Showing posts with label Jacksonville. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jacksonville. Show all posts

January 4, 2021

Wandering Through the Woods

 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.

September 17, 2018

Three Highlights from IF4

Two Fridays ago, the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) hit Jacksonville, in concert with Blackfly Outfitters' Floodtide Festival weekend. The IF4 viewing was held at the Univerisity of North Florida and was brought to the area by (more on them at the end of this post).

While the turnout was respectable, but a little on the light side, the videos were phenomenal, and somewhat surprising to me, were very "trout and char" in nature. I probably incorrectly had it in my head that the videos shown were tailored to the locale, so I figured we'd be watching a lot more from the salt.

Either way, the content was phenomenal, and while the thought of a few hours of fish porn and grip n' grins might turn off some, pretty much all of the films had a story to them, and I'd say the large majority were free of bass-thumping or techno-driven soundtracks.

Three of my favorites were as follows:

Ty's Flies

A short film about a young angler who overcame a personal disability to become a first-class salmon fly tyer. This is the kind of story that tugs at your heart-strings, especially when he gets to actually go fishing for Atlantic salmon for the first time.

Seriously North

This movie makes me want to drop everything and go find some Arctic char. It follows some anglers' quest to find outrageously sized char, basically in the middle of nowhere up in the Arctic circle. The mix of desolation, extreme cold, and unresponsive fish all seem to want to derail the trip... until they finally crack the code in a BIG way.

Confluentus: The Merging of All Things

I'm pretty sure this was my favorite film of the batch because it was by far the most relatable. Anglers who strap on their backpacks, go off the grid and go find their own adventures... in this case, bull trout in wilderness waters. It shows you don't need to have a lot of money to have an incredible fishing experience, as long as you put the work in to make it happen.

Now I'm not sure if any of these films can be viewed in their entirety yet outside of the IF4, so I'm really just planting the seed by sharing these preview embeds. If the IF4 isn't coming to a town near you soon, I'm certain these will be made available to the public sometime in the future. Make a point to see them all, they're each fantastic stories in their own way.


In closing, I did want to put out a little commercial for, especially if you're a Floridian reading this post. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or Republican, the way water is being managed in the state of Florida is highly suspect, and that's being kind.

According to their website:

" is a grassroots organization founded by Stuart residents in August 2014 on the belief that stopping the damaging discharges to our coasts and restoring the Everglades is not a science or engineering problem. The science has been known for decades. Our problem is a political problem -- and it requires a political solution.

Using social media we are spreading the word that the only way to stop the destructive discharges and restore clean freshwater flows to Florida Bay is to acquire land in the EAA to reconnect Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. The River of Grass has been dammed and diverted to both coasts. Until the flow is restored southward, all three estuaries -- east, west, and south -- will continue to suffer, impacting Florida's tourism & real estate economy. aims to empower voters to take back our water and government. Future generations of Floridians deserve a healthy River of Grass and clean water."

Even if you don't align 100% with's stances & solutions, simply put, with general elections coming up in November, get educated on the issues and what each of the candidates stands for. As residents of Florida, we can and should do better.

August 10, 2018

IF4 Hits Jacksonville in September

Huh? Who knew...

The IF4 thing is coming to town at the University of North Florida on Friday, September 7th, hosted by Blackfly Outfitters & benefitting

Used to go to these (& F3Ts) back when I used to live up north. They were pretty frequent and didn't require multiple hour drives to get to (seems like everything is either in Orlando, Tampa, or Atlanta down here). Pretty psyched about this one being so close, haven't been in a while.

Looks like Blackfly is using it as the lead-in to their annual Floodtide Festival the following day, (which I also haven't attended in a few years).

Need to get my butt back into gear, right?

August 28, 2017

JAX Pond Bassin'

Nothing crazy to write about today, but I did get out and do just a little (local) fishing this weekend.

Living down here in North Florida, there aren't that many like-minded folks who actually enjoy (or understand) the fun and frivolity of fly fishing for bass with tenkara rods. Fortunately, my friend Lee is one of them, and we met up on Saturday evening to hit one of the neighborhood parks.

Fishing wasn't fast, nor furious, but we caught more than our fair share of small bass and aggressive bream.

Arms strategically extended to exaggerate size of fish

And for those gearheads out there curious about what tackle we were using... We were both slinging Dragontail Hellbender rods, Lee opting for floating line, and myself a furled line.

A black woolly bugger seemed to work best for me, and Lee had luck with both a small popper and a simple fly consisting of a hook with a few wraps of gray dubbing.

