It's been a great week off from work, and today was the last day so I decided to get up before light and find some water. There was a pull towards the coast, but I opted out of the wind and stayed in Orlando. I have been hitting some of the down town lakes where I use to walk the shore line as a kid. I love my kayak, because after throwing it on the C-Tug and taking a short walk across the field, I was in Lake Highland and headed to parts of the lake I could not reach before. It was early and the third cast ended in a fight with a really strong 3 pounder, but then I tangled all my lines and ended up cutting and retying 3 rods in the dark. What a waste of time. It didn't take long to find fish again though.
Well Spring has sprung and if they aren't bedding they may be willing to hit on some power method that hasn't produced much at other times of the year. I had some success with a lipless crank bait in Lake Ivanhoe so I decided to throw that and a spinner bait in here. No takers on the Rat L Trap, but I landed a few on the Spinner, and had on what was probably a personal best Spinner bait fish, but she actually broke the lure in half. I have never had one snap like that before, it was like getting the smaller half of the wish bone.
I took fish on a Booyah Spinner bait, Producto Tournament worm and Producto Hot Rod. Tournament was Tex posed and hot rod was Wacky. There is a lot of Eel grass in some of the down town lakes so go weedless or hunt the edge with a Trap.
I wondered how all this Road construction would affect the fishing in Ivanhoe, but I actually caught bass on a Rat L Trap next to the barges. 3 on traps and a couple on a Motor oil Tournament worm.
Lily wanted to practice shooting some, and there was a fish she couldn't quite make out, so she handed me the bow. That was a mistake, because I broke her only arrow. Luckily it was just the Nock, so later that day we picked up a bag and the archery guy at Bass Pro hooked us up with some free 2 part epoxy. 24 hours later and it was good as new.
It's hard to put into words, feelings about a place; though love sure comes to mind, it is a bit over used. You told me you love your children, but you've also told me you love pizza. I remember a little boy and a bag of frozen shrimp. We all have to start somewhere, and for him it was on his grandmother's dock in a canal, off the Banana River. She worked for Nasa and for a time lived on the water not far from there. I think something happened there on that dock, because I recall being very small and watching my heart drift away with a bag of spilled shrimp. Those shrimp represented my passion and hours of entertainment, watching my bobber slip below the surface and pulling up another Pin fish or the occasional trout.
Today was a special day, because my wife and kids drove over with me and they enjoyed the beach while I went to Mosquito Lagoon to chase Reds. I think I had the better time, the waves were rough at Canaveral and my wife lost her prescription glasses. I enjoyed a calm early morning and my biggest struggle was finding bait. I settled for what looked like a Killi and didn't slip through the holes in my cast net. I couldn't find any mullet, pins or sand perch within casting range, and I got to use my new Old Town to pull myself out of the mud. I have fished all up and down Mosquito Lagoon, and lived in Edgewater and New Smyrna for a time. My Great grandmother and grandfather settled in Oakhill at the turn of last century and she told stories of an incredible fishery. It's the salt and it's in my marrow, it's the breeze and chasing signs on the water, I do feel this place and miss it. I love all the Lagoons, but Mosquito holds a special place in my heart.
It's good to see some things never change. We stopped in at Steve's diner for some fried flounder, mashed potatoes and green beans, fantastic.
Not the best fishing day, 16 mile per hour winds and clear blue skies, but I can't wait to try out my new Yak. I built an anchor Trolley for it the night before and a winch system using 2 old deer skinning gantries that consist of 4 pulleys. This makes loading and unloading at the house an easy one man operation. Back to water though, and I chose Lake Underhill, because I heard there use to be decent fishing there, but it was over pressured now. Maybe, but still worth a shot, so I loaded up the kayak and headed to the lake.
Even though the conditions weren't the best for bass, I did manage 2 misses and a decent chunk on one of my go to lures, Producto Tournament worms.
I stopped in at Producto in Sanford to pick up some more lures for the Spring season, and as always it was a pleasure to talk and share fishing stories with the owner. Great baits and highly recommend them.
We also did a trip to Turnbull the week before and poor Lily lost a good redfish. Every time he saw the boat he took drag, and she got impatient and grabbed the line. Oh well, we will go again and part of fishing is disappointment, it builds character.
Lily looking for Gar at Econ. We have been out a few times with the bow, and she has only been able to take a handful shots. We couldn't find any gar that day, but it is always a beautiful walk. I did manage a nice bass on topwater, but Scalelily was unimpressed.
I found Gemini springs using a Google satellite image. You could see Tilapia beds in the image, so we crossed our fingers and drove up to scout it out. They were there in force, along with a sign that only allowed fishing from the pier. There were no beds by the pier, so Lily quickly learning the disappointment side of fishing and the overuse of rules and signs around local waters. She wasn't very happy.
I took her to another spot where my brother and his friends frequently shoot Tilapia. One of the people, who live on the private side of the lake, called OPD. We got the siren and then a voice over the loud speaker telling her to drop the bow. She froze and couldn't understand him so he asked again and I told her to put it on the ground. he said we couldn't shoot there, but according to FWC regulations, I told him we could. I read the regulations before we left and I have been there, at another lake, when the police were called on my brother and his friend. Peter explained to him then that we were well within our rights and that as long as you can fish then you can bowfish. The restrictions are species. You can't shoot bass, but you can definitely shoot gar and Tilapia. I recommend Tilapia because they are much easier to clean. Anyhow, the police officer and his back up ended up being nice guys and we joked that they would rather her bow fish then turn to a life of crime and drugs, but certain people had to call about everything. Anyway, it's good to question authority in a respectful manner, when you know the law is in your favor. Make sure you read your regulations; police officers have enough to deal with, especially thanks to "concerned citizens", who would prefer no fishing signs everywhere.
