Yes, girls fish too, but only the coolest ones. I was deep into that REM sleep, counting hook sets and big girls, when a knock came to my door. "What time is it," I asked? "Eight thirty three," my wife said. Oh no, I promised the little girl next door that we would take the canoe out and catch some bass - at 8:30- she was right on time. So me and Drew wiped the dust from our eyes, I splashed some water on my face and we headed for the lake.
It was super foggy and calm. I had fished another lake on Thursday, and it is a spot known for its power fishing approaches, but not that day, and I took one on a spinner in 3 hours of trying. Yesterday I paddled around our lake and tried the power approach for a bit but to no avail. I decided to grab a stick bait and wacky rig it; that led to eight fish in about an hour's time. The other method, that looked promising on this slow bite, was pitching the weeds but I broke off the tip of my Abu Garcia Veritas 2.0 in the pads shortly after. Drew broke my other Abu, I use for crank baits, on a back cast today. Too bad, because I really like the feel of these rods. It was an expensive weekend, but the girls had a fun time, and once we slowed things down, the bite was on.
They look so sweet here, I know, but don't be fooled, these are two focused and ruthless competitors. There was so much trash talk going on, that it was like being out with my buddies. Drew jumped ahead with 3 fish, but Tyla refused to give up, even though I begged and pleaded for lack of coffee. I just need one fish Calvin, and then Drew reminded her that she had 3. It was more than Tyla could accept, and I told her the big fish wins, so you still have a chance for that. We pulled into another cove that you can't reach from shore, and both the girls cast deep into it. Drew was reeling her bait in for a recast when a fish tried to take it on top, she missed, but then Tyla's rod bent way down and she started screaming. The screaming actually lasted all the way back to the ramp, and she tried to hand the rod of several times during the fight, but I kept telling her no, and even though she passed under the canoe, mercilessly bent the rod and jumped for her life, Tyla still got her in. I weighed the beast, and she hit 4 pounds, it also looked like she was post spawn. What a beautiful fish, and a very persistent little girl. She said this was one of the best days ever, and I am sure she will say that a lot of times, but at least I got to be there for her bass day.
The lures I used this week were Producto Hot Rods, Big Bite Baits sticks, and Tuscaroran Pro lures sticks. Tuscaroran Pro lures are new to me, but a new friend from South Florida left me and Brian some to try. I like the texture on the stick baits and the action is nice.
Back at the Little Econ, but this time with my oldest daughter and a canoe. We launched at 419 and took the first leg of it, which is about eight miles and ends at SnowHill Road. This time I had my wife drop us off and then called for a pick up as we approached the foot bridge. I figured that would give them about 40 minutes drive time and enough time for me to paddle the rest of the way to Snow Hill. It was one of those trips when you were fighting the falling sun, partly because I forgot the paddle and we had to turn around and go home, and partly because you can't just paddle through. No way, there are fish in here, and I have to catch a few of them. I never understood people who go to the beach to lay out either, there are fish in there too.
My best today was a 5 pounder and it came on an Academy H2O popper in a frog pattern. This took all of our bass today and Lily took it away from me so she could start using it. Top water is always fun, but I love it in rivers and there were just too many dead falls that looked amazing.
This is a beautiful stretch of Florida river and I think we may do the other section soon, but camp it so there is more time to fish. The other run is from our pick up point at Snow Hill Road and ends on the St. John's River at S.R. 46. This is about 11 miles long. We put in just after 1 pm and it took us till almost 6 oclock to reach our 8 mile pick up point. This included fishing and a shore lunch though, but it was dark when we got to the Snow Hill bridge.
The red bellies and bluegill in here can be aggressive and this one took a small clothespin spinner I use for Crappie, sometimes you run in to those in here too. I usually bring some Rooster tails in white and managed some on that today too, but the star was that H2O popper, what a blast.
