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Traveled from South Florida up to the Jacksonville area to meet my old friend and fishing partner to fish in the Cowford Redfish Tournament to benefit the St. Johns Riverkeeper (https://cowfordredfishtournament.com/about-us). Captain Rami Ashouri did a terrific job of organizing and running the tournament and many tournament sponsors including Hell's Bay Boatworks, Papa's Pillar, Florida Fishing Products, Bull's Bay Rods, Danco, Costa and others deserve our support and appreciation. I would like to thank all MS Forum members who provided some insight for me to fishing this area as it was my first time flood tide fishing in the NE Florida area.

Friday presented a 6'6" flood tide at about 0900 at Sawpit Creek. We launched and ran to a creek that drained the marsh on the east side of Clapboard Creek. We found reds tailing and roaming the edge on the back of the marsh and it was game on. Half way through the falling tide, I figured we should start poling off the flat--rookie mistake. I cannot believe how fast the water falls off those flats and out of the creeks and drains! We overshot the drain we ran in on, and ended up in 4" of water with the level quickly dropping. So, we were stuck with the next high tide not until 9:30 p.m. or so. After several hours of exploring the area on foot, following Captain Rami's advice we reluctantly left the skiff and walked out through the muck to the ICW (Clapboard Creek) where we flagged down a boat to catch a ride back to the ramp. He promised to run us back out the next morning when the high tide would be at about 10 a.m.

We got back to the marsh around 0730, and after slogging through the marsh we found the skiff still resting on the mud. By 0900 there was water under the skiff and by 0930 we were able to pole off the flat, back into the creek and then out to the ICW. The winds picked up so we looked for sheltered shorelines or flats to fish the rest of the day, found a nice creek that drained the marsh and staked out as the tide fell. We landed a few more reds and a trout in that area to close out the day.

Overall, it was a great trip, even after getting waylaid in the marsh! I met some nice folks and experienced a new area of Florida, learned some lessons about fishing the flood tides! Here are a few pictures from the trip.

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Bummer yall got stuck but looks like you were able to experience a good flood tide. I definitely saw you on Saturday morning (unless there was another black Professional out there), we were fishing the same area. Plenty of tailers around.
 

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Waitin' on the flood !
2009 Beavertail BTX powered by a 2020 Tohatsu MFS60
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It was great bumping into Shannon and yourself at the Captain’s Meeting. Glad everything worked out.
 

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Glad you guys got out safely even if it was the next day, I did the exact same thing this past July when I visited your stomping grounds in ENP for the first time!
 

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I been stuck before.

Long ago but seems like yesterday I spent the better part of a night in Lake Ingraham down in ENP. Got out of Ingraham around 3 or 4 AM.

Skeeters get a little restless in the night down there.
A night to remember for sure.
 

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Thanks for sharing. Still looked like a blast. I'm pretty sure that's gonna be me one day soon...(getting stuck, not catching the tailers)
 

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Thanks for fishing it y'all! Glad to meet you, sorry it was under the circumstances of your boat being stuck out in the marsh. I'll be taking you up on that offer to fish ENP and hope to see y'all again soon!
Just let me know--welcome anytime!
 

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There's plenty of places to get stuck in Clapboard. That ramp used to be a heck of a ramp with the tide ripping through and if you get a chance, the chowder is awesome at Palms Restaurant right there. Glad you survived the Jacksonville muck!!
 
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