Sunday, February 26, 2023

North to South


We pretty much fished north to south today, starting up at Tyger Island. I had met Robert Smith and his fishing buddies Rex and Henry up at the Old Town Bait boat ramp and after easing out of Eagans Creek we hopped over to Tyger to take advantage of the first of an incoming tide. We worked along the bank tossing jigs and live shrimp and once we got to some logs, BAM! We had some fish hookups. Both Rex and Henry put some feisty Redfish in the boat, and at one time they had a 'double" on. 

Our next stop was down towards  the Shave bridge, fishing some docks and here, again, they had Redfish hookups. Most were in the 16-17" range but then Henry had a big bite and when his drag began to rip we knew it was a bigger fish. Henry did an excellent jog of keeping the fish away from the pilings (we lost a big one here a day or so ago to the pilings( and after a good battle, brought to the net a nice 24" Slot Redfish. 

Even further south we fished some rocks and again had a flurry of action. All three anglers put Redfish in the boat and Henry snagged a hungry Seatrout. After running down and thru Horsehead to some docks at Seymore's Pointe. Although the tide was still down and coming in, we had no real bites. We fished some rocks at Nassauville and finished up over near Jackstaff, tossing float rigs with the live shrimp where we gave some Bluefish sore jaws. We had had some good action early and it was a beautiful day so as we made the long run back to Eagans Creek we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Morning Full of Variety

 We had a foggy morning for most of the trip today. I had met Kimberly Manek and her friend Jeremy up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp and we headed down the river to fish some dock pilings on a tide that had been coming in for an hour. Jeremy got busy quick and put a handful of hungry Seatrout in the boat then both he and Kimberly reeled in some feisty Redfish.  We made our way over to Soap Creek and fished some oyster beds with the jigs but we had no takers. 

After a run up the Bell River we anchored and cast up current and this did the trick . Jeremy picked up a a couple of Trout out deep, one of which was of keeper size, then he hooked up and landed a hard fighting Sheepshead. Kimberly reeled in a couple of more Redfish then she hooked up and landed a Bull Whiting. We added another one of those shortly after that. 

We fished Snook Creek with floats then moved on down to Jolley Bank where Kimberly battled a huge Gar Fish to the boat, which we netted and photographed and release. Somewhere along here Jeremy boated a Skate, then as we worked along a grass bank Kimberly finished up the "variety show" with a keeper sized Flounder catch. And wouldn't you know it, as we headed back to the dock the fog began to lift and the sun came out, so we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, February 24, 2023

15 Minutes of Fame

 Kicking off the weekend early, I met Todd Johnson and his fishing buddy Patrick Davis up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp. We made a run down the intercoastal and found some structure to fish with jig and mud minnows on a tide that had been coming in for an hour or so. I think it was Patrick's first cast and as he let the jig bounce down the river bottom, it looked like he may be snagged but, BAM! Big Fish ON!  We were in for a battle but Patrick was up for the task. The big fish dug deep and Patrick kept the pressure on, working it up off the bottom - a Big Redfish - then it would dive deep. That happened a few times before we were able to get a net under it and land an oversized 28.5" Redfish! This fish pushed Patrick into First Place in the Anglers Mark 2022 Bragging Rights Tournament-Redfish Category. Boy what a fish!  We continued to fish that spot and shortly after it was 
Todd's turn to fight the big fish, which he expertly did, and landed a "Tourney" sized Red, 26.75" and boy was it a bull! Then  Patrick put a 24" Slot Red in the boat! Crazy huh?

We eventually moved down the way a bit - Patrick added a small Slot Red to the catch, then Todd hooked up and Big Fish On! Hah!  He battled it patiently, keeping the pressure on, and eventually landed a oversized 29" Redfish, to take the lead in the Anglers Mark 2022 Bragging Rights Tournament.....Redfish Category! Patrick's 15 minutes of fame, was over! Hah!  Scroll down the right side of this report for Bragging Rights standings. 

After making a run down the river we eased up in behind a dock and fished the pilings. Again, Patrick's first cast produced a big bite. This fish was big and pulling hard, but it was already around some pilings and eventually the line went tight and, BAP, fish off!  Todd caught and landed a feisty Redfish, then Patrick hooked up and landed another Slot Red. We picked up another couple of fish, then moved on. 

