This was my biggest of 4 landed and 3 lost tonight. I may have to switch setups to get better connection through the snot. I just prefer the lighter test and the fight, but I lost one after a huge, surging wake towards my lure. The mosquitoes were out in force tonight, and the lady I was fishing with abandoned me right before this guy hit. I gave her two of my previous smaller ones and Lily contributed some Gills, but this one is well past the size I am willing to eat. It's not my biggest fish here but was fun. The bats were back tonight chasing the blood suckers and I saw a massive fish body come clear of the water, leaving a huge boil. Oh that feeling, I cast for it like I was sight fishing the Mosquito Lagoon, and my 10", well more like 8 and a half after I bit off some tears and tapped a bit of super glue on the shank bend, went sailing in the direction of the ripples. It hit a bit to the left, and as I flipped the bail on my spinning reel over the rod was already bent, so I set the hook. I think I shall return to Bitter's for some bats. Who know's? It looks like a craw fish on steroids, with oversize pincers, but it may prove the perfect silhouette.
Lily caught some very pretty blue gills and got two bass and I missed two trying to imitate that pattern with a Houdini craw.
Lily with a nice shiner. I wish she would have told me she planned on catches these big ones and I would have brought my bait caster. That would have commanded the attention of some big girls for her.
Drew and I decided to kill time on a trail while we waited for Lily to finish her shift at the Chocolate factory. We got a little side tracked from the trail and found this circle of benches in the woods.
This creek is actually part of Little Wekiva, but reminds me of the way Howell Branch use to look before they dammed it up. As kids we would walk the trails and wade the creek looking for bass, bluegill and red bellies. Our tackle usually consisted of an ultralight, rooster tails, small plugs and poppers. Sometimes we would take a fly rod, but the branches were pretty unforgiving in most of the stretches. I will definitely come back here for a little creek fishing. The water was about 2 foot higher last time I saw the creek, but it looks pretty good right now.
I asked my baby girl if she would go looking for the creek with me, but we had to go spend some birthday money first. She got some really cool, camouflage Airwalks, and there was still enough time for a walk, so we got to find the tannic water.
We watched sparrows while we waited for Lily to finish making chocolate, and found out that the AC had broken while we were gone. Lily got see the pressures of business and the response of the owner when something goes wrong. They had to take some of the chocolate to a business next door, and then a very large order was picked up by her husband to take home where it was cooler. Fortunately the repair man was on his way, because chocolate doesn't like the heat so much, and apparently me eating all of it before it melted was not an option. I tried.
Lily made some beautiful white chocolate turkeys, and learned a lot from Miss Betsy today.
A few days later I picked the girls up from school, and headed to Bitters. What a great tackle store, and very friendly people. They make their own line of soft plastics for 2.99 a bag or 2 for 5.00. I bought some craws and worms, then decided to try them out. We headed over to Crane's Roost and it was another one of those difficult, blue bird days. The water is rather dark there, but it was so light and clear out that I decided to switch from the darker colors to a Houdini Craw. They loved it, but I missed 2 and then Lily pulled this one out.
We took a brake and looked at some turtles.
I highly recommend Bitters and taking your kids fishing. Their attention spans were short tonight and Lily fell in the water, but they had a good time climbing the wall and running along the bank. Her original plan of stalking the carp in here, well it took longer than five minutes, and those walls were a calling. Too much pent up energy after being in school all day I suppose.
But the bass fishing can be pretty good in here. According to the local charts, next weekend should be really good.
They will hit a variety of baits in here, and I have had success with craw in Houdini color, Green Pumpkin with red flake and a Tequila worm.
Hard to beat a day at Wekiva Springs. For only 2 bucks a person, me and the girls can give mom a brake and fight off the summer heat. They jumped right in, of course, and I took the slow approach. You keep telling yourself that the water will feel great once you get use to it, but when you take the stairs you end up half hot and half cold. This forces a decision and my body is sending back inputs to my brain that say too cold. So I finally lean forward and take the plunge. It only takes a minute and the water feels fantastic. The girls find a rock to stage their dredging business on, and Drew becomes the sorter while Lily and I are the dredgers. We collect dirt from the bottom and Drew sorts for shark's teeth. They forgot their sifter so it makes it a little more difficult.
