Amelia Island Fishing Charters
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Top Fishing Charters in Amelia Island
Fishing in Amelia Island
Amelia Island lies on the northernmost tip of Florida’s coast and belongs to the chain of barrier islands known as the Sea Islands. This makes it both a very popular tourist destination and a great place to fish.
While Amelia Island fishing charters launch from a number of places, you’ll find that most of them are based in Fernandina Beach, the lifeline of the entire island. This is also home to Amelia Island Light, the oldest lighthouse in the whole of Florida.
A variety of fishing options are available to you when fishing Amelia Island, and you’ll easily find a charter suited for your needs. Jetty fishing is very well represented as well. Add to that some great fishing over at St. Mary’s Inlet, you can encounter more than half a dozen different species on a single trip. The same goes for deep sea trips as well. Seize the moment and you’ll be rewarded with a variety of pelagics and bottom feeders thanks to the Gulf Stream’s proximity.
What You Can Catch
While Amelia Island offers good fishing all year round, spring and early summer are peak fishing seasons for most species. This is when huge numbers of Black Drum make their yearly migration. Night fishing for this hard-fighting species is a great way to end a hot day.
If you enjoy backcountry fishing, you’re sure to love the Amelia River and its nearby tidal estuaries and bays. Whether you’re on high or low tides, you’ll have plenty of Redfish to go after, along with Spotted Seatrout and the occasional Sheepshead.
St Mary’s Inlet is another hotspot for a wide variety of species, including Redfish, Sheepshead, Bluefish, Tarpon, Cobia, and Sharks. It’s located right off the northern part of the island, and forms the dividing line between Florida and Georgia.
Beyond the Island
Those on the lookout for bottom-feeders are sure to have a field day when going a bit further offshore. Gag Grouper season starts in May, and you’ll probably have most luck when visiting the so-called FA fish haven, located a mere 8 miles from St Mary’s Inlet.
The other noteworthy bottom fishing location goes by the name of Schultz’s Fish Market. This reef can be found just five miles off the southern end of Amelia Island, and is probably the best place to be fishing for Red Snapper, Cobia, and Black Seabass.
Going further offshore, at some 20 miles or so, you can troll for the likes of Kingfish, Cobia, Barracuda, Amberjack, and maybe even a Mahi Mahi or two if you’re lucky. During summertime, Kingfish will come very close to the shore, so you won’t need to go that far out to find some good ones.
Bluewater anglers should definitely visit the continental shelf. This is just 65 miles away from Amelia Island proper. This is where you need to go if you want to catch Blackfin Tuna, Sailfish, and Mahi Mahi. A standard deep sea fishing charter lasts 10-12 hours, but the quality and diversity of catches available makes it more than worth the time investment.
Amelia Island Fishing Techniques
When it comes to inshore and backcountry fishing in Amelia Island, anglers will be making different use of light tackle depending on what they want to catch. For example, it’s best to use bait such as large Shrimp, Conch, and Crab when going after Black Drum near the coastline. On the other hand, if you’re looking to check out Amelia River to find some Reds, you’ll have the best time of it if you use in-line spinners and gold spoons.
Things are simpler offshore because you’ll be doing live bait trolling for the most part of your trip. The best bait to use in these parts includes Mullet, Cigar Minnows, Greenies, and Menhaden. You’ll need to switch it up a bit when hitting reefs like Schultz’s Fish Market, because Grouper love to munch on Pinfish and fresh Squid.
Need to Know
As with elsewhere in Florida, a registered fishing charter will take care of all the fishing licenses you’ll need for a given trip. If you plan on going out on your own, however, you’ll need to buy a Florida fishing license.
There are a number of species with specific size and bag limits, so you will need to do some research to make sure you’re complying with state regulations. You will not need to worry about this if you decide to fish with a charter service, because the captain will be aware of any relevant fishing regulations that apply.
Amelia Island Fishing Seasons
The winter weather is traditionally fickle around Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting some big Reds by jigging with Shrimp.
If the weather inshore is not being very cooperative, it’s always a good idea to head out to the reefs where there’s plenty of delicious Gag Grouper waiting for you.
Black Drum will usually be embarking on their annual migration in March, making it a great time to get some fishing done, even a mere couple hundred yards from shore.
This time of year, offshore anglers will usually be focusing on bottom fishing, due to the more consistent bite, but Mahi Mahi will be coming closer if you want to do some trolling.
If you want to fish near the island, you’ve got more than a couple of options. Flounder and Sharks will congregate on the south end, with plenty of Sheepshead near the pier.
It’s the start of summer, and with it, reef fishing really kicks in. You’ll be able to fish for Red Snapper as close as 5-6 miles off the coast, a real angling treat.
Tarpon fishing is in full swing, so don’t miss out on the chance to fight the Silver King himself. Spinning or on the fly, it’s completely up to you.
Tiger Sharks will do their best to make trolling the reefs difficult, but most anglers treat it as a challenge to be overcome. Plenty of Kingfish and Barracuda are also around.
A good place to go after Flounder this time of year is on the northeast part of the shoreline, near Fort Clinch.
Still a bit early to go out to the Gulf, but the Kingfish and Cobia bite should be good enough to tide you over for the time being.
Most inshore anglers will be focusing on the nearby jetties so as to avoid the wind. Redfish, Sharks, and Seatrout are among the main targets.
The Seatrout bite should be picking up near the shoreline, along with a sizeable amount of Sheepshead. Reds will be all over the place in big numbers.
Amelia Island Fishing Calendar
What People Are Saying About Amelia Island
"Great trip. Must use this Captain "
Check the wind and weather. Light wind on a cool day makes for chilly passage.
"Half day trip with Capt.Brian"
Go with an experienced charter and you can't go wrong.
Book with Captain Ken he is honest, friendly and knows where the fish are!
"HALF DAY TRIP"
USE YOUR BACK AND NOT YOUR ARMS TO BRING IN THE FISH. BE PREPARED TO HAVE A GREAT TIME.
Top Targeted Species in Amelia Island
- Size 3 to 12lbs
- Food Value Good
- Game Qualities Good
- Habitats Inshore, Nearshore, Flats, Backcountry
- Size 5 to 30lbs
- Food Value Average
- Game Qualities Average
- Habitats Inshore, Nearshore
- Size 25 to 80lbs
- Food Value None
- Game Qualities Excellent
- Habitats Inshore, Flats, Backcountry
- Size 10 to 30lbs
- Food Value Good
- Game Qualities Good
- Habitats Inshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck