Fernandina Fishing Report

Fernandina Fishing Report
Author: Terry D. Lacoss

A major black drum spawn will take place along the beaches and inlets of Amelia Island during the month of March during the full or new moon phase. Look for black drum weighing from 20-80 pounds to be caught just few hundred yards off from the eastern end of Atlantic Avenue on Main Beach.  Here a deep slough that has a hard bottom is the big attraction for spawning drum.  Several black drums are also caught while fishing at the tip of the St. Mary’s jetty rocks and in the deep, fishy waters of Cumberland Sound.

Black drum typically spawns at sunset and during a new or full moon.   Black drum spawn multiple times while they are in bays, jetties and along the beaches.  The spawning process lasts just over an hour and when there is good current, preferably a hard in-coming tide.  Pair an in-coming tide with a new or full moon and black drum will have maximum current conditions for spawning.  The hard-running tides produced by the new, or full moon disperses the fertilized eggs much more efficiently than a slow moving current.  Black drum also school during their spawning season where they can be caught with excellent results.

Best bait for black drum continues to be half a blue crab fished dead on the bottom. First the hard shell is removed, and the crab is split into two halves.  A 7/0 kahle hook is then barbed through the body of the crab and out through a leg.

Terminal drum fishing tackle includes 30-50-pound braided fishing line spooled on either a large spinning, or level wind fishing reel.  The fishing rod should have a stout butt section with a medium action tip, in lengths from 7-7 ½ feet.  A six-ounce egg sinker is threaded onto the terminal fishing line and a black 100-pound barrel swivel connects the terminal fishing line to a 3-foot section of 100-lb. fluorocarbon shock leader.  Finally, a 7/0 kahle hook completes your drum fishing tackle.

David Cartwright holds the Florida all tackle black drum record with his 96-pound black drum that he landed on April12, 2001.  Cartwright was night fishing just off from “Main Beach” with blue crab on the bottom when his big drum was caught.

However, Stella Moore is best known for her record breaking 93-pound black drum that she landed on March 28, 1957. Mrs. Moore still holds Florida’s 50-pound all tackle black drum record.  It was one of the more notable saltwater records, as Stella Moore weighed 89-pound, while the drum weighed 96-pounds!

Current black drum regulations allow fishermen to keep five black drum per day measuring at least 14 inches with one black drum measuring over 24-inches.  For more information please visit www.myfwc.com.

Beach fishing for spotted sea trout is excellent at the little rock jetties located at the southern portion of Amelia Island during all the in-coming tide with the last portion of the flooding tide key.  Also expect to catch redfish, flounder and bluefish while drifting a live shrimp under a small bright colored float.   Working a clear plastic curly tail rigged to a 18thounce led head jig slowly along the bottom is a very productive fishing tactic here as well.

Large schools of bull redfish will be prowling the beaches for schools of menhaden, which can offer an amazing light tackle fishing challenge.  Here redfish up to forty-pounds are seen creating a large turbelance on the surface while busting up large schools of menhaden. Also, commonly called pogies.

Tailing redfish will be feeding in the flooded spartina marshes during a full moon tide which arrives on March 17th.  Casting a DOA shrimp into an opening in the flooded grass is key where tailing redfish are feeding on fiddler crabs.
A second spawn should take place for largemouth bass in many of Northeast Florida’s freshwater rivers.  Once again fishing the last of the flooding tide in a shallow slough is key while fishing with live shiners, minnow type plugs and dark colored plastic worms. Lofton Creek continues to produce nice catches of freshwater bass during the last of the in-coming tide.

Sheepshead fishing should be excellent at KBY artificial reef while fishing dead on the bottom with fiddler crabs, or a piece of conch.

For more fishing information please visit www.ameliaangler.com, or call 904-261-2870