Monday, October 31, 2022

Recipe of The Month: Crispy Shrimp Cakes

 We vacationed in the western North Carolina mountains last week but had to go into a town to purchase some new waders - my old pair were leaking! After picking up the new waders we ran across a restaurant that let us eat outside with Jasper (now, the Mountain Dog) and on their menu was "Crispy Shrimp Cakes" and I have to admit, they were the best thing we ate the whole week. When we returned I emailed them and asked for the recipe but I never heard  back. Their menu gave a few ingredients so I went on-line and "googled" it and WAH-LA, here was a recipe that had all the right ingredients! This one was found on

Crispy Shrimp Cakes with Lemony Tartar Sauce


Shrimp Cakes:

  • 2 cup panko breadcrumbs (I had a 8oz can on reserve)
  • 1 lb fresh peeled, deveined, chopped shrimp
  • 1/2 cup light mayonaise
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (I'd double this the next tip I make it)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenned pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
Lemony Tartar Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup jarred tartar sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

1) Place 1 1/2 cups of the breadcrumbs on a flat plate 

2) In a large bowl mix shrimp, mayonnaise, eggs, bell pepper, green onions, garlic paste, mustard, cayenned pepper, salt and 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs until thoroughly mixed. Us a 1/3 cup measure to scoop the shrimp mixture (mixture will be wet -don't worry!). Turn out cup of mixture on to plate of breadcrumbs; coat completely with your hands. Transfer with a metal spatula to a baking sheet lined with wax paper, then flatten cakes slightly to a 3 1/2-inch circumference. Continue making 7 more cakes. Refrigerate for 1- hour. They'll firm up!

3) To make lemony tartar sauce, in a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring to blend.

4) In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add 4 cakes and cook, about 4 minutes per side, until crisp and browned. Transfer to a plate; loosely cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 4 cakes. Serve shrimp cakes with lemony tartar sauce. 

Count'n Species

Back to work today, fishing with Robert Stetner and David Vice after meeting them out at Goffinsville Park early this morning. The tide still had about an hour and a half of going out so we made our way down the Nassau River and turned into the current to fish an exposed shell bed with live shrimp and jigs. Robert "knocked the skunk off" when went close to shore with a perfect cast and BAM, he had a hookup. Robert worked it to the boat patiently and landed a feisty Redfish. We worked that bank thoroughly and picked up a good handful of those smaller Reds, but Robert did add a Slot sized fish to the catch.

After moving up a bit David put a keeper sized Flounder in the boat (tossed back due to the closed season) then Robert battled a 4' Bonnethead to the boat for pictures and release. Moved up the river a bit more and got in to some more feisty Redfish. The duo of anglers also caught a few Seatrout, one of which was keeper size; they landed a Stingray and a couple of different versions of "baitstealers"

The tide had started back in so we fished some docks at Seymore's, had a big one on that threw the hook, then we headed down to Broward Island where we worked the bank with the jigs. Again, we found a few feisty Redfish, then it was David's turn for the strong hookup. He battled it expertly, let it run, worked it in, and eventually landed the biggest Red of the day, a nice 23" Slot fish.

We finished the day fishing back at Nassauville were these anglers added a small Black "puppy" Drum and a small Mangrove Snapper to the catch, then we headed back to the ramp, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.  

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Hot Start on a Cool Morning at Amelia Island

 We elected to go a little earlier t his morning, trying to catch more of that lower incoming tide, so I met William and Dara Blalock up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp before the sun came up. We made a quick run over to Eagans Creek and set up to fish some dock pilings on a tide that had already been coming in for a couple of hours. 

William had made a perfect cast up between the pilings and it paid off! Why is it that we're all of a sudden catching Flounder with the season closed! We could tell that it was a nice fish, but weird and sure enough, after William played it patiently, he brought to the net a nice 18" Flounder which we photographed and released.

Dara was fishing off the Port side, making good sidearm casts to the pilings, but a bit shallower and even though I had my back turned, I heard the tell-tell sound of some serious drag ripping! BIG FISH ON!  Dara was applying some gentle pressure trying to coerce the fish out from the pilings and later she said she felt here line "lock up"....but come loose and she had the fish out. She fought the fish expertly to the boat and landed a nice 26.25" Slot Sized Redfish. Boy what a battle and what a fish!  I felt the leader afterwards and it was all chewed up. Someone must be living right!

