Monday, June 24, 2024

Grandad and his Grandson

 It always makes my heart warm when I see a grandparent taking their grandchildren fishing and today was just such a day. I still have vague memories of fishing in Lake Sante Fe with my Grandfather - we were Crappie fishing, on the bottom, out deep, with minnows. I don't remember if we caught anything, but I do remember the trip. I met Len Pelletier and his grandson Scott down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp in a light drizzle of rain but as we headed up the intercoastal and into the Nassau it slacked off and stopped. 

We pulled up at Spanish Drop and turned into the tide that had been coming in for about an hour. The oyster shell were still exposed so we started off with jigs and live shrimp, working the bank slowly as we eased into the current. Things started off positive with a couple of good bites, but they never took, so we moved on.

Our next stop was up at Seymore's Point, fishing some dock pilings. Scott was on the stern and he got hot catching fish!  He first landed a keeper sized Black "puppy" Drum, then added two ore to his catch (all fish caught today were released). Len picked up a Seatrout out deeper then Scott was catching some nice, keeper sized Mangrove Snapper.. They also added a small Seabass, a Jack Crevalle and a Pinfish to the variety.

We bumped around and fished some rocks at Nassauville and again caught some very healthy Mangroves Then we had a stronger hookup - Scott was on the Rod - he played it perfectly and after a good battle landed a Slot sized 12 Spot Redfish, probably enough to place in most Redfish Spot Tournaments.  We moved down the way, fished between a couple of docks to no avail, then made run down to Pumkin Hill and drifted floats. Not much was happening there.

Our final stop, after running thru Horsehead, was over at the mouth of Jackstaff. The duo added a couple of Ladyfish catches and another Seatrout catch to their variety. The sun had come out, we had some action here and there, so as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida 


Thursday, June 20, 2024

Jacks Rule

 We did our third windy day in a row today when I met John Cipriani and his brother David out at
Goffinsville Park. The wind stayed in the 15-17mph range - I'm about over it! But the Cipriani brothers were up to the challenge so we first headed over to Pumpkin Hill and fished a stretch of flooding marsh grass on a tide that still another hour or so of coming it. Drifting float rigs the duo put a handful of hard fighting Jack Crevalle in the boat. 

After moving around the corner we caught another Jack or two but then John hooked up with something strong - he expertly battled it and brought it to the net, a feisty Black Tip Shark.  We worked that area pretty good and despite the wind John and David were getting pretty good casts to the marsh line.  After running back to Seymore's we fished a large drainage and dueled with what turned out to be smaller Mangrove Snapper. 

We then ran thru Horsehead and over to Pompano Point, fished it pretty good, added a small Catfish to the catch then came back over to Jackstaff and fished another drainage, this time to no avail. Back thru Horsehead we went and down to Twin Creeks where we switched to jigs and shrimp and this did the trick. I think David's first cast produced a bite, he hooked it up, and landed a hungry Seatrout. We fished there, further east at a drainage, and then finished up down at Spanish Drop and added a couple of more Trout to the catch total, and another Jack. Then wind had been a challenge, but we made the most of it so as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Down To The Wire

 

We've got some wind kicking here at Amelia Island! When I spoke to Andew Perrin last evening I warned him that we'd be bucking the wind today if they wanted to give it a try. But he and his son Sam were willing to brave the wind so we met up at Old Town Bait and Tackle and after easing out of Eagans Creek we already had 15mph winds. We made our way over to Lanceford and to Soap Creek and fished a drainage with the winds at our back, tossing float rigs with live shrimp on a high tide that had reached it's peak. I don't think we had a nibble. 


We moved around the corner, fished a grassy island, then came back and fished between a couple of docks with the floats. We may have had a bobber go under a couple of times - it was hard to tell with the chop! After running thru that chop, back towards Fernandina, we turned down the intercoastal and made our way down the river to fish some structure with jigs down on the bottom. Here we did get some bites here and if we were keeping score, the fish won!  Sam did manage to put two nice keeper sized Mangrove Snapper in the boat.

After fishing back around Piney Island with only a few nibbles to show for it, we made our way back to Fernandina and found a somewhat sheltered spot out of the wind and went back to the float rigs with just short time to fish. Sam had made an excellent cast up near some rocks when his float disappeared - he tightened up and let the circle hook set and Fish On!  Sam played it expertly, battled it when it ran, and in a short while landed a nice 20" Slot Redfish. And only minutes later it was Andrew's turn to battle the big fish. His was ripping drag and digging down river then it would turn and head for the structure. Andrew would work it out, it'd go deep, then head back for the structure. Andrew stayed patient, worked it out and eventually landed an Oversized 27.5" Redfish, boy what a fish!  We photographed and tagged and released this fish, see Grey Fish Tag Research  and enter GFR62498 to follow.