Drew had an older girl approach her to ask what she was looking for. She told her shark's teeth to which the young lady replied, " this is a fresh water spring, so you won't find them here. It's not logical." I was curious to see how she would handle this, and rather than explain the situation to the girl or cite past teeth collecting expeditions, Drew went searching harder and demanding more labor from me and Lily. She was quite pleased when she found several broken teeth and two intact specimens. Drew left the water, tracked down the girl and showed her the teeth. I later asked Drew what the girl said when she showed them to her. She said, "there not shark's teeth, they have to be from something else." Oh well, maybe she'll look it up later.
We took a short nature walk too, and found some beautiful Skinks. The trails here are pretty extensive, you could walk all the way to Rock Springs from here, if you were so inclined. We gave up after finding a thick batch of mosquitos.
A very beautiful walk though, with lots of air plants and tall shade trees.
We also got to meet a true pine snake, and not a coach whip this time. There was also a very friendly gopher tortoise, who stopped by, and the parks people had this baby alligator.
There were also some water turtles, Bluegill and other sunfish at the entrance to the river.
The girls returned to the water; they always find water.
They also have canoe and kayak rentals here. It is a great place to see alligators, snakes, turtles and a host of resident and migratory birds.
No day by the water is complete without a little fishing to end the day. Beautiful color on this bass.
What a day.
I love crawfish, but a friend at work turned me on to a completely different way of fishing them. You rig it weedless still, but with no weight and then instead of bouncing it along the bottom, you run it top water over the mats. I have also used this method out here in open water since many of the bass seem to be pelagic feeders. It's hard to resist casting to jumping bass and why would you? The craw I have been using with great success, is a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss. I thought I had used my last one a couple of weeks ago, but was steeling (I mean borrowing) from my daughter's tackle box today, when I came across one slightly used loner. It was the last of the Mohicans and a sight for sore eyes. The bass fishing has been incredibly challenging the last few times, and the weather unpredictable. I have caught fish every time, even off the front and with blue bird skies, but nothing that came close to pulling drag. Well, I take that back, there were a few sushi rolls mixed in, you know the ones that are 5 pounds of weeds to every 1 pound of bass. I started by trying a different lure today since the water seemed a bit darker than normal and the sky was nicely overcast. There was a gentle breeze blowing in from the west, and all the makings of a great fishing story.
I started off trying something I hadn't used in here yet and I did manage 3 bass and 2 misses. It's a small worm so I have to assume the fish were also small if they couldn't keep it down, or they spit before I went to set. Very pretty though and they keep me interested. The fish seem to be cruising around a lot tonight and I tired of the worm. There were just too many fish crashing bait on the top, and the sun was starting to fall. So, I reached in my shirt pocket and pulled out my last craw. I got 3 short strikes in about 5 casts, and then everything went silent. Are you kidding me? Cast after cast and no response, but the bass seemed to be moving around a lot. I headed back to the other lake and got another short strike in open water. So I decided to move over to the mats that had been dead when I first came out. "Work the clock," I tell myself. I like to talk to myself when I'm fishing; I pretend that I am instructing one of my kids. Its how I work through it ok, its like self coaching. Anyway, I am dissecting this mat and a little trench that cuts through the middle of it when right at the edge of the mat, I get hammered. It looked like a Tsunami rolling over my Pit Boss. I pointe the rod to it, reeled and set the hook. Solid fish, and pulling some drag on my redfish outfit. I was using my Shimano Crucial, medium, fast action with a Shimano Spheros reel. That is a great combo for in shore and serves double duty as a worm rod at the lakes. I have been very happy with the feel of the rod and the reel has been quite reliable. They are about 2 years old and have been abused in both fresh and salt water.
Well, hats off to Wes Neal on that one. Maybe we should call it Wes coast style, but whatever you call it, it's another way to get them on top, and that's the best place.
