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.
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.
There are places for me where I can't just pass through. Too many things or something so significant has taken place there that the mere mention will start a slide reel of moments. As I sit at the Beacon, contemplating a plate of shrimp and fish, reflections of our day at the beach take me much further back in time. I ate here as a small boy, ran down Flagler Avenue to the beach. My favorite burger to this day is at Breaker's, and I have loved every patch of sand that my sole has touched on this shore line. So much has changed that it hurts some times to reflect, and though the Beacon and Breaker's are mostly and gratefully intact, to my knowledge, no one has filled the void of other lost hangouts. Goodrich's, Sea Harvest, and Sea Treasure have all gone the way of the dinosaur. There are places that have filled that real estate, but not that feeling. I can no longer find a fresh fish sandwich that is so big that I can first remove a filet and eat it on the side before enjoying the rest. All that back then was at a lower price too, and it wasn't just quantity, it was well prepared. I keep staring out this window and I wonder if so much time has past that I no longer recognize some of the faces on this avenue. Hmm, and I wonder, with all this gray, the many pounds and worried lines, does Volusia county still recognize me?
I took the girls to a place that someone long ago had decided was worth protecting. As we walk along the boardwalk at Smyrna Dune Park, I listen to group in front of us, complaining about how barren this is, how hot and ugly the dunes are. One of the women said she wished they would have just gone to the pool. I also wished they had, because to me this is beautiful, and both the dunes and the mangroves are essential. This is the reality of a healthy environment, not the high rise where your pool is at. The mangroves are filtration and home to a myriad of fish, crabs, birds and other life. They, along with our estuaries, are the nursery for many of the fish and shell fish we consume. The dunes are our first line against weather, and it is there, in the many burrows, that you will find Gopher tortoises, the Eastern Diamond back, and land crabs. It is beautiful once you really open your eyes.
The inlet is fantastic, and here you can look across to the light house on Daytona side. There is a nice park over there on the north side of the inlet as well. The tide is moving out at the moment and the water is actually quite nice. We had tried to get in to the Springs earlier in the day, but it hit capacity before my car could make the booth. I love Rock Springs for the cool water, but this was nice, not hot and not cold, very easy to adjust to.
The girls wanted to wade out to the temporary island, or sandbar, so we loaded up our stuff and headed out into the inlet. We saw some blue crabs as we crossed the tidal pools and talked to a fisherman, who said the same as everyone else, they were only catching catfish.
Me and the girls were enjoying the water when a man and two women, identifying themselves as from Michigan, expressed to us some concern about what was in the water. Apparently one of the women had received a nudge by something in the water and she pointed to a dark figure that had moved over to me and the girls. I told her it was probably just a manatee, and stood up to where I could see better, and waited. They had seen news of a gator attack before they came down from Michigan, and so they asked if there was anything to worry about in here. I told her I had never seen a gator this far up inter-coastal, but there are multiple species of sharks. Her husband had apparently told her there were no sharks here. We waited and sure enough he had to breathe, so he came up, and we were rewarded with some relief and a beautiful manatee. The old fella had barnacles on the side of his face and other areas of his body. His tail was cut, and why he chose this spot I don't know, but he stayed around us for quite some time.
Ah the jetty, it was such a magnet to me as a kid. It was crawling with little crabs, a pan fish hook and a hand line would help you probe it's little caves. I watched a woman and her children look for treasures with their dip net. I remember, you could sometimes find a seahorse, an octopus, or file fish. It is a place to take care though, as my girls saw the hard way at a Gulf inlet. A young boy was playing on the rocks and fell into the many mussels and barnacles there. He was bleeding from head to toe, and could not stand on his cut feet. I picked him up but could not traverse the rocks with the extra load, so I jumped in to the water and carried him to his family. Nature is not without her teeth and thorns.
Drew, old eagle eye, found this urchin tucked inside the rocks. So many of the animals in here gave but a glimpse or a notion that they were there, but moved away too fast to get a picture or identify.
It was hot, and I could sense that my sunscreen had not held up so well, so we made the trek back down the walk. It is a beautiful boardwalk and definitely a wonder place to have your exercise in the morning or the cool of winter. It is a fun place to spend the day, wet a line, swim and explore. There are layers here to discover and knowledge of tide and time of year are helpful if you like to catch fish. Take care on the rocks, but don't leave without a peak into them. You may be surprised.
This summer has been hot, and the girls are both back from camp, so here we are again looking for things to do. It's always better for me when the sun his hanging low in the sky, but the cries of boredom can start very early in the day. I don't want their lives to revolve solely around the computer and the television, so I'm glad when my Scales ask me to go fishing for blue gill.
