Creek and fished  some docks with slip floats and jigs and shrimp. We hadn't been there for more than 5 minutes and had a hookup. Alex was on the rod - at first I didn't think it was very big, but then it dug deep and bent the rod. Alex kept the pressure on, played it perfectly, and landed a big 21.75" Seatrout - a fish big enough to kick off this years Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament-Seatrout Category! (scroll down the right side of this report for link to standings).

Don was fishing one of the slip floats and let it drift up near a piling and was ready when it disappeared - he lifted his rod and let the circle hook do its job, and Fish On! Don patiently brought it to the boat and landed an 18.99999" Seatrout, another nice fish! We worked up and down that bank, dipping in between docks and caught smaller Trout and a good handful (4) of 11" Sheepshead (garnering an Amelia Island Back Country Slam of Redfish, Seatrout and Sheepshead), then we headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Back To Back Flounder

 I wasn't really expecting a Flounder catch on the first drift this morning but that's what we got. I had met Matt Husa and his kids 9yo Divya and 5yo Kian down at the south end boat ramp early, and as the full moon disappeared over the trees, we headed up the intercoastal, cut thru Middle River and made it around to Pumpkin Hill with plans to drift live shrimp under floats on a tide that still had a couple of hours to hit high. 

Matt and Kian had taken the stern, drifting long, but Divya was on the bow and had a good drift going along the marsh grass on her first cast. When her float slowly went under she got her bail shut and began cranking - she had a hookup! Divya worked it to the boat and landed hungry 12" Flounder!  And just a drift or two later, in the same spot, she had another hookup. She brought this one to the boat, also, and it measured just a tad bit under 14". 

Matt and Kian had been working the stern and they teamed up to hookup and land a feisty Bluefish. We moved and fished the

point, then moved down another bank and fished some grassy islands and here Divya caught and landed a Seatrout.  Matt also hooked up and landed a keeper sized Seatrout. After fishing back around the corner, we made  the run down to Broward Island and fished jigs on the bottom on the very last of the high tide, not ideal. But we did get to see the Bald Eagles while were down there.

After a run back to Seymore's Pointe we set up at a grassy point and here the action picked up a bit. Both Divya and Matt/Kian team were getting bites and landing Seatrout. Then Matt had a strong bite and this one ripped some drag out-a bigger fish. Matt played it patiently and after a good battle landed a 17" keeper sized Seatrout. 

We ran thru Horsehead to the mouth of Jackstaff, turned into a creek, and fished a large outflow and again had few bites, then wrapped up pitching jigs along the bank in Jackstaff, then headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Trout Time

Although we had overcast skies this morning, there was only a slight breeze and it looked like a good day for fishing.  I met David Gross, his son Drew and his father-in-law Doc down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and we headed up the intercoastal to dip into Jackstaff and set up at a large  marsh run out, drifting live shrimp under floats on the very first of an outgoing tide. 

It didn't take long and the trio of anglers were getting bites, hookups, and landed a handful of 14.5" Seatrout. We then ran thru Horsehead and fished a pointe of grass as the water flowed by and again, had good hookups of Trout. We moved down between two docks, drifted the floats, and again, Seatrout.

Our next stop was down the Nassau at Twin Creeks but here we got "skunked", not a bite. We moved further down to Spanish Drop and began working up alongside the bank. David had made an excellent cast, but right into some submerged oysters (that I didn't warn him about), but  as he popped his jig/shrimp combo out of the oysters, BAM! He had a strong bite and, Fish On! David played it patiently and soon landed a nice 20" Slot Redfish. We worked that bank for a bit and when we got to the corner we had a good flurry of Seatrout catches.

We then made the run back to Nassauville and fished some rocks and picked up another few Seatrout. Drew had hung with it and was putting fish in the boat along with his dad and granddad.  Our final stop was back at Seymores Pointe, fishing some dock pilings, but to no avail. But we had had some good action through out the day so as we headed back  we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Post Storm Fishing

 We had some major storms pass thru Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning with lots of rain and high winds then temperatures plunged from the 70's to the low 30's for Sunday morning. I was wondering how that was going to affect the fishing when I met my cousin (I got a lot of cousins) Sally and her husband Tim English up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp for a half day of fishing north.

Unfortunately, even though we had clear skies, the wind forecast had changed from last night today and it was already kicking 12mph with expectations of getting up to 17mph (it did). But we had a plan and headed down river and over to Soap Creek to set up at a large marsh run out and began tossing float rigs and live shrimp to the mouth and let it drift with the current. Sally came with a "hot hand" and began to get bites and knocked the skunk off with a hungry Seatrout catch. She picked up few of those before we eased forward, tried drifting along a shell bed, then moved on. 

After a brief stop at some docks in Lanceford and pitching jigs and shrimp, to no avail, we made the run back and fished some docks at Eagans Creek with slip floats and shrimp. Again, Sally was hot and caught two fishing deep, one of which was of keeper size.

Every time we ran north we had to buck the wind and waves but our next stop behind Tyger was blocked and it was very peaceful. Tim had spotted Sally long enough, made an excellent cast to the bank, let it fall along the bottom and BAM! He had a hookup. Tim played it patiently and worked it to the net to land a nice Slot sized Redfish. We eased along the bank, working it slowly, then headed back, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Fish Catching Picking Up

 I fished again south, meeting John Fredericks and his buddy Dan down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early this morning.  There was even less wind than yesterday and the "No-Seeums" were out in full force. But the run up the river blew them off and when we made our first stop at Spanish Drop in the Nassau River we had a slight breeze so they weren't much of an issue. 