Switching to floats, we fished Soap Creek(no bites), Lanceford Creek(no bites), Bell River(no bites) then the outside of Tyger where Todd finally knocked the skunk off the floats with a feisty Redfish catch. After touring Cumberland Island to see some wild horses, we headed for the dock and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The Bite Was Hot Early

 Well, the fish bite was OK early, but the Sand Gnat bite was really hot! But boy what a pretty day! I had met Mitch Vollmers, his dad Dale, and their friend Marvin Leininger down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early and as the sun came over the trees, we were heading up the intercoastal to turn north into the Nassau. We made the long run up to Broward Island with the intent of catching a tide that had been coming in for about an hour and half. Dale and Mitch were tossing live shrimp on a jig while Marvin tested some plastic grubs off the stern. Dale had the hot hand early and boated a hungry Seatrout to "knock the skunk off".  Mitch hauled in a feisty Redfish but when Dale had a strong hookup and that drag made the ripping noise we felt sure we had a "big one". And sure enough it boiled up - a tale-tale sign that this fish had some size to it. Dale played it patiently and after a good battle landed a nice Slot sized 23" Redfish. 

We worked that bank pretty good, picked up another Trout or two, one of which was right at 18", a respectable "keeper size", then we made another good run up the Nassau to dip into a shallow creek. If I had to have made a bet on where we would have caught fish today, it would have been along this bank, but although all three anglers were making excellent casts, we barely had a decent nibble. 

After moving back to Pumpkin Hill, we switched to fixed floats and fished a flooding shell bed. Here, we picked up another Seatrout.  On the way back to the ramp we stopped at Spanish Drop and worked a bank with the fixed floats and got another keeper sized Trout. Marvin was fishing the stern with a slip float, going a bit deeper and this did the trick when he hooked and landed a couple of nice Trout. And with that, we called it a day, another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

By The Numbers

 We had another nice morning today, albeit a bit windy as the day wore on. I had met Joe and Karen (Miller)(bannana girl)  Szkaradnik and Joe's brother John down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp and we made a run uip the intercoastal, over thru Back River and around to Pumpkin Hill with plans to drift fixed floats down a flooding marsh line. It might of been Joe's first drift, or maybe the second when he hooked up and landed a hungry Seatrout. We had a another nibble or two but more takers, so we moved on. 

The next stop was a way up a creek off of the Nassau River where we turned into the current of an incoming tide and fished the bank with jigs and shrimp. We hadn't been fishing but for a few minutes when John, after making an excellent cast, hooked up and, Fish On!  John played it perfectly and battled it to the net to land a nice 20" Slot sized Redfish. We worked that bank pretty good - about 75 yards - and they were getting good casts, but didn't have much else until John hooked up with another feisty Redfish. 

After running back to the Christopher Creek area we fished jigs around some dock pilings and here it was Joe's turn to battle the big fish. When I heard him hookup and the drag rip we knew it was a big fish. Joe worked it to the boat patiently and soon landed a big 23" Slot Red, boy what a fish!

Our last stop was around at Seymore's Pointe, fishing float rig and Joe wrapped things up with a hungry Seatrout catch. We had caught just a few fish but had a couple of quality ones in the boat so as we headed back we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Teacher's Aid

I fished the Boehm party this morning - Frank Boehm and his friend Pat, Pat's son Matt and granddaughter Hailey, meeting them up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp. The tide still had a couple of hours of coming in but it was high enough to run over to the outside of Tyger and fish fixed float rigs along the marsh grass. They had  a few nibbles and it was Pat who "knocked the skunk off" with a nice Seatrout catch. 

We ran thru Tyger, around to the Bell and set up fishing a point of grass with that incoming tide. These anglers were all getting good drifts but we had not a nibble. After running down the Bell, up into Lanceford, and in to Soap Creek, we again set up with the floats, drifting them long with the current. I think it was Pat again who picked up another Trout. 