Simple, fun, & effective... and no fingers lost to stray gators. A win on many levels!

Oh, and if you happened to stumble on this post and actually do want to learn more about the dark art of Florida "tenkara," please check out our Facebook group on the subject HERE.

August 16, 2017

Exploring Florida - Fort Caroline National Memorial

Wow, this was a pleasant surprise.

Just a few minutes off of 295 (or "The Loop" as it's known in Jacksonville) is one of North Florida's treasures. Managed by the National Park Service, Fort Caroline and the surrounding grounds make for a great little half-day trip if you're ever in the area looking for something to explore.

The primary draw is, of course, the re-creation of the 1500s-era French fort with the grisly past (thanks to the not too friendly Spaniards). Interestingly, some historians don't even believe this is where the fort actually was located, be it elsewhere in Jacksonville, or even Georgia, but that's a debate for a different forum. Once you place the fort aside, there are so many trails and paths to explore on the grounds, it makes for a wonderful hike for those that just want to be outdoors.

I'd highly recommend the trails right across the street from the visitor's center, just look for the signs for Spanish Pond. They create a large loop and drop you off into a salt marsh viewing area. I happened to be there at low tide, but it still made for a picturesque setting. There's quite a bit of wildlife, be it the crabs, birds, or even the elusive zebra long winged butterfly that wouldn't sit still long enough to let me take its picture!

Here are a few more photos of the trip, including a huge boat, I assume transporting cargo, which went down the St. Johns River as I was in the fort itself.

For more information on the Fort Caroline National Memorial and the Timucuan Ecological & Historical Preserve:

12713 Fort Caroline Road
Jacksonville, FL 32225

August 15, 2016

Local Happenings...

Hey, some cool things going on locally. Should keep my mind off brookies the next few weeks, and if you're in the area (maybe getting that last bit of summer vacation time in), you should stop by too!

Grand Opening Celebration
Oyster Creek Outfitters (St. Augustine, FL)
August 20th, 2016

Featuring Drew Chicone, Joe Mahler, & Strip-Strike University

Events begin at 9:00am and continue through the day till 6:00pm. Burgers and Hotdogs from 12:00pm to 2:00pm with drinks all day. Casting and fishing platforms on Oyster Creek pond. Fly tying in the shop times to be announced.

Additional Workshops/Demonstrations:
  • Hardy Zephrus
  • Scott Meridian
  • G. Loomis NRX
  • Temple Fork Outfitters
  • BOTE fishing stand-up paddle boards
  • NuCanoe

3rd Annual Floodtide Festival
Blackfly Outfitters (Jacksonville, FL)
August 27th, 2016

Per Website:

"Join us at the store for a cold beer or two and some excellent BBQ for this years Floodtide Festival! Like years past, we will be setting up in the parking lot "block party style" looking to have a good time.

This year's raffles are even better than the last; you can expect to see some great prizes. We have four fly rods, a Nautilus reel, Hatch pliers, and much more! In addition to great prizes we have some exceptional guest speakers this year! Jon Cave of Sage Fly Rods will be giving a casting clinic, Michael Schmidt will be inside tying some of his signature flies, and Jako Lucas will be representing Thomas & Thomas Fly Rods and Alphonse Island Resort!

All of the proceeds this year are being donated to Bull Sugar's Now or Neverglades Campaign, so come out for a great time and help us raise funds and awareness for the water quality issues in South Florida. We look forward to seeing you!"

January 2, 2015

Exploring Florida - The Jacksonville Zoo

We've lived in Jacksonville-area for a year and a half and never made the drive up the I-95 corridor to the Jacksonville Zoo.  Not sure why...just never did...which is a little unexpected because we were members of two zoos back in Pennsylvania.

Well with nothing really on the agenda for New Year's Day, and the College Football Playoff games not starting until later in the day, thought it would be a good way to spend some family time together, away from electronics, and outdoors in the fresh (albeit overcast and somewhat brisk for Florida) air.

I'll spare you the tales of each exhibit.  I'll just say I was pleasantly surprised.  I'm not sure what I was expecting heading in, but the variety of animals large and small, domestic and exotic, was rather impressive, and each of which were cared for and presented in extremely nice facilities.  I have a feeling it won't take another year and a half for us to visit again.

Now I did forego my annual New Year's Day fishing outing to go to the zoo, (examples of such from prior year's HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE), but it was worth it.  These fish were pretty plump though...wonder what fly they'd take?  Should have packed the tenkara rod...