5-23-15 Bill Baggs State Park

Right outside the metropolis of Miami Florida, the Rickenbacker Causeway takes you to quite a different land than the concrete jungle of Miami. Key Biscayne has very nice park for tourist or locals that want to get away for the day. The water of the bay is very clear, and a lighthouse still stands on the beach. You can also still see some of the “stilt houses” that are famous for this area.

bill baggs 1

There is a nice fishing area along a seawall that stretches for a 1/2 mile or so. Plenty of places to pick up a rod and fish without a lot of company. I never did get a bite, but saw an array of fish swimming in the rocks near the seawall. I am not sure what these black fish are, but they seem to be bottom algae feeders. I did have a few fish zero in on my lure, but no takers. They were most likely mackerel, but couldn’t make them out exactly.

bill baggs 2

Advertisements

5-7-15 Grayton Beach and Topsail

 

Grayton Beach was home base for us for 3 nights on our panhandle trip. It has nice cabins, tucked away in the woods near the beach. This area of the panhandle is very unique with it’s dune lakes. Grayton Beach has one of the largest and most fishable of the dune lakes. Dune lakes are formed in the dunes close to the beach. The lakes are fed with freshwater, but small cuts in the beach will back-fill these lakes with saltwater. The dune lakes are brackish and support fresh and saltwater fish. Mostly bass and redfish. This made this park one of the prime targets for me. it would be awesome to catch a nice redfish and bass out of the same water!

grayton4

I caught a small bass on a fluke when they started schooling as I waded Western Lake. Unfortunately, it was the only fish I caught. I had a few more bites, but that’s it, just bites.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We also went to Topsail Park which also has some freshwater lakes. The trolley takes you to the beach, but we decided to stay near the lakes. Sharon painted at the lake and I fished. I caught a bass before I could even put my tackle bag down!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I thought this was going to be the day to remember….. I did catch another one about 3-4 pounds, (right in front of the trolley driver) so and another 14″ bass, so it was a good day fishing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5-14-15 Tarklin Bayou and Big Lagoon

Tarklin Bayou has a pier at the end of a 1/2 mile or so hike down a nice paved trail and boardwalk trail. Take lots of bug spray, as the mosquitos were huge and will eat you alive…..  We made it to the pier, and were the only ones there since it was a weekday, and we were there early in the AM. I made several cast with the Yozuri lure and my Shrimp lure.  As we were getting ready to leave, I finally got a bite on the Yozuri. I thought I had a nice redfish, but it ended up being a saltwater catfish. They pull just like a red, so you never know until you get them close enough to see.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We went to Big Lagoon State park after Tarklin. Near Pensacola, this park has a nice lagoon that is easy to wade.  It has grass beds, and there would seem to be an abundance of redfish. However, in the 2 hours I had to fish, I had little luck. I did get a nice thump on the Yozuri (purple back), but the fish cut my line, so I assume it was a Mackerel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbig lagoon

5-10-15 St Joe and St George

St Joseph Peninsula is a beautiful park just south of Apalachicola Florida. The peninsula provides a sheltered bay on the northeast side. It is perfect for kayaking or wading since it is shallow, and has plenty of grass on the bottom. I picked a spot where the cut goes under the road and I could see some tide moving. I fished in front of the cut and picked up a Lady Fish right off the bat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wading further out in the grass, I had several bites and missed them. I was using the small L minnow Yozuri, when a Redfish nailed it. It wasn’t that large but still pulled hard.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I caught a few more :Lady Fish and a few Mangrove Snapper,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and then I had the bite of the trip…… A huge Redfish grabbed the Yozuri and was off to the deeper lagoon. I fought him for what seemed several minutes, and had him coming to me. Sharon had the camera poised and shot a picture of him still fighting, but as he got within a few

yards of me, he made one last run and pulled off!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh that one hurt! That’s what makes you come back for more…..

I thought St George would be more of the same, but it did not have the same kind of grassy bay. It did have a lot of oyster bars. I wadded out in the bars and worked a shrimp lure and the Yozuri. I ended up with one Lady Fish that jumped a few times and gave me a small thrill. The wind was pretty fierce that day, so the Gulf side was not an option.