Our next stop was around the corner and here we switched to jigs and shrimp. They were all getting nibbles deep but we found that we could go back to the float rig, tossed up near the shore, over some submerged oysters and get fish. Young Hailey hooked up and landed an "almost legal" Seatrout, then she had a good bite, set the hook and, Fish On! She worked it to the boat patiently and landed a keeper sized 18" Seatrout. Shortly after that she battled a feisty Redfish to the boat. 

We fished a grassy island down the way, then made a good run down the intercoastal to fish some structure on first of the outgoing tide. Hailey added another feisty Redfish to her catch total, then her Granddad Pat had a big hookup - I heard the drag rip and knew it was a big fish. Pat played it perfectly an after a hard fought battle, landed a nice 24" Slot Redfish.

After fishing one more spot up in Piney we headed back and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.  

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Winds of Weekend Gone

 Boy what a pretty day today! Almost no wind, clear skies and sunshine!  I had met Gene Burk and his fishing buddy Greg down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp right at the top of a huge flood tide - the water was up over the ramp. We made a easy run up the intercoastal, all the way up to to Jackstaff and turned in to a smaller creek to fish fixed float rigs with live shrimp. 

Although both anglers were getting good casts and hitting the points and pockets, I don't think we had nary a nibble. We ran thru the marsh and over to Seymore's Point and fished a large drainage with the floats, this time drifting them long across a sunken oyster bar and again, no real bites.

But after we moved down the way to fish a marsh line Gene found out that they were out deeper than I expected - he picked up a couple of hungry Seatrout in 10' of water, with a 3' leader! So we backed off, fished it deep with jigs and got a few, then switched to slip floats deep and caught a few more of the Seatrout.

We fished down at Nassauville with the jigs and shrimp deep, then crossed over to the BackRiver and fished a stretch of shell on the outgoing tide and even with excellent drifts, not a look. 

After a 10 minute run down the Nassau we eased up into a creek, knowing that we would be squarely in the back country and remote about as much as you can get and....there was another boat up ahead of us! Ouch!  But we still had a good stretch to fish and worked the 5' deep bank with the jigs and the duo began to get Redfish. They weren't schooled up but were hit and miss but they got a good handful, missed a couple, and the final one found a way to wrap up in a downed log!  Gene also landed a Flounder to round out an Amelia Island Back Country Slam.  So we had some action, had caught a few fish and as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, February 17, 2023

Don't Try This at Home

Crazy weather today...from yesterday's forecast it looked like we would be able to squeeze a trip in today but when I got up it showed a 9mph wind early, increasing to 17 increasing to 20 increasing to 23! And that it did!  But I "had a plan" when Dara and William Blalock walked up at the Goffinsville Park boat ramp and so, we went for it!

After a 10 minute run around Seymore's, thru Alligator and up the intercoastal a bit we set up fishing some structure with jigs and live shrimp and sheltered by a land mass, we were oblivious to any impending wind. Both Dara and William began to get fish and caught 6-8 small but feisty Redfish and one small Flounder.  We also had a Salt Marsh Mink sighting. When that bite slowed we eased on up the intercoastal and turned into a creek with a stretch of docks that I though would surely be out of the wind ....and the plan crumbled - there was already another boat fishing the spot. Dang it. 

We then ran south, back to Nassauville, and set up fishing between a couple of docks and William hooked up and landed Redfish and a Seatrout. We also had an Osprey and a Bald Eagle sighting.  After moving around to Seymore's we fished a couple of docks, out of the wind, but to no avail.   I thought that Broward Island may be blocking the SW wind which had increased to the 20's and when we got down there it was somewhat blocked for a while. Dara too advantage of that and put another Redfish in the boat. But then the wind shifted and was blowing right "down the pipe" which made for some difficult fishing. 

I had been thinking about hitting a small creek that I hadn't fished in a while but knew that the tide was already down a good bit and I rarely go anywhere shallow in my boat on a low outgoing tide, but you know, what would Kirby do? Go for it! So we made a 10 minute run and eased up into the creek and sure enough in some places I was getting a reading of less than two feet, and the tide still had to go our another 2 hours. But we made it to our destination and began pitching the bank with the jigs (the bank was only about 4' deep, and when we got to one downed log, William went in with his initial cast but got snagged and while he re-baiting Dara went in with a perfect cast and BAM! Fish On!  She played it perfectly and brought to the net a nice Redfish. For the next 20 minutes the duo caught fish, one after the other with three of them being of Slot size (all fish caught today were released). 

