Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Recipe of the month: Sea Trout Sub

This recipe comes from Tim Parker, a Dawg fan, who hails from central Georgia, but frequents Amelia Island and its estuaries quite often...

Ingredients makes 4 subs:

4 trout fillets (no rib bones)

4 small sub buns

1/2 cup Panko (japanese style) bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 Large egg

1/3 cup milk

small amount of butter or margarine

3 to 4 table spoons vegetable oil

Seasoning -salt or Konriko

Rinse fillets and pat dry, season with Konriko. Mix Panko breakcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a flat style bowl.

Dredge fillets in the egg/milk mixture, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Heat the vegetable oil and cook fillets 3 to 4 minutes on each side until they are golden brown. While the fillets are cooking, split sub rolls in half, and lightly spread a thin coat of butter on the inside portion. When the fish is done, set aside on paper towels to drain, lay sub rolls face down in same pan and let them brown slightly. Dress your sandwich how you like it! This one had mayonnaise, horseradish spread, lettuce, tomato and onion. Serve with fries, cole slaw...or eat two of the subs!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Croaker,Croaker,Croaker,Croaker, REDFISH!

I got to fish with Ted Szarzanowicz, his wife Michelle, and their kids Amanda and Mathew yesterday evening. I'd picked up some live, but sluggish shrimp so we headed to Tiger Island and trolled the bank. Although we had no real bites, we had a number of Blue Crab come cruising by, one of which I netted. We ran to Jolley River, pulled over to the east side as the tide reached it's bottom, and began to pitch our baits to the oyster beds. Michelle had the hot rod early and began to pick up Croaker after Croaker, some of which were of good eat'n size. Both she and Ted were tossing the jig and shrimp combo and Ted reeled in a few of the Croaker, too, and just when I began to wonder, he hooked up and expertly reeled in a nice 18" Redfish. There was plenty of bait in the river which turned out to be small shrimp after I cast a net; we moved up the river and anchored and soon after Amanda pulled in her Croaker. After a few more of those, we moved around to the MOA -"Mother of All" -spots where Ted caught a Flounder and a Trout, completing his "inshore slam". Matt manned a bottom rig with the crab that we had caught and had numerous bits. We stayed to watch a beautiful sunset and made it back to the marina right at dark. The Szarzonowicz family had great attitudes - I remember thinking, "boy these folks get along with each other real well", and were a pleasure to fish with.

Monday, June 22, 2009


David and Celeste Kraus were visiting from Kansas with their teenagers Aaron and Alijah and took in a fishing and sightseeing trip this morning. We left the dock a little before 8am and ran to Beach Creek on Cumberland to see if there were any manateee (none) and then we crossed to Jolley River to begin fishing. All of the Kraus family were excellent casters and began pitching their live shrimp under floats up to the grass. There was a high tide with the current still bringing water up the river and we didn't have many bites, so we cranked up and moved up to a runout and anchored. Although Aligjah had a nice hookup and run, the fish broke off and with no more real bites, we moved up to a larger creek runout and anchored. We were there for only a little while when Alijah hooked up again, this time with line ripping out and rod bent fully. She fought the fish for a long time then it broke off on the hidden oyster shells. Shortly after that, Aaron hooked up and fought his fish to the boat - a 3 1/2' long Bonnethead shark. We made a few attempts with the net then finally got the fish in the boat for pictures. A little while later David hooked up and expertly fought his fish from one side of the boat to the other then we netted another 3'+ Shark. We eventually moved on to Tiger Island, trolled the bank, then crossed back to Cumberland Island to check out the wild horses with some binoculars; then we cruised Fort Clinch and made it back to the dock in time for lunch. Not a whole lot of action, but some good quality action with hard running shark!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Big Catfish, Lots of Wildlife

Saturday afternoon I fished with the Maxwell family, in from Nebraska. Parents Andy and Teggy along with kids Riley and Rogan wanted to see some Florida wildlife; they brought along their cousin, Craig and his daughter, Maddy and we met at the south end boat ramp late in the day in an effort to beat the heat. We ran up to Jackstaff and anchored at a runout as the family practiced their casting then we moved further up the creek to a bend and anchored. It wasn't long before both Teggy and Craig had hooked up and fought to the boat two nice Stingray, to the delight of Rogan and Maddy. We trolled the bank for a while with a high tide pushing water into the grass, but saw now Redfish tails, then we cranked up and moved aroung to Bubblegum Reef where Teggy picked up a small croaker then a huge Sail Cat that made some nice drag-ripping runs. The kids saw plenty of bird life, fiddler crab, porpoise and jelly fish during the day. We ended the day with the sun going down at Broward Island with a pair of Osprey resting in a nearby tree and pairs of porpoise cruising along side the boat. What a great learning experience for the young ones to be out in the wilds of northeast Florida.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stringray and Croaker Holes

