Saturday, December 30, 2023

2023: It's a Wrap with a Cold Send Off


Those high winds subsided over night but left us with clear skies and a 37 degree temperature this
morning when I met Mark Averbuch, his on Jared and grandson Max down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. The winds were expected to pick up later in the day so we had to go early, but it paid off anyway! All of us were wrapped up with layers as we made our way up the intercoastal  and then up the Nassau to make our first stop along a shell bank at Spanish Drop.

Fishing with jigs I was hoping that these anglers would pick up some Seatrout out deeper, and
maybe have a shot at a Redfish up close, but "hope" wasn't cutting it - we had no real bites. Rather than try another shell bank we headed on up to Seymore's Pointe and fished some dock pilings and here we were getting some bites, but no takers. It wasn't until we pulled out a bit and began making long casts to the shore that we began to get hookups. They weren't very big but we were glad to be catching Seatrout on the  jigs.

Our next stop was around at Littlefield's, still tossing  jigs and live shrimp on that incoming tide and we did have a couple of good bites.

I knew the wind was picking up so we made our way up the river and into a creek where we turned into the current and began working back and right off, BAM! Jared had a hookup. He played it perfectly but as he brought it to the boat it thru the hook, OUCH!  But he was not to be deterred. As we worked the bank they began to get fish, here and there, feisty Redfish, but fun to catch. Then Jared put a nice keeper sized Red in the boat then we hit one spot and it was like the gates were opened!  

I counted at least 3 "double hookups" that they had and even though Jared and Mark were putting fish in the boat, Max was hanging right in there with them. He even began to call it "easy" to hookup and fight the fish to the net. The trio caught their limit in Slot Redfish and threw back a couple of more  in the Slot. Jared added a keeper sized Seatrout and on the last a bait, a big mud minnow, Max landed the final fish, a hungry Seatrout. 

We had had a cold morning and a slow start, and a hot finish so as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Cool Fishing

 The high and incoming tide has been haunting me all week and we have been postponing trips until mid morning but today the wind was high and getting worse as the day wore on, so we went early, and with temperatures in the 40's, it was kinda "cool".  But John Beall and his son Brian were dressed for the weather and we had a plan to try to run to spots that would be out of the wind. 

We fished some dock pilings early  but didn't get much of a nibble, then we switched to float rigs and drifted over the flooding oysters and this did the trick. Brian got hot early - he hooked up and landed a keeper sized Seatrout, a small but feisty Redfish, then a keeper sized Flounder, then a couple of smaller Trout. We hit another couple of areas along that stretch and although we were out of the wind, we weren't getting any action. 

After pulling in to Soap Creek we worked along the bank and here John "knocked his skunk off". He began to pick up Seatrout over a submerged sandbar and after Brian followed him, he too began to gt Trout. Although they weren't very big they provided some good practice for later on! 

I was killing time, waiting on that tide to change so we stopped over in Bell River and fished a point
with the float but boy that wind was kicking our butts! It was now or never so we headed over to the outside of Tyger, found some shelter, and fished a point of grass, and BAM! Fish On!  BAM! Fish on! BAM! Fish On! They started tying in to Redfish and caught them one after the other. Many were "feisty" Reds, but we we counted 8 Slot Reds caught, along with a good handful of "almost legal" and a few handfuls of the smaller fish. 

Although it was somewhat cold, and the wind made it challenging, as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Could Have Been Snow


It was such a nasty day yesterday if it had been colder we may have had snow! We still had a high and incoming tide in the morning so we postponed the trip until 11am when I met William and Dara Blalock out at the Goffinsville Park boat ramp. The tide had just started out so we ran around Seymore's and set up on a point to toss float rigs and live shrimp and Dara's first cast produced a hungry Seatrout. The duo dabbled with those small but hungry Trout for a bit, then we moved on. 