When the bite slowed we made a u-turn and puttered out of there - a few times I had to raise the engine and I could feel the hull skimming over mud - but we made it out and as we headed back we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

From Nursery to Primary School

 I fished with John Raker this morning, picking him up out at the Oyster Bay Marina early, then we headed down the Amelia River to fish some structure on a tide that had been going out for a few hours. John was tossing jigs and shrimp to some rocks and letting it slowly fall down the river bottom and the technique paid off when he started catching some small but feisty Redfish. Most were in the 16-17" range, or as John called them, "nursery fish". But he did get a couple that were just slightly in the Slot. 

We also had a big fish on, this one digging deep, ripping drag and staying close to the bottom - a fish that I thought surely was a Black Drum, but a couple of minutes in to the fight it just threw the hook, Ouch! Before we left that spot John also landed a Flounder on a slip float rig. 

We made our way back up the Amelia and eased in to behind Piney Island and fished some dock pilings on the last of the outgoing tide and here things really heated up. beginning with an excellent cast John had made under a gangway, Fish On!  After landing another Slot sized Red it was one fish after another - we counted at least 15, most smaller but another in the Slot range. 

When the tide turned we ran over to Tyger Island and fished the incoming there and although the tide was right, the wind was blowing right up the river and the shoreline was murckey with mud. John did manage to score an Amelia Island Back Country Slam when he hooked up and landed a feisty Black "puppy" Drum. The sun had been out all day, we hadn't had to deal with any wind to speak of, so as we headed back we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, February 10, 2023

We Squeezed In a Trip Before The Front

 Looking at the weather forecast last night, it appeared that this morning we may get wet as we
launched...but when I got up this morning the rain chances had diminished. It did show the winds increasing late morning, so luckily we were able to squeeze in the trip before a big rain front came thru. 

I met Ron Oblen, his son Shawn, and Shawns "kids" Shane and Samantha up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp early and we made a quick run over to Eagans Creek to set up fishing some dock pilings on a tide that had been coming in about an hour and a half. We were fishing jigs and live shrimp and in just a few minutes, we were catching some feisty Redfish. Ron and grandson Shane  had good hookups and hauled in a handful of fish. We moved around to the other side the dock and caught a couple of more Reds, then Shawn hooked up and landed a Black "puppy" Drum. 

We then made a run down the Intercoastal, all the way down to
Seymore's Pointe, to fish some more dock pilings. These anglers had few nibbles before Ron hooked up an landed a hungry Seatrout. Our next stop was down at Nassauville, and again, Ron had the "hot" rod, landing a couple of Seatrout. 

We fished Pumpkin Hill then ran back thru Horsehead and fished float rigs up by the grass and there Shawn brought the GPK home with a Seatrout catch.  I was most impressed with young Samantha who persevered with the best casting of the bunch and although the fish didn't cooperate, she hung in there and fished to the last minute. The wind was up, the skies were overcast, but as we made the long run back to Dee Dee Bartels, we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

We Knocked It Out of the Park


I fished again today with Bob Blalock but this time we elected to do an afternoon trip and meet up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park boat ramp. The tide had been going out for a couple of hours as we made our way to our first spot in  homes of bettering our "catch" from yesterday. And boy did we!  We pulled up to a small drainage and began tossing live shrimp on a jig and Bob got things started with a small Flounder catch. Then he hooked up with a small Redfish, then another, then another, then another, then another... and it was "Game On"!  Then we had a good bite that ripped some drag - a bigger fish. Bob fought it patiently and after a good battle, landed a nice 25" Slot sized Redfish.