We continued to fish that dock and caught another feisty Redfish or two, and a couple of Seatrout, one of which was a little over 19".  We moved down and fished a grassy island for a bit and picked up a couple of Seatrout, then we ran out to Soap Creek and fished a stretch of flooding grass (and boy was it flooding). Here, Dara kept her hot hand and picked up some small Trout up near the grass. 

We made multiple stops after that, fishing a high and flooding tide, but had no real takers - the water was just too far up in the grass. But as we headed back, we had a few fish in the box and and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Out of Season


We went a little early today, before the sun came up, hoping to catch a tide lower and coming in. It didn't work. I had met Bob and William Blalock and their friend Brian out at Goffinsville just as the sky was lighting up and we made a short run over to Broward Island and fished it with jigs and live shrimp. Not. A. Bite. What's with that?

Our next stop was up Pumpkin Hill to some docks where we stuck with the  jigs and it was Brian who "knocked the skunk" off with a Seatrout catch.  We had a couple of more Trout along that stretch, then we moved down to some flooding oysters and switched to drift floats and shrimp and worked the bank. This worked pretty good - William found a corner of grass that produced a few Trout, one of which showed us a gaping maw as it shook it's head at the surface and thru the hook!

Back to Nassau we went and fished a point, and again, a few Seatrout (all of these Trout were 13-14", and

released). After making the run thru Horsehead and fishing the mouth of Jackstaff, we came back towards the dock and fished between some docks and here they put two nice Mangrove Snapper in the boat, then Brian hooked up and landed a keeper sized 17" Flounder (but out of season), then they put two more Flounder in the boat.  As it turned out we had caught a good handful of fish throughout the morning, but not a whole lot to brag about size-wise. Nevertheless, as we headed back we still counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florid. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Trout Queen at Amelia Island


Back to "work" today after a nice vacation to the North Carolina mountains! I met Bob Blalock and his brother and sister in-law Tommy and Martha out at the Goffinsville Park boat ramp. The sun hadn't come over the horizon as we left the ramp on the cool and clear morning. We made a quick stop around at some docks at Seymore's Pointe in hopes for some Drum, on a tide that had been coming in for a few hours. but we ended up catching a Seatrout and a small Sea Bass.

After running down the Nassau we pulled up to some flooding marsh
grass and began working the bank with jigs and live shrimp. Bob had made an excellent cast right up to the grass and BAM! Big Fish On!  This fish was a big AND feisty! It ripped drag, heading up current along the bank, then down current, then deep. We weren't sure what it was but finally it boiled up a couple of times and we knew it was a big Red. When it came to the surface it gave a wicked head shake, but Bob kept the pressure on and brought it to the net - a nice 25"+ Slot sized Redfish.

We worked that bank thru and had no additional bites, other than a couple of Catfish, then made the run back up river to Pumpkin Hill where we switched to floats and live shrimp. I think it was Martha's first drift and she had a hookup and expertly brought to the boat a hungry Seatrout. And from then on she worked up to a big lead in the fish count, catching a good handful of Trout. Tommy had  a good  battle with what turned out to be a nice Bonnethead Shark. This was another fish that took the bait and ran hard - I kinda hoped that the Shark had left the area with the cooler water, but nope - Bonnethead Shark. Tommy played it perfectly and brought it to the net for a photograph and release.

Fishing around the corner Bob landed another Trout, then we moved back to Seymore's to fish an outgoing tide - had  few bites, but no takers.We wrapped things up over at Back River fishing the first of an outgoing tide, then we headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, October 14, 2022

Flipped a Coin


We had a low tide early and I was trying to decide whether to fish dock pilings or Tyger Island so in my mind, I "flipped a coin" and went with the dock pilings. Glenn and Patti Langford were right on time so we headed over to some docks at Egans Creek and set up where the two could pitch jigs and live shrimp to the bases. Patti's first cast and BAM! Fish ON!  Her and Glenn traded catches, one after the other - most of them just shy of Slot sized, then Patti had a strong hookup and the fight was on! 