After running thru Jackstaff and around to Poteat Cut we set up again along a marsh line and drifted the floats as we worked along the bank, tossing the floats, but I don't think we got a single bite. But we dropped back to a point and switched to jigs and shrimp and that did the trick, picking up another handful of Seatrout.  We then ran back to Jackstaff and up a creek and switched back to the floats, but to no avail. 

Back thru Jackstaff we went and down to Littlefields and here we scored deep with the jigs - Dara found some Seatrout at about 15' deep then she and William landed a few, some of which were of keeper size(all fish caught today were released).

The tide was getting down just a bit so we made a run up the Nassau and dipped into a shallow creek
and worked the log lined bank. We didn't "tear them up" but we managed to get about 6 Redfish with about 4 of them being in the Slot range.  We did tag one Slot Red and will be sending it in to Gray FishTag Research TAG ID GFR62479

Although it had been a dreary day, and we had gotten misted on a few times, as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day  to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Fish Math Added Up

 I sure hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday! I was glad  to be back in hopes of working off some of that great food I ate!  We had a high and incoming tide this morning so we put off meeting until 10am. That's when William and Dara Blalock and I left the Old Town Bait and Tackle boat ramp and headed down the creek with plans to fish the first of an outgoing tide. We made our way over to Tyger Island and set up on a corner as the current swept around. Both William and Dara were making excellent casts and it too a few minutes to find the "hot spot" but boy did they!  And yes, I began to work off some of that food I ate!  They caught Redfish non-stop for about 45 minutes, fishing fixed float rigs with about a 3' leader and live shrimp. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM...and....BOOM! 3/4 of the fish were smaller "rat" Reds but a good handful of them were in the Slot, the biggest being about 21" caught by Dara. All of the Redfish were released.

When things slowed we made our way down the intercoastal and dipped into a small creek to try our hand with jigs and the shrimp, up by some dock pilings. I was about to "lose a dollar" when Dara saved me and hauled in a nice Slot Redfish. Then William had a good strange "bump", set the hook, and brought to the net a keeper sized Flounder. Although this spot wasn't as productive as I had hoped, we did put two good fish in the boat!  

But Dara had been eyeing a drainage behind us - it all added up - good current pouring out of the marsh and a funnel between a bank of marsh grass and a large, now exposed, oyster bed. She did a bit of "Fish Math" and suggested we give it a try, so we switched back to the floats and began tossing up current in the drainage and it paid off big time! Both Dara and William began to get keeper sized Seatrout, then a couple of Reds, then William hooked up and battled the biggest Red of the day to the net, for photograph and release.   This new spot, right next to a pretty good old spot, went in the back pocket for future use!

After fishing Soap Creek for just a bit, and the mouth of Bell, we called it day and as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Trout Flurry Redfish Flurry

 Boy what a storm we had yesterday! My wife and I went out to Main Beach yesterday to watch the waves
kicking up and it was crazy. Crazier were the surfers catching the waves!  But the wind was supposed to die down this morning, and it did somewhat -when I launched the weather app was showing 17mph out of the west, which made me cringe just a bit!  But I met Mark Smith and his brother in law Ryan down at Sawpit Creek and we had a plan to try and stay out of the wind.

We first ran up to Seymore's Pointe and pulled up to a dock on the very first of an incoming tide, and sure enough, it was very calm. Unfortunately the fish didn't cooperate!  We may have had a nibble or two, but we had no takers. We then move around and up the Nassau to a couple of other docks  and began to toss jigs and live shrimp on a tide that seemed to still be going out, and we soon found some fish. Ryan got hot, fishing off the stern and hooked and landed a good number of small but hungry Seatrout. Not to be outdone, Mark, on the bow, hooked up and landed a few Mangrove Snapper (odd that they are still here), one of which was of keeper size. He also found a few Trout to bring to the net. 

Our next stop was down at Broward Island, and after working the bank in a couple of spots, we found one Seatrout to take the bait.

