Mitchell Reel Museum - Mitchell Mates Discussion Group

Florida Fishin'!!!
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Author:  Cagey [ Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Florida Fishin'!!!

The above photo was taken in 1944 in Punta Gorda, Florida. It shows my maternal grandfather lifting a huge sea bass, grouper, or jew fish as they are sometimes called. As you can see from the size of this fish grandad is lifting as much of it as he can get out of the water until it bumps into the bottom of the small dock he is standing on not able to lift any more of it out of the water unless he can push it away from him and lift past the dock which apparently is not happening due to the size of this fish. Can anyone guess the size and weight of this one?

Hint: grandad stood 6' 2".

In the years after this fish was caught, so many were fished out the size of these fish got smaller and smaller, but new regulations in Florida have helped the grouper make a come back and now fish of this size can once again be caught around Florida!

The photo above is one I have often wondered about. The year is 1969 and I am just 5 years old and my father is taking this photo of me using my first cheapo all plastic no-name reel from K-Mart with short 5 foot blue fiberglass rod. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was doing it.

The strange thing about this photo is where it was taken which is on the one and only dock at Kingsley Lake in north Florida. I would find out many years later why this place was special to my father.

Apparently one day on this very spot my grandfather took his boys to swim and fish here, and my father told me one of his brothers jumped off this dock and into the water and died. At first they presumed it was a drowning, but my father told me they found out later he had an "athletes heart" or an enlarged heart and they think he jumped into a cold spot in the lake which might have triggered him to have a heart attack which is more than likely what killed him as well as sucking in water as it was happening surely did not help.

But here it is 1969 and my father was taking me to swim and fish at the same location he lost one of his brothers and I have always wondered why my father would do that? I know he was close to the brother he lost there, but I will never know why he took our family there unless he was just trying to remember his brother and their last final minutes of joy together before tragedy struck. Just something I always wondered about.

Maybe one day I will take my sons there??? Still pondering that one...

The image above is one of my many largemouth black bass, this female was caught in Lake Brantley in central Florida a few years ago and she was full of row so I tossed her back. She deserved to live as did the youngun's!

Oh crap! When will this torture end! Hopefully before I get sea sick again! I'm getting too old for this kind of fishing... time to head back inland to the peace and quiet of Florida's backwaters!

Last year some buddies and I went to our super secret snook spot and were wore out in three hours of fishing. We missed as many as we caught! And we landed 33 large snook in 3 hours using live bait on the bottom of this inlet in somewhere Florida... with some of our snook reaching darn near to 5 feet long!

I don't look happy in this photo because I am plumb wore out from fighting these large fish one right after another. And it was hot in the Florida sun and I was getting baked, and nauseous too and sea sick. I was happy to be catching so many fish, but just not feeling too well while doing it and it shows! lol


I think captain George caught the big one of the day...


Author:  Cagey [ Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Fishin'!!!

I hope it is not out of line to discuss fishin' secrets on this board?

Since I have lived in Florida my entire life, my fishing style and techniques have been developed by the geography of the state.

In Florida there are basically three types of fishermen:
1)freshwater fishing.
2)offshore ocean fishing.
3)inshore saltwater fishing.

Where to begin... I started in freshwater and that is what I want to discuss in this post. But let me just say I rarely go offshore to fish. It is just too much of an all day tiresome adventure and getting too costly. I do some inshore fishing for red fish, snook, flounder, and other, but even that is less often than I fish in freshwater and that is my real love.

Florida has some of the most beautiful backwoods rivers and lakes and springs. There are places here virtually untouched by man and when out there it is like jurassic park.

So not only is a beautiful place to be, but you won't be bothered by other humans crowding in on you and you can have it all to yourself while out there. I know of sleepy small rivers flowing through the woods carving out one side of the bank and creating pure white sandy beaches on the inside of the curve perfect for setting up camp, taking the family on outings and picnics and fishing trips.

And some of our clear spring fed rivers are crystal clear and a cool 72 degrees year round and are a great place to swim and boat.

So this is what I think is one of Florida's best kept secrets is our untouched backwoods rivers and lakes and springs.

