Big Backwater Bite

“Big Backwater Bite”

By Terry Lacoss

After power poling down with both Power Poles and just within casting distance of a fishy Amelia Island boat dock,  Seconds later Glenda Crosby was playing a huge “Gator” trout that literally amazed the nearby dock owner!

“That’s the biggest trout I’ve ever seen caught around my dock,” the dock owner said. “Hope you get to land that big trout”!

Glenda’s big trout thrashed wildly on the surface hoping to dislodge the sharp saltwater hooks that remained firmly set in the big trout’s mouth.  Glenda played the big trout with kid’s gloves, as I had encouraged her to take her time and not to jerk hard with her rod and reel as it would surely result in the hooks pulling free.  Luckily the hooks stayed set and Glenda was soon posing with her big catch while I snapped several photos.

Also fishing aboard my boat the “Amelia Angler” was grandson David Lacoss and his wife Adriana.  We had stopped and fished at a few other spots with little luck, however this Amelia River boat dock was simply alive with backcountry fishing action.  We ended up catching some really nice sheepshead and “Puppy” drum before we decided that we had enough for dinner!

A few days prior John Deere a large group meeting at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, chartered several backwater fishing boats from the Fernandina Harbor Marina.

“It was one of my better days of fishing”, Captain Keith Edwards skipper of the Miss Kayla charter fishing boat said.  “Our guests hooked into a big school of black and red drum at Cumberland Sound while fishing dead on the bottom with fresh shrimp. It was also an excellent tide while the tide was just coming in.  It also helps when there is a light wind so that you can anchor up properly, allowing my anglers baited hooks to be fished right on the bottom and on top of the structure.”

Captain Ben Forehand also put his John Deere guests on some excellent backcountry game fish while drifting live shrimp close to barnacle clad dock pilings located in the Amelia River.

“It was one my better days of backcountry fishing,” Captain Ben Forehand said.  “My guest Juan Raya hooked a nice five-pound “Gator” trout that put up a great fight!  My charter also caught a lot of black drum, sheepshead and redfish too.  Many of the redfish were non keepers, measuring less than 18-inches, however my guests did catch some keeper redfish as well”!

Some of the best backcountry fishing action right now is coming during the last few hours of the falling and the first few hours of the incoming tides, particularly for redfish.  Look for redfish to hold on the deep sides of bars, oyster mounds and barnacle clad boat docks that are located at the edge of both a deep channel and a large oyster clad flat.

When there is a good moving tide, fish with a live shrimp under a small float allowing the barbed shrimp to drift just off from the bottom.  As the ide slows down, barb a live shrimp, or bullhead minnow onto a ¼ ounce led head jig and retrieve slowly along the bottom.  Once a strike is detected, reel in the slack fishing rod while keeping your rod tip low to the water.  Once you have detected the weight of the fish, set the hook while playing your hooked fish with a high rod tip.  A high rod tip ensures that the hook will remain firmly set into your targeted game fish.

Finally don’t waste a lot of time fishing in one spot as backcountry game fish are schooling this time of year.  Usually if there is no action within fifteen minutes of fishing it’s time to navigate to a nearby fishing location

Southeast Atlantic deep sea fishermen will have another chance to harvest hard fighting and excellent eating red snapper this coming weekend, December 8th, 9th & 10th.  Fishermen will be allowed to keep one red snapper per day, per person without any size limitations.  Be sure and check weather conditions because as of this Monday, it looks like a cold and windy weekend is in the forecast.

The annual Nassau Sport Fishing Association Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Reception will be held this year at Walkers Landing inside the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.  The date is Wednesday, December 13th from 5;30 pm – 10;30 pm. This year will feature hot and cold hors d'oeuvres and a full buffet dinner of great choices for entrees.   There will be great food, friends and a Beer & Wine bar available so no BYOB.

Live music is also on the program for the evening.  Don't forget your dancing shoes!     Due to space we must limit the number of registrations to 150.  We are asking for a $40 donation for each non-member you bring as your guest.  A family membership is entitled to two reservations.  An individual membership is entitled to one reservation. For more information please visit

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