The wind was still kicking but we had some beautiful skies, and some Bald Eagles hanging out above us. The tide was getting up a bit and rather than got to float rigs we decided to run up a shallow creek and try our luck with the jigs, and be out of the wind, and the plan paid off. 

As we worked the bank the duo began to catch Redfish at all the likely spots. As per the norm, they weren't real big, but probably about four of them were in the Slot, the biggest being around 20". But they others were fun to catch on our light tackle and we guestimated we had about 12 Redfish caught, so 10 released, and as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Amorous Bald Eagle, One Legged Herons, and Redfish

 I probably sound like a broken record but the weather has been playing havoc in the fishing trips. But today ae decided to squeeze in a trip before the predicted 4-6" rains came thru. I met Tom Kretschmar and his son Sam down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early and we made a beeline all the way around to Broward Island to take advantage of a tide that had been coming in for about an hour. The duo were tossing jigs and live shrimp at the first spot - we might have had a nibble, but no takers.

After moving down the island and turning into the current we began to work the bank slowly and this paid off. Tom knocked the skunk off when he hooked up and landed a sizable Whiting, then Sam had a strong bite battled to the boat a feisty Redfish.  Up above us was a pair of Bald Eagles getting "amorous" -  they had no shame!

They picked up another Red or two, then a Seatrout, then a Flounder to round out their Amelia Island backcountry slam. We then made a short run back to Nassauville and fished between two docks, again with the jigs and here Tom got hoy catching hungry Seatrout. After coming back to Pumpkin Hill we switched to float rigs and worked a flooding grass bank. Tom had a big one on for a bit but is as Sam who landed another Seatrout.

The tide was really getting up and rather than fish the grass we elected to run to the shelter of a creek and just a minute after we pulled up, Sam had a hookup. He played it expertly to the boat and landed a fat keeper sized Seatrout. We worked the entire bank, Tom on the bow and Sam at the stern. After Tom fished a small pocket Sam went in and Bam! Fish on! He brought it to the net and landed a feisty Red. He then followed that up with another. Again, sitting overhead we saw a Heron that looked like it only had one leg! Eventually it unfolded the other.

But the last pocket we hit was all Tom. He and Sam could go in side by side and the fish would eat
Tom's. He pulled out 4 Slot Reds and a couple of smaller Reds. And with that we called it a day, and as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

I Was Hoping For The Best

 The weather forecast didn't change much from last night to this morning - temperatures in the high 40's but wind blowing from 9mph early getting up to 14mph and I knew it was going to be tough to get some fish. But the skies were clear and sunny so we had to give it a try. I met Bob Kossman and Frank Wytiaz who paired up for one of my "share-a-trips" (Email me and I'll add you to the list) with plans to fish a high and outgoing tide, so we put off the start time until 9am. 

I ran over to the outside of Tyger and set up at the mouth of Manatee Creek and this duo of anglers began to toss float rigs and live shrimp to the flooded grass. The wind was whipping already from the north east and the outgoing current was ripping coming out of the marsh, but right off, Bob had a hookup  and landed a hungry Seatrout - skunk off the boat! He added a small Ladyfish that had forgotten to leave for the winter, and when we moved across the creek Frank added another Trout to the catch. We tried ducking in behind Tyger Island and switched to jigs but had no real bites on that high tide. 

My plan was to make the run thru the wind and spray up and around to the Jolley River, work our way around to Bell River, then make our way back to the Fernandina area...but when I saw those whitecaps kicking when we came out from behind Tyger. I had second thoughts  so we turned south and headed down the river to try and find some shelter behind a land mass. We did just that and eventually eased up to some dock pilings and began to pitch jigs and live shrimp.

