Monthly Archives: November 2014

Lake Louisa State Park 11-23-14

Some people say the Clermont Chain of lakes is dead for fishing, well I am hear to say it’s not…… Lake Louisa is the southern-most lake in the Clermont Chain of lakes, and the State Park is on the south shore.

The park is a few other small lakes on the property, and does have camping and cabins for our friends from the north to visit. You can tell it is snowbird season here in Florida, as the park was full of campers, and the cabins appeared full.

I decided to wade on the southern shore of Lake Louisa, and when we got tot he park around 10:00, the beach area was almost empty…..  Wading is one of the most enjoyable ways to fish, whether you are saltwater or freshwater fishing. You get the feeling of being one with the fish…..

The weather was warm in the 70’s, but the wind was howling out the south. This worked well for me since the lake is surrounded by large cypress trees that blocked the wind and made the water fairly smooth on the southern shore.  The water level was up about 2 feet from the last time I visited the park, and this made wading even better since I grass that surrounds the shore was in about 2-3 feet of water. I decided to cast a watermelon fluke and work it around the grass patches. I caught a small 10″ bass on top within the first half hour, so I was happy I did not get skunked. I am only fishing for about 2 hours in each park, so catching a fish, any fish, is a great start.

After a few bites and misses, I saw the water boil in some really thick weeds. I had very little room to hit the target in the weed, and was lucky to land the fluke inches from the boil. Two twitches and a pause, and the fight was on! This was a nice bass, and getting him out the weeds was a battle, and nice jump at the end was beautiful site that my wife happened to catch on her camera!

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I can attest tot he fact that bass are alive and well on the Clermont Chain, so take a trip to any of the lakes on the Clermont chain, you will not be disappointed.

lake louisa

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Sebastian Inlet State Park 11-15-14

A little saltwater in the morning and freshwater in the afternoon…… Doesn’t get any better than that!  Sharon and I went to the Sebastian Inlet State park in the morning, and the weather was shaping up nice. A little chilly in the AM, but by the time we got there, it was in mid sixties and sunny.

On thing that hit us right away was….. wow this is crowded…. Sebastian Inlet has been a stable in Florida fishing for many years, and every weekend this place really hops….

I found a little spot on the north end of the bridge back beyond the picnic area in the mangroves. The tide was moving out when I started, so I tried the Berkley Gulp shrimp and worked it with the tide. I picked up this nice flounder within about a half hour.

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I decided to move to the rocks, and tried the Yo-zuri jerkbait, bit had no takers. Just about everyone was using finger mullet or live shrimp. Since I am using only artificial lures, I felt I was at a disadvantage. On the other hand, very few people were catching anything.

I had a few more “baitfish” bites on the Berkley Gulp Shrimp, but no real fish bites. Below is a shot of the area I fished, and a shot of the pier where the majority do their fishing.

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Sebastian Inlet is a historical place where many Floridians have gone to fish for many years. We stopped in the Fishing Museum they have at the park, and were quite impressed with the history that has been preserved for future generations. I highly recommend this if you are in the area.

Next, we drove about 30 miles to the Sebastian River State Park. This park borders Canal C-54 and ends at the Sebastian River. You follow a dirt road when you enter the park that borders the berm that runs along the canal. We stopped at the lock that controls the water flow from the canal that enters the river.

The canal has plenty of vegetation around the edges, and some rock that sits at the end near the lock. Since this was freshwater, I got out my bass gear. I tried a Zoom Super Fluke but didn’t get any takers on top. I went to a Texas rigged Ultra-Vibe worm and picked up the first bass. I had two more hooked that came off when I dragged the worm through the rock at the end of the canal. As a last resort, I tied on a shaky-head worm, and caught another small bass. I put in my two hours, so time was up and another successful day at the State Parks of Florida. It’s a great day when you can catch a saltwater and freshwater fish within a few hours!

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Jacksonville area State Parks 11-8-2014

This weekend my wife Sharon and I visited some of the Jacksonville area State parks. The weather was crisp in the morning with temperatures in the low 50’s, and then heating up to around 70 as a high. The wind made it feel about 10 degrees cooler with a stiff 10-12 out of the west.