5-16-15 Eden Gardens, Rocky Bayou, and Henderson Beach

Of the three parks we visited, the only one I caught fish in was Eden Gardens, which is the one I had the least faith in when arriving….. Eden Gardens is a beautiful restored house called the Wesley House, with lush gardens surrounding it. You have to walk about a quarter mile to get to a small bay off Tucker Bayou. The park is located off CR 395 in Santa Rosa beach Fl.

eden 1

I walked down to the dock on the small bay and immediately saw some fish busting just out of my reach. I casted the Yozuri L Minnow as far as I could, and on the second cast, I had a strike. It was a small redfish, but even these small ones fight good on spinning tackle.

eden 2

A few more cast and I hooked a trout, and right after I released him, I hooked into a catfish.

eden 3

What a flurry!  I had an older couple walk over and talk to me about the fish I was catching, and sure enough after they left, not another bite……  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

At Rocky Bayou, located near Niceville Fl, has a decent beach to fish from after you go down the steps to the water. You actually need to wade out on the hard sand bottom to fish, but it is shallow on near the bank and then drops off nicely.

rocky 1

I had one strike, but never did see what it was, but after about an hour and a half of fishing, I decided to get some lunch at one of the picnic tables that are scattered around the park. The park also has a boat ramp, and it appears it gets little use if you decide to check it out with your boat.

Henderson Beach is located near Destin which is a highly populated tourist destination. Needless to say, even on a weekday, this park is packed. It is located right on the beach, and the surf was really rolling on the day we visited. I fished the surf for just about 30 minutes, and could not take the pounding waves. It was a high surf watch warning day, (red flag) so it just was not a good surf fishing day.

henderson1

5-9-15 Blackwater River State Park

The Blackwater River is in the Panhandle, and is North of I-10 in the town of Holt Florida. It is located just NE of Milton. The park has a beach along the river for visitors to swim for fish, and I decided to wade since the current was not bad, and the bottom was a nice hard sand.

I found a little cove as I walked south with some pads and grass in the water, a perfect spot for a bass I thought. I made a few cast and a terrific bite on the Zoom speed worm, but lost the fish in the pads!  Ouch! I kept fishing the area with the speed worm, but did not have any more bites, so I went with the Fluke. On the first cast with the Fluke in the exact area where I had the other bite, I hooked a good one! Sharon got a great shot of it fighting, and as you can see a nice 4 pounder!

black water 2black water 1

I moved to the other side and fished a bush that produced an eddy, and as I was taking the Fluke out of the water after it got hung on a tree branch, I bass couldn’t stand it, and grabbed the Fluke. A small 13″ size, which was fun to catch in the current.

I waded for the last half hour in the main part of the river where a sand bar extended out so I could reach the opposite side with long casts, but never had another bite. I think the 4 pounder is my best bass so far from my State Park tour, so I am proud of that one……

4-25-15 Gold Head Branch and Payne’s Prairie State Parks

Gold Head Branch is located in the Keystone Heights area of Florida, NE of Gainesville. This area of Florida has a major issue with the water levels and the Floridian Aquifer. Even with record rainfalls in Florida state wide, the lakes in this region of Florida, are still extremely low. This is very unfortunate, since the area has so many beautiful sand bottom lakes.

The park’s lakes are also very much effected by the photo I took of one of the largest lakes that has been reduced by more than 50% by my estimation.

gold head 1

The park has many cabins for rent, and a lot of activities for kids. They still have one lake that has a beach where the kids can swim, and it was jam packed the day we arrived.

I was able to fish just down from the swimming area, but I think the traffic influenced the bite. I did get a few bites but never was able to set up on a fish. The only bites that I received that were successful, were fire ant bites on my ankles…….. Ouch.

gold head 2

We also visited Payne’s Prairie just south of Gainesville. The park is a must see in Florida, especially in the summer when the Pickerel  weed is blooming bright purple. There are buffalo roaming the prairie I am told, but we did not see any. There is a lake with a dock and a picnic area that I was able to fish. The water color was very off colored by algae. I tried several lures, but had no success. So no fish pictures today, but with our trip to the panhandle of Florida coming up, I am sure I will have some to share very soon!

 

photo (79)