We caught fish for almost 2 hours!  Bob put a couple of smaller Slot fish in the boat (all fish but one flounder were released today), then he had another BIG bite. This fish was big and took Bob deep and stayed deep. There was some structure behind us  and it was close quarters with no room for maneuvering but Bob kept the pressure on, worked the fish up to the surface, and we saw it was a huge Black Drum! But the fish went deep again, ripping drag as it went so Bob had to patiently work back to the surface and we eventually landed a nice 25" Black 'puppy" Drum - caught on a size 1000 Florida Fishing Products reel - and the crowd went wild!

A while later Bob battled and landed another big Slot Redfish, this one measuring in at 26" - I think big enough to set the bar in the all new 2023 Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament-Redfish Category.

The bite finally slowed so we ran back towards Fernandina, fished some dock pilings, and caught 7-8 more feisty Redfish. We finished the day over at Tyger Island, working the bank with the jigs, and picked up a few more Redfish, a couple of small Black Drum, a small Seatrout keeper sized Flounder. We headed back to the dock with the sun setting and we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Great February Day of Fishing

Clear skies, little wind and a beautiful sunrise greeted us out at Goffinsville Park when I met Bob Blalock for a half day of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. We made a short run around to some docks at Seymore's Pointe and fished it thoroughly on a mid tide, coming in, and actual had some bit of action, catching a good handful of hungry Seatrout, then a keeper sized Flounder.   We came back around to some docks at Nassauville and fished them. Here, Bob hooked up and landed a hungry Flounder and a feisty Redfish.

The tide was up with just a bit before it hit high so we crossed over and went down to Pumpkin Hill and fished float rigs over some flooded oysters, but only had a nibble. We then made our way up into Christopher Creek and fished the bend with jigs and live shrimp, but had no bites.

Our next stop, after a 10 minute run was down at Sawpit Creek, fishing jigs on the first of an outgoing tide. We had just a nibble or two, lost a couple of jigs on the rocks, then Bob had a strong hookup and, Fish On!  He played it perfectly, even with the wake thrown by a couple of passing yachts, and soon landed a nice 23" 10 spot slot sized Redfish. 

We fished further down the intercoastal, drifting floats, and picked up a handful of Bluefish to wrap up another great day of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Demographics Compiled for 2022

 I always liked "statistics" and even though these are just basic averages, it's interesting to see the trends. Each year I track where my customers are coming from, approximately how old they are, what they do for a living, etc, and compile them in January to see where we're at. Here are the  results:

Number of "repeat" customers:    72%  (wow! up from 56%, a huge jump, thanks!)

Average age:       61 year old      (up just a bit. Obviously,  - the "repeats"  are a year older!)
Oldest (that booked):    79 years old (the oldest guy that ever actually booked the trip was 85!)
Youngest (that booked):  29 years old  

          Where are they from?
Local (driving distance)
:  39%  
Florida (includes local):  45%
Atlanta area:   17%
Geogia(includes Atlanta):  26%
South East (includes Florida and Georgia) :  79%
West:   5%
NE/Canada:  13%

         Who was fishing?
Married:  92%
Have kids:  93%
Arranged by Men:  90%
Ethnic:  0%     (this befuddles the heck out of me, the most I've ever had was 3%)
Family Group:  8 %
Sole Angler:  13%
Couples/Husband and Wife:  17%
Father/Child:  26%
Friends/Adult Siblings: 31%
Mother/child:  2%                      (come on mom's, dadgummit!)

Did they tip?  88%  (Thank you!)(I plan a blog post on this sometime soon, but how to word it?)

When did they come?
Apr,June,July,Aug:     40%              (These used to have a wider range, but not so much now)
May,Sept,Oct,Nov:       33%
Jan,Feb,Mar,Dec:          27%

April-November:          73%      (actually December and January are the only  real "dead" times now)

We Made The Top 60!

 There's a site out there that compiles and tracks the most active Blogs - it's called FeedSpot - and one of
the categories is Florida related fishing blogs.  You can CLICK HERE to go to that compilation. They've got this Amelia Island Fishing Report ranked at #13 (the last time I checked) which is great news for any potential advertiser. If you scroll down the right side of this report you'll see that it's had over 1.5 MILLION visitors!  Thank  you all for falling the Blog and helping with the content.  

That said, if you have a report, some fishing related news, a recipe, an old Amelia Island photograph, send them to me and I'll "credit" you. Thanks!