Showing posts with label St. Johns River. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St. Johns River. Show all posts

March 28, 2021

Some Recent Florida Hijinks

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...

Since last I posted, I also did a little bit of fishing... messing around in one of the local retention ponds. I used my Tenkara USA Sato along with a new floating line from Tanuki. It was really a nice casting line that I'll probably write a little more about over at Tenkara Angler

Anyway, this was the first outing where I REALLY started to notice that the mosquitoes were back, so that was a bit unfortunate. I guess I'm back to sun screen and bug dope before any future fishing outings...

And Some Cleaning Up...

Last weekend, Lilly & I got up early on Saturday morning do participate in the St. Johns River Cleanup. She went to get some community service credit for school and I went just to get outdoors (plus, somebody needed to take her and it wasn't going to be my wife!)

I'll give the kid credit, she did a great job metaphorically rolling up her sleeves and getting dirty. She was picking stuff up left and right, wasn't afraid to climb through the brush in pursuit of trash, and even handled the "gross" stuff well. We got four big trash bags full of trash, and also picked an old tire out of the woods.

The one thing we didn't pick was this guitar case and machete. There's a few homeless people that live in the park we were at, and we just didn't want to disturb something that was purposely left behind. Also didn't want to take what was potentially somebody's night time protection. We did tell the organizers and showed them what we found though and decided to leave it in their hands.

Outside of that, Lilly has fun observing some of the feral cats that also live in the park. It's evidently a community of about a dozen or so that are all "fixed" and that the neighbors have permission to feed... so they do. A few raccoons also assimilated themselves into the cat posse, which Lilly was very entertained by witnessing... and photographing.

Anyway, that's about it for now. That being said, I do have a few fishy things on the horizon that I'm sure I'll be mentioning in short order. So hopefully, not so quiet in the future. I'm already well ahead of last year's blogging pace, so I'm feeling good about my efforts to revive Troutrageous! so far. Guess we'll see how long it lasts...

Oh, and here's a bonus picture of a squirrel from the backyard patio. Not the best table manners on this one, huh?

February 11, 2019

An Afternoon with the Bassmasters

Guess they're not called "Bassmasters" for nothing. This past weekend, the B.A.S.S. Bassmaster Elite Series kicked off their 2019 season about forty five minutes from my house in Palatka, Florida. The anglers ran down to nearby Lake George the past four days and put up some really amazing numbers.

I decided to head down to the event grounds in Riverfront Park on Saturday afternoon. The sponsors of the tour such as Berkley/Abu Garcia, Toyota, Carhartt, Power Pole, Mercury, Nitro Boats, and Academy Sports set up tents and gave away freebies while the anglers are out fishing.

Even though the anglers were competing miles down river, you can watch the actual fishing action live on a big screen, (with NFL style play-by-play & analysis) and then there's a weigh-in once they all come back to the stage area. Saturday was the "cut-down" day, as the top ten cumulative weights from the three prior days would compete on Sunday for the championship.

Now, I'm not really a fan of professional bass fishing, I kind of went out of novelty, but evidently Saturday was one of the more memorable days of bass fishing in recent history... The catching was pretty much rapid fire, and the St. John's River fishery produced some beasts.

Anglers bring back their best 5 fish for weigh-in, and there were several "bags" weighing in the high-twenties, and two well over 30 pounds! It was rare for somebody to come up to the scales with less than twenty pounds of largemouth bass, which is usually considered a good day.

In any event, here's a few photos from the weigh in. The largest bag was caught by Clifford Pirch at over 34 pounds. The day three leader was Chris Johnston with a weight total of over 75 pounds.

Clifford Pirch's huge haul

Patrick Walters also broke 30 pounds,
including the largest fish of the day at over 9 pounds

Amazingly, none of those anglers won the event. Veteran tourney angler Rick Clunn evidently had a HUGE Sunday and outfished almost everybody by 10 pounds to take home the trophy. Here's Mr. Clunn hoisting two from his 23 pound Saturday haul.

Despite some pretty crummy weather, it was a pretty fun way to spend an afternoon. There was a surprisingly large crowd at the weigh-in and there was just enough to do to kill the time in the lead up. While it's not a substitute for actual fishing, should you ever get the chance to attend one of these events... do it. It's always fascinating to watch people who are arguably the best in the world at what they do, regardless of what it is.

February 4, 2019

Bassmaster Elite Series Week

This week the Bassmaster Elite Series is coming to my neighborhood...

It's been a few years since the sparkle boats and logo-clad anglers of the B.A.S.S. circuit were in Palatka, Florida fishing the St. Johns River, but beginning this upcoming Thursday they'll be starting their daily runs once again.

Think I'll go check things out on Saturday morning/afternoon. The last time they were here there was a fun little fishing-themed festival down by the waterfront that served as a backdrop to the daily weigh-ins. It was pretty entertaining, and being what one might consider a "fly fishing trout guy," seeing the other side of the sport was a spectacle to say the least.

The weather looks great for the anglers, and if all goes well, you'll see a post from me early next week...

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