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 Post subject: Moving to Florida
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:07 pm 
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I am probably moving to Palatka, FL within the next month or so and I have some questions for fishing in Florida as I have never done it. My first question is one you probably hear a lot. How often do you come in contact with gators while kayak fishing in Florida. Second, does the water stay warm enough to use top water lures year round? I normally fish for bass, what are other really good fish to target in Florida, specifically in St Johns River and the lakes and smaller rivers surrounding it? I have other questions but I'd like to keep it shorter for now.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving to Florida
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:51 pm 
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Quote:
How often do you come in contact with gators while kayak fishing in Florida
Depends on the water, but its pretty common. I've had 10+ alligators crowd me at Rodman and Alligator Lake, most other places its just one or two. The smaller ones usually swim away, but the bigger ones sometimes seem to ignore you and just swim right by. During the spring, I've had a few start bellowing at me (I couldn't see them in the grass).
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does the water stay warm enough to use top water lures year round
When cold fronts moves through I've measured the water around 50-55F, which isn't optimal for topwater. But the majority of the winter its probably 60s F, which is good enough for top water but I usually do better tossing other stuff.

If you move to Palatka you should try Rodman. Its probably the best largemouth bass waters in North Florida. Kingsley Lake (about a hour away) also has a lot of 13lb+ bass caught, but its military/service members only.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving to Florida
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:30 pm 
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What do you do if a gator tries to get your fish while reeling it in?


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 Post subject: Re: Moving to Florida
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:11 am 
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Location: Amelia Island / Fernandina Beach. FL
rwall89 wrote:
What do you do if a gator tries to get your fish while reeling it in?

I believe you might wish to let him have it......

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 Post subject: Re: Moving to Florida
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:15 pm 
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Location: Middleburg/orange park boarder
don't waste your time fishing palatka. Take a 40-1h drive to St Augustine or Pam coast and fish for reds, trout and flounder. Go a little lower and you can catch some snook when its warmer.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving to Florida
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:31 pm 
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Location: Neptune Beach, FL
Hello rwall89 and Welcome to Florida and to JKF!!
Where are you moving from?? Sounds like a freshwater area since you are a LMB fisherman?

Not a problem with that, and my advice would be to pick a location in Palatka to live in which is closer to the main area you will be fishing...Rodman or the Gulf Coast or the East Coast like JAX or St. Augustine area....and the best news is that Palatka will allow you to fish all three!!

You will see alligators pretty much everywhere in Florida, altho you will see MANY more in F/W than you will see in saltwater. In the brackish water most of us fish, you will not see very many or very often. Guana Lake is the place that I see them most often....and I surprised a BIG female sitting on her nest and she hissed at me, so that spooked me pretty well!! Also see 'gators pretty much everytime I fish there, and you get used to them....altho I always keep an eye on them.
Islandspeed posted a great answer above....if a gator has your fish...it then becomes HIS FISH!! I would not keep reeling it in since the gator will follow it right to your kayak...Honest!! :shock:
I have NEVER seen one in what I consider saltwater tho...

Water temp certainly has an effect on the fishing...by fishing and by location. Today's beaches weekly paper, the Beaches Leader, had the perfect answer to that question, and I will try to see if I can post a link to it for you....the Fishing Editor is Anna Crowder who is an avid kayak angler and who is married to a local fishing guide. The article is outstanding!!
Again, welcome to JKF!!
JohnYaksJax

PS: I think that Weimed meant Palm Coast instead of the "Pam" that he typed above!! :thumbright:


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 Post subject: Re: Moving to Florida
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:34 pm 
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palatka is a great place to fish. The st'johns, Rodman , Oklawaha river, many smaller lakes. I too love freshwater fishing. Bass will hit topwaters year round if we have a warm winter (not this one):specks and bluegill are a blast with ultralight tackle using beetle spins, roadrunners and pond minnows( a very small floating diving plug.)As far as gators, be very careful in spring,their mating season. They get pretty jealous. The thing that scares me more than gators are manatees. They can come up under your yak and flip you. They don't mean any harm but you can have a heart attack nonetheless. Good luck,Mark T

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 Post subject: Re: Moving to Florida
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:17 pm 
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I'll be moving from Tennessee. I'm use to fishing Kentucky Lake along with some smaller lakes and rivers. When you say go to Palm Coast or St Augustine, do you mean to go saltwater fishing? Or is there brackish water rivers there? I'm not too sure I'll be jumping straight into putting the kayak in the Ocean. Definitely want to catch a snook or tarpon though. Really want to catch a cuda but I think I'd rather do that out of a bigger boat.


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 Post subject: Re: Moving to Florida
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:32 pm 
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rwall89 wrote:
I'll be moving from Tennessee. I'm use to fishing Kentucky Lake along with some smaller lakes and rivers. When you say go to Palm Coast or St Augustine, do you mean to go saltwater fishing? Or is there brackish water rivers there? I'm not too sure I'll be jumping straight into putting the kayak in the Ocean. Definitely want to catch a snook or tarpon though. Really want to catch a cuda but I think I'd rather do that out of a bigger boat.

lol , your not putting your yak in the ocean . They are talking about the coastal salt marsh sir . I'm sure someone will offer to take you out and show you the ropes . I will be willing to bet once you go to the coastal waters and catch a big red or trout . You will be hooked , not to forget about the floormat's as well . lol Welcome to the area


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 Post subject: Re: Moving to Florida
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:17 am 
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Location: Fairfax, VA & Ponte Vedra
rwall89 wrote:
What do you do if a gator tries to get your fish while reeling it in?


You don't usually have to worry about that as much as you have to keep an eye on the big ones when you're reviving/releasing a fish. For an ancient animal with such a small brain, they sure do learn pretty quick that boats can mean tired, slow fish. Also, I'm surprised no one has mentioned it yet, but don't use a stringer for your catch down in Florida. We call that trolling for alligator (or shark).

The little gators really like popping corks (you might know them as bobbers or floats from the freshwater side). I've had to abandon using a popping cork more times than I can count due to annoying juvenile gators. I've also had small gators (3-4') grab my paddletail lure. Each time I thought I just caught a snag, but we were both surprised when I pulled them up from the bottom. Thankfully, they've never been hooked and they just open their mouths and out pops my line, sometimes shooting past my ear.

I've never had too much of a problem with gators, but I've had them scare the crap out of me diving off the bank right as I'm passing feet away them. It'll definitely cause things to pucker for a second or two. I have also had them push me out of fishing spot just from sheer numbers of sizeable ones popping their heads up near enough to my anchored kayak to make me feel uncomfortable.

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 Post subject: Re: Moving to Florida
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:50 pm 
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In Palm Coast there is a subdivsion called Matanzas Woods I think. Anyway there is a great little lake there with several canals that hold some decent size largemouth. A buddy of mine has caught a couple in the 8 lb. range. Easy launch also.,right off the parkway.You turn in off of hwy US 1, look on google maps. Mark T

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