To top things off, we were treated with a sighting of Manatees that came up in front of the boat!  With that, we headed back to the ramp and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Limited By The Wind

 

I know it's difficult to tell conditions when were at our homes - we see the flags flapping and the trees swaying and think, "this is such a nice day"  but when you get out on the river with 17-18 mile/hr it can make for some difficult fishing, even in the back water. I was hoping we'd have an early window of lower winds this morning when I met Charlie Dickens, his brother-in-law Nick Pucci and Nick's son Chris down at Sawpit Creek boat ramp. We ran up the intercoastal and all the way around to Pompano Point and set up tossing float rigs with live shrimp on a tide that had just started out. Although we did have a good bite on the first cast, the wind blowing in our face was pushing our baits off the grass and we were getting zero drifts. After trying on the other side of a point with no luck, we moved on. 

Our next stop, after running thru Horsehead, was over at a large drainage at Seymore's Point and here we had some action with what turned out to be Mangrove Snapper. All three anglers had their patience tried, but it was Chris who hooked up and landed a nice keeper sized Mangrove. The trio added a few more smaller fish, and Nick landed a slippery Catfish. 

That wind was kicking as we made our way down the Nassau but when we got to Broward Island it was somewhat blocked. We fished it good with jigs - Chris put a Flounder in the boat that would have been legal a couple of years ago, then Charlie added another Mangrove to the box. 

Our final stop was down the Nassau, fishing Twin Creeks where we had a small Flounder caught, then further down at a drainage Chris had the strongest bite of the day!  He played it like a pro as it took him from bow to stern and with the drag ripping, he kept the pressure on and soon landed a nice 20" Slot sized Redfish. Now that's perseverance! We headed back to the ramp and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

Slam at First Spot

 

I was back to work today, fishing with Chris Sneed and his buddy Chuck, meeting them up at the Old Town Bait and Tackle boat ramp early. We eased out of Eagans and then ran up to the outside of Tyger and set up a drainage to pitch jigs and minnows on a tide that had been going out for just and hour. It didn't take long before we got bites then Chris put a Flounder in the boat, then a Seatrout, then a Redfish to get a Slam started right out of the gate. He added another Flounder there before we moved on. 

Around the corner along Jolley "bank" we tossed float rigs with mud minnows and live shrimp and here Chuck got on the board with a feisty Redfish catch.  After fishing that stretch and catching a Bonnethead and Bluefish,  we moved up to Slip Creek, fished it a bit with floats, then eased on up to Snook Creek and fished it. We caught a couple of small Redfish then moved on. 

Around at Bell River we fished a deep area for a bit with the jigs, then moved in closer and fished the
some dock pilings Chris found a hot spot that produced three Flounder, one after the other. After moving down a dock he added another Flounder, this one a ice 18" keeper. The wind had picked up so we made a long run back to Fernandina and got in behind Rayonier warehouse which stopped the wind, but we had no luck. But as we eased around it Chris had a strong hookup and put a fat keeper sized Mangrove Snapper in the boat. We worked that bank, got another Flounder, then moved up to some rocks at Cooks where Chris caught a feisty keeper sized Black "puppy" Drum. After Chris put one more Flounder in the boat (I think we had caught 7-8 during teh trip) we headed back to the ramp and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Flounda Pound'n

Kinda of a weird fishing day today!  I met Bob Blalock out at Goffinsville Park early and I skipped across the river to the mouth of Back River and we fished float rigs on a tide that had been going out a few hours - the oysters were showing. Bob commented that this was the spot where we really "tore them  up" a year ago, but not today. We worked the bank pretty good, fished around some small oyster beds, but had not a bite.

I stopped back at a sandbar and we tried to get drifts with the float and here we were seeing good amounts of bait being popped, but we had no takers on our mud minnows. We then ran down the Nassau to Twin Creeks and with the "skunk" beginning to waft over the boat, we fished the two drainages with jjgs. Still not getting bites we began to work along the bank, tossing to the exposed shell beds but also "trolling" a minnow on a jig off the stern. And that did the trick! We hooked up and landed a nice 19.5" Flounder. Using the same method of tossing the jig up to the bank but letting it troll behind the boat produced two more keeper sized Flounder in just a few minutes. One of those came unhooked right at the boat but a quick scoop before it knew it was loose brought it in!

