Monday, October 16, 2023

Wind Driven

 I fished two trips with the Walter Mann crew - he and his fishing partner Bobby Horston and Bobby's son Eric on Saturday morning. We meet up at the Old Town Bait and Tackle boat ramp and headed over to the Jolley River. It was still "shorts" weather but the wind was already picking up. Running up the Jolley, we made our first stop at a point of grass on a high and incoming tide and  fished float rigs with mud minnows. Walter picked up a a couple of Seatrout. We went further up  the Jolley, fished Snook Creek Bank, then eased in to the Snook and switched to Jigs and the minnows. I think we did get a Mangrove Snapper and a Whiting on those jigs.

After the tide hit high we came back to the outside of Tyger and fished the very first of an outgoing and a caught a feisty Redfish right up in the grass. After running thru Tyger and around to the Bell and up Lanceford we fished a dock with jigs to the pilings and a float to the shoreline. Bobby was on the float and after working it around some pilings, BAM! Fish On! He played it perfectly and brought to to the net a keeper sized Seatrout (all fish caught these trips were released)

After fishing around the corner a bit, we headed back to the dock.

Today I met Walter and Bobby up at Old Town again, but it was NOT shorts weather! Luckily we had all paid heed to the weather forecast - windy and cool - and dressed accordingly. This time we headed down the Intercoastal to fish some structure on a tide that had been coming in a few hours. We pulled up and pitched jigs and live shrimp and caught a couple of Toad Fish, a handful of Mangrove Snapper, and a

feisty Redfish. 

Continuing on, thru Horsehead and over to Seymore's Pointe, we fished a dock and here Bobby battled a hard fighting Jack Crevalle to the net. Then, down to Pumpkin Hill where we drifted floats along the flooding marsh grass. We had some nibbles, but no takers. We moved around the corner and continued with the floats, now at a grassy island and this paid off. Bobby had gone up to the grass with an excellent cast and when his float disappeared he began to crank, and crank! The fish was coming towards him! He caught up to it and the fight was on! It was pulling deep and hard but Bobby kept the pressure on and worked him from bow to stern and from port to starboard and finally to the net - a big 22.25" Seatrout! Which moved Bobby into a big tie for 3rd in the Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament-Seatrout Category. (scroll down the right side of this report for standings).

We fished some rocks back at Seymore's and did battle with Mangroves (we won some and they won
some), and Walter put a Grouper n the boat (the third I've seen this year). Then we fished Christopher Creek for a bit and then headed back up the Intercoastal, into the cool wind. But as we made our way to the dock we counted it as another great two days of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, October 13, 2023

Battling The Elements

 Boy what a rain system we had yesterday - it rained so much I had to go out and "lift" the cover on my boat to get the pools of water off of it, Three times! And again this morning! But the forecast had actually improved for today and although it misted a bit between the bait shop and Goffinsville Park, by the time I launched it was clearing. I met Charles Land and his daughter Savanah early and we made a quick run over to Pumpkin Hill and began to toss float rigs baited with mud minnows. The tide was coming in, still for another couple of hours, but I couldn't believe that it was already well flooded up in the grass. It was dead calm with zero breeze and the Sand Gnats were out in full force! We put on "armor" battled on. 

They had a couple of nibbles, but no takers so we moved up to a point and fished down the other side and that did the trick. Charles "knocked the skunk off" when he hooked up long and brought in a hungry Seatrout, then another, then Savanah got on the board and caught a high flying Ladyfish.  We fished down a ways and had a few nibbles and then moved on. 

Over at Seymore's Point Savanah's first cast produced a quick bite and Fish On! This fish was big and running - it headed up into the marsh but Savanah kept the pressure on and kept it out of the grass. It then came towards us and she had to crank, crank and crank to keep up with it, then it went deep on the other side of the boat. Savanah stayed with it, worked it up to the boat and landed a big Jack Crevalle. 

After running thru Horsehead and over to Poteat Cut we fished a bank just as the tide started out there but had no luck. Over in Jackstaff we worked along a bank. Savanah had gone right up in to some flooded grass with a cast and BAM! She had a hookup. I thought for sure it was a nice Redfish but as she brought it to the net we saw that it was a big 19.5" Seatrout! Boy what a fish!

