2-7-15 Ft Pierce Inlet & Avalon

Ft. Pierce Inlet State Park has a beach and a small jetty along the inlet side of the park. Since I have no luck with surfcasting, I went for the inlet side and started working the incoming tide with a jerkbait and a Berkley shrimp. There was a point with some deeper water on each side, but nothing seemed to be biting.

As the tide started changing and going out, I went back to an area where the mangroves were growing, and were not in the water at the lowest part of the tide, but at high tide, and the water starting to move out, I decided to give it another try. I threw my jerkbait to the point of the mangroves that were in the deepest water, and sure enough a nice snook engulfed it! As I started to remove the hook, I realized I left my phone back with Sharon where she was painting since I had to wade, and did not want to take a chance on getting it wet. Sorry guys and gals, but no picture here, and it happened to be my best snook of the tour to date…….. Figures….

Here are some pics of the park that shows you where I was fishing with a nice retro look.

avalonft pierce 1

We also stopped at Avalon Park on the way back. Avalon is a beachfront park only, and since I really do not do well fishing with lures on the beach, I didn’t fish there very long. Beautiful, un-crowded beach if that is what you are looking for on the Atlantic side.

ft pierce 2

2-1-15 Jonathon Dickson State Park

We drove over to Jonathon Dickson State Park from Lake Placid Florida to visit this park on the Loxahatchee River. This was a very interesting park with was on the land of an old military settlement from the early 1900’s, and a tower on the top of the highest point in SE Florida. From the tower, we could see the Inter-coastal waterway and the Atlantic.

lox tower

After leaving the tower, Sharon got this picture of a Florida rattlesnake crossing the road! First one I have ever seen!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fishing was really good off the dock they have on the Loxahatchee River. I was able to catch 5 snook and 1 Jack Crevalle. I caught them all on my Yo-Zuri L-Minnow.

photo 1

oscar 1photo 4

1-31-15 Myakka River and Oscar Scherer State parks

Sharon and I were back out on the Florida State Parks trail this last weekend, and visited the Myakka River and Oscar Scherer State Parks. Just to recap how I am approaching the parks, I only fish with artificial lures, and only fish each park for about 2 hours or less from the shore.

The Myakka River Park was the first stop in the morning, which is just south and east of Sarasota. I tested the area where the river meets the lake since the water was flowing, but the area I could fish from was very limited, and gators were everywhere! I got a few bites on a texas rigged trick worm, but decided to move on. I found a spot where a creek flowed under the road, and hooked up with a small bass, but it came off quickly. That was it for the Myakka, I really should have caught something here, but it was not my day.oscar 3

The Oscar Scherer State park has a small freshwater lake and a small brackish river to fish. I started at the freshwater lake and caught a few small bass.

oscar 4

I wanted to try the river for snook, so I walked down to the canoe launch area. I saw a bunch of shook schooling on bait, so I threw my Yo-Zuri jerkbait at them. I caught two quickly and a lady fish that was in there with them.

oscar 6

oscar 7

The strangest catch of my trip was the Tilapia that hit my jerkbait, or maybe I just snagged him in the lip!

oscar 5

The

small bass

Deleon Springs State Park 1-17-15

We visited Deleon Springs State Park in Volusia county on Saturday and it was crowded!  This park has a renowned Pancake House Restaurant, and I think everyone in the state of Florida decided to go out for pancakes that morning!

The park has a spring that has a concrete walkway that partitions off the spring from the creek that connects to it. Many people come to either scuba dive the spring, or watch for manatees. Surprisingly, there were very few Manatees for a cool January morning.

The only area I could really fish was around the docks that the paddle boats are located, and another dock that is for fishing or viewing. I noticed that the bank to the right of the dock had high water forming a marshy area. Some flow was coming out of the marsh very slowly, which was either tidal, or runoff from the marshy area due to all the rain we were having.

paynes Creekalafia 1After about my fifth cast I had a bite on my trick worm. A few more cast later I set the hook on a fish and my line broke!  I should have re-tied that morning, but forgot…..  I composed myself, and fished for another 30 minutes without a bite.  I was beginning to think I lost my opportunity when I saw a bass break near the marshy area. I made a cast and had a pick up. I set the hook and caught this 14″ bass. I had a second one strike and lost him when he jumped out of the water.image

That was it for the day as I wore out the area I had to fish, but still a little action and 4 bites in an hour and a half is still not bad. Take a day trip to Deleon Springs when you get a chance, and even if you do not fish, or scuba dive, you can still get a mean stack of pancakes!