Donald Lorton and his wife Lila, from Tennessee treated their grandson, Luke, to a fishing trip this morning. We left the Sawpit Creek boat ramp at 7:30am and ran directly to the mouth of Jackstaff with a tide that high and about two hours going out, with oyster beds showing. We fished the bank and had a number of small bites, then went up the river and anchored in a bend. Luke pulled in a Jack Crevalle, then fought and worked three stingrays to the boat. We went around to Bubblegum Reef and anchored and began to immediately hook up with croaker after croaker. Both Donald and Luke had gotten proficient in casting the 1/4 ounce Sure Catch jigs, tipped with live shrimp and had some fun catching some fish. We made a final stop at Broward Island, but it had gotten so hot we eventually pulled up and ran to the "house". Luke learned a lot, catching a smorgasbord of sealife and had a great time out on the water with his grandparents. I remember to this day fishing for Crappie with my Grandfather on Lake Sante Fe and know that Luke will remember today's fishing trip, too.

Beat'n the heat with late afternoon fishing

With a heat wave pushing tempatures to the mid 90's, I scheduled a fishing trip with visitors Belinda and Don Pottorff for late afternoon yesterday. They were in from Kansas City on a work related trip and were eager to soak in some outdoor experiences along with the ambiance of Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach, Florida. When we left the dock at 4:30pm it was still hot so I cruised over to Cumberland Island and up Beach Creek in hopes that we'd see some manatee, but they were the smarter mammal and were hiding out somewhere cool! We left Cumberland, crossed Amelia River and cut our engine at the mouth of Jolley River. Throwing a live shrimp on a leader under a cork, Don was getting his casts up near the marsh grass with a tide high and going out. It wasn't long before his cork disappeared and Don boated a nice Speckled Sea Trout. We eased along the shore line for about 100 yards and he expertly hooked up and played a number of trout, with some of them in the 19", 2lb range. We went further up Jolley, anchored at the mouth of a creek and Don caught some more trout, a few keeper sized, but the rest rather small. We did hook up, catch, and release a hard fighting 2 1/2' Bonnet Head shark. Playing with the small trout and croaker was fun but we wanted more of the larger variety so we pulled up anchor and headed around to the "MOA" - Mother of All - spots, and sure enough, the trout were there! Don caught a couple more on the shrimp, then we switched to an all white Zara Spook topwater plug and had some fun watching the trout hit and miss and finally hook up. We ended the day as the sun was going down over the marsh and got back to the dock with just a little bit of daylight. This was one of my more "prolific" trips in a long while and makes me want to do some more late afternoon trips!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

2nd Annual Clay Roberts Inshore Slam Tournament

Joe and Diane Warwick, owners of the Florida House Inn on Amelia Island, are supporters of the 2nd Annual Clay Roberts Inshore Slam Tournament so Joe, his son, Tanner and father-in-law Paul entered the Tournament and fished with me today. Fishing was to begin at "safe light" so we were out early, even before the bait shops opened. We launched from the south end and ran to the docks at Longpointe and anchored. It wasn't long before we had caught an undersized Red and Black drum and a few "bait stealers". We pulled up and headed up the river to Jackstaff and after trolling the bank for about 50 yards, Tanner yelled, "I got one" and started cranking the spinning reel. We adults were somewhat pessimistic and I even asked for the rod to see if it needed to be pulled loose from an oyster bed but when I felt the rod tip bend and the line rip out I handed it back to Tanner who reeled in a nice 18+" Redfish. We trolled on up the river, anchored at Bubblegum Reef, ran to Broward Island (now dubbed "Tarzan Island" and had a few nibbles hear and there with some croaker and small vermillion snapper in the boat, but no more line-ripping fish. It got so hot that we ended up runnning to the bridges over Nassau Sound to find some shade. Last year Tanner was a foot shorter and wasn't casting much but he's grown, is eager to learn and is well on his way to being an excellent angler.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Big Red, Big Trout

I fished with old friend Mike Stalvey, his son Michael and grandson "Bird" this morning and had a great day of fishing, catching up and swapping stories. They got in from Lake City last night for a planned day of fishing and after dining on seafood at the Crab Trap and getting to bed at decent time, we were up early this morning to be waiting at the bait shop to open for our live shrimp. We were in the water and running to Jolley River by 7am, began fishing and had only trolled a short distance when Michael hooked up and had a battle on his hands as the fish took drag, hunkered down, then took some more drag. When the fish rolled at the surface we knew we had a nice Redfish on the line and Michael expertly worked the fish, eventually bringing the 9.5 pound, 29" fish to the net. We snapped some pictures and released it to be caught another day. After all the excitement and "high-fives" we got lines back in the water and began inching along the grass line again, tossing live shrimp under Cajun Thunder's. Michael hooked up again, this time with a hard running, head shaking 19" trout; then Mike got in on the action with two more 18" trout, all hooked good and fighting mad. We eventually ran further up the river where Bird caught some croakers then we fished the docks on Bell River and were proud to see Bird's casting improve to the point where he was calling his spots and making pinpoint casts. Eventually, we wrapped up the day then headed home to some fried trout, cold slaw and baked beans. What a great way to "hook" up with old friends!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Trout and more Trout