After fishing over at Back River for just a bit we headed back to the ramp and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Making The Grade

 It looks like we squeezed in today's trip before tomorrows nasty weather shows up. I had met Robert Stettner and his fishing partner David Vice out at the  Goffinsville Park boat ramp as the sun came up and as the weather channel had forecast, it was "Calm" - the water was like glass. We made a quick run over to Pumpkin Hill in an attempt to catch the very last of an incoming tide and sure enough, we still had some current running. Both anglers were tossing float rigs and mudminnows and letting them drift long and within minutes we had fish. They picked up a handful of Seatrout with two of them being of keeper size. Robert also caught and battled a big Jack Crevalle to the net for photograph and release. If I had to grade these two anglers, they were right at a C+!

We then ran around to Seymore's Point and fished a large drainage with the float rigs (we stayed with them the entire trip) and had a good many bites but no real takers. Our next stop, after running thru Horsehead, was over at Poteat Cut where we set up on a point and fished the now outgoing tide. This paid off - they caught Seatrout and Ladyfish, then Robert hooked up with a feisty Redfish and battled it to the boat. David went up to the grass with a good cast and BAM! Big Fish On! He played it perfectly and worked it patiently to the boat and net - a nice 22" Slot sized Redfish.  They were up to a B+!

Back over to Jackstaff we went, and up a creek where we worked the grass line with the floats. They picked up one Redfish along the bank then we moved on. After another run back thru Horsehead we made our way down to the Back River and set  up to fish. School was in! We were at the "Honey Hole"!  We had non-stop action - I think I yelled "Double" a few times. At first it was Seatrout. David put a couple of keepers in the boat then Robert added a keeper to the box. David hooked up and landed a Slot sized 21" Red, then they caught more Trout, more feisty Redfish, another Jack, and Robert rounded out his Amelia Island Backcountry Slam with a Flounder catch. Then David had a strong hookup and this fish wasn't coming in. He played it like a Pro - like an upperclassman -  like a Beta Club alumni! It pulled to the shell bank, and David worked it out and brought it to the net, a big 26" Slot Redfish! That one put us over the limit and had to go back after photographs. 

We had had pretty good day of fishing and had ended with 45 minutes of fish catching and as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida and achieving Honor Roll status - A+ for the day!

Monday, October 9, 2023

Fish'n the Fly

 Oh boy what a beautiful day today!  I was really looking forward to getting out on the water after the temperatures dropped over the weekend and sure enough, cool, clear and sunny was waiting on us! I had met Seth Bush and his son Gates down at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp early and we headed up the intercoastal, all the way up to Poteat Cut with a plan that Seth would fish spin and bait while Gates tossed the fly on a high and outgoing tide. We baited Seth with live shrimp and started Gates off with a topwater Gurgler. It's hard to beat a live shrimp and Seth "knocked the skunk off" when he boated a couple of hungry Seatrout and tangled with a handful of Ladyfish. Although Gates didn't pick up a fish, he was getting excellent casts and had one "spit" at his fly.

We moved over Jackstaff and fished a couple of outflows, working the bank slowly, Seth on the bow with the bait, Gates off the stern with the fly. Again, Seth had the hookup and expertly landed a feisty Redfish. After running thru Horsehead and down to Back River we set up along a bank as the oysters were just beginning to expose. This time Seth was on the stern and drifting long along the bank, he picked up a handfull of the feisty Redfish. I released the trolling motor and let the boat drop back and Gates made a perfect cast to the shell bank and BAM! Fish On! He was fishing a crab pattern fly and it paid off. Gates played it perfectly and landed a nice Redfish. From then on both anglers were getting fish - Seth off the stern and Gates off the bow. Seth had a big one on, was working it slowly, but this fish had other plans, It made its way to the shore line and submerged oysters and BAP! Fish off! Later, Gates had a big one on the fly rod and the same thing happened, the tippet broke. 

But shortly afterwards Gates made a cast up into a gap between two oyster beds and BAM! A fish took it and ran deep, then dug deep. Gates worked it up slowly, stayed patient, and landed a hard fighting Jack Crevalle. 

