saltwater fishing tips
I've learned lots of saltwater fishing tips because I love fishing – especially saltwater fishing. One of my favorite vacation spots is Amelia Island, and what’s the use in going on vacation if you can’t fish? Also, my brother-in-law lives in Jax, so through the years, I’ve learned quite a bit about fishing this area. I’ll share with you what I’ve learned.
I’ve listed these angling venues from north to south, beginning at the northern tip of Amelia Island and heading south to downtown Jacksonville.
Fort Clinch State Park
The park is located at the northern tip of Amelia Island and offers several great fishing spots. Just before you enter the park, there’s a title creek to the left. This is a great place to net some baitfish and sometimes some shrimp. After you’ve entered the park, you’ll cross a small stream with a pool on your left side. There’s a sign there warning you about the resident alligator. Across from the pool is a stream with loads of fiddler crabs. Stop and gather some for bait to catch reds, drum, and sheepshead.
To fish the river, turn into the river campground area. We’ve found this venue best for shark fishing. Use a live mullet for bait, wade out about waist deep, and cast into the channel. Be careful not to get too deep, however. The currents can get nasty here. Also near the campground are shallow grass beds that offer some good flats fishing.
Just behind the fort is good for spotted seatrout. Float a live finger mullet or live shrimp under a cork.
The long concrete pier is actually my favorite fishing spot in the entire park. It’s flanked on one side by rock jetties that attract and hold bait. Cast between the pier and the rocks for trout, flounder, and puppy drum. For sheepshead, fish near the rocks or around the pier pilings.
For big sharks, go to the seventh lightpole from the end and throw straight out, as far as you can. There’s a hole or something right there. We’ve always hooked huge sharks there, and in the fall, big bull reds.
The pipeline is located about midway on Amelia Island, on the Atlantic side. It’s near the Pipeline Surf Shop. Just ask a local to point you to it.
The pipeline is just what it sounds like, and it’s a great place to fish. The barnacles growing on the pipe attract several species of fish. If you want to specifically target reds and trout, use a leadhead jig fitted with a pink or white grub tail.
At the south end of Amelia Island is the Nassau River. You can fish from the old bridge or from the beach. From the bridge, the favorite target is tarpon. You’ll often seen them roll on the surface, right next to the bridge. For flounder and sheepshead, walk under the bridge and cast near the supports.
If you’re headed south on A1A, park at the bridge on the Amelia Island side and walk down the beach to your left until you get to the point. It’s a hike, but if you’re a diehard angler, it will be worth the effort. Depending on the time of year, you might catch big reds, tarpon, cobia, huge jacks, and hefty sharks.
Tidal Creeks – Simpson and Sawpit
After crossing the Nassau River Bridge, you’ll come to two tidal creeks that provide great fishing: Sawpit and Simpson. You’ll need a small boat with a trolling motor. The boat ramps are rather crude, so it would be hard to get a big boat in. a bass boat is just the right size. Troll jigs for trout, reds, and flounder. You can also anchor near a deep, wide spot in the creek and cast cut baits for nice sharks – not huge ones – but what I call “good eatin’ size.” I think the biggest shark I’ve ever caught in these creeks was 4 ½ feet long.
Also, if you’re interested in catching huge blue crabs, far back in the creeks is a great spot for crabbing from your boat. We discovered this accidentally one day when that aforementioned shark kicked stuff out of our boat with its tail. After we had killed the brute, we noticed BIG crabs fighting over an empty chip bag. I dropped a piece of cutbait into the water and netted a cooler full of large bluebacks in a matter of minutes.
Trout River – Northwest Jax
The Trout River and all its little tidal creeks are great places for trolling and sight casting. Use top water plugs, jigs, and diving baits to catch tarpon, snook, trout, and tailing reds near the oyster bars. For flounder, troll deep with jigs.
St. John’s River – Downtown Jax
Believe it or not, right in plain view of the downtown skyscrapers is an excellent spot for catching snook in the spring and summer months. During these times of the year, in fact, it’s not unusual to catch snook, reds, trout, flounder, stripers, tarpon, and largemouth bass, virtually in the same spot.
For a really hot trout spot, try the grass banks near the Jax landing. Cast shrimp, minnows, or jigs toward the bank and retrieve them with a slight jerking motion.
If you’re after stripers, you’ll find plenty around Jacksonville in the cold months. Fish around any of the downtown bridges with large grubs on a leadhead. This is also a good time and place to target sheepshead.
Read more about fishing and beaches:
- Winter Vacation: Amelia Island, Florida
Thousands of snowbirds flock to Central Florida and South Florida every winter to escape the snow and ice of the North. Northern Florida, however, is often overlooked at this time of year. While its...
- Attack of the Killer Manatee, with Videos
Several years ago, my husband, Johnny, and I spent our summer vacation at one of our favorite haunts Amelia Island, Florida. We visit the area fairly frequently. For one thing, its beautiful and has...
- Anna Maria Island Vacations: Best Beaches, with Photo Tour
Anna Maria Island is located just south of Tampa, in the Gulf of Mexico. It's just across the bay from Bradenton and Sarasota. The island is laid back and friendly, and it has some great beaches. There's a...
- Saltwater Fishing: Free Bait
If you've done much saltwater fishing, you know how expensive bait is. Even when the fish aren't biting much, you lose a lot of fresh and live bait to crabs and catfish. You also have to change your bait...
- Fishing Tips: How to Catch Sharks, with Big Shark Video
Note: This article discusses shark fishing from a pier, the surf, the shore, or from a small boat. The tips provided are apropriate for bays, inlets, sounds, nearshore, and tidal creeks and rivers. Shark...
- How to Find and Preserve Sand Dollars and Turn Them into Crafts, with Video
If you're a beach lover, you've probably seen sand dollars at the shore. Maybe you've found the occasional one at the waters edge, or even stepped on one in the shallows. You've doubtless seen...
Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on October 13, 2009:
Thanks for visiting, HH!
Hello, hello, from London, UK on October 13, 2009:
Thank you for a lovely hub of a complete different subject.