There are over 50 beach access points on Amelia Island making it too easy to pick a spot. Look for the small white signs with blue lettering which are smaller than a real estate sign and only a foot off the ground. Limited parking is available at most access points. From the north to south there are three spots that offer some structure for you to explore. The south side of the jetties by the Ft Clinch Fishing Pier (the pier was demolished after hurricane Matthew in 2016) offers excellent opportunities to find fish holding close to the boulders. The private pier in front of Amelia by the Sea condos is another spot that offers some good structure. The rock jetty on the south end of the island is the third location and the most challenging to get to. It is 1.25 miles from the beach access at Amelia Island State Park. This is the largest drivable area on Amelia Island’s beaches. If you drive, 4-wheel drive is strongly recommended. Out of county residences need a $5 permit to drive on the beach. Based on recent experience this area is patrolled by rangers.
County offices or the following locations sell permits:
A1A Express Discount gas station
3331 South Fletcher
Monday –Thursday 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Friday – Sunday 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM
5518 South Fletcher 904 261-3113
Open 24 Hours. CASH ONLY
One of the secrets of surf fishing is to find rip currents. Although swimming safety is always a concern we are talking about fish here. Fish wait next to rip currents for bait washed from the shore to them. Placing your bait on the outside edge of the rip current will increase your chance of attracting your target. After water washes to the beach and it must return to the ocean. This action of the water flowing back into the ocean creates a rip current. If the backflow is over a large area it goes unnoticed but when it is concentrated in a small area we see it as a rip current. There are several things to look for when looking for rip currents. The beaches on Amelia Island typically have a sandbar about 200-300 feet from shore. When the tide is low it is easy to spot these bars. The waves break at the bar during low tide and wash up to shore without much drama. When the tide is high the waves don’t break at the bar but continue to progress into the shore at full height. A wave breaks when the bottom becomes too shallow and the wave slows because of friction with the bottom but the top of the wave keeps moving and falls forward. A deeper spot in the sandbar or a gap is evident because the waves don’t break when they pass over that section of the sandbar. Where there is a break in the sandbar the water will flow out to sea under the waves, that area is a rip current. Rip currents do not always form by sandbars but there are other signs that indicate a rip current. Watch the foam that forms when the waves break against the shore. That form will form a river that you can see moving away from shore. This indicates a rip current. Many times rip currents do not go straight out from the shore but move at an angle. At low tide, rip currents are much easier to spot. Also, many times a secondary sandbar has formed that is above water at low tide. Breaks in this secondary sandbar are visible and sometimes water is present behind the bar. These are places to fish during higher tides.
Fresh dead shrimp fished on the bottom is an effective technique. Working a 3-inch Berkley Gulp shrimp tail in the molten color pattern hooked to a 1/4-oz. led head jig through the rip will surely attract someone’s attention. Also, try a Berkley Gulp Swimming Mullet on the same 1/4-oz. led head jig. Any lure in the mullet color pattern can also be deadly.
A 10-12 foot surf rod is ideal but not required. A standard 6-7 foot rod will work to get your bait beyond the last set of breakers closest to shore. I don’t know anyone who can cast to the other side of the first sandbar here on Amelia Island. Use heavy sinkers to hold bottom due to the high turbulence found in the surf zone. I recommend a 4-ounce pyramid sinker. If 4-ounces will not hold I usually switch to the artificial lures mentions above.