A lot people like to spend tens of thousands of dollars on high end boats and fishing gear but by doing so they are limiting where they can go and get to. And this is precisely where the dividing line is drawn between them and me.

I grew up around fiberglass boats and canoes and today, partly because I love shop work and metal work I have naturally gravitated to all aluminum boats. And today I despise fiberglass. It is just too heavy for me and since it weighs a great deal more, it tends to draft deeper and thus limiting where I can go and to me this is just not acceptable.

Some of the best fishing waters and spots I love to go to simply can not be accessed in heavy fiberglass boats. And this suits me just fine because I know I won't be bothered by any of those rich uppity types who like to run their big boats and big motors all over us lowly fishermen some trying to literally swamp us just for the fun of it. So I go where they can't.

Today I have a 14 foot 1973 AlumaCraft F7 modified of course and I run a four stroke Yamaha tiller on it and it hauls butt and takes me anywhere I want to go, even if the water is only 12 inches deep! Sometimes I have to get out and drag the boat over sand bars just to keep on going, but I am going where no one else can go except for maybe the occasional air boat, but even then they are mainly used in more open waters and less around trees like where I go quite often. In fact, in one of the photos I am about to post my buddy George and I are in his 12 foot jon boat with a 9.9 Honda on it and we are literally ramping over fallen trees in the water blocking our way to some very remote holes in one spring fed river in central Florida. No one ventures out there like we did! No one! We had it all to ourselves. Maybe we should have taken a chain saw with us just to help clear our way but we made it.

Just look closely at this photo! It shows the back of the boat is nearly 3 feet out of the water as we are jumping over trees using them literally as ramps because there was no way around them, we had to go over them. How many fishermen go through this just to fish?


But once out there in God's country where no one else dares to go, just take a look at some of these incredibly beautiful fishing spots!






This is Florida fishing at its best! Remote backwoods rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, and springs! And Florida is loaded with places like these all over the state! This is Florida's best kept fishing secret for freshwater fishermen...

Author:  Wallace Carney [ Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Fishin'!!!

Hi Cagey,

GREAT POST!!! Probably the best on this forum to date. I lived in Florida on both coasts for 15+ years and before that, I thought I loved fishing. Once there, I was so excited about all the fishing opportunities, I actually fished at least 6 times a week, and that was after a full day at work!

Though I'm no longer there, those are my best memories by far! Thanks for sharing...

Beast Fishes,

Author:  Cagey [ Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Fishin'!!!

Yeah Wallace I love fishing in Florida!

A lot of people don't know it but we also have stripers here. They do not get as big as the ones further north, but they are fun to catch and good to eat!

And the state of Florida actually produces a hybrid between white bass and stripers and it is called the sunshine bass and they release about 2 million into our lakes and rivers every year here in Florida and when the water starts to cool down in late fall like right about now until March is prime striper fishing time!

You can go to the Florida game commission website and download the pdf report for each year they produce the hybrid and how many and where they are stocked each year. Wait three years from the report year and go fishing for them! And if stock gets low, call the 800 number and ask for more!

I just caught a mess of them in Lake Harris out in Leesburg, Florida to fill up the freezer with some fish to put in the smoker. I tossed back as many as I caught. They averaged 1.5 pounds to 5 pounds and put up a good fight on light tackle.



The fish with straight black lines down the side of the body are natural stripers and the fish with jagged broken black lines down the body are the hybrid sunshine bass.

Since these two fish are technically two different species, the bag limit on each species is like 22 fish per outing, or 44 fish for both. I caught these in about one or two hours of fishing.

Sometimes I go out on the St. Johns river before sunrise and use a cast net to catch about a dozen wild shad for bait and then sit and wait for sunrise and watch the surface of the water and you can see the water begin to boil with the stripers and sunshine bass hitting on the schools of shad and they hit anything you throw out there.

Since the river is shallow down in central Florida sometimes only two or three feet deep, I free line the shad on just a hook with no weight or I might use a small bobber about 2 feet above the hook just to help me judge when the bait has been taken to set the hook good. And hang on! These fish fight like hell and are loads of fun!

Author:  Wallace Carney [ Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Florida Fishin'!!!

Cagey, another great post! You should start up your own Fishing Blog ;)

Regards, Wallace

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