Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Against The Wind

I flipped a coin today and lost. The forecast called for some fairly high winds but it also indicated that it'd be nice day, other than the wind. The winds made it really tough to catch a fish. I met Jeannette Socket and her husband Jimmy up at the north end boat ramp and we ran with the wind down to Lanceford Creek, thinking we could tuck in behind a land mass and get some float fishing in on a high and still-incoming tide. Both Jimmy and Jeannette were making excellent casts but we had no real luck, and the wind followed us.

And it got stronger. After trying to fish a flooded
marsh bank we ran back through the wind and into Eagans Creek. After puttering up the creek to some likely docks, we switched to jigs and shrimp and worked the docks. Although it was a tad bit easier it was still pretty tough fishing. When you cast to a spot in one direction and the jig is blown 30' off, that's pretty difficult to fish dock pilings!

We ran back to the Eagans Creek bridge with the tide now flowing out and both Jimmy and I had some good bites and hookups, but both came off as we worked them to the boat.

I knew the NE wind was really kicking by now but we gambled and made the run back to Bell River, through Tiger Basin and around to Tiger Island and even though the tide was all wrong, the wind was blocked somewhat. After making a cast to one of the hidden pockets, BOOM! Fish ON! Jimmy played it perfectly and after a good battle, landed a nice 24.25" Slot sized Red. Skunk off the boat!
Crazy day. Tough fishing, but with that one fish we were able to count it as another great day to be out on the water (and not at work!) here at Amelia Island, Florida

Monday, October 16, 2017

Hot Redfishing Early And Bigger Fish Come Later

We got in a fishing trip this morning before a big blow comes through. I met Jim Merkey and his son Derrick up at the north end ramp and we headed over to the outside of Tiger Island to fish a marsh line on the first of an outgoing tide. The two anglers were tossing float rigs and live shrimp and I think the first cast produced a hungry Seatrout!  We worked the bank slowly, picked up another Trout, then it was like a wildfire of Redfish catching!  Both Jim and Derrick landed one Redfish after the other. We had a couple fish just a tad bit under 18" and most were in the 16-17" range. A good handful had multiple spots with one of them totaling 18 spots. A legal entry would be a sure winner in this weekend's upcoming Redfish Spot Tournament.

When the bite slowed we ran out and up along Tiger and made one short pit stop at a marsh runout with plans to fish jigs on the sandy bottom. After getting a Trout on the initial cast, Derrick landed a large Stingray and a small Flounder to round out the duo's Amelia Island Back Country Slam of Redfish, Seatrout and Flounder.  We got a good cast net full of finger mullet then headed up to the Jolley River - all the way to Snook Creek.

It didn't take long for bites. Derrick hooked up and landed a keeper sized Trout and shortly after that Jim did too, an even bigger one. They caught a couple of more Trout and a good handful of the small but hard fighting Redfish. After hitting one more spot in the Jolley (and getting one Red) we ran around and made our final stop at the logs of Tiger.

Fishing the pockets with jigs paid off! Another first cast and BOOM! Big Fish On! We had been waiting all day for that drag to rip and rip it did! Derrick was on the rod and played the big fish patiently. I though once it had made its way  up into the logs but Derrick applied the pressure and worked  it out and after a good battle landed a Slot sized 23.75" Redfish. Now that's the way to wrap up another great day of fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Eco-Fish'n-Crab'n Trip

We still haven't seen cooler temperatures here at Amelia Island yet, but that hasn't adversely affected the fishing! Today I met Craig Feiberg and  his sons Asher and Rory up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park and boat ramp and we had a plan! I had loaded three crab traps and had some dead Mackerel to bait them with and we also had some live mud minnows and shrimp - so we were ready to go!

We ran over to Tiger Island and set out the traps then turned around and made our way up to the Jolley River to set up just off some
expose oyster beds. There was a fairly stiff wind blowing away from us so it made for perfect casting and drift of our float rigs. Wouldn't you know it, first cast, BOOM! Fish on! Young Asher worked it in and landed an feisty Refish! From then on we were getting hookups. Both Craig and Rory reeled in Reds then Cory caught and landed a hard fighting Black "puppy" Drum.  We fished that bank for a good 45 minutes until the bait stealers took over.