Patti played it expertly and after a good  battle landed a nice 22" Slot Redfish. They continued to pitch the dock - Glenn hauled in a feisty Black Drum, then Patti put an even bigger 23" Slot Redfish in the boat. They kept fishing, catching Reds, and Patti wrapped it up with one more 21" Slot fish (this one went back due to the new rules).

We motored over to small creek and drifted float rigs to a flooding oyster island and here the duo caught another Redfish and a small Flounder.  After running over to the Bell river we fished a grassy point and here Glenn picked up a Seatrout to round out their Amelia Island Back Country Grande Slam of Redfish,  Black Drum, Flounder and Seatrout.

After buzzing thru the cut to behind Tyger we switched back to jigs on the bottom with mud minnows and caught another Flounder, but not big enough to keep. We braved a wind that had picked up and ran up to the Jolley, fished some flooded grass with floats, landed another Trout, then we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

That's Him!

 I fished with Mike Maguth yesterday and today, opting for afternoon trips to fish  high but outgoing tides. It took two trips to get our "Code Words" down, which turned out to be "That's Him!". Both days we met up at Dee Dee Bartels, but we fished north yesterday and ran south today.

Yesterday, the tide was way up high, so we ran up the Lanceford and around to some shallow, flooded
oyster beds and fished a few spots with float rigs. We moved around to Soap Creek and fished the very first of an outgoing tide. Both areas we had nibbles here and nibbles there, but no takers. We came down Lanceford, up the Bell and cut thru to Tyger Island and set up along some flooded grass and here we "knocked the skunk off". Mike hooked up with a nice fish, played it to the boat, and landed a nice keeper sized Seatrout. He went back to the same area and caught a couple of feisty Redfish.

After fishing across the way just a bit, we ran around Tyger, heading to the Jolley, but stopped and fished a large outflow with jigs and mud minnows, in hopes for a Flounder, but we had no takers. We continued on to the Jolley, fished a few edges with the floats, had some bites here and there, then continued on to the Bell where we fished some docks. Here, we went back to the jigs and live shrimp and had a bit of action. Mike hooked up and landed a few Mangrove Snapper and a sneaky Sheepshead. We had a few on that came off and felt for sure they were the Sheepshead.

Today, after meeting Mike north, we made the run south down the intercoastal and to Horsehead. The tide had already started easing out and we were fishing floats and live shrimp. Mike had made a perfect cast to one of my "Redfish Honey Holes" and when his float disappeared, he tighted up and set the hook and his drag began to sing! We thought for sure we had a big 'ol Redfish on -it made some short runs but nothing too long, but I have to admit I had a sinking feeling when it never rolled up like a big Redfish will. Sure enough, after a long battle that took Mike around the boat at least twice if not three times, he finally subdued a big 4' Bonnethead Shark -fun to catch, but not that big Red we were looking for. 

After fishing that area for a bit, we cut thru Horsehead and around to Seymore's Pointe where we fished a large outflow with the floats and shrimp. My usual "notice" when I see a client's float go under is a quick "WHUP" or "Float's Gone"!  A couple of times Mike would be looking at my float but it was his that had gone under and he thought I was crazy!  He told me about a buddy of his that when fishing and his float disappeared or he got a bite, he comment, "THAT'S HIM!", so we began to use that to communicate! 

We fished down at Pumpkin Hill and had some Seatrout Catches, and battled with another Bonnethead Shark, then we fished back at Nassauville docks and had some Mangrove Snapper catches, then fished back at a dock at Seymore's Pointe, and ended up down at Spanish Drop where I went straight to the "honey hole". Mike made excellent casts to a submerged bar and it paid off - he immediately began to reel in one feisty Redfish after another. 

As we headed back up the intercoastal we had really worked a bunch of areas, north and south, so we counted it as another great two days of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Bite Picking up

 We had a little breeze and cloudy skies when I launched down at Sawpit Creek boat ramp this morning.  I've fished the last few days but there wasn't much to brag about! We've had some extreme high tides in the morning and unless you're going to the jetties or fishing the flooded marsh for tailing Reds, finding fish in the backwater has been tough. But today I had some eager anglers, Joanne and Frank Wytiaz who had a whole lot of optimism, and it paid off. 