The first park I fished at was Pumpkin Hill Creek Reserve. It is located on east side of town near the beaches. I did not have a lot of area to fish here, and failed to bring proper wading gear. This made it difficult since most of the shore was covered in sawgrass. I guess that is the best excuse I have since I never had a bite in the two hours that we were there. I am only fishing with artificial lures in my tour of the parks, so live bait is not an alternative for me. I did see a lot of bait being chased, but with the mucky bottom, and no chance to wade, I could not get close enough to make a cast. Still, a very picturesque park, and seems to be a great place to kayak. pumpkin

The next stop was Little Talbot State Park, just south of Amelia Island. I got there when the tide was just coming in. The spot I started fishing was a cut that had nice tidal current and was a deep drop with a sandbar on the far side. I caught a nice Whiting on a rattletrap that resembled the bait they were eating.

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After numerous cast, I decided to switch to my old reliable Yozuri L Minnow in trout color. It worked on almost my first cast when I saw some bait scatter, and I picked off this nice trout.

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We spent the night in Fernandina Beach just north of Amelia Island. If you haven’t been there, it is a very nice little town with some great restaurants and live music at night. Just down the street from our hotel, we stopped at Fort Clinch State Park in the morning. It had been raining at night, and it just stopped as we drove off. I fished right behind the Fort where they have a rock jetty on the northwest side of the park. The waves were really rolling in, and the only thought I had was to make long cast with my rattletrap for distance. I stood on the rocks and casted as far as I could. I picked off a whiting on my first couple casts, so I thought this would be easy…..

fort clinch fish and fort

No such luck as I casted for about an hour and half and moved many times for just 2 whiting. It still was a very cool place to fwiht the historic Fort behind me and the pounding surf!

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We  also stopped at Big Talbot and Amelia Island State Parks. It was trout time! At Amelia Island there is a bridge that you can walk that is now a state park and is closed to traffic. A great place to fish if you can find a place on the bridge and use live bait. Since I am casting lures, I needed to employ a different strategy. The Nassau Sound has feeder creeks, and just to west of the bridge is a creek and the tide was moving out when I arrived. I used the rattletrap to make long cast and caught this nice trout.

amelia trout

The last stop was Big Talbot State Park. I was trying to talk Sharon out of painting here, and come back another day, but she was determined. We hiked a quarter mile down to the beach, and the driftwood covered the beach. The only way I could cast was to wade, and it would require getting my jeans soaked. It paid off as the trout were feeding. What a great way to end the weekend!

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Crystal River State Parks 11-2-14

Welcome to my Florida State Parks fishing tour! I plan to visit as many Florida State Parks as I possibly can in the next 15 months. With 140 or more parks in Florida, and most offering fishing, I will do my best to catch a fish in as many as possible!

My wife Sharon and I will be traveling the state, she will be doing her own Plein-Air Painting Tour in every park. www.floridascenics.com I will be doing my fishing thing when possible, so it should be quite the experience in the next 15 months!

Please follow me for the next 15 months and I will post here after each adventure. I fish mostly with artificial lures, and will only have a few hours in each park. Whether it is bass, redfish, trout, snook, or jacks, I will try to figure something out in every park in the short amount of time I will be there.

Our first stop were the two Crystal River State Parks in Citrus County. They are adjacent to each other just outside of town. Around 9:30 we arrived at the archaeological Site Park which has beautiful Indian Mounds that overlook the river.

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There is a sea-wall along the river, and I grabbed my gear and walked down to scout it out.

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No tide was moving yet, so I decided to tie on my favorite Yo-Zuri Jerk Bait and start casting. No bites, so I changed to a Berkley Shrimp bait, and had a bite, but nothing was there. At 10:30 the tide started moving and I went back to the point where I started, and quickly had a strike on the Yo-Zuri. Two cast later, I had my first fish, a small but feisty red fish!CR3

Unfortunately, that was it for the first park, and we left and went to the Crystal River State Park just down the road. We stopped at the “Mullet Hole” which is an inlet off the river with deep water. It may have been a rock quarry at one time? I quickly caught a Lady Fish on the Yo-Zuri, but since it wasn’t easy to move around and cast, we decided to walk over to a canal off the river which had more room.CR1 I soon realized that bass inhabit this part of the river as well when I caught a small 12″ bass on the jerk bait. I ended up with a few more bass and even got into a school of Lady Fish that were fun to catch!

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The Crystal River is unique, since it has a spring in close proximity to the Gulf, and you can fish for bass, red fish, and trout on the same trip. I never did end up with a trout but a very enjoyable trip which I highly recommend.

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