Oh and thanks to beautiful couple, who stopped to watch me fish. They were kind enough to take the pictures, but a little depressed when I let it go. I don't think its wrong to eat bass but the smaller ones taste better and these are the breeders you want to leave in the lake. I'll give them a few keepers next time they come watch me. To give you a little perspective on the size of the fish, I am 8 feet tall, give or take a couple of feet.
We saw a sign that read Betsy K's Chocolate Factory. Lily wanted to go in, and see if they actually made the chocolate here. Her culinary mind mixed with visions of Willy Wonka, and the hopes that I could somehow be persuaded to buy her chocolate on bill week. The store was amazing, very clean and touched with an aroma that blended with my own imaginations of what heaven must smell like. The proprietor was a lovely woman, with a kind and approachable personality. Lily had whispered to me on the way in that it would be nice to do her volunteer time in a place like this. Who wouldn't, I thought, but does that really count. I mean she wouldn't being pulling babies from burning buildings or feeding the homeless, but the animal shelter had already said she was too young. Probably worried about dog bites and such things that children are no longer aloud to be exposed to due to our ridiculous legal system, and those who abuse it.
The stipulations for volunteer work are that it wasn't done for family benefit. It's not my chocolate factory, and if Lily does a good job then it will benefit the owner. Plus, there is this thing called the American entrepreneur, the person out there taking their talents and ideas and applying them to the old American dream. She is making chocolate, a pretty high calling in itself, and she is making great chocolate, the thing that sets her apart. So I ask her , "would you mind having my daughter as a volunteer in your shop?" Low and behold she agrees, and I get this warm sensation of community. She is running a business and this is no way a part of that, if anything, most would see it as a liability or an inconvenience. I thanked her because it was a very helpful and unexpected kindness. You can't help but gain from an experience like this though. The next generation gets to learn about the small business, and that everything is not play inside the chocolate factory. There is cleaning, picking up, the stress of busy days, and a whole host of other worries and concerns. Thank you for taking time out for my daughter. I hope she will be as willing to teach others when it is in her power to do so.
I have purchased chocolate here twice, and tried a variety of the offerings. The almond toffee bars are amazing! I am a huge fan of toffee, and this was both rich and wonderful. Warning: this chocolate and her toffee will ruin every Heath and Hershey bar you have afterwards. You may buy it because its handy or cheap, but your heart and mind will always drift back to the superior. If you're willing to take that sort of risk or fancy yourself a chocolate connoisseur, then Chocolate factory is located in Longwood, Fl, in the Publix plaza at the corner of 434 and Wekiva Springs road. I highly recommend it, and it is a 10 on the scales every day. I appreciate what this business did for my daughter, but my loyalty is mostly based upon quality, and this is the real deal. Lily and I love dark chocolate, and had the most wonderful representation of this here. Everything is handmade, and the caramels, covered in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt bare testimony to this. They are divine. I also enjoyed the truffles, chocolate covered pretzels and Drew shared a bite of her white chocolate with me. That was the best white chocolate I have tasted. You can find cheaper chocolate elsewhere, but I get tired of supporting mediocre, and it was in these small brick and mortars where all the big factories started and then got lost some where along the way. So if you want an authentic chocolate experience to gauge your future experiences by, then check it out-you won't regret it.
I have been looking for good water snake imitators to catch bass with, and I ran across these two sights. The first was a snake created by a dentist, from materials he uses in his business. The second was Bogbaits, which seems to be big on scent attractants, including anise seed. Some of the colors are interesting, but I am not sure about buying the whole Hannon big bass system. Forty dollars seems like a steep introductory for a lure, and maybe I missed where you could just order individual colors. One thing I would really like to see is more pattern, especially bands, ie the banded water snakes that seem to be very wide spread. The Mann's hard nose in Moccasin is getting close, but how about some red tones mixed in there.
Of course there are many other snakes that enter the water and this may be worth a look as far as colors and patterns.
Well, fall is almost here in Florida so I will be switching up a bit anyway, but I still like worms because the Bass move into the shallows where these snakes seem very practical.