Dean Gunderson was in town, visiting from the Atlanta area and new that his grandson Ian and Ian's parents Susan and Mike would like to catch some fish. Ian and Dean had caught a 3' shark off the pier at Amelia South yesterday and warned me that it would be a tough act to follow! I had procured some live shrimp so we headed up to Jolley River on a high, outgoing tide with no wind. We anchored up and it wasn't long before another large shark was chasing Ian's bait! He hooked up, had 'em for a while and the shark or an oyster cut the line. Not much later, Mike worked a nice trout to the boat. We ran around to the MOA, anchored, but had no bites. As we were passing the original spot we could now see the oysters and it looked so "fishy" we had to try it again. It was a good decision because everyone was able to join in on some action, catching trout after trout. Most were on the small side but we were able to put a couple of keepers in the boat. Ian had the most variety with a perch, croaker and black drum and expertly reeled them in. The highlite of the trip was watching a small sea turtle surface and work its way around the boat.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Arnett Family Fun Fishing

David and Kim Arnett of Douglas, Ga. were in town with their kids Abbey and Bethany and called for a fishing trip. They fish as a family at home and you could tell that they knew their way around a fishing rod! We left the southend boat ramp at Sawpit Creek at 8am, ran to the docks at Longpointe, anchored, tried a few casts and then moved on. We anchored at the mouth of Jackstaff, had no bites, but I noticed that both David and Kim were making some excellent casts and Abbey was doing a pretty good job, too. So we began to troll the marsh grass with the oysters just beginning to show on an outgoing tide. It wasn't long before Kim had a fish take her live shrimp the fight was on! I yelled "clear the way" and Kim fought the fish to the back of the boat and back to the middle and we netted a nice 6-spot 20" Redfish. We fished on up Jackstaff, moved on to "Bubblegum Reef" and dropped anchor again. We had only been there a few minutes before David spotted a bottom rig bouncing. Abbey eagerly grabbed the rod fought the fish to the boat and we netted not one, but TWO catfish: caught on one hook! The smaller cat had bit the hook while a larger one had gotten entagled in the line. As we tried to free the catfish Kim hooked up with another fish that put up a good fight, brought it to the boat and landed a fat 16" Trout. We tried one more stop at scenic Broward Island, but the sun was getting hot, and all of us were talking about the swimming pools and air conditioning that awaited us so we wrapped it up and came on in.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Recipe of the Month: Spanish Cornbread

From the desk of Lottie Garner....
(My Grandmother)

1/4 Cup Wesson Oil (1) Egg
1/2 Cup Buttermilk (1) Cup Cream Style Corn
(2) T. Sugar 1/2 Cup grated cheddar cheese
(1) T. Chopped onion (1) T. Chopped Jalepeno
(1) Cup Self Rising Cornmeal

Mix ingredients together and pour into 8x12 pan (or one of these cool iron fish skillets!)
Bake 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Butter and eat!

Why fish with Cpt. Lawrence Piper?

As most of my local readers know, I'm fairly new to the Charter Captain scene. I've fished all of my life and have gotten into the business at a rather late age (52). I've run another service oriented business for the past 22 years and think it has prepared me for the charter fishing service. In addition to serving in a leadership capacity on some of the local non-profit boards such as the YMCA, Chamber of Commerce and Optimist Clubs, I've volunteered with youth organizations such as Little League softball coach, YMCA basketball coach and Swim Team judge. When my daughter graduated, married and moved to California to begin a life with the Marines, I saw it as my opportunity to "Do what I like, Like what I do". I mean, if I'm going to work all of my life, I might as well enjoy what I'm doing, right? But why fish with me?