We fished a drainage further down and caught a couple of Catfish, then moved down to Spanish Drop and worked that bank. Bob had made an excellent cast up into a pocket, at a small drainage  and BAM! He hooked up the old fashioned way!  Bob patiently worked it to the boat and landed another 19" Flounder. 

The wind was picking up but the tide was right at the bottom so we made our way down to Broward Islanda and fished the logs. Unfortunately that wind was rocking us a bit but Bob did manage to find a  feisty  Black "puppy" Drum to land. After fishing Pumpkin Hill for a bit we headed back to the ramp with a nice mess of Flounder and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Mother Of All Pays Off

 I was back up north for the first time in about a week, fishing with Bob Blalock out of Old Town Bait and
Tackle an a tide that still had about an hour to hit bottom. The water was like glass as we left the mouth of Eagans Creek and headed north and west up to the Jolley - we made a "Bee-line" for the MOA (mother-of-all) spot and set up with jigs and live shrimp and minnows.

It was crazy. Their was bait everywhere, moving around, getting "popped", rolled, and spit at  Wakes were moving in and around the oyster beds and we had a Tarpon rolling back behind us. Bob was making excellent casts and it soon paid off - he hooked up and landed a Slot Redfish.  After picking up a keeper sized Seatrout (all fish caught today were released), he had another strong bite -set the hook and, Fish On!  Bob played it perfectly as it bulled deep around the boat. It made a run towards the bow, then the stern, then under the boat, but Bob kept the pressure on and eventually landed another Slot Red, bigger than the first. 

We picked up a couple of more Reds, fished thru the change in tides, then moved on. Back around at Snook Creek we worked the bank but the wind had picked up and was pushing against the bank so we ran down to the the "bank", fished a runout and here Bob picked up another Redfish. WE fished the entire bank and had one small flounder to the boat for a quick release.

I had planned to fish the outside of Tyger but that NE wind was just a tad too much so we went around to the logs and fished them. Bob had two more Flounder bites, both just a bit undersized. Our final stop was over at Bell River where we added one more Seatrout to the fish catch total. The day had started out beautiful, we had some good action early, so as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing her at Amelia Island, Florida. 



Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Flounder Sandwiches, Plural

 I fished the Barker boys, Jim and his son Harris, meeting them down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early, and after running up the Nassau, we made a stop at Spanish Drop and fished the very last of an outgoing tide with jigs and live shrimp and mud minnows.  They worked that bank pretty good and did battle with a couple of Bonnethead Sharks. After moving up the river and fishing a large drainage they caught a handful of small but feisty Redfish, then Jim put a nice 17"+ keeper sized Flounder in the boat perfect for a couple of "Flounder Sandwiches".  When we moved on up to Twin Creeks we added another keeper Flounder and had a Manatee drive by.


Our next stop was down at Broward Island where the duo caught another keeper Flounder. Harris outsmarted a feisty Sheepshead and then they added a keeper sized Mangrove Snapper to the box. We fished Pumkin Hill and boated a small Black Tip Shark, added another Jack, and then caught a keeper sized Seatrout. 

After fishing Seymore's Pointe but only getting some hand sized Mangroves, we ran thru Horsehead, floated baits, to no avail, then switched back to jigs. After putting two Catfish in the boat Harris hooked and landed the fourth keeper Flounder. We wrapped things up over in the Nassau, then headed back to the ramp, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.



Monday, June 10, 2024

Mixed Bag Makes For Great Trip

Amelia Island

I was back to fishing today after meeting the Hutchens Fishing Team - Dan and B and their daughter Zoey down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early. We made a quick run up the intercoastal, up the Nassau, and pulled up at Spanish Drop and worked the exposed bank of shell at the last of an outgoing tide. Dan and B were getting bites were and there but no takers which left the "skunk knocking off" to Zoey - she had a good hookup and expertly brought it to the boat - a nice keeper sized 17" Flounder!

We moved up the river a quarter mile, fished a drainage and here Dan caught and landed a feisty Redfish.  After making our way up to some docks at Seymore's, we pitched to the pilings and here B go on the board by landing a keeper sized Mangrove Snapper and she also added to her catch total with small Black "puppy" Drum catch. Our next run was down to Broward Island, and after making a "pit" stop at one sandbar to toss jigs in hopes for a Flounder, we made it to the island on the first of an incoming tide where Dan promptly hooked up and landed a Slot sized Redfish. We fished that bit then moved down to the other end and sure enough, B hooked up and landed another Slot Redfish. 