Paynes State Park, and Alafia River State Park 1-1-15

On New Years weekend, Sharon and I visited two parks south of Lakeland as we made our way south to my parent’s winter home in Lake Placid Florida. On the way down, we stopped at Alafia River State Park, near the town of Picnic Florida. Have you ever been to Picnic? If you make your way down 17, and in-between Mosaic mine land, there is a general store in Picnic, and that’s about it.

picnic

I fished at the Alafia State park which is a misnomer. It really isn’t on the river……. It is mostly trails for cyclist through old mined area that the sandmine companies turned back to the state. It is actually a tribute to the fact that you can mine areas in Florida, and bring them back to natural beauty if they are treated correctly. They do have some lakes, and they are actually very nice and natural after mother nature took control several years ago. I caught one fish on a Zoom Super Fluke, but that was it. Here is a picture of the fish and the area I was fishing.

alafia 2

alafia 1

On the way back from our visit, we stopped at Payne’s Creek State Park. This is a beautiful park that has trails that go along the creek and end up where Payne’s Creek meets the Peach River. I thought this was a perfect spot to fish and catch a bass or two….. There were many bass moving into the creek from the river that I could see in the clear water, so I pitched my finesse worm to them in the shaded area of the creek mouth. I had two bites there, but nothing that held on long enough for me to set the hook on them. I also got a bite in the Peace River, but my line broke right at the knot! Ouch! I hate when that happens, and I had to take a Zero for the day. Here is a picture of the Peace River where Payne’s Creek meets up with it.

paynes Creek

Colt Creek State Park 12-27-14

This park is situated on an old limerock pit lakes near the Hillsborough River in Polk County Florida. It has 3 small lakes that were dredged, and are very deep. The main lake called Mac Lake, and has a pier at the end of the park where the pavilion is located.

I had to fish there since the rest of the shoreline was flooded due to all the rain we have been having in Florida. This lake is 50-80 feet deep in some places. The shoreline does have some cover, but I did not have much of that I could cast to.

colt

I did get a bream bite or two on a finesse worm, but that was it. I did however get to see a rare site as it was happening. A mud fish had moved into the bank to spawn. I did not realize that these prehistoric fish, do not spawn like a bass or a bluegill and make a bed. When these fish are ready, they swim in and blow out millions of fry. I was fortunate to see this happen, and take a few pictures.

It did not last very long, and the big female slowly moved back out into the weeds and deeper cover. The fry cling together in a mass and follow mama as she moves out. What a sight!

I think if you hit the park right, these deep lakes should produce some large bass, but timing was just not that good for me on this two hour trip.

mud 5mud1 mud2 mud4

Suwannee River Area State Parks 12-6-14

It looked like we would get a break in the weather on the first weekend in December, in fact the weatherman were calling for highs in the 70’s, but as it normally goes, they got it wrong again…… We barely made it to the 60’s!

The first stop was Troy Springs State Park near the town of Branford Florida. We found out quickly, this spring on the Suwannee, is a scuba divers haven. A scuba club had taken over most of the park, and even had some live music to enjoy. I found a shoreline on the river past the picnic area as I traveled along the trail. It presented a few opportunities to cast a worm and a crank bait, but did not pan out. I fished off the dock they have at the mouth of the spring, but that too was quiet. A nice park for the scuba crowd, but I would not bank on it for fishing.