I got the duo set up with rods and bait and they began pitching to the shell lined bank on the very last of an outgoing tide and before I knew it, within minutes, John had a strange hookup and brought to the boat a Flounder, just undersized, but definitely a surprise! Minutes later Dan hooked up and brought to the net a hungry Seatrout.  We worked along that bank for just a bit and then I heard Dan's reel make a shrill ripping noise and Big Fish On!  Boy did that fish hit hard! Dan played the fish expertly and after a good battle, landed a "just oversized" 27"+ Redfish, boy what a fish!

We moved up the river a bit and fished Athens Drop( and had a Saltmarsh Mink sighting)  then continued on to Seymore's Pointe where we fished some dock pilings, but got no real bites. We moved around the pointe and fished some more docks, then moved on. 

Our next stop was down at Broward Island and here Dan put a feisty Redfish in the boat and Robert followed that up with a Seatrout catch. We fished under a pair of Bald Eagles as we worked up and down the bank but we had no more bites, and moved on. 

Back at Seymore's we switched to Slip Float rigs and here Dan caught a Weakfish to round out an Amelia Island Backcountry Grande Slam for the duo - Flounder, Redfish, Seatrout and Weakfish.

Our final stop was over at the mouth of Jackstaff, now drifting Cajun Thunders and here we had a good flurry of Trout catches, one by Robert that was of keeper size. Although the "catching" wasn't "on fire", it was definitely an uptick in action so as we headed in we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Monday, March 7, 2022

2 Fish 2 Slot Reds

 Although it was a beautiful morning, we had to do the "safety speech" on the run this morning to create some breeze and blow off the "No-Seeums". As I launched the boat I could feel them trying to crawl in when I opened my truck door! But in no time we were heading up the Nassau River, making one "pit stop" to toss out a minnow trap, then we continued on up to Seymore's Pointe to try our hand with jigs and live shrimp to the bank with the first of an incoming tide. Bob Kossman was on the bow while Eddie Byrd took up the stern on a "shared trip" they put together. In just a matter of 15 minutes Bob had a good bite. He set the hook and patiently played to the boat a nice Slot sized Redfish.

It was another 10-15 minutes and this time it was Eddie who had the hookup. We could tell right off that this was a big fish - it kept pulling towards the bank and ripping drag. I wondered if I had the drag set too loose but nope, it was just a big fish. Eddie worked it out away from the trees, then he settled in to a long battle which he eventually won, landing a thick 25.5" Slot sized Redfish. 

We ended up working that bank thoroughly with no more bites, then we picked  dock out to fish, first with the jigs and shrimp, then we switched to Slip Floats and live shrimp and this did the trick. The duo of anglers picked up a handfull of hungry Seatrout.

The wind had picked up but we fished between a couple of more docks down along Nassauville, then ran back to Pumpkin Hill to wrap things up fishing fixed Floats. We had seen some dolphin busting fish along the bank, and a Bald Eagle, and had a couple of fish in the box so as we headed in, we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida 

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Foggy Morning Oversized Redfish


I wasn't expecting the fog this morning but as I loaded the boat I knew right off we'd be dealing with it. When I met Mike Stanhope and his adult son Bryce up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park I had me NAV lights on and had plugged in my stern light (I haven't used it in over a year and hoped it would work - it did!) We slowly chugged across the river and back in behind Tiger to fish a tide that had been coming in for about 3 hours. That's not my favorite tide but we still had some bank to cast to.  Both anglers were making fine casts and we worked down the bank, pitching up between the logs and as we got to the other end it was Bryce who "knocked the skunk off" with a fat Seatrout catch.

Just minutes later Mike had followed Bryce in to the mouth of a small drainage and afterwards he said, "he bit it hard the minute it hit bottom", BAM! Big Fish On!  At first I thought I might have set the drag too loose - it was ripping deep and when Mike would work it up a  bit, down it would go again. He had a good long battle and then I realized, no, not a loose drag, but a big oversized Redfish. We eventually netted it, measured it at 29.25", photographed it and released it, boy what a fish, and big enough to move Mike into 1st Place in the Anglers Mark 2022 Bragging Rights Tournament -Redfish Category(scroll down the right side of this report for standings).

We fished float rigs and live shrimp over at Bell River on a grassy point but had  few bites, then ran around to Soap Creek and stayed with the float rigs. Bryce picked up another Trout there. After fishing up Lanceford for a bit we decided to make the run south and after a 20 minute boat ride, were were fishing in Jackstaff Creek. We had a few bites, crossed the creek and switched back to jigs, and got a few pictures of a gaggle of White Pelicans, then ran thru Horsehead to fish at Seymore's Pointe. 

Here we had our most action, now fishing an outgoing tide, set up on a corner. Both anglers had a handful of catches of those Seatrout, one of which was of keeper size.

The sun had come out, the fog was gone, the temperature was up and as we headed back to the dock we counted it as another great day to be fishing hear at Amelia Island, Florida.