Our next stop was back at Pumpkin Hill and this saw us some action. Dan, drifting long, had a strong take and when the hook set the drag began to rip! Dan played it patiently, worked it to the boat, and landed the largest Jack Crevalle of the year, boy what a fish! Zoey followed along with her float and BAM! Fish On! She worked it to the net and landed a keeper sized 17" Trout. Dan battled a Bonnethead for a bit and brought it in for pictures and release, then B had her shot at good fish, played it perfectly and added another keeper Trout to the box. 

We finished the day over at Twin Creeks, drifting floats and here B had here on Battle Royal with a Bonnethead. She and Dan both caught high flying Ladyfish then Dan added one more big Mangrove Snapper to the box. We had caught a good variety of 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, June 7, 2024

Fending Off The Sharks

 

I wrapped my week up fishing with Jon Beall and his visiting son Brian. We met down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early and headed up the intercoastal, then into the Nassau and made our way up to Spanish Drop where we turned into the incoming tide and began working the bank with float rigs. 

Everywhere we went today we were waylaid by sharks! Every stop, almost. We picked up some Jacks here, also, then moved up the river to Twin Creeks, fished it a bit, then I let the boat drift up the river with the current. This paid off with a couple of feisty Redfish catches, and a keeper sized Seatrout. 


We then ran over to Seymore's and played tag with some Mangroves - we caught a handful, most were
small, but we had one keeper caught on a jig down on the bottom.  Our next stop was down at Pumpkin Hill and after we weeded out a couple of Shark, the duo picked up a handful of Redfish, two of which were in the Slot. We fished a point and Brian added a keeper sized Seatrout with his first drift. We bounced around that area with not much luck until John made a cast up beyond a point of grass, let it drift and BAM! Big Fish On!  Jon played it patiently, worked it to the boat, and soon landed a 21.5" Seatrout, the 2nd biggest of the year which put him on the board in the Anglers Mark 2024 Bragging Rights Tournament-Seatrout Category(scroll down the right side of this report for standings). 

Note: a 20" Trout was caught in the exact same spot 3 days earlier!

We came back to Seymore's, fished a large drainage, played with the Mangroves, and added one more keeper to the box. After running thru Horsehead and around to Pompano Point we worked that bank. We again had to fight thru the Sharks but they added three more keeper sized Seatrout to their catch and tossed back a third Slot Red. We had had a bunch of action and had a good mess of fish in the box, so as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Lead Changes

 

I was fishing up north out of Old Town Bait and Tackle this morning. After meeting Aaron Self, his son Isaac, and his cousin Robert, we headed out of Eagans Creek and made run up to the Jolley River and turned into the current to fish the "bank" with float rigs and live shrimp. We worked that bank pretty good back to the point where Aaron "knock the skunk off" with a Seatrout catch, taking the lead in the biggest/most/first fish caught.  But shortly after that Robert had gone up into a pocket and hooked up and landed  an nice keeper size Flounder. 


We then ran up the river and fished a point where Aaron promptly caught a Seatrout up by the grass.
Even further up the river at Snook Creek we worked the bank and here the anglers caught a handful of small Trout and then both Robert and Isaac tangled with some drag ripping Bonnethead Shark. We also added a keeper sized Seatrout here.

Our next stop was back at the outside of Tyger, fishing the first of an outgoing tide. Although we had numerous nibbles, we had no real bites. I was torn about which spot to hit next - run over to Lanceford and fish some drainages or run back towards Jolley and fish the outside of Tyger? We stayed at Tyger, switched to jigs and minnows and worked a small drop off and this paid off. 

They picked up two more keeper sized Seatrout, a Jack or two, then Robert, who had tossed to where there was a discoloration in the water (different depths), had a strong bite and BAM! Big Fish On! It was digging deep and ripping drag and we were all speculating what it was. Robert kept the pressure on, played it perfectly and soon brought to the surface and the net an Oversized 28" Redfish, boy what a fish. Aaron followed that up with a good hookup of his own. He worked it to the boat expertly and landed a Slot Redfish. The trio also added a handful of smaller Flounder to their catch total. 

The sun was up, we had a nice box of fish so we headed back to the ramp and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Caught the Limit plus 1

I was again down at Sawpit this morning, but a little bit later, which turned out to be a good thing and a not-so-good thing. I met Cheryl McBride with her two adult kids Rachel and Michael and we ran up the intercoastal, dipped into Jackstaff, and then into a creek and began tossing float rigs with live shrimp up near the grass and at run outs on a tide that had just started out.  Michael got things going when he caught a couple of feisty Jack Crevalle, and then he put a keeper sized Seatrout in the boat. 