We went to Peacock Springs next which also did not offer much area to fish, but I was able to find a quiet spot away from the divers. Peacock Springs is unique in that it has miles and miles of underwater caves to explore for scuba divers. This is not my cup of tea, since I am a bit claustrophobic, but to each his own! I had several bites on a plastic worm and fluke, and ended up catching two small bass.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

peacock springs bass

Sharon and I had reservations at a cabin at Lafayette Springs near the town of Madison. It was a very nice cabin, and the park has a boat ramp on the Suwannee. I had a nice bass bite on the first cast by the ramp, but missed him. My goal was to catch the infamous Suwannee bass on this trip, but so far, I had not come across one. These bass are real fighters from what I understand, and have the look of a smallmouth. They do not get much bigger than 2 pounds, but I understand they will put up a super fight.

The next park was Madison Blue Springs near the town of Madison. The ranger station here was just a trailer, and this park gets very little traffic. We only saw one other family, and had the park to ourselves most of the time. The spring run is small, as it empties into the Suwanee. There was a sandbar out in front, and I could see bass swimming from the river into the spring! I worked the edge of the river before you get to the spring, and caught a feisty bass on a Zoom Trick worm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After an hour or so, and just a few bites we were about to go when Sharon spotted a nice bass swimming down the bank. She pointed to the area, and I made a short pitch. Bam! it sucked it down and the fight was on! It jumped as Sharon was getting the camera, and came off throwing the trick worm back in my face. That’s what keeps you coming back for more!

Stephen Foster State Park is a very well-kept park with a dramatic entrance way. It has a beautiful old tower, and a nice overlook over the river. I found it fairly easy to walk the river from the canoe launch area, and had a few bites, but still no Suwannee bass. The last park we visited was the Suwannee State Park, and it had a nice boat ramp similar to Lafayette State Park. I fished the area around the ramp and walked the bank. I had a total of 5 bites on a shaky head worm and a Senko, but could not connect! It was definitely not my best trip for catching fish, but we got to see an area of Florida that we had never been to before, and it was a very enjoyable trip.

St. Augustine area State parks 11-29-14

Another blistery weekend in Florida…. Well to you in the North, it may sound like summer…..

Wind was coming out of the Northeast at 10-15 and it was in the 50’s all day on Saturday. We first stopped at Faver-Dykes at Pellicer Creek. They had a fishing dock on the creek in the picnic area, so I decided to fish that stretch first. It was shallow, and the tide wasn’t moving much, but it was going to pick up according to my tide calendar. No bites, so I moved to the small boat launching area, and still no bites on the Berkley Gulp or the Yo-zuri. I went back to the dock and a gentleman was trying out a new rod he just purchased. On his second cast, he landed a nice flounder!  That’s fishing!

fayer

Next, we went to the Anastasia State Park. This park is along the beach in St. Augustine, and also has an inlet area to fish. The beach had massive waves, and was not what I was looking for, so I tried the inlet. It was shallow, and I tried wading a bit but no luck. 0-2 for the day, not a good start in St. Augustine…..

Sunday we started out at a very interesting park called Washington Oaks. I highly recommend this park for the gardens, and the massive oaks, and dolphin watching. They have a nice seawall along the inter-coastal, and the channel comes very close to shore. It looked like a decent area to fish, so I started with the Yo-zuri. I lost my favorite lure in a tree, so things were not shaping up to well. I had a few bites, on the Gulp, but went back to a blue back Yo-zuri and caught this nice trout right on the corner of the seawall which made a great ambush point for the trout.

washington oaks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The last stop on our list was North Peninsula State Park that is just south of Palm Coast. It had a beach area, but it was super crowded. I decided to fish the inlet called Smith Creek where the drawbridge is located. Be prepared for the horn! The first time that went off, I almost jumped in the water!  I had a few strikes on a Bass Pro Shops Shrimp lure on a jig head, but could not connect. A family of 4 fished close by, and we did get to watch the mother catch a nice black drum that almost destroyed her spinning outfit. Drum can really pull, and if you do not have the right equipment it can be a battle to get them in….

All in all I would recommend the Washington Oaks park if you are in the Palm coast/St Augustine area, and if you like the beach Anastasia.

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!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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.

sebastian1

 

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.

sebastian4

sebastian2

 

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!

sebastian3

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA