January 2, 2022
March 28, 2021
Catching up on Lost Time...
Hadn't posted in a little bit, but we've been active here in Northeast Florida. Not necessarily fishing all the time, but all in the outdoors vein.
A Walk in the Woods
Two weekends ago I spent some time walking around the Timucuan Trail in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. That's a quite a mouthful I know, we just call it "GTM" around here.
GTM is where I'd often launch my kayak, when I did that sort of thing. That being said, I haven't in a while, but I thought I'd return to take a nice walk around some of the trails. It's a winding sandy path with a few different loops... most of it is fortunately in the shade, but there are some open marshlands as well as intercoastal coastline that it also parallels.
In all, it was quite a nice outing. One I'd like to do again in the future. I did the middle loop, but there's quite a bit more to explore to both the north and south, as well as what looked like some primitive camping opportunities.
A Little Pond Fishing...
And Some Cleaning Up...
February 11, 2021
"Florida Man" (or fish) clearly knows no bounds...
So did everybody catch the story that a dead Arapaima was found in southwest Florida over the weekend? If not, read these two articles...
So like what's the deal? Did it swim up here from South America? I'm guessing not, so that would mean it was planted? If that's the case, who the heck does that?
As an angler, it kind of makes you wonder if there's actually a population of them, one that could be fishable for sport... sort of like snakeheads or peacock bass. Thoughts move to Googling "fly fishing for arapaima", and wonder if they taste good in the deep fryer with some hush puppies. But then again, what doesn't?
However, as a conservation-minded person (including being a member of the Native Fish Coalition), it's easy to understand that sightings such as this can't be a good thing. Florida is already a literal breeding ground for all sorts of invasive species; we really don't need any more. Although I'm sure some would consider a "Yankee" such as me the worst kind of invasive.
Anyway, I guess in the end I'm hoping this is a one-off and not a new "thing." I really don't care to see or hear about guide trips for Florida arapaima a few years from now. That said, if in the meantime the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission needs a few anglers to try and eliminate a small but blooming population, you know where to find me. And I promise to leave the tenkara rod at home...
January 4, 2021
A Walk in the Park...
Sunday morning was nice and cool in Jacksonville. It was overcast, a bit misty, and in the low 60s. Just a lovely temperature to be outside. Yes, I could have gone fishing, but I didn't. Instead, stretching the legs felt appropriate, and I took a leisurely hike on the sandy trails of the Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve about ten minutes from my house.
One of the nice things about living in an area that's being (perhaps too rapidly) developed is at least they've been good about keeping greenspaces open for recreational activities. This little cache of nature is bordered on most sides by shopping centers and residential neighborhoods, but once your inside, you'd never know it.
Here are few photos from the five mile loop I took. Unfortunately, didn't see much wildlife, but it's not uncommon to see tortoises, turkey, or deer back there.
Related Suburban Development Note:
When I moved to Jacksonville and got a kayak, the first place I broke it in at was the Durbin Creek, which is part of the Bartram Canoe Trail, as mentioned in this post from back in the day. Well, back then, the creek was accessible down a gravel road that ran right off the main road down to the water. Fast forward 6 or 7 years, that gravel road is gone as there's now a fancy overpass going over the creek and each side is gated off.
I was pleased to see that after investigating retention ponds for fishing opportunities in the parking lot of the giant shopping center they built nearby, that they actually did maintain access to the creek. Although you can't drive down to the launch, they built a nice little boardwalk down to the water where there's a little floating dock.
It's not exactly the most convenient way to access the creek with a kayak or canoe, but it can be done, so I thought that was pretty great. I thought the access was lost forever.
I'll have to do a little more exploring in future days to see if there's an easier, nearby spot to "put in," perhaps accessible from the other bank; my guess is that there is, I just need to find it.
January 2, 2021
Oh yes my friends, oh yes... No skunk in 2021.
Moonlit Lunar fiberglass & Pflueger Medalist...
plus Microbluegill™ ...
equals kickass start to the year!!!
(Summoning New Year's Day 2014 vibes with this pose).
Plus, when I got back to the car and turned on the radio, Sirius was playing CCR / Susie Q. A killer song from one of my top 5 favorite bands of all time. Can I get a hell yeah? We're only one day in and it's already better than last year!
In closing, I'd like to tell another New Year's Day story from yesterday, only because I'll probably forget over time if I don't
write it down type it out.
My wife had some dead plants that didn't make it through the brutal Florida winter. So I told her I'd get rid of them, which basically means dump the dead plants over the backyard fence into the woods behind our house. You can see the fence and some of the trees in in the background of this photo I took of our bird feeders.
Well, when I did that yesterday, the remnants of the one larger potted plant landed with a rather big thud... and then all I hear is all this commotion... and squawking for like 20 seconds straight. Immediately thinking "WTF" I peered through the lattice of the fence only to see a big black rooster scrambling around in the ground cover moving from right to left and then quickly out of sight. Sorry no photo, but it was pretty much just like this:
Now I live in a pretty suburban area, so I'm guessing it was a pet or something that got loose. You know, the kind people keep to lay eggs or whatever, but then realize roosters don't lay eggs and tell it to run free... even though I don't think our neighborhood allows for any of that. That being said, I don't think our neighborhood allows for coyotes either, but they've been sighted (and heard at night), so my guess is that said rooster won't last too long. But maybe he'll surprise me.
The end of ramble, and this post.
September 21, 2020
I like fishing in the rain.
Maybe I'm weird... well, I know I'm weird... but for whatever the reason I really enjoy fishing in the rain. Now, I'm not talking about an all out downpour, or anything involving lightning, however if it's slightly overcast, a bit drizzly, count me in. Especially living in Florida where any respite from the heat is appreciated.
Yesterday provided an excellent opportunity to get wet.
With some time to kill on Sunday afternoon, I decided to head over to one of the neighborhood ponds with the fly rod and see what I might be able to dredge up.
I started by tossing out a small ant pattern. I have no idea where it came from. I usually fish foam ants, not epoxy ants, but whatever... it quickly caught a small fish. Ding, ding, ding!
While that was productive, I really couldn't see the fly all that well, so I decided to tie on a highly visible Booglebug. It was actually a Booglebug factory "second" that I bought in bulk on eBay. I don't know what's wrong with it, but you can see by the Sharpie over the branding, it didn't measure up to the standards of other Booglebugs.
That said, the fish didn't really care much. The fluorescent floater summoned some micro lunkers from the deep.
Cast that bad boy out there, let it plop down, twitch once, then pause - it usually ended up with a hit. Either from a bass or a bluegill, the latter of which often didn't have a mouth quite large enough to accept my offering.
This continued for about two hours as I made my way around the pond in a clockwise fashion. The resident turtles were relentlessly following me around in a wolf pack, I suppose either thinking I was going to feed them in a direct (or indirect fashion). Fortunately, none of the fish I released appeared to get ambushed by the waiting turtles.
I will admit that it was fun casting a fly rod again. With all the tenkara fishing I've been doing lately, I was concerned I had forgotten how to get the job done. Sure, my line management skills were a little rusty, but I had no issues getting the fly out to where I wanted it to go. With no trips planned to trout water in the near future, I think I'll be doing a bit more fly fishing (with a reel) in upcoming weeks. Maybe even (gasp!) dust off the 8-weight.
In any event, this was a fun little venture. And in my book, the rain only made it better.