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.
I work for the theme park industry and there is actually a lot of science and technology hiding underneath the screams and laughter of our gusets. It is beneath the facade of an English village or a 3D city, where spiderman rescues you as many times over as the line of people allows and the day is long. There are lights, projectors, sensors, motors, magnetism and gravity. Busch Gardens also has animals and many at that, so I am really excited to be here. This is the girl's first field trip with FLVS, and the physics show was great. They used a sloth to demonstrate a body at rest. A break dancer showed us a body in motion and Mr. Justin was crazy talented. He spun on his head, and supported his body on one hand with his legs parralel to the floor.
I love Bush Gardens, and the rides are great, but don't ever think that is all that is there. It is well worth the trip just to walk the gardens with someone you care about and a camera so you can take pictures of the wonderful flora and fauna that is mingled throughout the park. Greeted by a Wallaby to start off your school day, how wonderful is that?
I think we were the first people to stop at the Kookaburra's enclosure, and so I made the noises as best I could remember and he flew over and gave us a song. Lovely animals, like Kingfishers on steroids and they were very vocal.
Great place for bird watchers and I didn't even make it in to one of the aviaries. Scarlet Ibis, Flamingos, Horn bills, some ducks and a strange yellow faced bird that were foreign to my knowledge, so I will have to do some investigating.
I can't think of a better way to end the day then grabbing a Grouper sandwich at Frenchy's. The original cafe was closed for renovations, so we walked over to the one on the beach. What an awesome place to enjoy a sandwich, 76 degree weather, December, staring at the water and eating smoked fish dip. I love it!
Apopka, in the Seminole language, means Potato eating people, of course, but some translate it "trout eating". There are, however, no trout that I am aware of in the lake, being that they prefer much cooler water. There are native Large mouth bass, catfish, sunfish of several varieties, crappie and sunshine bass.
Another project for photography class, and as we move at the speed of the bird watchers, we find many a lovely subject. There must have been a hundred birders out that day. The weather was beautiful and it is the time of year for winter migration.
Besides the Coots, gallinules, herons and ospreys, there were flowers, turtles alligators and gar.
Lily is getting in to photography more this year and taking a class. She was tired of doing assignments around the house so we checked out a new nature preserve. This is a gopher tortoise she snapped as he retreated backwards into his burrow. She told me not to step on the apron because that is apparently where they lay their eggs.
It's cool to see her play around with more of the features on the camera than I do, and she get's some truly amazing shots. I can't explain the one below, but how weird was that. This is her Leopard gecko and model Pac Man.
She captured the above beauties at Oakland Preserve, and also the youngsters below.
Not sure on the identity of the caterpillar above, but back to Tibet-Butler and Lily with a geocache. We left the hoop from a key chain and signed in before putting it back.
The early bird doesn't just get breakfast around here; he also gets refreshed. The last two times we tried to get in to Rock Springs at Kelly Park, we were turned away due to capacity. This time we left the comforts of bed and the company of many pillows, while it was still dark outside. It is my favorite of the springs near us and a beautiful park. Lily chose it to do her photography project and Power Point for school, so most of these pics were hers and I will note that with the Scalelily tag.
Her assignment was pictures representing her day and the day also included an hour wait for the Park to open up. So she took a picture of the bar where they rent the tubes and then pics along the fence line, where we were parked, waiting to get in.
It's nice being the first people to the island and the water. The water is very clear and we noticed a large snapping turtle trying to flee the swimming area before it was over run. Lily jumped in and swam after him, getting some pretty cool under water shots. He was a mossy old guy, but beautiful and when my Scales approached, he stopped walking and held his ground. This wasn't the first time we were inspired but such a prehistoric looking water dragon.
The water is so cold at first touch. Even in the morning, the ambient temperature is pushing the upper 80's and that is without factoring in the humidity. It makes the water feel that much colder, but then you acclimate and don't want to get out. It is truly refreshing.
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.