Our next stop was back at a Cumberland Island beach. I eased the
Anglers Mark up close to shore and we tossed out the anchor and waded ashore! The Feiberg boys did some beach combing and came back with a great bucket of shells!

The wind was kicking so we ran back to Tiger Island and the shelter  and behind it and set up with jigs and shrimp and minnows, fishing the bottom. We had bites on almost every cast but they seemed to be bait stealing Mangrove Snapper.  We decided our best luck would be to check the crab traps. The first trap had no crabs, OUCH! But the
second trap had a nice large Blue Crab. The third trap had a small crab and a fish! It was a fun day to mix things up  -do some crabbing, do some fishing, and do some beach combing and we counted it as another great day to be out on the water here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Monday, October 9, 2017

tails, Tails, TAILS

I fished with Jake Karamol today on a planned fly fishing for tailing Reds trip. We met at 8am up at the Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp and headed up to the Jolley River to do some blind casting while we waited for the tide to come in. Jake worked an exposed shell bank with a 8w outfit, tossing a shrimp fly pattern to the edge and letting it bounce naturally down the slope. We worked it thoroughly but had no strikes.

We hit another bank, did the same, switched flies, but had no luck. After running back to the Tiger Island area we checked out some grass flats but they just weren't high enough to have any fish. We blind cast some more around some now flooded grass then ran back into Tiger Basin to check out some more flats. Finally, the tide was up and Jake was the first to spot a Redfish tail . But it must have ate what it was after and the tail never showed again.


We moved to another expansive flat and sure enough, way off in the distance, there was another Redfish working the flat. Jake and I got out and waded towards it as it fed from right to left and as we got closer we saw another couple of tails pop up. We were in the thick of things! We waited patiently to see if they would come our way - the didn't - so we move on to try and head them off. These fish must have had sense about them because they fed just out of casting range. A couple of these fish were HUGE!

Finally, a darker tail was working towards us. He was coming right at us! As it got closer I guessed - Sheepshead - and turned out to be right! That fish fed right up to us  but wouldn't eat the Dupree Spoon Fly that I had tied of for the Redfish. He got closer and closer so all Jake could do was try and drop the spoon in front of it like we were using a cane pole in a pond for bream! It came closer and closer, right up to us - I could have dipped him if I had a net, then it moved on off. Crazy!

We continued to stalk, but the tide got up, then we didn't see tails but huge wakes. They moved here and there but never in range. It was an awesome morning ( we had a Bald Eagle fly by-see boat pic) and a great way to spend a day fly fishing out on Amelia Island waters.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Drum Time

After fishing a windy morning trip Friday - a day that had some pretty stiff winds and a super high and incoming tide, and a day that garnered just a handful of Trout - I went out again in the afternoon with Howard Mclure and his friends Kirk and Pete, this time fishing a tide that had been going out for a couple of hours.

We made our first run up to the Jolley River and fished an exact bank that produce nothing on that higher tide. These anglers were tossing live shrimp under floats and making excellent casts to the
bank and getting great drifts over the submerged oysters.  Pete got hot early and put 2-3 Redfish in the boat with one of them being in the Slot size - a keeper! Then Kirk found his groove and he too began to get fish, but his were nice, keeper sized Black "puppy" Drum. The trio put a good handful of Blacks and Reds in the boat, keeping me busy for a good while. We worked that bank over good then moved back to the mouth of Jolley and fished it too.

Our last stop was back at Tiger Island, fishing the logs on the very
last of an the outgoing tide and had good bites. We picked up a handful of feisty Redfish then we had strong bite. Howard worked it in patiently and landed one of the bigger Black Drum's of the day. And with that, we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

A Trout Here. A Trout There.

I fished with the Pete Nolan group Friday morning - a group of guys who came down for a weekend of fishing here at Amelia Island. I took three anglers while Captain Jim Johnson took 2 and we headed our separate ways to fish the back waters of Amelia Island. I ran my guys around to the outside of Tiger Island and set up along some marsh grass on a high and incoming tide. A real high and incoming tide! Not the best of conditions, especially with the wind blowing 12-13 and forecasted rain showers, but these anglers
were game to get out on the water and fish.

They began making casts with their float rigs and live shrimp to the marsh grass and it wasn't long before we picked up a couple of Seatrout. I thought, "oh boy, here we go", but that was the extent of our catch. So we ran around behind Tiger, peeked at some flooding flats, then continued on around to Bell River, but to no avail. We buzzed back through Tiger and around and up to the Jolley River and fished some more grass and picked up another Trout.

Continuing on, we made a final stop in the upper reaches of Bell River, fishing some docks with jigs and here we found a couple of more trout down on the bottom. Although it was an overcast day with a wind blowing the water further up into the marsh, we made the best of it and were able to put a few fish in the boat, and counted it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Six Good Reasons to Fish Amelia Island in the Fall

1)  The Weather is nicer!  Who wants to fish in the summer heat or the winter cold?  Sometimes we do, but if we had our choice it’d be fishing the mild days of spring and fall.  Summertime trips start early to try and beat the heat.  Even if you have just booked a half a day, by 10am it’s hot!  Booka fishing trip at Amelia Island this fall and enjoy mild temperatures and a great day of fishing.

2)  It’s less crowded on the water!  Most guides and charter boat captains have a plan in their heads about where they’re going to fish depending on what the tides are for the day.  Imagine making your first run to a spot, coming around the corner and there’s three boats sitting on the spot you had intended to fish!  The captain has to make a quick change of plans.  Most of us have other spots we can go to, but our first choice was just taken!  Fish Amelia Island in the fall and there are less anglers out on the water taking up those prime spots!

3) Less “baitstealers”, better fish!  During the summer months everything is biting, but that includes pinfish, perch, croaker, bonnethead shark, stingrays, etc.  You’ll get some quality fish like Redfish, Seatrout and Flounder, but you have to work through all of the “baitstealers”.  When the water temperature cools there are less trash fish to deal with and better overall fishing.

4) The Captain is less grumpy!  Can you imagine a captain’s attitude who has fished 25-30 trips in the hot months of July?  He’s going on very little sleep and each day is a blur.  There’s a very good chance his patience level is down a bit.   During the prime fall fishing months there are less visitors to the island, less trips, and the Captain is in a lot better mood and eager to fish.

5) The Captain is more flexible!  When a captain has 25-30 trips a month and is turning away 5 or so trips a week, there’s not a whole lot of room to be flexible.  He’s booked and there’s no window to work around your schedule.  But in the Fall, he’s not fishing every day and may be flexible in his schedule to accommodate your time.  You’ll find that he is more than happy to be flexible to get your trip booked.

6) Hotels and Resorts may have better rates.   The Spring Break and Summer tourist seasons have come and gone.  If you keep your eye open,  you may find better rates from the Amelia Island hotels and resorts.

And a bonus reason:

 It’s oyster roasting season!   When the first cold spells hit you know it’s time to fire up a fire pit and roast some oysters!  Break out the hot sauce, salteen crackers and the beverage of your choice and enjoy a great afternoon of standing around a fire and roasting oysters.

Contact Capt. Lawrence Piper and set up your fishing trip today! 904-557-1027

Visit for more information.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Grande Slam Kind Of Day

Wow what a pretty morning! And it only got better! I met Joanne and Frank Esch down at the Big Talbot Island Park, early, and we made the short run up the intercoastal and dipped into Jackstaff to begin a slow creep along the marsh line on the very last of an outgoing tide. The two anglers were tossing jigs and live shrimp and making excellent casts to the still exposed oysters...and got nibbled, nibbled, nibbled and...nibbled. Baitstealers!  But finally, Joanne had a hookup and put a hungry Seatrout into the boat. We
crossed over and fished a sandbar/point and again, nibblers.

We buzzed through Horsehead and around to some docks at Seymore's Pointe and this did the trick. Both anglers were fishing out of the stern and within minutes were catching fish. They caught a Trout or two, then both of them put a keeper sized Black "puppy" Drum in the  boat. We also picked up a couple of keeper sized Mangrove Snapper. Frank added a keeper sized Seatrout.

