By: Capt . Jim Wormhoudt
My first trip to Lofton Creek, which is the best boat ramp located between Amelia Island and Yulee, was one of sheer amazement. It didn’t exactly represent what I pictured as typical Florida Bass fishing. Cypress trees lined the banks and the tanic stained water flowed at a leisurely pace in and out with the tide on a schedule almost opposite of what the tide was at the beach. Spanish moss and October foliage adorned the overhanging branches, a scene out of a Jim Stafford song about a mythical swamp filled with scary things.
My fishing partner chuckled at my assortment of lures and plugs neatly assembled in my Plano tackle box. The wild shiners we had labored to catch in the predawn hours were all we needed on the end of our fishing line. Fished below a 4 inch cigar shaped foam float about 3 feet above a #1 or #1/0 Kahle hook , the shiner probed its fateful path around the tree roots which lined the muddy bank while the float bobbed around on the surface in a mesmerizing dance. It is common knowledge among live bait fisherman that in order to entice a strike one needs only to open a can of tasty and nutritious Vienna sausages or answer the call of nature. Not the case that day, our first bass knocked the wild shiner clean out of the creek onto the bank and inhaled it when it tumbled back into the water. After a five second wait for Mr. Bass to swallow the shiner my partner set the hook, in the opposite direction of the path the fish was traveling prompting an acrobatic jump of an aggravated 7 lb. largemouth. After a picture and a gentle release we discussed the event with great enthusiasm.
We boated several more bass that morning and from then on I have been a big fan of Lofton creek. Being a tidal creek, largemouth bass, Flounder, Redfish, Stripers and Speckled sea trout can all be caught in the same vicinity feeding on shrimp, shiners, and mullet, which inhabit different stretches of the creek. Depending on the tide and salinity of the water, bream, black crappie, and a variety of catfish also inhabit the stained water of Lofton Creek.
Do not let this jewel of NE Florida pass you by. If you don’t have a canoe, kayak or small boat, call me, I’ll show one of Nassau County’s easily overlooked wild attractions.