We then moved around to Pompano Point and fished that outgoing tide. I was about to give up on the spot, and even mentioned the "4 minute rule" when the bite really turned on. Rachel had a strong hookup and, Fish On! She played the fish expertly and brought to the net a nice 21" Slot Redfish. But "Raging Redfish Rachel" wasn't finished! She had another hookup, fought it like a pro, and brought to the net another 22" Slot Redfish. While she was fighitng one of those Cheryl went north of a grassy point and BAM! A hookup. She patiently played a  keeper sized Seatrout to the net. Both Cheryl and Michael battled 3' Bonnethead to the boat for photo's and release, then Michael had a good bite, hooked it up, and battled to the boat another Slot Redfish.  The trio also caught a handful of Bluefish, Jacks, and Ladyfish while we were there. We thought Rachel had topped it off when she caught and landed here third (the boat's 4th) Slot Redfish but then Michael had something take his shrimp and all heck broke loose!  This fish was ripping line and we felt comfortable it was a shark, and boy was it!  It came out of the water and spun then ripped line, then came out of the water and spun, then ripped line as it circled the boat and jumped and twirled. At one time we thought it was coming in the boat! But eventually it dove under the boat and ran and popped the line, what a crazy battle!

We finished the morning over at Twin Creeks, still fishing the floats, but when we had no real bites we switched to a jig and shrimp and this paid off with a keeper sized Flounder that Cheryl reeled in. Boy was it hot now! We headed back to the ramp and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Calling For The Slam

 Amelia Island

I was back to work today, fishing south out of Sawpit Creek with Scott and Carron Frost. After meeting them early, we headed up the intercoastal, thru the Back River and around to Pumpkin Hill and set  up fishing float rigs and live shrimp on the last of an incoming tide. Carron kicked it off pretty quick with a couple of Bluefish catches, we had a breakoff or two, then Carron had a stong hookup. I was thinking it was a Redish by the way the drag was ripping -Carron kept the pressure on, worked it to the boat and I was still thinking "Redfish" until I saw it flash - a huge Seatrout!  We got it to the net and it measured right at 20", boy what a fish! Both anglers battled Bonnethead Sharks to the boat for photograph and release. 

We fished a large drainage down from Seymore's Pointe and had a some good bites. Scott hooked up and landed a keeper sized Mangrove Snapper. After running thru Horsehead and over to Pompano Point  we again drifted the floats. After a couple of good bites but no takes Carron then hooked up and the drag was ripping. She battled it to the boat and landed a nice 20" Slot Redfish. Shortly after that she had another hookup, played it experlty, and landed a 2nd Slot 21" Redfish. Scott followed that up with a Redfish catch of his own, then he put a keeper sized Seatrout in the box. 



We fished the mouth of Jackstaff for a while then ran back thru Horsehead and down to Twin Creeks.
Scott and I both were kidding Carron that she hadn't caught a Flounder for a "Slam" when sure enought she had a slow take, a hookup, and when we saw that this fish was digging deep we felt sure it was a Flounder. And it was!  A nice 17" fish that went in the box. 

Our final stop was further down the river at Spanish Drop, working the bank and here Scott got hot, putting a couple of more Redfish in the boat - one bit the minute the bait hit the water. One of those fish was the third Slot Redfish of the day. We had caught some good fish, had 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. 

Monday, June 3, 2024

Boaters: It's On You To Step Up

 It appears that the City Commission will be moving forward with the Waterfront Park to be located at the City Marina. In addition to water guzzling grassy lawns and landscaping, there will be a "Pavillion" (note: not to be called a Band Shell) and a children's play area. What any of that has to do with a Working Waterfront is beyond me.  The architectural drawings look great with grassy lawns and beautiful trees, but you have to wonder what resources it's going to take to keep the area looking "Disney-like?"


City Commissioners are promising in social media posts and news articles "expanded" boat trailer parking with at least 12 spaces and maybe 15 depending how it all washes out. Even though the lot used to be wide open to boat trailers, and even though the area just across the railroad tracks used to be overflow for boat trailers, Commissioners boast that they've "expanded" boat trailer parking. Crazy huh? Crazy that they can look you in the eye and stretch that truth. 

The general public has bought it hook, line and sinker. Even most boaters, anglers and commercial fishermen THINK that their access to the boat ramp is safe. What they don't know is that Commissioners, Staff, the Tourism folks and Mainstreet folks are drooling at the thought of hosting events at the new park. I remind you that they close the parking lot for the annual Pentanque Tournament. They close the lot AND the ramp during the Shrimp Festival. 


What do you think is going to happen when the Farmers Market is moved to the Park? When Sounds on Centre is moved to the Park? When the Chili Cook-off is moved to the park?  When music events are held at the "pavilion"? Will Commissioners lean towards "public safety"  and close the parking lot or maintain boater access?

