Florida Fishing

1/2/17 @ 6:56 PM
ORIGINAL POST
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Barring any unseen issues,I'll be heading to Florida for a few weeks this winter. I'm trailering the motorcycle and the canoe. Camping...I'll be starting north of Pensacola,then headed to the Apalachicola NF. From there I plan on a couple campgrounds on the way to the Ocala NF. Stay there a few days then work my way down the gulf coast to Naples,where I'll either stay with relatives or - more likely - in the Big Cypress,then one of the Everglades campgrounds.

 I plan a ride down the keys but most likely will just ride the bike. Maybe camp a night or two if I can find a site but probably won't fish.

 But everglades and some other tidal creeks and rivers. Maybe some surf'beach fishing or pier fishing...Definitely inland for bream or cats...

 I'd like to eat some fish - the length of the trip depends on how little I spend per week - but I don't want to "live" on fish or even make this a "fishing" trip.

The question I've got is about gear: I'd like to be minimalist...and cheap... I have older reels that work just fine. They were primarily walleye reels that have been retired....Good enough for saltwater? I'd like stuff that can do double or triple duty and if it only lasts the trip,so be it.

Rods too. I have plenty of medium action rods that I've used as loaners for folks on my boat...But if I have to buy something I would.

 Terminal tackle?...In the everglades and other tidal creeks, I plan on just pitching jigs to eddys for snook,trout,etc...because that's all I've done before but I'm open to suggestions.

I'd appreciate any advice anyone wanted put out there. Thanks in advance.....CDs

 

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3/1/17 @ 2:55 PM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Thanks for the advice Ted. I'll use it next year.

Regarding speeds limits: School zones,AFB's and US1 in the Keys (sort of)...Otherwise saw very few speed traps or folks pulled over anywhere in the state...Followed a 75 year old friend on our bikes from Fort Meyers to Naples averaging close to 100mph on our bikes (crazy old SOB) and got passed a couple times by guys on crotch rockets...Got a warning on the bike doing 16-over in a construction zone late at night in Collier Cty. Cop was a rider formerly from IL. He didn't buy my excuse that I was speeding because I was "freezing my ass off" and in a hurry to get back to my campsite...."Yer from WISCONSIN ferchrissakes! How can you be cold?"

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2/28/17 @ 8:59 PM
Robbollio
Robbollio
USER since 10/17/04

Very cool CDS! Glad it worked out besides the boozers...

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2/24/17 @ 4:53 PM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Sorry Danny.no gator. Like some other critters I had requests to keep - iguanas,a pleco (armored catfish) I just didn't have the room to adequately keep them until the trip home....or the stones to violate what I'd guess are game laws with pretty hefty consequences.

Well,the iguanas...next year I'll see if they taste like chicken.

 (edit) These were on Key West but I also saw iguanas near Miami and on Key Largo.

Edited on 2/24/17 5:21 PM
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2/24/17 @ 3:37 PM
madcelt
madcelt
USER since 3/13/02

Good for you Chris.  It takes a set of stones to do a trip like that.  When can I get my gator?

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2/23/17 @ 6:54 PM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Canoeing

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2/23/17 @ 6:45 PM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Canoeing

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2/23/17 @ 6:42 PM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Octopus ray and gator

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2/23/17 @ 6:37 PM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

Key deer

Edited on 2/23/17 6:39 PM
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2/23/17 @ 3:27 PM
cds
cds
USER since 9/18/01

I've been back a week now. The unseasonably warm weather has helped me acclimate. I'll try to be brief on a rundown of the trip but it was full - I never really relaxed and never "had time" to fish.


  First stop was the Blackwater state forest. One day riding the area,one night camping and I moved. Planned on heading to pine Log state forest but no room. Managed a site at Grayton Beach state park and stayed put for 4 nights. I could have left after 3. Nearly stepped on a big diamondback "rattler" in Point Washington state forest. Looked a bunch of nice parks in the area....

Moved to a campground right at the St. Marks National Wildlife refuge. The area is somewhat like northern WI with logging and pine plantations but even more rural. Spent 4 days checking out the area including a personalized tour someone gave me of a whole bunch of shorefishing (or canoe-able) fishing spots. Did some hikes,checked out a couple small museums...saw gators and historical stuff and...and moved when a drinker (inconsiderate drunk?) moved into the site next to mine.

 Severe weather moved thru the night before I left,leaving the next potential campground a mess. Beach campground and high windblown tide...so instead of Shired Island I wend to Shell Mound in the Lower Suwanee NWR. Three days there seeing manatees and state parks and riding some remote dirt roads...visited the Homasassa springs/Crystal River area...met some great people in that area,ate local seafood straight from the commercial oystermen/shrimpers/clam diggers...

 Fort Desoto in Tampa bay was cool...But cold and basically in the city. Huge park consisting of several islands but noisy "party" campground...Headed inland.

Fisheating Creek SWA campground is about 20 miles west of Lake Okeechobee a weekend spot for Miamians but dead on weekdays. I left my canoe on a streambank behind my campsite - the same spot a trio of 8' gators sunned themselves every day. A bigger one "owned" the upstream pool,the downstream area was full of dozens of 3' to 6' gators. I spent one day canoing the creek (even more gators and assorted cool stuff) and one day riding around Okeechobee. Cool ride,some areas were like a foreign country...

 On to Picayune Strand. Spend 3 days in the Naples area riding with friends and visiting parks,beaches,...then Collier Seminole at the 10,000 islands area. Canoed the mangroves and upper 'Glades. Had a big gator almost tip my canoe and covered me in stinky everglades mud...bunch'a riding and visits to Big Cypress and historical spots in Chokoloskee and Everglades city and Marco Island. Spent some time with a naturalist at Rookery Bay nat. esturine research area

The everglades proper. First night at Flamingo,next three at Long Pine Key campground. Saltwater crocs,manatees...some birding and hiking and wading into cypress domes...and canoing...one of those days was spent at Pennecamp SP snorkeling...

Last three days was spent on Bahia Honda. One day was spent at Key West and Big Pine Key/key's deer NWR. Little tiny deer. Almost tame..Couldn't leave Key West and it's traffic fast enough but got a personal tour of Fort Taylor. Took another snorkel tour boat and did a bunch of local snorkeling. Sharks,huge rays...octopus...

Then a two full day drive home.

 Pics are on my phone and I'm typing this in the PC. Maybe later I'll download a few....Really great trip but in all honesty it was the people I met who made any individual spot great (or not)... Every,EVERY single time a campground sucked it was because of folks getting loud and obnoxious and drunk against the "no alcohol" rules. Very few drinkers cause trouble but when there's trouble there's drinkers.

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2/5/17 @ 7:39 PM
jaybeeturtle
jaybeeturtle
USER since 3/17/06

Used to live in FL and just got back from Panama. Love the mangroves for 'Cuda fishing. Best ones have a steep drop, at least 5 to6 ft deep at the edge. I like to kayak troll along the edge just off the roots and branches. Paddle fast and throw in a pause every now and then. The Cuda come screaming out of the roots to smack the lure. Johnsons Silver Minnow works great, and easy to get the single hook out of those toothy jaws

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