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Central Florida Fishing Report

Capt. John Kumiski
April 11, 2020
Titusville - Saltwater Fishing Report

Central Florida Fishing Report

Thank you for reading my central Florida fishing report.

Monday- took a kayak to the no motor zone. Had not been in months. Was pleased to be able to see the bottom. Water clarity wasn't great but it's the best I've seen there in at least two or three years. There's green stuff that looks like a rooted plant growing on the bottom, something other than seagrass. It looks like Caulerpa brachypus, a nonnative species originating in the Pacific Ocean. I've been seeing whatever plant this is growing in the Indian River Lagoon, too. The Caulerpa is yet another invasive exotic. Once it's established is there any hope for the manatee grass to recover?

There was quite a bit of bait- mullet, what I think were pinfish, and schools of bay anchovies. I saw relatively few predator fish, maybe 25-30 altogether in about six hours, mostly seatrout and small snook, one redfish. No catfish. Relatively few rays, no manatees, only a few sheepshead.

Using a DOA Shrimp I got three bites, caught a one-pound snook, an eight-inch trout, and quite a nice trout, 22 inches or so. I wanted to photograph the snook and the bigger trout- both shook off while I was getting the camera ready.

For a fine overview of the Indian River Lagoon system, visit this link- www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-01/documents/58692_an_river_lagoon_an_introduction_to_a_natural_treasure_2007.pdf" target="_blank">https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-01/documents/58692_an_river_lagoon_an_introduction_to_a_natural_treasure_2007.pdf

Tuesday I went bank fishing in the Econlockhatchee. I worked it hard with plastic worms and plastic shad. While I saw a few fish, I only had a couple bites from dink bass. Both jumped off. Did not catch a fish.

Wednesday after lunch I thought I would go sunfishing. I have a 6.5 foot Kunan four-weight, an awful rod, but took it hoping to catch some redbellies and stumpknockers. I parked at Snow Hill Road and walked up the Econ a way, then started wade fishing back, tossing a sponge rubber spider. Catching was terrible. In three hours I got a small bass, a small redbelly, and a small bluegill. That's it!

The highlight of the afternoon occurred when a swallow-tailed kite soared directly over the river, flying right above me. Those birds are so beautiful, I love watching them.

Then I heard a loud combustion noise coming up the river. I thought it was an airboat. Turns out it was two jonboats, each powered by a go-devil. They ran right past me without slowing down, close enough the spray off the transom of the second boat got me wet. I was furious. Back at the bridge there were two trucks with boat trailers. I photographed their tags, came home, and wrote the following letter, which I sent to the Seminole County sheriff and my county commissioner:

While wading in the Econlockhatchee River today, upstream of the Snow Hill Road bridge, I was nearly run over when two aluminum jonboats, each pushed by an air-cooled go-devil style engine, operated by two inconsiderate young men, ran right past me at speed. They were close enough that the spray coming off their transom got me wet.

There were two trucks with boat trailers (Florida tags IN5 8AX and IKZ Q81) parked at Snow Hill Road. They use the kayak launch like a boat ramp, damaging it in the process.

Lots of paddlers use that stretch of river, one of the few in Seminole County conducive to a peaceful day on the water. Those jerks in the motorboats have the entire St. Johns River system at their disposal. They don't need to be tearing up a small, intimate waterway. I think motors should not be allowed on that stretch at all. As it is I believe there's a 5 MPH speed limit there. These folks were way out of compliance.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to getting your response about this matter.

I got the following lame response-

I am sorry to hear about your experience on the river. With all of the stay at home orders we are seeing a lot of people on the river just trying to get out of the house.

I have copied Lt Pete Kelting on here who oversees our Marine Patrol function and can address your concerns.

Thursday I took sister Cheryl to Port Canaveral. We launched the Mitzi and ran the beach. The wind was blowing pretty hard out of the west- running the beach was really my only option.

Big ladyfish and typical Florida bluefish, plenty of both, was all I got. I did see a couple tarpon roll. There was not a lot of bait. There were not a lot of boats, either! We saw a lot of dolphins and a couple of breaching manta rays in the distance. Also saw several free-jumping spinner sharks.

Friday had a small craft advisory posted. I stayed home.

I wrote back to the Sheriff's department Friday morning-

I understand that. They shouldn't be breaking the law and endangering people's lives while they're at it, though.

Lt Kelting has not contacted me. Evidently the incident is not very important. I write a blog every week and will be putting this entire correspondence in it this week. The men operating those boats should at the very least get a warning from the Sheriff's department.

Later Friday I received a call from Sgt. Chris Stronko, Seminole County Sheriff's deputy. He said that his office, the entire Sheriff's department, was very busy. I can understand that! He also said they would track the boat operators down, give them a little education and a warning not to do it again. Which is really all I want. He also promised to get back to me next week.

I also got an email from Bryttany Workman at the Sheriff's department-
Thus far, we created an AP for the landing. We will assist the ER in monitoring as this area can be easily reached by patrol car. We will be on the Econ monitoring this weekend. In the AP are instructions for the enforcement of vessels exceeding the 5 MPH ordinance past the bridge. As I know you are aware, this ordinance does not exclude motorized vessels, just the provision that they cannot go over 5 MPH. In addition, I will talk to Jim Duby about the signage at that location. Currently, there is no exclusion in the signage for launching a boat on a trailer. If there is destruction to the river bank, we can address that in conjunction with DEP. We have launched our mud boat in the same location and stayed on the concrete erosion protection and not caused any environmental damage. I agree that this area has primarily been a canoe and kayak launch, and that was the primary intention. Let me see how the County feels about the designated use of this area and labeling it as such, as I have copied Jim. One concern for only designating "canoes and kayaks" would be language excluding small jon boats that could be hand carried similar to a canoe or kayak.

I don't know what APs and ERs are but assume the deputies do. I'll let you all know what happens!

I was glad to see it was important enough to the Sheriff's office that they stayed on it and got back to me about it.

Life is great and I love my work!

Every day is a blessing. Don't waste it- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski, author of Fishing Florida by Paddle- An Angler's Guide
Purchase Fishing Florida by Paddle- An Angler's Guide at www.spottedtail.com/fishing-florida-by-paddle/

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2020. All rights are reserved.

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