I've been aggravated, disgruntled, pissed, and even crest fallen about this issue. But almost at the same level, I've been more disappointed in the angling and boating community for their apathy towards their access to our public waters. When the vote for moving forward to fund the park was decided on there were 4 Captains that showed up at the meeting and spoke:  Capt Terry Lacosse (in his 70's).  Capt Scott Stewart (in his 70's). Myself (67), and Capt Allen Mills (in his mid 60's). These older Captains may still keep on fishing (as a livelihood) for years to come. but eventually some of the younger guys and the general boating public need to get involved and fight for access. Lack of access to the water will have a bigger effect on them, and you would think they may want their kids to have access to the water. 

Just my opinion, but boaters and anglers tend NOT to be activists. They want to get out on the water,
enjoy boating or fishing, and be left alone. But sometimes you gotta step up. YOUR access to the City Marina boat ramp is being threatened. Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp is dangerous with a strong west wind blowing, and damaging to your boat on any given day. Sawpit Creek boat ramp is falling apart with Park management seemingly ambivalent about it. Goffisnville park is a nightmare to use on an outgoing tide. ALL of those ramps have the bare minimum of dock space. You pay taxes. You deserve better. 


I don't know him. Never met him personally. But Commissioner David Sturges is the ONLY Commissioner that voted against the waterfront park. The City elections coming up will pit supposedly "conservative" incumbent candidates versus left leaning eco nuts. Unfortunately most of those incumbent candidates are pushing the waterfront park and squeezing your access to the water. It's going to be a tough pick for boaters. 


Thursday, May 30, 2024

We Weren't Fishing, We Were Catching!

 It looks like I wrapped my week up fishing this morning with the Sparrow crew - Will, his kids Abigailand William, and his mother Nancy -meeting them up at the Old Town Bait and Tackle boat ramp. We had a bait will full of live shrimp and frisky mud minnows as we eased out of Eagans Creek and made a run down the river to fish an exposed shell bank with jigs rods on a tide that still had about two hours to hit bottom. 


It didn't take long for Abigail to "knock the skunk off" with a nice Redfish catch, and from then on I stayed busy netting fish and bating hooks. All four anglers caught fish - Redfish and Flounder - we had at least one Slot Red along that stretch, and two keeper sized Flounder and we tossed back a good handful of smaller fish. 



As the bite slowed we ran further down the river and on around to the MOA (mother of all) spot and boy were we in for a surprise!  Abigail hooked and expertly battled to the boat another Slot Red. William landed a couple of keeper sized Seatrout. His dad Will hooked up with a monster and after a long battle landed an Oversized 29.75" Redfish (4th biggest of the year on the Anglers Mark). Nancy fought a nice Slot Redfish to the boat. Both Will and William brought Bonnethead Shark to the net for photograph and release. William tangled with
another Oversized Red that was having none of coming to the boat. It rolled and boiled and dug deep and eventually broke off. And to top things off, Will, after bumping his bait over a shell bed, and thinking he might have a shell until it began to pull back, yelled, "it's a fish", and boy was it!  Will patiently played it and worked it to the net to land a Doormat of a Flounder that measured at 21.5" - big enought to move Will in to 2nd Place in the Anglers Mark 2024 Bragging Rights Tournament-Flounder Category(scroll down the right side of this report for standings). Boy what a fish!

We finished up around the corner tossing float rigs on an incoming tide and tangling with a handful ofBonnethead Shark and then we headed back to the ramp, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Snapper Boys and a nice Red

 I fished with the Palmore boys this morning, Justin and his sons Will and Bentley, meeting them down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early. We headed up the intercoastal then in to the Nassau and after a brief run, pulled up at Spanish Drop and began fishing with jigs and live shrimp and mudminnows on a tide that still had about an hour and a half of going out. We worked along a shell bank and picked up a Jack and a tangled with a couple of high flying Ladyfish. 


After moving up the way to fish a large drainage, young Bentley had a good bite, a hookup, and after a good battle he landed a keeper sized Flounder - first in the box! After fishing Bubblegum Reef briefly, and to no avail, we ran across the river and tried a new spot, but alas, we caught no fish. We then fished between a couple of docks at Nassauville and picked up a couple of small Mangroves, then we moved up to Seymore's Pointe and really got into some Mangroves. All three anglers caught fish with one of Will's Mangroves being the biggest. Will also had a strong bite off the stern, up near the rocks, and this fish was ripping drag - it wasn't a Mangrove! Will played it expertly but this fish was having nothing of it, it dug deep and broke the leader. Ouch!