For the next hour we caught fish, one after the other, almost every cast. After just one or two small but feisty Redfish, both Bob and Frank tangled with some big fish, only to have them break off. They were not to be deterred!  Bob hooked up again and kept  that pressure on and worked this big fish out from those pilings and from then on the fish was "had"! Bob played it perfectly and eventually landed a big 26.5" Slot Redfish. And just minutes later it was Franks turn. He had a strong hookup, applied some pressure and got that fish out to open water then worked it patiently to the net - a 25.5" bulky Redfish. They put a couple of more big ones in the boat and then caught handful's of smaller Redfish. When we finally left that spot we had counted 9 Slot Redfish caught. 

Our next stop was back closer to Fernandina, again fishing some dock pilings. Although I was expecting another round of fish catching it didn't happen but finally Bob put a small but feisty Red in the boat. We were almost out of bait and were only getting nibbles until BAM! Bob had another big it and another Big Fish on! He worked that one up from the depths and to the net then Frank followed suite with another big Redfish catch of his on. These last two increased their "Slot" total to 11 for the day. As we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, December 8, 2023

Big Slot Red Makes It a Wrap

We wrapped up a great week of fishing today when I met Mark and Brent Laurint out at the Goffinsville Park boat ramp early this morning. And oh what a beautiful sunrise it was! Clear, cool, no wind and calm waters for us to fish! We made a short hop over to Back River and fished a grassy edge on a tide that had been going out for a couple of hours - tossing float rigs and live shrimp up current and letting it drift along that edge. Mark knocked the skunk off when he hooked up and landed a feisty Bluefish, then the duo put another couple of fish in the boat - Bluefish and hungry Seatrout.]

We then ran down the Nassau to Twin Creeks and fished it a bit with the floats, jigs and bait,and a artificial shrimp, to no avail. As we eased forward I saw that oysters were beginning to show and with Mark and Brent making excellent casts it was only a matter of time until....Big Fish On! Mark said it was just a slight "bump" but when he set the hook he could tell it was big. It was ripping drag and I saw a couple of huge boils before I could get the GoPro on. Then it was battle on.   Mark played it perfectly and went went from bow to stern Mark followed it, and around the engine, then back to the bow, then under the boat then back out - he played it like a pro and eventually brought to the net a bulky 25.5" big Redfish! Boy what a fight and boy what a fish!

After working that bank we made a short run up to some docks at Seymore's Pointe, fished them with
jigs, and here we had a good flurry of fish catching. Brent was slowly establishing himself as the "Trout King", hooking up here and there, and we also had a couple of "baitstealers", and a small Sea Bass. And after making the move around to some docks at Nassauville, Brent put a couple of keeper sized Seatrout in the boat, fishing deep with the jigs. 

We fished down at Broward Island and picked up one small Red, then Pumpkin Hill where we finished up with another feisty Red and a couple or Trout, one of which was of keeper size. We had a few fish in the box and it was a beautiful day so as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Boat Flippin


We didn't flip the 12 Slot Reds we caught into the boat, but we did a whole lot of "boat flippin" of smaller fish!  What a beautiful day we had today! Sunshine, clear skies, no wind, and just a bit cool when I met Bob Blalock, his son Robbie, and nephew Collin up at the Old Town Bait and Tackle boat ramp. We made a short run up the creek and began fishing some dock pilings with jigs and live shrimp on a tide that still had about three hours to go out - the oysters were just beginning to show. First cast produced a bite and a hookup but we lost it on the handoff but then on, for the rest of the 4  hour trip, it was Fish On!

Almost non-stop action - we had about 100 shrimp and I'd guestimate we caught fish on half of them and managed a "Super Grande Slam" of Redfish, Seatrout, Black Drum, Sheepshead and Flounder.  As mentioned, we counted 12 of the Reds to be in the Slot. Three of those were 26.5", 26'5" and 26.75".  We kept 6 keeper sized Seatrout, a couple of nice Sheepshead, and a big Black "puppy" Drum. And threw back umpteen smaller "ittty bitty" fish. 