We eased around and hit another dock and drifted float rigs along the rocks. After some bait got blown up near the shore and behind the boat, Joanne drifted a live shrimp thru the same spot. The float slowly disappeared, the hook was set and, FISH ON! This was a big fish! Joanne played it perfectly (and in the meantime Frank put another keeper sized Mangrove in the boat) and after a good battle she landed a big 21" Flounder! Boy what a fish! This fish puts Joanne in second place in the 2017 Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament-Flounder category(scroll down the right side of this report for standings)  Then Frank made an excellent cast to the rocks, drifted slowly and BOOM! Another
big fish on! He worked it expertly to the boat and landed a nice 23" Slot sized Redfish.

After a short run down the Nassau River we fished a runout and a grass line and found a couple of Trout, a couple of feisty Redfish, and a few hard fighting Jack Crevalle. Then we hit Twin Creeks and drifted our float rigs across the mouths  and found what must have been a huge school of Seatrout. We caught one after the other after the other - most were 14.75", but Joanne and Frank found three more keeper sized fish. We left the biting! What a great way to end an excellent fishing trip here at Amelia Island, Florida

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

One Lucky Spot

The mornings are just getting better and better since Hurricane Maria passed way off in the Atlantic. Today I met Domenic Ferelli and his friend Bob up at the north end ramp and we made a quick run over to Lanceford Creek with a plan to fish some dock pilings (that was all that was left from Irma!) on a low and incoming tide. The two anglers were tossing jigs and live shrimp and even though the conditions were perfect, the fish didn't cooperate!

We came back and around the outside of Tiger and made a brief
stop at a small marsh run out, still tossing jigs and live shrimp, but here we had not even a nibble. We bounced around to the Jolley River and switched to float rigs with the live shrimp and we began to ease along a marsh line, facing into the current. Domenic and Bob were making excellent casts and figured out that they didn't have to make a pin point cast - they could just toss it up current and let the breeze and current move their baits up near the shoreline and BOOM! Redfish on! Bob knocked the skunk off with a feisty Red, then Domenic followed that up with a big 25" Slot sized fish. From then on they were catching Reds. Most of them were around 16", but once in while they added another Slot fish. We fished that shore for a good hour or so then moved on up the river to fish some more flooded oyster beds.

Although we couldn't match the success of the previous spot. we did have a couple of good bites that ripped some drag before throwing the hook.

After coming back to the outside of Tiger, Bob added another Redfish and both anglers tangled with some small Mangrove Snapper. One more spot produced a Spotted Seatrout before we headed in, counting it as another great day to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida

Monday, September 25, 2017

First Black Drum In A While

The wind died down just a tad today and it made for a great day of fishing with the Dowling boys - Alton, Chris, Devon and Elijah. We met up at the Dee Dee Bartels Park early and headed over to Tiger Island with plans to pitch the logs with jigs and live shrimp.  It was ideal conditions, the tide had just started back in, and these anglers were making great casts, but the fish just didn't want to cooperate.  I think we got skunked there.

Our next stop was up in the Jolley River and we worked the "bank" with float rigs tossed up near the bank. Alton got things started when he had a good hookup, played it perfectly and with Elijah's help, landed a nice, fat and feisty Redfish. Shortly after that Devon added another, then Chris followed that up with another.

After running further up the river we found another bank that was now flooding with the incoming tide and this did the trick. Alton
had found a "honey hole" and began to catch one Red after the other. Then he had a bite and this fish began to rip drag - it wasn't coming to the boat. But Alton kept the pressure on. The big fish rolled up at the surface then Alton slowly worked it to the boat and landed a "Tournament sized" 26.75" Redfish - boy what a fish! We fished that area for while and had a good handful of smaller Reds.

We ran a back towards Fernandina, slipped thru Tiger and over to Bell River and set up at a point of grass. Alton caught the only Seatrout of the day and then Chris had a good hookup. Again, this fish wasn't coming to the boat. He fought it patiently, from bow to stern and from starboard to port and after a good battle, landed a handsome 18" Black "puppy" Drum. We had another Red or two, a handful of small Mangrove Snapper, then we called it a day, another great one to be fishing here at Amelia Island, Florida.