Still love to fish, and I recently sold my canoe, so I will be looking for a kayak here soon. I really like the pedal drives with the ability to go in reverse, but I may have to lean toward a tandem, like the Big Tuna instead, because it sounds like Lily wants to do some saltwater with me. Here are some pics of some fish taken by me and friends of mine this year.
Getting ready for spring. I lost my favorite spinning outfit a few episodes ago, but I purchased a Penn Battle and Fierce combo, and have been very impressed thus far. I put 20 lb. braid on the Battle and 8 pound stern on the Fierce. They both cat a mile and have already seen several bass on each, can't wait to chase some reds and flap jacks.
Lily has always preferred the more direct approach when fishing. She doesn't have my patience and persistence with rod and reel and would prefer sight fish. I remember the first time she saw me throw a cast net, and she wanted to do it herself, but was far too small at the time. Her and her sister kept asking me to throw it so they could see the little fish, shrimp and crabs that got caught in the mesh. Not too many years later, a buddy of mine gave her a smaller net to throw, and she mastered it one day, to the dismay of the local Tilapia. Now, my little Katniss wants a bow, but the Tilapia are not yet on the beds, so we practice. Move forward to recent weeks and there was a PSE Kingfisher set on sale at our new Academy Sports, so now Lily is starting the archery chapter of her life. Look out Tilapia, gar, plecos and soda bottles, strawberry Katniss is on the hunt.
In Orlando, there are a lot of Green spaces, and it's not hard to find water with Tilapia, but the trick is finding the clarity that you need to shoot. Make sure you look at the rules for the fish in your area. I had always assumed that carp were fair game because they are a non-native, and when they get big they no longer perform as well for weed removal. They are also, in my opinion, a nuisance to bedding bass, but for all that, it is still illegal to shoot a grass carp. Read your FWC site information for methods of taking fish and the species legal to take.
I remember sight fishing for bedding bass at Blanchard park when I was much younger. The water clarity wasn't there for us so we took a short canoe trip and then headed to Leaves and Roots for Lily's loose leaf tea. She loves a good book and a cup of Gun Powder tea.
Not far from my work is a great little green space for exercise. Drew said I couldn't bring a fishing rod because this was to be a cardio gig, but she did take some pics of a crime scene, and we tried to figure out who the perpetrator was. The place is called Shadow Bay park and it is on the corner of Turkey Lake and Conroy. The first pond is stalked with catfish but we have also caught bass and crappie in here. There are two smaller ponds you will come to on the path and I have tried the one with the long dock once, but with no success.
Also, farewell to Frank, my wife's grandfather, he was a favorite and we will miss him.
Last Sunday we dropped Lily off at Science camp, and Drew went to her great grandmother's and grandmother's for the week. They drop her off at a fishing and marine life day camp everyday; where was that camp when I was a kid? After we said goodbye, I headed over to the Inlet in St. Petersburg for a little while. Last year the snook were stacked in here, but this year all I saw were sheepshead. Oh well, it was crazy hot outside so we headed home.
Friday saw us back on the road again and as quiet and peaceful as it was at home; you do start to miss them a bit. I took a stroll around the Eckerd College campus since I had some time to kill while waiting for Drew. My wife and her grandmother went to Lily's award ceremony and I got to see the little tall one's. It was truly a moment of pride when her counselor told everyone how helpful she was, and later when her grandmother told me how delightful she was. She was burnt to a crisp, but smiling after yet another day on the water. She had sand dollars, sea shells and 4 certificates; what a champ!
Lily, trying to feign angst and independence at Science camp. She was depressed about leaving though and apparently met some fun people during the week. They get older way too fast, but I am happy she learned a lot and had a good time doing it. She explained induction to me on the way home.
This place is like Cuba being settled by Italians. Everything is amazing and you know this the moment it hits your nose at the door. You smell food, but in a clean environment where people take a lot of pride in what they do. I have to have a Deviled crab, ok two, when I come here, but they also have one of the best pressed Italians I have ever had. Cacciatore & Sons is located on Armenia Street in Tampa, so I usually hit it on the way over or way back.
There are a lot of great places over here and we found yet another Italian market while on the hunt for a particular stuffed pepper. Mazzaros!
So that was St. Petersburg, and recently I was asked if I still do the fishing thing. I do, but I hate this heat and I am in the middle of a big project at work, so I don't get out as much as I would like. When I do, like today, It is truly a pleasure and thanks to Brian and Right Hook once again for the day out on the water.
We went out on the ST. John's river today, courteous of Brian's generous uncle. I gotta say those Yamaha motors sound great, thanks for letting us use the boat. We went looking for catfish and gills, and sure enough Brian put us on them. I struggled in the beginning, but I can only take so much trash talk before I have to catch up and take the lead. It was not without cost though. I love pan fishing but I noticed a larger fish chasing one of the red bellies I was reeling in, so I threw a live one out on another rod. I went back to catching hand size blue gills and was pulling one in the boat when Brian starting yelling at me. I thought he was talking to his daughter and by the time I realized what was going on, my Shimano Crucial was disappearing into the dark water. What a rookie move. Brian let me mourn for a bit and then asked if it was ok to make fun of me now, of course, I earned it.
Forty years old and still in awe of the outdoors.