The nice folks at Donald's Bait and Tackle of Port Orange are hosting a free kids fishing tournament on Saturday, Dec. 1.
The children will be fishing from the boards beneath the big Dunlawton bridge from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Awards and hotdogs will follow immediately after until 12:30 p.m. Come on out and bring the kids or just stop by to watch the fun. I intend to be there to trade fishing stories and help out where I can. Donald's has the new Grandslam jig tails that bear my name as does Granada Bait and Tackle on the north end.
No, they are not sold cheaper because my picture is on the package.
Welcome back to all of our seasonal residents. Each year as soon as the weather cools up north our outboard fishing fleet increases dramatically. With that in mind, let's talk about fishing manners. Here in Volusia County we are blessed with many miles of great fishing water, both salt and fresh. Even though there are more than 60,000 boats registered in the county, we are seldom crowded -- at least we shouldn't be.
Unfortunately there are always a few boaters who have no regard for others. People, if you arrive at a pre-determined spot and find someone else already there, move on.
Quietly! Next time get up earlier so you can be first on a prime spot. A while back I kayaked over to Tomoka State Park and got out to wade. As quietly as possible I moved through the cool water to get to a place that I know usually holds fish.
Just after dawn, I was working my red and white Mirro Lure on the surface when it attracted a large sea trout. Bam!
The fish popped on the lure, but missed. On two successive casts the same thing happened. I was able to get a good look at the gator trout as it went at my lure. More than two feet long and very fat, the trout had taken on a golden hue from the stained water.
Beautiful! As I stood there in two feet of water thinking about what lure I might try next, a boat appeared. It was a big 20-footer running a 150 h.p. engine and seemed to be just cruising. The fellow at the helm was talking on a cell phone and seemed oblivious to me even though I was waving my arms to try and get him to go around. The boat passed within my casting range and that was it for the big trout.
Kayaks are not much better. A couple years ago, I was in my 17-foot Polar and had pushed-poled around 200 yards to get within casting range of a school of reds. I had landed one and released it when eight kayaks appeared carrying tourists. I shouted they were going to scare away the fish and one lady replied that maybe they would scare the fish toward me. Kayaks passed on either side of my boat. After all of that work my day was ruined.
Lately some of my wading buddies have complained of kayaks pulling to within 20 feet of them. There is no excuse for that. Anglers who have worked hard to stalk big trout or reds need some consideration. It's not an easy thing to do. Violating a fisherman's personal space might be dangerous as well.
A few years back, I was fishing a productive bank on the St. Johns River for bass when a speedboat zoomed around me and anchored right in front of my boat.
I was so mad it took my buddy to restrain me from boarding that boat to do hand-to-hand combat.
Please be careful how you conduct yourself on the water. Some of us take fishing seriously.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.