Thursday and Friday this week saw me getting a few hits but closing the deal on nothing. My little brother took six bass the other day on a spinner bait, while me, Rich and Brian went home empty handed. Today I watched him catch panfish on a Rooster Tail and I tied one on a light rod but I held to a shaky most the way out on Econ today. It was hard to stand my ground with this as I watched him catch some very nice pan fish, but it was slow, even for him today, so I kept throwing the shaky.
Rooster tails are awesome though, and there are a few places where I'd even throw them in a tournament. These bluegill and red bellies are begging for the grease and a pot of grits. I like white spinner baits out here and in John's Lake, but the red with copper blade was also good. You can kind of play it by the water clarity, but one of my favorites, especially when there are green bait fish like inland silversides, is a "frog bleeding". There were places in the mountains though that I caught more on yellow or a Mepps with a simple buck tail and silver blade.
I love fishing creeks and rivers, and it is truly a reset around every corner. There is the chance that you will find a better spot, a group of crappie, some slow water holding redbellies, or tie in to a beast on topwater. I love it, the exercise, beauty and diversity, it is a loaded experience.
Well, this was the size of my shaky head bass, and I have been told more than once that this is the size of the bass in here, that there are no "big bass" in the Econ, but I have caught them in the 3 to 7 range in here which is a good fish to me. If you can sneeze at a 7 pounder then I would love to fish your lakes with you sometime. These are wonderful fish in here and full of fight. The larger fish was taken on topwater, and I was mad because I couldn't find any of my Arbogast Hula poppers, so after my shaky head broke off in some dead fall, I tied on a tiny Torpedo. I had an immense boil behind it that did not materialize into a fish, and then the same thing a few hundred yards down. This time I am yelling to my brother, "did you see that boil", and then boom! I thought the fish had decided to pass on it, but now it was coming clear out of the water with it, and oh what a fighter. These guys dig deep, use the current and wrap you in every log they can find on the bottom. What an awesome day, I am so glad we came out here! I started the weekend off the hard way, and except for the handful of fish I caught behind the house, it was looking bleak, but here we were with a lot of river bends and plenty of resets.
Well, we have had some cooler days but nothing in the way of cold, and it has been enough to push more gators up on the bank. The gator in these pics has a snare around his upper plate, and it looks like the poor fellow has had it for some time because the twine is digging into his snout. He did let me come to within a foot of his tail, so hopefully there is someone that works out there who is equipped to capture him and remove the rope. I don't think it would be hard to get something around his neck, like I said, he allowed me to approach very closely.
I love the tail, such a perfect machine. When you get close to them and really start to examine them, you begin to appreciate the beauty. Unfortunately, people have been feeding them out here, and this is a problem in Cocoa too, where the roads come so close to the canals. They have installed cameras out here now to try to catch and correct some of this behavior, but some of the gators have already developed an eager response to a slowing car.
A lot of the gators were up next to the road, basking in the afternoon sun. It was overcast on the way there, and we arrived close to noon, hoping to see some migratory birds, but I guess it hasn't gotten cold enough to drive them down here yet. My duck hunting friends say it has been sparse. Hopefully by next month there will be some colder days and a lot more bird traffic.
I ran in to Matt and his boys today, and he wants to do some of the bike trails out here. I am all for that; some of these trails go off into pine woods and other areas of the marsh that won't see as much traffic. We have seen bobcats, coyotes and deer from the car, so it would be nice to explore the trails.
This place is like a gator farm though; we find youngsters every time we come out here, and today was no exception.
Momma gator wasn't as happy to see me as I was to see her babies, but she hung in tight to her brood, and I kept an eye on her at all times.
I showed Drew the Bullfrog whose head is above the water line, but if you look behind him there is a much paler frog, that reminds me of an African clawed frog lying on the bottom, maybe not though. Drew noticed the other frog and had to point it out to me, good eye. Below is a baby gator in duck weed; it makes you wonder how much stuff we pass by everyday, and how much we miss on these trips. They are so still.
