“Fall Redfish Bonanza”
By Terry Lacoss
Captain Terry David Lacoss retrieved a live blue crab from his boat’s live well, broke off the hard shell and legs, then barbed a nice chunk of fresh blue crab onto a 6/0 saltwater hook. A chunk of fresh mullet was added to the sturdy hook then cast down to the bottom of a deep Amelia River live bottom. Ironically the fishy drop was located just north of the Fernandina Harbor Marina where local shrimp boats bring in their fresh catches of delicious shrimp.
A hard running falling tide indicated that the redfish bite may be delayed until the deep river currents subsided. And as on cue, 30-minutes later Lisa Mills Lacoss was battling a large river drum. After a back and forth battle where Lisa would gain a few yards of fishing line and the big drum would take it right back, Captain Terry David Lacoss finally slipped his hand right in back of the red’s gill plate and hoisted Lisa’s red drum into the boat. After a few photos, Terry revived the big drum which eventually swam right down to the bottom of the deep river drop.
In between redfish encounters Glenda Crosby and Jace Lacoss fought large sharks which quickly parted their thirty-pound redfish lines.
We had intended to red fish at the tip of the St. Mary’s south jetty rocks, but huge waves soon sent us back to the calm waters of the Amelia River. Without saying the best redfish bite has been taking place at the very end of both the North and South jetty rocks where the charter fishing boat Wahoo II Captained by Allen Mills recently hooked and recently hooked and released some thirty large redfish!
Typical red drum fishing tackle includes a 30-50 pound 6 ½ foot boat road with the fishing reel spooled with-fifty pound braided fishing line. A fish finder is placed on the terminal fishing line where various size tear drop weights can be exchanged depending on the strength of the tide. Just enough weigh to keep the redfish weight right on the bottom is key. The tag end of the terminal line is then attached to a 30-pound black barrel swivel. Finally a four-foot length of fifty-pound fluorocarbon shock leader is attached to the remaining side of the swivel and a 7/0 circle hook is tied to the business end of the shock leader. Key red drum baits include blue crab, live mullet, large fresh shrimp or fresh chunks of cut baits.
Bringing your redfish up to the boat without a long battle is key in releasing your redfish unharmed. A venting tool is key in allowing releasing the air in the air bladder. The venting device should be a hollow needle no longer than 1½ inches with an inside diameter of about 1/8 inch or less, anything much larger and you run the risk of improper healing or infection. Puncture the body wall at the tip of the pectoral fin until you hear the escape of trapped air. The angle should be about 60-75 degrees, which improves the ease of insertion. Do not insert the needle too deep. If resistance is encountered, stop and try in a slightly different location or angle. Leave the needle in place until you are sure that most of the swelling or distension has been relieved. Never puncture the stomach or try to force the stomach back into the body. The fish will accomplish this better than we ever could
Management of red drum in Florida is considered a success story. In the late 1980s red drum was overfished, thus several emergency closures were established to reduce fishing pressure. In 1989, the slot limit of 18-27 inches, the bag limit of one fish per person and a closed season from March-May were put in place. Red drum stocks have rebounded and are currently meeting or exceeding the FWC's management goal of 40% escapement in most parts of Florida. Escapement is the proportion of fish that survive through age four relative to the fish that would have survived if there was no fishery. The current redfish regulations for Northeast Florida allow fishermen to keep two redfish per day measuring at least 17-inches and not more than 27-inches. Measurements are made from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. For more redfish regulations please visit www.myfwc.com.
The Jacksonville “Flounder Pounder” fishing tournament will be held on Saturday, October 21st from Beach Marine. Prizes will be awarded for the largest flounder, aggregate weight and Jr. Angler. For more information please visit www.flounderpounderjax.com.
The Amelia Island Guides Association (AIGA) and Amelia Island Marina will co-host the 3rd Annual Redfish Spot Fishing Tournament on September 21, 2017 to benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation. Folds of Honor, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is committed to the families of the armed services who have been wounded or killed while serving our great nation and to ensure no military family is left behind or forgotten. Since its inception in 2007, Folds of Honor has awarded more than 12,000 scholarships to children of fallen or disabled military men and women in all 50 states. You may make a donation to the Folds of Honor Foundation directly on their web site at www.foldsofhonor.org. The tournament is open to all anglers fishing from powered boats, sail boats, kayak, canoe, the shore, bridges, piers, etc., with 100% of the entry fees paid out in prize money. The Captains Meeting will be held on Friday, September21, 2017.