I'm going to do my very best to provide professional service. I'm going to return your e-mails and phone calls and I'm going to be on time for our scheduled trip. If I need to pick you up or meet you at your personal dock, I'll do it. I'll do what I can to accomodate you. I won't knowingly break any boating or fishing laws and I'll have all required safety equipment on board. I won't ogle your wife or girlfriend and I'll do my darndest not to let a curse word slip. The boat will be clean, the rods will be rigged and the tackle will be ready. Nine times out of ten I'll have the bait before the trip starts or a plan for it. I'll also have a fishing plan based on the location we leave from, the tides and the weather. If you're a lefty I'll switch the rod handles and if you're a beginner I'll take the time to show you how to bait the hook and make your cast. If you don't want to bait the hook or remove the fish I'll do it for you! I'll have some ice waters and a few soda's on board and I'll require youth under 13 to have a life vest on, but tactfully let the child know that it's up to their parent to let them remove it once the boat is stopped and fishing has begun. I have a ton of patience and will rig and re-rig and re-re-rig as much as need be to keep you fishing. Most times I'll hand you a new rod and let you get back to fishing while I re-rig another one. I know that most folks want to catch fish when they hire a Charter and I'll take you to spots that have produced in the past given the tide that we're fishing. Most of the time my guests will catch some fish. Once in awhile they just arent't biting, and I honestly do feel bad about it. My soon-to-be wife, Carol, will tell you that I'm seriously bumbed if I have a day with no fish, but in the end, I know I'm going to do my very best to make sure your trip is a no-hassle experience. I know people are spending their hard-earned money while they're visiting and they want to just get away from it all so....click here to book a trip: Let's go fishing!

Why "The Anglers Mark" ?

The name came from nothing spectacular, but people ask. A number of years ago I took two employees fishing with me. The "senior" employee, Dylan, had fished with me a number of times. He was quite competitive, a pretty good angler, and caught fish on occasion, just like the rest of us. The new guy, David, came from southern California -a different culture- and was new to north Florida salt water fishing. The two worked together during the week and bantered back and forth constantly during their work day, trying to one-up each other on every task or subject. We had just launched at the Bait House on Eagans Creek and were trolling towards the river, tossing live shrimp under a float up into the grass when the new guy, David, hooked up with a trout. I was happy to see him catch a fish and was amused when the bantering between the two began. David boated another trout and then another and then another while Dylan watched almost helplessly. The dagger was finally driven home when David proclaimed to Dylan, "I've got the Mark of an Angler...and you don't!" I thought it was funny at the time to see the more experienced angler humbled somewhat, but upon reflection, it was just what I was looking for. To some, the fishing experience is not just about catching fish, but getting out on the water, seeing a manatee's snout blow out of the water, kicking back on your leather chair with an adult beverage while you rig up the rods for the following day, making your sandwiches the night before, tossing a good tight loop on the flyrod, catching a fish on a fly you tied, teaching a young one how to cast, even feeling the crispness of your fishing shirt as you put it on in the morning, leaving early to have bacon, eggs and grits at the Huddle House, having a fish fry with your friends, cutting across the water as the sun rises and last but not least, feeling the heavy tug on your line as a Redfish chomps down on your bait. To me, fishing is more than catching fish. I don't think I was born with the "Mark" but I've sure grown into it!

Coopers gone fish'in

Jimmy Cooper, his two sons Mitchell and Jake, and grandfather "Coop" fished with me yesterday. We had beautiful weather, a very light breeze and sunshine. We crossed the marina and stopped at the long oyster bed at Lanceford Creek. Mitchell and Jake had never used a spinning outfit so we got in some practice casts with live shrimp on Sure Catch jigs and before long they were getting some bites with Jimmy getting the first fish in the boat, a Jack Crevalle. We ran around to Tiger Island and anchored up and shortly Mitchell was reeling in a nice flounder. Jake joined in on the action with a couple of croaker and we also caught a vermillion snapper. The tide was starting back in so we used the trolling motor to get us through the cut to Bell River and ran to the docks on Lanceford Creek. We ended the day here with Jimmy reeling in a "puppy drum" and then a Sheepshead. Mitchell and Jake's casting had improved throughout the day so that they were beginning to make pin-point casts. What a great way to be out on the water with a Grandfather, son, and two fine young men.

In search of Manatee

When Bob Tidball from the Addison House on Amelia Island called and said he had some guests who'd like to do an eco-tour and see some manatee I joked that normally I couldn't gaurantee seeing manatee but maybe I'd let a few out of their cages! I met Buddy and Shannon Barnes at the City docks and we crossed the river to one of my first go-to spots for tailing Reds. The tide wasn't quite high enough for Reds in the grass, but we did see two Horseshoe Crab cruising along. We eased through the cut from Bell River to Tiger Basin, cruised Tiger Island and saw some birdlife, then crossed over to Cumberland Island and up into Beach Creek. I thought I saw a tail flap up ahead and sure enough, we found a family of three manatee munching on the grass. We slowly lowered an anchor and watched the family for 30 minutes as they had their lunch. I get as excited as my guests at seeing the manatee and I realized that I was hogging the prime picture taking position on the bow so I relinquished the spot to Buddy and Shannon! After a while we cruised further up the creek and saw a racoon cutting through the marsh grass; we all thought it was unusual to see a raccoon out in the middle of the afternoon. As we left Cumberland we eased along the south shore and found a herd of horses grazing in the marsh, then we crossed to see historic Fort Clinch to wrap up the trip. After I dropped Buddy and Shannon off, I went back to Cumberland to get the manatee back in their cages!