After running up the Nassau River we  pulled up to a dock with the intent of fishing the pilings before that tide got up and began pitching jigs and live shrimp to the structure. They immediately began to get nibbles, then picked up a couple of bait stealers, then Joanne had a strong hookup, played it perfectly, and reeled to the net a nice 17" keeper sized Seatrout.

Shortly after that we had a strong hookup and boy was this weird! Frank was on the rod and this big fish pulled deep. I was trying to guess what it was and couldn't imagine it being a Redfish, but boy was a I wrong. Frank fought it from bow to stern, around the engine, back around the engine, back to the bow and around the trolling motor, and then back. Finally, a big 'ole Redfish boiled up! Frank stayed patient and worked it to the net and landed a Oversized 32" Redfish, big enough to move him into second place in the Anglers Mark 2022 Bragging Rights Tournament-Redfish Category (scroll down the right side of this report for standings). 

Then it was Joanne's time to fight the big fish. Her fish was digging deep too, ripping drag, so I guessed wrong again, thinking "Redfish". But after a good battle, which Joanne expertly fought, a big Jack Crevalle was brought to the net.

We around and fished between two docks with the jigs and caught a couple of small Mangrove Snapper, then we made our way down the Nassau and set up alongside a flooded shell bed to drift float rigs and shrimp. Joanne went long on her first drift and caught a Seatrout, then as we worked the bank they would pick up more Trout. After moving around the corner they continued the pattern of catching a Trout here and there.

After running back down the Nassau and thru Horsehead we fished an seriously flooded edge and here Frank added one more keeper sized Seatrout to the box. The wind had picked up a bit but the sun was trying to peek thru so as we headed back we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, October 7, 2022

No Credit Needed

Oh boy, what a beautiful morning we had today! I had met Chuck and Marca Benton and their daughter Kristin out at the Goffinsville Park as the sun came up - it was cool and clear and only a slight breeze. The tide was still coming in so we headed over to Pumpkin Hill and set up, drifting float rigs along a flooded bank with live shrimp as bait. All three anglers were getting excellent drifts but it was Marca who "knocked the skunk off" when she hooked up and landed a hungry Seatrout.  We worked that bank, getting  few nibbles, then moved around the corner, fished it, (picked up a colorful Blue Crab)(and battled a hard charging Bonnethead Shark) then moved down to a grassy island where Marca continued her "trout catching ways" by landing another.

I thought the tide might have started out over at Horsehead so we made our way there, cutting thru the marsh and pulling up at a large drainage to fish the floats. We were seeing a good bit of activity up by the bank, but we had no takes. Back thru Horsehead we went, then we made our way over to some docks at Seymore's, and fished a large bay drainage. Here, the trio of anglers had some good nibbles, some that took their float under, but none that actually took the hook. 

Our next stop was down by Nassauville where we switched to jig rods, but all we found were a couple of small Mangrove Snapper.

The tide had been going out for almost two hours at the "honey hole" so we made our way over and set up alongside  some marsh grass - the shell were still covered. I think it was Kristin's first cast and it had only drifted a few feet when it disappeared. Kristin lifted her rod and let the circle hook set and Big Fish On!  Kristen kept her rod bent and the pressure on and had a good battle on her hands. She played it patiently and after a good battle landed a fat 25.5" Slot sized Redfish.  

Marca went to a "cut" up ahead and BAM! She had a hookup. Her's was a "feisty" Redfih, smaller, but fun to catch, and this one had multiple spots. Chuck followed that up with an 18" Seatrout catch, then it was his turn to tangle with a Big Redfish. I heard his drag begin to sing and when I turned around his float was heading north, another Big Fish on!  And when we saw a "boil" we knew it was another big Redfish. Chuck played it perfectly, took his time, let it run, worked it in, and eventually landed bulky 26.75" Slot sized Redfish (all fish caught today were released). 

These anglers caught another couple of feisty Reds but the bite eventually slowed so we headed back to the dock and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.