The blue gill bite was decent, and their patterns always get my mind turning, but there was also several carp hanging around the area. I tried some of Lily's bread but couldn't get a bite, so I sweetened the deal with a little passion fruit juice and hibiscus flower. Twice the carp took it, but both times they eluded me on the hook set. I don't think they like the bobber, and I have to give those Brits some credit, these fish are a bit more complicated than they look. The bluegill come to the cork like a dinner bell, but the carp seem a little more skittish. One of them did come over and nudge the bobber though, and then tailed up while he inhaled my bait, but we couldn't make it happen.
On Friday we took a ride through the North Shore Nature Drive with the girls. Meegan and I had previously been out there, but this was the girls first time. This place doesn't disappoint, and this time the girls, including their mom, got to see their first Florida Bobcat. He was no kitten either, and I wish I could have gotten a picture, but the experience was awesome. It always turns me into a little kid when I get to see something like that. We also saw five gators, and several species of birds.
A lot of baby Gallinules in here, and we probably found a new group every 200 feet or so.
Lily and I caught a lot of blue gills yesterday and of course we caught the complimentary turtle, that no fishing trip out here can be without. The little musk turtle hung out for a while after, trying to sneak bread along with the gallinules.
It's been a hot summer, and the afternoons have been hit and miss with the storms, but I'm glad to see the girls getting outside and learning how to share. Drew was the last person I would expect to touch a fish, but now she helps her buddies remove hooks and bait line. She is getting the feel of the bait caster, and was kind enough to give up one of their spinning out fits to a friend. I have caught a lot of bass on that Abu Garcia Cardinal / Berkley Lightning Rod combo. Great entry level stuff that can last a long time, so I hope she keeps up the legacy and catches a lot of big bass. Lily and I have had some one on one time this week and she has always been a sharer, but she amazes me with subtlety in helping others. She does not parade it around and I have taught her that people aren't trophies, that what we do for them is doing it towards God. She stopped for a homeless man yesterday after walking by him, and you could see she was uncomfortable with just passing by. She asked if she could give him a dollar, and she did it so discretely, with the sweetest of smiles. It was her own money, and I am very proud of her.
Date Lunar Phase Best Fish Lures
8/28 Full 8/29 5.38, 3.9 lost 2 nice Shaky head Zoom finesse watermelon slice
8/3 Full 7/31 6 to 7 Bitter's Ribbon dipped in garlic sauce
7/30 Full 7/31 5.0 Villian, Stank X Camo on a VMC Rugby
6/11 New 6/16 5.26 Stick, StankX in Bloody Peppers
5/15 New 5/18 5.97 Stick, StankX in June Gem
5/8 Full 5/4 5.18 Stick, Gander in sunfish laminate
5/6 Full 5/4 appr. 5.0 Pete Spinner, white Rooster tail
5/3 Full 5/4 6.65 Stick, Gander sunfish laminate
4/30 Full 5/4 5.3 Ribbon, Bitter's Candy bug
4/29 Full 5/4 Lost large Stick, Black With Blue flake
4/27 Full 5/4 Lost Large Stick, Bitter's Green pumpkin red flake
4/19 New 4/18 Quantity/ no >3.0 Sticks, cranks and spinners
4/5 Full 4/4 Lots of smalls sticks, Strike King in watermelon red
3/20 New 3/20 7.2, 4.64 & 3.94 Sticks StankX baits Bluegilla
3/5 Full 3/5 Lost 3 in spawning area Sticks StankX baits Bluegilla, Rebel and Yankee
2/27 Full 3/5 Several large prespawn Biospawn exostick and Bitter's green pumpkin red
2/21 New 2/18 Quantity Sticks and hard jerk baits
2/13 New 2/18 Quantity + appr. 4 Sticks StankX Rebel Gill
2/6 Full 2/3 Quantity Big Bite Baits Creature in June Bug and Prime Rib
1/30 Full 2/3 Large Strike King Shaky head in red bug
1/24 New 1/20 4.0 approx. Big Bite Baits Creature in Prime Rib
1/18 New 1/20 4.0 approx. Stick Northland slurpie sunfish
1/10 Full 1/5 several 2 to 3 Creature, Northland sunfish
12/24 New 12/22 5.0 approx Shaky, Zoom in Houdini
11/30 Full 12/6 5.0 approx Wacky northland stick, sunfish
10/20 New 10/23 4.5 approx Bitter's 10" ribbon in plum
10/17 New 10/23 Large Stick bait/ green pump red
10/6 Full 10/8 Large Berkley craw green orange/ top water
9/19 New 9/24 Large Culprit 7 inch ribbon in Gumbo/ top water
Well if you measure the trip by the pictures, then it looks like a very productive evening, but the truth is I got here at 3:30 in the afternoon. I had already missed 3 strikes before 5 PM and would miss 3 more before 8:30 PM when I started catching fish. Peter was able to catch a nice one in a north cove at about 7 PM, and then we went to an area that I like to check on periodically. The bass don't seem to hang around in there all day; it is strictly to feed, and if you wait them out you will always catch one there. Five of our bass tonight came within 20 feet of each other, and the cove bass was a few hundred yards away.