We fished between two docks and Seth caught a couple or three Mangrove Snapper then we ran down to Spanish Drop and fished the bank. We were about to wrap things up and Gates made an excellent long cast up into the mouth of a drainage. As we worked it back, the fly came over a shell point and he had a hookup. The fish wasn't putting much of a fight, but was heavy, and sure enough when Gates worked it to the surface he had a nice keeper sized Flounder! Boy what a catch. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fly fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, October 6, 2023

Finding the Sweet Spot


This morning was the first since last Tuesday - a week ago - that we didn't have high winds. What was with that? But this morning was perfect weather, just a slight breeze and overcast skies when I met Todd Johnson and his fishing buddy David up at the Old Town Bait and Tackle boat ramp. The tide still had about and hour and a half of going out so we hit some docks to fish the pilings with jigs an mud minnows and live shrimp.  The first dock I thought for sure we'd get fish and David did "knock the skunk off" when he hooked up and expertly landed a feisty Redfish. We had a couple of other hookups but they threw the hook. Before we left the area we moved down a dock or two and fished those pilings. Todd had the strong hookup this time and when it was ripping drag and trying to dig back into the pilings we knew it was a nice fish, Fish On!  Todd kept the pressure on and worked it out of the pilings and eventually to the net, a nice 23" Slot Sized Redfish (with 8 spots)!

We then made the run over to Tyger Island and fished the "logs", working slowly along the bank as the tide started back in . We had great conditions and the perfect tide but not much luck. These two angles did reel in a few Mangrove Snapper and a wayward Black Sea Bass. 

After making our way around to the Jolley River we worked back to Snook Creek, getting a few nibbles, but no real takers. But when we reached a point of oysters David had made a good cast up beyond the point and BAM! He had a hookup. I think David caught a handful of hungry Seatrout before Todd could get his rod unlimbered!  We had hit a "Sweet Spot".  They caught Seatrout and a handful of feisty Redfish and tangled with Shark and Gar Fish. And then they added a keeper Seatrout to the box. 

Our final stop was back down the Jolley, fishing another point and again David's first cast produced a fish - a hungry Seatrout- and again, he hooked up with a couple of more BAM, BAM, BAM!  Todd was fishing long out  of the stern and found Seatrout and a couple of nice feisty Redfish. We tangled with one more Gar Fish here. We had found our 2nd Sweet Spot of the day!  We had had some good action for the most part and as we headed back to the ramp we counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Monday, October 2, 2023

We Beat the Wind


I knew it was going to be a pretty day, and it was, but I was also aware of the winds that have been battering us the last week and they were forecast for today, and sure enough, it was blowing! I met Ed Hill and his friend Tina out at Goffinsville Park and with my "plan" in mind, we ran down to Broward Island to try and fish the very last and first of an incoming tide. As we worked the bank, pitching jigs and live shrip to the bank these two anglers began to get bites. Ed "knocked the skunk off" when he hooked up and patiently brought to the boat a feisty Redfish.  Then both anglers caught a couple of Reds, and...a Catfish!

We moved back down the river to Pumpkin Hill and fished a point, drifting float rigs with the current and wind. They caught another Redfish, Tina put a keeper sized Seatrout in the boat, then they both battled hard fighting Jack Crevalle. And they added one small Mangrove Snapper to the catch. After fishing a small grass patch we moved on - the wind was really kicking!

Our next stop was up between two docks, tossing the jigs and shrimp again. It didn't take long for this duo to find some Mangrove Snappers up under a tree and they quickly mastered the hookup. Although most of them were small, they did put two large one in the box.  They also put a surprise in the boat - a small Gag Grouper!

The tide was really up, the wind was still blowing so we stayed in the lee of the land and drifted some float rigs to a point, then moved into Christopher Creek to try our luck. But the fish were done so we headed back to the ramp and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Sunday, October 1, 2023

AIGA Inshore Classic October 20-21 2023

 The 8th Annual AIGA Inshore Classic Fast Approaching

The AIGA 8th Annual Inshore Classic is scheduled for October 20 (Captains Meeting) and October 21st - the fishing!  It will be hosted at Old Town Bait and Tackle at 1620 N. 14th Street, Fernandina Beach, Florida. 32034

All anglers will be required to enter the "Spot Tournament". There will be an Adult Division and a Youth Division. Anglers will have the option to enter an Aggregate Boat category which will consist of the Heaviest Redfish and Heaviest Seatrout, combined. 

