Fernandina / Amelia Island – August Fishing Report
Title: “Amelia Island Tarpon”
Some of the best tarpon fishing comes during the month of August when water temperatures are the warmest and there is no shortage of bait fish. Nice schools of tarpon can be located along the pristine beaches of Amelia Island and the St. Mary’s and Nassau inlets. Savoy salts can also hook up to high leaping silver kings in the back country as well. Anchoring your fishing boat up tide of a nice school of tarpon while fishing dead on the bottom with barbed menhaden, mullet, whiting or croaker is a deadly tarpon fishing tactic.
Standard tarpon tackle includes 20-50 pound braided fishing line with a 3-4 foot section of 80-100 pound mono shock leader followed by a 7/0 circle hook. A fish finder sleeve is attached to the main line which allows different size weights to be exchanged. A 100-pound swivel connects the main line to the shock leader. Barb the menhaden from the bottom of the mouth through the top of the head while cutting the tail off which allows the scent to seep out into the water. Chumming is very effective while cutting menhaden up into small pieces and slowly tossing them overboard creating a deep water chum slick. Tarpon fishermen should also attach a large buoy to their anchor line so that the anchor can be released when a wide shouldered tarpon spends most of your fishing line from your saltwater fishing reel.
Also keep in mind the old saying “Drop the Rod Tip” when the silver king is in the middle of a big jump, should not apply to Northeast Florida tarpon. Once the hook is set, keep the rod tip up!
Fishermen are not allowed to bring tarpon out of the water and into a boat unless they have a tarpon tag. A lifelike mount can be made of your released tarpon by measuring the length and girth while the tarpon is still in the water. For more information on tarpon regulations please visit www.myfwc.com.
Surf fishing at Amelia Island 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.
A few smoker king mackerel will be foraging just off from the breakers located at the south end of Amelia Island, the deep St. Mary’s shipping channel and offshore live bottoms. Best angling tactic includes slow trolling live baits including menhaden, mullet or Spanish sardines.
Red drum begins their fall migration and spawn during late August where the best action comes during the last of the in-coming tide. Fish dead on the bottom with cut baits, or live mullet while anchoring just off from the tip of the rock jetties.
Redfish will be tailing in the many bays found in the backwaters of Amelia Island during the last of the in-coming tide. As soon as the tide begins to fall, redfish will disappear from the flooded marsh flats and relocate on the deep sides of oysterbars, sandbars and boat docks. Best bait is a 1/8th ounce led head jig and Berkley Gulp shrimp in the “New Penny” color pattern.
Sea trout fishing is also excellent in “Tiger Basin” which is located straight west from the Dee Dee Bartel public boat ramp and park. Casting a Storm “Chug Bug” over flooded oyster laden hard bottoms is the key in catching sea trout measuring over the 20-inch mark. Some of the best action comes during the middle of the in-coming tide and during the first few hours of the falling tide.
Flounder fishing is excellent during the falling tide while slowly working weighted live finger mullet along the bottom at the footsteps of historic Fort Clinch. August flounder will also be found in good numbers where boat dock pilings run out to a deep channel as well.
Whiting fishing is also excellent while anchoring up in the deep waters of the St. Mary’s Sound and fishing dead on the bottom with fresh shrimp. Look for puppy drum weighing to 20-pounds to hold during the flood and some of the falling tide at the St. Mary’s inlet as well.
For Amelia Island fishing information, please call (904) 261-2870, or visit www.ameliaangler.com, or visit www.ameliaangler.com.
Author: T. D. Lacoss
111 Centre St.
Fernandina Beach, Fl. 32034