It was cold and late, my belly was emptier than it looks in these pictures, but Pete had 2 bass and I had none. I enjoy watching my brother catch fish, but I'd kind of like to land one of my own now too. So I watched how he worked his craw, and it was Texas rigged but he was giving rapid, very tight shakes on the bottom, whereas I was using a much larger craw and fishing it more like a worm. He had also added a small bead behind the weight to give it a little clack as he moved across the bottom. Even though you couldn't see the craw in the murky water, you could tell my little brother could feel it and knew exactly what it was doing. So I pulled out a Strike King Fat Baby, in red bug and slowed it down on a Shakey Head.
Peter pointed out something with the bass in here, that they all have small mouths relative to their bodies. It seems you will never find a thin fish in here, but I will need to go back through photos to see some of the larger girls I've caught in here. These are large mouth bass, but the bucket does seem a bit smaller when compared to the body, maybe this is growth rate, a sexual dimorphism, or genetic isolation. I don't know, but they do remind me of river bass and fight like them too.
I believe the brush hog that my brother is using is a discontinued item from Northland. It is a much smaller, and skinnier main section than I typically see on brush hogs. The color is bluegill, and this is the same color and company that made the slurpie stick baits I loved so much. I pulled out a hawg that was similar in size but much darker in color, with no response. The water may be darker here and it may be night, but I continue to have better luck on the clear water colors. I wanted a lighter colored plum, since that has been a go too for me on tough days, but the red bug has worked well for me here tonight, and a few days ago at a very clear lake. A gentleman at the other lake sneered at my fat baby, but 4 bass later and not a bite on his shiner, he asked me where he could get some. I don't knock live bait fishing, but it just doesn't hold my interest as well. Some nights its good to sit with the kids and drowned worms, but overall I would like to teach them the enjoyment of challenge and the reward of lures.
As for myself, I really didn't have a good reason for not meeting with others who believe. I always make time for fishing, but for the people of God, I have been lazy at forging relationships, and too proud to sit with other hypocrites, but it appears that God is not going to let me alone on this.
As we made our way back to the strike zone for the second time, we were approached by two women. One of them asked me if I would like a gospel tract, and I told her that I am a Christian, so she should save it for someone that is not. I started to head back to my fishing spot but she persisted, how do I come to call myself a Christian? "Well, I was born no different than all men, a sinner. The Bible is very clear on this that all have sinned and the wages of sin is death. Sin has robbed me of a free will in that I was born a slave to it, and have led most of my life in either denial of that, excusing it, or out right glorifying those things that God hates. God has also been very clear from the beginning, to include in His word, a scapegoat, one way, not the confusion of many, but One, His Son, His very self, to die on my behalf. He says, I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the father but by me." She said she had been coming here on Saturdays for the last 2 years, and that this was the first time she felt she had met someone who truly believed. I thanked her but I told her that it wasn't her opinion or mine that mattered. She did question where I go to church, and to that I had to be honest that I don't. I have accountability at work, at home, but at the lake this was truly a first. If I am truly honest I have always disliked church people. There are some that are babies to the faith, some that are cold, some that play church, some that are legalistic and would make everyone in their own image instead of directing them to Christ. Then there is me, proud and arrogant, debating for the sake of my own ego rather than humbly approaching another person, made in the image of God, with love. Every Saturday for 2 years, one Christian and whole lot of rejection. As she turned to my little brother and asked him if he was saved, my heart sank, because I couldn't say with a certainty what he believed. We have not hung out much in the last 2 years till recently, and though we talk now, and share that which we both love, we have not approached the reason for the breach. I think he is in his mind a self described good person, but there are no "good" people that can ever stand before a holy and just God. I miss you Peter, but it would be wrong for me not to point out certain things.
Well, it is a new year and I would hope not to go backwards in any of things that are good, but whether fishing, working, parenting or playing, let all be done to the glory of God.
Forty years old and still in awe of the outdoors.