Amelia Island/Fernandina

Author:  Terry D. Laces 
Title:      Amelia Island Fishing Report

June finds a variety of saltwater game fish from just behind the breaking surf to just a few miles offshore due to the warm water temperatures and abundance of bait fish.  Many live bait fishermen will be targeting cobia, king mackerel and tarpon which highlight the summer fishing action.

Good numbers of cobia weighing from ten to even eighty-pounds will be schooling along the beaches, inlet mouths and at offshore lime rock ledges and sunken wrecks. . A 5/0 circle hook barbed through both nostrils of a live eel, pogy or mullet is a deadly cobia fishing tactic. Also include large fresh shrimp or squid.  Large dark colored plastic worms, rapalas and 1-oz. led head jigs rigged with a large chartruese plastic curly tail are all deadly cobia lures as well.

Beach and inlet fishermen can also expect to see a major migration of tarpon, jack crevalle, sharks and king mackerel that will make their summer home along the beaches and inlet mouths of Amelia Island.

Sea trout fishing in the backwaters of Amelia Island is excellent during the last three hours of the in-coming tide where clean saltwater is flooding over dock pilings, rocks and oyster beds.  Large trout will also stage on the deep sides of spartina marshes where there is a nearby oysterbar or small marsh creek.

Redfish are tailing during the last hour of the flooding tide where vast spartina marshes shallow up on a flat where numerous oysterbars and small tidal creeks allow reds to migrate in and from the flooding marshes.  A good area to look for tailing reds includes the vast amounts of marshes and bays located just south of the “Shave” Bridge.  As the tide floods these large bays look for redfish to go real skinny as they feed on fiddler crabs and crustaceans.

Anchoring off your shallow water skiff and wade fishing offers excellent red fishing during the last of hour of the flood tide and just a few minutes of the falling tide.  Be sure and leave the flooded flats in a timely manner as within a blink of the eye you may be stuck in the mud!

Best lures for flood tide redfish include a crab pattern fly, or a Berkley Gulp Shrimp.
The month of June is also an excellent month when targeting excellent eating grouper at FA live bottom, tug and barge.  One of the better baits for grouper is simply the head of a freshly caught Spanish Mackerel fished dead on the bottom.  Also include live mullet, pinfish, grunts and fresh local squid.

Live bait trolling offshore at FA fish haven is also productive for cobia, kingfish, barracuda, Spanish mackerel and the occasional sailfish.  Live bait fishermen will have the option of cast netting menhaden at the St. Mary’s inlet, or jigging up Spanish sardines and cigar minnows at the St. Mary’s “Sea Buoy”.

Shark fishing is always excellent during the month of June at the St. Mary’s inlet where local working shrimp boats are a magnet for a variety of pelagic sharks weighing to over 200-pounds.  Simply navigate right behind a working shrimp boat while free lining a large chunk of fish using a 100-pound wire leader and 8/0 circle hook.

Black drum will be running just off from historic Fort Clinch during the last of the falling and the last of the incoming tides. Anchor up your fishing boat where the water depths fall off from 20-50 feet of water while fishing on the bottom with chunks of blue crab, clams or large fresh shrimp.

Flounder fishing is also excellent close to the Fort Clinch jetty rocks and along the St. Mary’s rock jetties as well.  Slowly retrieve a live finger mullet, or mud minnow along the edges of the rocks during a falling tide.

Excellent sheepshead fishing can be enjoyed while tying off to the Shave Bridge and fishing close to the barnacle clad bridge supports.  Bring along a straight nosed shovel while scraping the barnacles off from the pilings which will be sure to chum up a delicious eating sheepshead that may weigh well over ten-pounds!

Finally blue water fishermen can expect to catch dolphin weighing to fifty-pounds during the month of June while trolling large ballyhoo close to large concentrations of weed lines.  Be sure and check the weather before heading offshore as the “Big Ledge” is located some sixty-nautical miles offshore of Amelia Island.  Typically blue water fishermen will begin trolling in 120-feet of water and troll east into 200-feet of water searching for good concentrations of dolphin.  Also look for flying fish and birds which are a great indication that dolphin are close by.

Finally beach fishing is excellent during the first few hours of sunrise and the last few hours of sunset.  Fish with ultra-fresh shrimp, or sift the surf for sand fleas.  Beach fishermen can expect to catch pompano, whiting, blues, redfish and sea trout.
For more Amelia Island fishing information please call (904) 261-2870, or visit