But Justin went back with a cast to the rocks, opened his bail and let it drift with the current and when it reached an outcrop, BAM! Big Fish On!  Again, it was digging deep and ripping drag but Justin kept the pressure on and soon brought to the net a nice 24.25" Slot Redish.

Our final stop was over at the mouth of Jackstaff, working a bank with float rigs and the trio caught a handful of small but feisty Redfish. It had been a beautiful day and we had fish in the box so as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Shell Banks and Grass Lines

 I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend and took time to honor our fallen service men and women. It's amazing the sacrifice some made for us, and their families, too.

We were back at it today, fishing out of Goffinsville Park after I had met Steve Locke and his son Justin early. We made a short run down the Nassau River and pulled up at Spanish Drop, turned into the outgoing current and fished until the tide hit bottom. We had some pretty good action fishing jigs and live shrimp - Steve picked up a Jack Crevallle and a Ladyfish off the stern, then as we reached a submerged bar both he and Justin began to get Redfish - a good handful of them. Then Steve had a stronger bite - he played it patiently, and after a good battle landed a nice Slot sized 21" Redfish. 

We move up a bit to a large drainage and I think their first casts produced small but feisty Redfish. Steve battled a 3- Bonnethead Shark to the boat before we moved on. The tide had started back in so we fished a dock at Seymore's and managed a couple of small but legal Mangrove Snappers.  After fishing down at Broward - we only got a small Mangrove, we came back to Nassauville and fished some docks, to no avail. 

We just haven't been getting any good fish around the docks or downed logs. We came back down teh river, ran thru Horsehead and pulled up at the mouth of Jackstaff and worked the bank with float rigs. This duo caught another Jack then as we reached a small cove, BAM! Big Bite. Justin was on the rod and battled the big fish. It was digging deep and making runs. Justin Stayed with it and eventually worked it to the net - an upper Slot 26.25" Red. Boy what a fish. But birthday boy Justin wasn't finished! In just a short time he had another strong hookup Again, a big battle ensued. Justin played it perfectly and after a while landed an Oversized 30.25" Red - big enough to move Justin into 3rd Place in the Anglers Mark 2024 Bragging Rights Tournament-Redfish Category. (scroll down the right side of this report for standings).

They picked up another couple of smaller Reds, another nice Shark, and a handful of hungry Seatrout before we called it a day and as we ran back thru Horsehead, we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Something Learned

 I wrapped up my week yesterday fishing with Kenny King and his friends John Raker and John's mother Betty, meeting them again out at Goffinsville Park boat ramp. 

Note: You never know when you'll be surprised at the boat ramp - a guy had backed his truck (no trailer/boat) down the ramp, got out, and was fishing from the ramp. When I pulled up I thought he was launching so I sat and waited for a while. When he didn't pull out I got out and checked -  sure enough he was just blocking the ramp and fishing. Crazy. 


We had a tide that was coming in for a couple of more hours so we ran across the river and went with float rigs up to the grass on that flooding tide. I was hoping we'd get  some reds up in those pockets but I don't think we had even a bite until Betty, fishing off the stern, had her float drifting over some submerged oysters. When the float went under she at first thought she might be hung up but that hang up started pulling back!  Betty played the fish expertly and brought to the net a nice 19.5" Flounder, big enough to secure 2nd place in the Anglers Mark 2024 Bragging Rights Tournament-Flounder Category(scroll down the right side of this report for standings).

After fishing a good stretch along there we made a run down the Nassau and pulled up at Twin Creeks and drifted the floats again. Crazy how we were getting no bites, not even a baitstealer until John had a good take, and Fish On!  He fought it patiently, let it run, worked it up and soon landed a Slot 21" Redfish. Later he battled a 4' Bonnethead to the boat and then commented, "we've had three bites and three fish caught!"

We went over to Seymore's and tinkered with some Small Mangroves, then around the corner to do the
same and here Kenny put a fat Mangrove in the boat. There was also a Jack or two caught sometime in there.  After running thru Horsehead we fished Pompano Point and here Betty got busy catching fish off the stern. She was drifting here float/shrimp past a grassy corner and then down alongside it and BAM! She'd have a hookup. She added to the catch total with two more feisty Redfish. 

