October Fernandina Beach
The month of October is an excellent time of year to fish the deep water drops at both Cumberland and Nassau Sounds. Fishing dead on the bottom during the last few hours of the in-coming and the first few hours of the falling tides produces non stop action for red drum that can weigh up to fifty-pounds. Cooling water temperatures also signals a major shrimp spawn in the nearby bays and tidal rivers where game fish including sea trout, flounder and redfish can be found taking advantage of the abundance of forage foods.
I would have to say though, flounder fishing is tops during the month of October where flatfish can weigh over the ten-pound mark. Look for the best flounder fishing action during all of a falling tide while slowly crawling weighted bullhead minnows, finger mullet, strip baits, or live shrimp along a rough bottom. The Florida State “All tackle” record southern flounder was caught by Larenza Mungin on December 23, 1983 weighing 20.9-pounds. Mungin was fishing with live mullet from the Nassau Sound Bridge.
Targeting creek mouths during the last of the falling and first of the in-coming tides with a Berkley Gulp shrimp barbed on a ¼ ounce led head jig and worked slowly along the bottom will produce excellent redfish and sea trout action as well. I also like to cast a “Redfish Magic” spinner at these same creek mouths while using a white/chartreuse colored plastic tail. Simply position your fishing boat with an electric motor at the mouth of a falling creek mouth and make casts first to both the left and right points of the creek mouth. Finally cast far back into the creek mouth and work your artificial lure out into the main creek making sure that you keep your rod tip high and not allow your lure to make contact with the bottom. Once the lure enters the main creek, slow your retrieve and allow your lure to work the deep edges of the creek mouth.
Be sure and bring along your cast net as shrimp will be thick in many of the small tidal rivers where a deep cut borders a large marsh flat that drains into the cut. In many cases bait size shrimp will be jumping right out of the water into you live well!
Topwater fishing is also excellent during the first of the incoming tide when trout and redfish are gorging themselves on the fall spawn of shrimp. My favorite lure by far is a Storm “Chug Bug” in the chrome and blue back color pattern. Keep you rod tip low while producing sharp plops of the surface plug.
Surf fishing at Amelia Island and Nassau Sound should produce excellent catches of sea trout, whiting, pompano, flounder, bluefish and redfish during the early morning and late evening tides. Casting a ¼-ounce led head jig rigged with a clear curly plastic tail with blue glitter is key for big catches of sea trout measuring to over twenty-inches. Fishing dead on the bottom with live finger mullet is also a great surf fishing tactic, so be sure and bring along a six-foot cast net and live bait bucket.
Offshore fishermen will be targeting gag grouper at FA, HH and FC fish havens while targeting rock ledges. Fish dead on the bottom with live pinfish, mullet, Spanish sardines or menhaden. Black sea bass fishing should also improve with cooling water temperatures while fishing with cut baits, or fresh local squid.
Trolling species including kingfish, barracuda, cobia and Spanish mackerel will take a trolled “Popsicle” more commonly known as a dead cigar minnow. However the trolling action does slow down offshore when a Northeast wind is blowing causing.
A few tarpon will still be holding in the deep waters of both the Nassau and Cumberland Sounds during the middle of the in-coming tide and right up to flood tide. Fish dead on the bottom with cut bait barbed to a 7/0 circle hook, using a six-foot section of 100-pound fluorocarbon shock leader. A 4-6 ounce bank sinker is rigged to a fish finder oon the main line, using just enough weight to keep the bait on the bottom.
Redfish will be tailing in the flooded marshes during a full moon and a good northeast wind. Fly fishermen will do well while casting a crab pattern while a live finger mullet or bullhead minnow barbed to ¼ ounce led head jig may well be the best angling tactic when hooking up to September flood tide reds.
Largemouth bass fishing in the St. Mary’s and Nassau upper reaches will begin to produce bass up to 7-pounds while casting a gold floating “Rapala” close to shoreline cover, or an unweighted dark colored plastic worm. My favorite creek to fish during the Fall fishing season is Thomas’ Creek, which feeds the Nassau River just above the I-95 Bridge.
For more fishing and charter information please call Amelia Angler Outfitters at 904-261-2870.