The Captains meeting will be held at 7pm on Friday October 20th at Old Town Bait and Tackle. Registration formally begins at 6pm, but in the past, the AIGA has taken early Registrations while setting up. Entry forms can be found on the website ,CLICK HERE. or they can be picked up at Old Town Bait and Tackle, Amelia Bait and Tackle, or RennWorks Outdoors.  Early entries will be eligible for a prize drawing!

The American Legion Post 54 will be cooking hamburgers for sale, and will have sides of chips or potato salad available.  All of the proceeds will go to the American Legion to help support our local veterans! Come Hungry!

Bring your young anglers for a FREE photograph with Bull the Redfish!

Rennworks Outdoors has donated TWO very nice Rod/Reel Combos for a Special Raffle - tickets will be $10 each.

..or win 1/2 of a COW! Butchered and packaged - tickets will be $10

More GREAT Raffle and Silent Auction Items..Rod/Reels, Reels, Beautiful Seatrout Mount, Handcrafted leather journal...and more!

Visit the AIGA Inshore Classic October 20-21 at Old Town Bait and Tackle, 1620 N. 14th Street, Fernandina Beach, Florida

Extreme High Tides and Strong Winds

 Talk about some difficult fishing!  After an outstanding day Tuesday as a huge system passed thru, we ended up moving Wednesday's trip to Friday and cancelling Thursday. Friday, the rains had finished but we still had wind 12-17 as the morning progressed. I thought we could get some fishing in, and we did, but I wasn't counting on a extreme high tide to make matters worse. As we fished  you could see those strong north winds just pushing water into the back waters. Crazy!

But my guests on Friday, the Ahrens family were up for the challenge. We fished south, meeting down at Sawpit Creek. I was thinking our best shot at fish was to fish Pumpkin Hill on the last of an incoming tide. As we fished they had some nibbles, but no real takers, until Brian hooked up with something strong, on a shrimp under a float, that ran hard and strong and BAP! Fish Off! Probably a Shark. Later we ran up into Christopher Creek to get out of the wind and here Henry had the strong hookup. This fish went right under the boat, heading north, but Henry stayed with it, got his rod around the engine and up to the bow and fought it magnificently! He got it to the boat and we could have "gaffed it" if we had wanted it - a nice 3' Black Tip Shark!  I tried netting it but it was too big for the net and as we waited for it to tire, it made one last lunge and was off. 

Later we fished some rocks at Nassauville, out of the wind, with jigs and here Brian boated a couple of Mangrove Snapper. It had been a tough day but we persevered and got a few fish to the boat. 

Yesterday we had pretty much the same condition - not enough wind to call the trip, but enough to make it difficult. That north wind continued as Brian Syme, his son Nicholas and friend David met the challenge. Again, that north wind was pushing that high tide even higher. And again, I thought our best chance was to beat it by running over to the Jolley and fishing floats, but again, it was already too high, and moving fast!

These anglers stayed patient and it paid off, eventually!   But I was beginning to worry!  We had fished for at least two hours with not hardly a nibble. After hitting a few spots in the Jolly we made our way around to Bell River, and out of the wind, begin to toss jigs and live shrimp. The tide was really high, not ideal for where we were, but the move paid off. Brian had a strong hookup, a big fish!  Brian worked it to the surface slowly and when I saw it's huge maw of a mouth "big Trout" flashed thru my mind but when it got to the surface I saw it was a massive Flounder! Netted, it measured right at 22" - big enough to move Brian into a tie for First Place in the Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament - Flounder Category. (scroll down the right side of this report for standings). Boy what a fish!

We hit a few other spots, trying to stay out of the wind and even though the last one, behind Tyger Island was not where I normally would have fished on such a high tide, it paid off when David put a nice hard fighting Jack Crevalle in the boat, and Brian added a keeper size Seatrout.

It looks like the winds will continue in to Monday, but I'll probably fish anyway, knowing that it's always great to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The Grande Finale

When we talked last night we agreed to touch base this morning as to whether we really wanted to get out and fish with forecasted rains. And when I launched it was dark and stormy and pretty much stayed that way the entire day - all around us - north and south and east and west - but we never got wet! I had met William and Dara Blalock up at the Old Town Bait and Tackle boat ramp and after easing out of Eagans Creek we made our way over to Tyger Island and set up on a corner of grass just as the tide started out. 