13yo Collin was on fire was exhibiting sure signs of Mark of an Angler. Having fished "all his life", he was making excellent casts and tuned in to the bite, the hookset and then he played the fish like a pro, and all with a good attitude! We figured that he had the most fish caught for the day and the most Slot Reds, while Robbie had the biggest Redfish and only Flounder. Bob put the biggest Black Drum and Sheepshead in the boat. We had multiple "double" hookups and one "triple" when all three anglers had a fish on at one time.  It was an unbelievable crazy day of a catching a great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Despite The Wind, We Did Good

After looking at the weather forecast last night, I was a little apprehensive about the chances of success fishing today. Temperatures were predicted to be in the mid 40's, which was OK with me, but wind predicted to be at 15mph which would make it challenging. But Bob Blalock and I were up for the challenge so we met up at Old Town Bait and Tackle boar tamp and made our way up the creek to fish some dock pilings on an outgoing tide that still had 2 hours to hit bottom.

It didn't take long fishing with jigs and live shrimp to begin to get bites. We had a good flurry of catches - small but feisty Redfish, and a Black "puppy" Drum. One of those Reds though, was in the Slot. All fish caught today were released. But then it was like a light switch was flipped and they turned off! So we moved down a couple of docks ,set up, and again caught fish, a handful of Reds and Drum. After about thirty minutes, with the tide almost at the bottom, we moved back to the original dock and BAM. BAM. BAM! Bob began to hook and land fish after fish. Redfish, Black Drum, and an occasional Seatrout. We kept an informal count of the Slots and we had at least 4 with one of them measuring right at 26.5", a "Tournament Red"!  We tagged this fish and released it. It can be followed at Gray Fishtag Research GFR62478.  One small Red that had 21 spots! Bob also had his limit(if he was keeping) of Black Drum.

We eventually made a run to some more structure, fished it with the jigs, and caught another handful of Reds and Trout. Our final stop was at the mouth of Eagans Creek, fishing the rocks, and although we had some nibblers we had no takers. S we eased  back to the dock and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Redfish Galore and a Super Slam

 I fished with John Raker and his buddy John this morning. With the last of an outgoing tide, we decided to fish some dock pilings up Eagans Creek and bow was it some hot fishing for a little over an hour! We were tossing live shrimp on a jig and it was one fish right after the other. John had kicked it off with a keeper Seatrout catch then it was Redfish, Redfish, Redfish and more Redfish. Most of them were smaller "feisty" Redfish, but we did end up with five in the Slot.

When things finally slowed we made the run over to Tyger Island and fished the logs with the jigs. John put a feisty red in the boat, they added another keeper sized Black Drum, then Robert had a "bump" up near a downed cedar and , Fish On!  Robert fought it up from the depths and brought to the net a nice 16" Sheepshead, big enough to move into a tie for First Place in the 2023 Bragging Rights Tournament-Sheepshead Category (scroll down the right side of this report for standings)  And minutes later John hooked up and put a 13.5" Sheepshead in the boat to take 3rd place in the tournament! After Robert landed another feisty Black "puppy" Drum, we moved on.

Our next stop was up in the Jolley River where we switched to float rigs and the live shrimp. Although we had a few nibbles we had no real bites, which was a bit disappointing - it was such a pretty morning! But we finished the day around on the outside of Tyger, switching  back to jigs, and it paid off. Both John and Robert started out catching hungry Seatrout then they both had strong bites. John's tossed the hook but Roberts stayed on. He played it perfectly and brought to the net the3 biggest Slot Red of the day(#6). Then John had a weird "thump" - he let him have it, then set the hook, played it patiently, and brought to the net a nice 17" Flounder to round out the duo's "Super Grande Slam"  of Redfish, Seatrout, Black Drum. Sheepshead and Flounder. Robert wrapped things up with one more Slot Red catch -number seven for the day! Note we tagged this last slot redfish, see Gray FishTag Research GFR62477

And with that, we called it a day and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida