Posted by jd on April 03, 2006 at 14:34:37:
I made my annual pilgrimage to central Florida a week or so ago. I hired a guide and fished the infamous Stick Marsh/Farm 13. Those guys treat their boats like it is 4WD and literally jumped stumps on the south end of the farm since that is where the fish hang out during the spawn. Several times I thought I was going to fall out of the boat when it would hit a stump while drifting with 20mph+ winds. Not a good place to fall since you might get impailed by standing timber in the 4-5 foot deep water. The guide said don't worry about the gators, just go in feet first to keep from getting hit in the head with timber. A stainless steel prop is a definite must! If any of you has ever thought about taking a boat to fish Floriday, you have been warned... the roads leading in are always sand/dirt even when fishing lakes like Toho, Kissimmee, Blue Cypress, and Stick Marsh. You will abuse a truck/boat more in a week than a lifetime around here. My motor, trolling motor, and electronics were never the same after my trip a few years back where I drug my boat along for the ride.
Of all things, the fish wanted Rat-L-Traps. I was hoping to fish lazy-man shiners, but the supply was not available - probably best @ $18/dozen. I ripped traps through wood and we would troll against the wind to retrieve lures every few minutes. The first fish of the day was obviously the biggest, but it dove into the wood and I was hung before I could do much about it. The guide has just finished telling me: when you get a bite, crank hard and fast and keep them up out of the wood... turn your drag off... horse them up.
When it was all said and done, I caught around a half dozen fish (in the boat) no bigger than if I had fished the Big G and pushing 4 pounds. The big one, as usual, did get away. Caught them on traps, senkos, and spinnerbaits. They said the bite is "returning to normal" now after the freak cold fronts that haunted us. Just my luck... always a day late and a dollar short.
As usual, I continue to realize what a great place north Alabama is to live!
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