We didn't know it at the time, but Dara's first cast was to set the tone for the rest of the day. BAM! She had a hookup on her float rig and mud minnow! She worked it to the boat and landed a keeper sized Seatrout. They had a few nibbles after that, then we drifted down the bank with the tide and we were beginning to think that first fish "jinxed" us but we hit a pocket and William reeled in a keeper sized Flounder, then both he and Dara caught a handful of Redfish, one of which was a small Slot sized. Things were picking up. 

Working around the corner we found that if we fished the back side of some grassy points, where there was a bit of current, we'd get fish. This duo of anglers caught another few Redfish, two were in the Slot, and they caught a good 4-5 Flounder, one of which was keeper size. We switched to jigs and minnows and caught fish along that entire bank. The bite seemed to be best on the higher outgoing tide.

Our next stop was around at Jolley Bank, Dara fishing the stern with the float rig and William fishing the bow with the jig - and it appeared that the jig was the trick - William put a few Redfish in the boat, and another Flounder. We ran up a ways and fished a point with the floats and caught a couple of Seatrout, then further up the river we fished a large drainage. Here, Dara got hot with the float rig, drifting it long to a bend and "rift" in the water and BAM! Redfish. Bam! Redfish. Bam! Redfish. William was on the bow and picked up another keeper sized Flounder (William was the Flounder King today). 

That last spot was pretty good for action  and it was going to be hard to top but little did we know we were in for a 'Grande Finale"! We made our way around to the MOA, and set up down current and almost immediately began to catch fish. Dara was hitting the top of the oyster bar with her jig and shrimp and was catching one Redfish after the other. William followed her to the bank and caught a keeper sized Black "puppy" Drum, then went deep and caught a keeper sized Seatrout. Then both anglers were catching Redfish. I think we had at least three "double" hookups. We fished until we ran out of bait then William put a little piece of shrimp on for "one last cast" and BOOM! Big Fish On! William played it perfectly and after a good battle landed a nice 25" Slot Redfish. 

We had a good handful of keeper sized fish but most were thrown back and a only a few kept for dinner. and as we headed back to the ramp, we finally had a sprinkle but we still counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida. 

Friday, September 22, 2023

Offshore in the Backwater?

 We gambled with the weather forecast today - it was calling for winds up to 16-17mph and when I launched the  skies were ugly with storm clouds. I was meeting Douglas and Cindy Bailey and their son Dylan up at the Old Town Bait and Tackle boat ramp and we had decided that we'd give it a go and hope for the best, and I'm glad we did!

After running up the creek we set up current from a dock and pitched jigs and shrimp and minnows back to the pilings. Dylan got hot early and put a good handful of small Mangrove Snapper in the boat and then they hooked and landed a small Grouper!  Then Douglas had a strong bite, set the hook and, Fish On! Douglas played it patiently and after a good battle landed a nice Slot Redfish. We fed a bunch of "baitstealers", too, while we were there.

We then made a run down the intercoastal and fished some rocks and here Douglas found a hole that had some feisty Redfish that he handily hooked up and brought to the boat. Then we had a good bite deep and as it ripped drag and we knew we had another big Fish On!  Dylan was on the rod and did outstanding keeping it out of some structure that was behind us. He worked it slowly away from them but not too forceful and when he got it out deep; we know we had 'em. Dylan played it expertly and eventually brought to the net a Slot sized 22" Redfish. 

After running thru Horsehead we found a dock to fish out of the increasing wind and again, this trio of anglers caught small Mangroves, but one of two were of keeper size. Cindy hooked up an landed a hungry Seatrout and Dylan added a Sea Bass to the catch. We then ran around to Nassauville and fished between two docks and again caught Mangroves, with Cindy putting the biggest of the day in the boat. Douglas was fishing deep but then hung up on some bottom and when he pulled it off, BAM! A big fish hit his bait. Douglas kept the pressure on and worked it up to land a big 21" Gator Trout, boy what a fish. He also added a small Flounder to his catch. 

After fishing some rocks with float rigs and getting a couple of more Mangroves, we ran thru Jackstaff and fished some flooding marsh grass with the floats. They added a couple of more feisty Redfish to their catch total then we headed back to the ramp, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.