Our final stop, after running back thru Horsehead, was over at Back River, working an outgoing tide. The trio of angles were drifting on the outside of some shell beds that you could barely make out in the water. We had an epiphany - try tossing the float over the submerged shell bed and hope it's deep enough for the float to drift along he backside - they did!  Kenny had a good drift going - it snagged, then came off, and BAM!   Fish On!  Kenny played it to the boat and landed a nice 17.5" Flounder.  John tried it and he too got a good drift and BAM! He had a hookup. When he got his to the boat we found it was a small Black Tip Shark. Summer is here!  It was getting hot. But as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida



Thursday, May 23, 2024

Oversized Reds in the Backwater

 I've probably mentioned it before....my dad, when we would be passing thru a rural area that had cows, he said his grandfather(my great grandfather) would say, "the cows are laying down, the fish aren't biting".  We don't have any cows here at Amelia Island, but I've found that as I trailer my boat down to Sawpit Creek, there are rabbits out on the grass just past the Omni and I like to count them as I head south. I've always wondered if there was a correlation to how the fish bite would be. Today was a 5 "Wabbit" Day. 



I met longtime friend Michael Stalvey, his son Byrd, and son-in-law Tylor Deas early at the ramp and we headed up the intercoastal and then up the Nassau to make our first stop at Spanish Drop, turned into the incoming current, and began to toss float rigs to a flooding grass bank. We worked that bank thoroughly and I think we may have picked up a small Jack Crevalle and a tangled with a high flying Ladyfish. 

The weather conditions couldn't have been any better- sunshine, just a slight breeze, and almost pond-like water. We moved down the way and fished Twin creeks with the floats - didn't get a bite, but I let off the trolling motor lock and we drifted with the current. Tylor had a good bite that didn't take and Mike followed right in behind him and BAM, Fish On!  Mike played it perfectly and soon landed a Slot 20" Redfish. 

Our next stop was up at Seymore's Pointe where we drifted float rigs up by the rocks. The trio of anglers
caught a handful of Mangrove Snapper, a couple of which were keepers. But when we switched to jigs on the bottom things really picked up and they put another handful in the boat. We ended up keeping seven with the biggest measuring to 12".  I know that's not "big", but these Mangroves make for some good eating!

We then ran thru Horsehead and over to Pompano Point and worked the first 30 yards with the float rigs. After getting a small Jack and a small Trout, we eased up the bank and all "heck" broke loose! Mike had let a soggy shrimp soke up near the bank - something took it and, BIG FISH ON!  This fish was ripping drag and digging deep. Mike stayed with it, kept the pressure on, let it run, worked it around the bow, worked it around the stern, and eventually landed a big Oversized 31.5" Redfish, big enough to move him in to 2nd place in the Anglers Mark 2024 Bragging Rights Tournament-Redfish Category(scroll down the right side of this report for standings). Boy what fish. 

But we weren't finished, by a long shot!  Tylor went up to a grassy point and BAM! Big Fish On! He played it perfectly and landed an Oversized 29" Redfish to move in to 3rd place in the Bragging Rights Tournament.  Byrd went up to the same area and BAM! Big Fish On! He expertly battled this fish to the net and landed ANOTHER oversized 28" Redfish. They continued to fish this same spot, added two more Slot Reds, then Byrd, wanting to get on the Bragging Rights board, went back and caught a 29" Oversized Red. Boy what a finish!  We headed back to the ramp and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 



Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Uptick In Redfish Bite

 

We waited to go until the top of the tide today, meeting at 9am out at Goffinsville Park.  John Raker and Kenny King met me at the dock and where we were the tide was still coming in. So we made a quick run over to Pumpkin Hill and drifted float rigs and live shrimp down a flooding marsh bank. We had not a single bite for that stretch but after we dropped back and fished a pocket and here John found a Slot Red on the back side of the pocket which he handily brought to the net. 

We then made a run back to Seymore's Point and fished a large drainage. The duo picked up a handful of Mangrove Snapper, four of which were of keeper size. Kenny battled a bigger fish for a bit but it thru the hook half way to the boat. Ouch.  After running thru Horsehead and over to Pompano Pointe we continued to fish the floats and it paid off. Kenny picked up a Jack Crevalle then as we eased along the grass we saw some movement up in a pocket. John made an excellent cast to the grass and the float slowly went under, and Fish On!  John played it perfectly and brought another Slot Red to the boat. He and Kenny both had good hookups later and added another Redish to the fish count. 

We moved around to Jackstaff and fished a creek and here Kenny got hot, adding a Redfish and Bluefish the catch count. John battled a FBPPB (Fat Bellied Probably Pregnant Bonnethead) worthy of some sort of Bragging Rights to the boat for photograph and release.

After running back thru Horsehead we headed down to Twin Creeks and fished it a bit with jigs and shrimp, then we moved down to a drainage and here Kenny expertly played a Slot Red to the boat while at the same town John landed a hungry Seatrout. We finished up over at Back River, fishing floats. Kenny caught a 11 Spot Redfish to wrap things up which made for another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.