The girls are doing great and growing faster than a baby alligator. Lily and Drew both helped me make Thanksgiving dinner, and it was fantastic. Lily also made Brian a German chocolate cake, and then defended the cake from me till Brian got there. At least he let me have a piece, and Lily also made some cookies, so I attacked those pretty hard last night and to be completely honest they were the first thing I thought about when I woke up this morning. Drew also made me very proud this weekend, thank you sweetie.
A clear head, no allergy, sinus pressure, and there is a wonderful salt breeze; this is an earthly sort of heaven for me. It's Friday and there are a few kayakers as we pull up to the back water, but overall it's not too crowded. There is a gentleman making his way across the street from the Salty Dawg, and as we prep our gear and throw on shoes to wade, he informs us about his new shop and kayak rentals. I've always hoped someone would open up one of the two buildings here for that very thing, and I pray it never becomes developed like so many of the other areas surrounding it. I asked him how much the kayak rentals were, and when he told me I decided I'd rather eat lunch instead. I asked if he had canoes because then you could at least split the cost of getting out there between two people. I've seen rentals on both coasts, lakes and rivers and the prices vary greatly, but for me 45 dollars for 4 hours was steep. I'd rather save up and get my own, but if you are in the area and you don't feel comfortable wading or don't need the cash then it looked like a nice place. He also had live bait, lures, rods and reels available, so it is definitely a good place to keep in mind and I pray he does well.
Who can resist a flat fish? They are adorable, and I know a lot of people sing the praises of Sebastian Inlet every year, but there are plenty of keeper flounder to be had in the back water all down our coast. I have caught them any where there is a tide, and they seem to like the sand near oyster bars a lot. I took him and most of the other fish on a Gulp Shrimp, but I had a snook almost hit me in the chest for chartreuse Mirrolure soft plastic on a Mirrolure swim jig.
The trout I caught were small and just under the keeper size. Every single last one of them was exactly 14 and a quarter inches, a very uniform school. Sometimes in Mosquito Lagoon I'll catch a gator trout on the backside of these schoolies. It was not the case today and all our Redfish were running in the 15 to 17 range, but it was fun and though we lost a lot more flounder than we caught, I was able to keep my promise to Drew and throw some nice filets in the freezer.
Well, goodbye NSB, I will miss you till next time, but it was fun and I'm definitely going to work harder on getting a canoe to take the girls out here. If you are adventurous and feel like wading at any time that you are here, please wear shoes or you will cut yourself to pieces. You don't need fancy gear, a couple of spinning rods, 10 pound test line, some jig heads and bodies and you are good to go. There is a shop right there now that can help you out and if you don't like lures you can buy live right there. There is also a campground next door, so get out there and get revived. Thank God for fishing and the outdoors!
This is the second time I have seen a gator feeding on another gator in here, and this is the second spot we found to hold babies. At first we thought this larger gator was a male that was trying to eat her babies, and then killed her when she defended, but I went back there today and was met by an angry smaller gator as soon as the babies started squawking. It really didn't seem to help that Drew was making the same noises from the car.
Drew and I have taken a couple of trips to the Apopka nature drive recently, and I don't know what happened to the audio on my phone, but there is a baby gator that looks like he came from a hatch earlier in the year along with several newbies. A fantastic place, some of the pics are from afternoon and some from a morning visit on the 10th.
Above are pictures of a Black Racer I found at work, and I haven't been bass fishing much lately but below is a pic of the soul bass I took last night with Lily. The Shaky head bite I had previously has slowed way down so I tried a Bitter's Ribbon in 10, had a couple of shorts or drops, so I shortened it to a 7 and this guy came just a couple casts later. It's really hard to say what made a difference for sure. We were there really early. I actually like to throw top water a lot this time of year, spinners, cranks and ribbon tails till it gets cooler. The redfish, snook and flounder have been on my mind a lot lately though, it must be that time of year. The weather is getting nice, so God bless and go fish.
Forty years old and still in awe of the outdoors.