The Big Bend is an Awesome Place

BillyBilly ChassahowitzkaPosts: 2,678 Captain
I've only been fishing this area for going on six years but have fished many places over the good ole U.S. of A. including twenty years in the Panhandle of Florida. So I'm not a rookie to either fishing or this great State.

It seems that many go out and have great days in our area. Many reports back this up. The fishing in shore fishing is usually good and the offshore too, until the red tide, which we can't control.

My point is this area has captured what I feel I was meant to do for the rest of my life. Back country fishing, most times with no one around and plenty of fish, means letting one go to a place that we often need in this busy life. Often the scenery is worth the trip. And even the busier areas seem to allow most to fish without people stacked up side by side. I wouldn't even think of living anyway else.

The fact that the Big Bend forum shares so much is a good thing. I realize that it does open us up to "lurkers" but the trade-off is meeting a bunch of great fisherman. And learning from each other. One can argue we don't always share the same beliefs but we all share the love of the water and I haven't met anyone on this site that I wouldn't invite to the Garagebar.

Yeah, this is a little sappy, but it's a rainy day and I'm feeling a little sensitive today so thought I'd share my feelings on what we have and what we should try to preserve going forward.

Now...back to your regular scheduled programming. :)

Bill
"And the ocean is howling for the things that might have been..."
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Replies

  • butchbalbutchbal Posts: 430 Deckhand
    What he said...:thumbsup
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,744 Moderator
    Couldn't agree more. I moved here after growing up in Key West and the reason I ended up staying was the water.

    We have every kind of water here ! Springs to saltwater , bluegill to grouper and close to everything else in between.
    We may not have all the glamor species but we have plenty of the others. Take a jig and a spinning outfit ANYWHERE in the state and you will not have as much action as here on a decent day.

    Do NOT tell anyone as this is only my opinion and should not be passed on.. :cool:

    I may have said too much.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • Grady-ladyGrady-lady Posts: 5,276 Admiral
    Billy, you've said it so well - My point is this area has captured what I feel I was meant to do for the rest of my life. - ditto

    I often spend 4-5 hours fishing from my kayak - may not always find fish, but I always find peace.

    Capt Louie - the Keys are pretty special. :) But we do have a wonderful variety of waters here.

    Just in the last two weeks we've eaten trout, mango snapper, redfish, scallops (last package) and crab cakes. Only the scallops came out of the freezer.

    Citrus county's done a nice job on their free parks, too.
    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,506 Admiral
    I been here a while... off and on.
    seen a lot of change, some good, some bad.
    always came back and have stayed this time 28 years.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,506 Admiral
    mullet boat pic was Ft. Myers beach circa 1994.
    Rest were Ozello early 60's starring me and my Dad
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Wishin i was fishinWishin i was fishin Dunnellon FlPosts: 913 Officer
    Well said Billy. There is a lot of diversity from say cedar key down to homosassa. I've been plowing around the area for about 10yrs and I see something new or different each time. The forum has taught me a lot and I have made some good friends here.
  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 934 Officer
    It sure is! Not just the water either. Having the good fortune of doing much botanical work for the state and UF while in Gainesville, I became quite familiar with the flora and fauna from this part of the state. I was blessed to have a permit to Wacassassa back in 1994 for a couple years to collect live plant specimens for botanical illustrations, and also for floristic studies to determine the ecotypes and ecotones on the preserve. Nearly every Sat. morning for 18 months I was out there at first light. Almost made want to take hunting up again. Simply amazing the flora and fauna we have, no where else in the world has what we have.

    I've live in S. Fl N. FL and central FL, but when I brought a class of field biology students to Chinsegut Nature center, I fell in love with the landscape here. Sandhills, flatwoods, coastal forests, the black needle rush so predominant.
    Oh yeah, i'm here for good. One day I'll even figure out how to tarpon fish out of my home port (bayport), which I rarely fish out of...I'd really enjoy a chance to get to know the Chaz area, but my boat just can't do it. I love Crystal river area. great fishing up there compared to hernando county. Although redfishing is good here.
  • gettinwetgettinwet Posts: 1,366 Officer
    I had the good fortune to have been born in central Florida before Walmarts..........have nothing but fond memories oystering and trout fishing with my Grandfather in the Crystal River area as a youngster..........fished offshore with my Father out of Sailfish Center (in West Palm) prior to it becoming a tourist attraction.........now spend what free time I have - taking my babies with me whenever I can - wondering around and wade fishing in the Northern Indian River Lagoon/Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge area. Those days with my Grandfather still call to me.........one day I need to take my children there..........while it still is.
    There are only so many casts in life, so shut up and fish!!
  • Jim311Jim311 Posts: 4,908 Captain
    This area is alright I guess:wink
  • VertigoVertigo Yankeetown, FLPosts: 617 Officer
    I was born just south of Miami at a time when U.S. 1 was still a poorly paved 2-lane road and a 25 hp outboard was an outrageously huge motor. Development had stalled during the depression and there were miles of roads blocked out for homes that were never built. Sort of like Citrus Co. today. Outside of downtown Miami there were no crowds, fishing was good and there was never a line at the boat ramp. Actually there weren't too many ramps and not that many people had boats. We fished canals and bridges a lot and rented a boat for a big day of fishing. Times have changed, and all that is gone. Almost all my extended family has moved from the area. I chose the Nature Coast because the pace and development here are similar to the South Florida of my boyhood. I'm thankful that such a place still exists even if the sand gnats can make life miserable at times.
  • Grady-ladyGrady-lady Posts: 5,276 Admiral
    ANUMBER1 wrote: »
    I been here a while... off and on.
    seen a lot of change, some good, some bad.
    always came back and have stayed this time 28 years.

    What a cute kid you were!

    My paternal great-grandfather was born in what's now Levy County before Florida became a state. He was, as far as I know, nothing more than an illiterate dirt farmer who raised a passel of young'uns. I'd like to think he must have spent some time crabbing or fishing too, because I'm pretty sure that I've got salt water marsh in my veins.

    I feel at home in the marsh...and among the shallow creeks, the oyster bars, the mangrove islands.

    ps - had a '94 same-color-red Chevy dually (is that a dually in your pic?) - sold it just two years ago when we sold the Grady. It was my daily drive for a decade. Loved it! - could park it easier than I park the much smaller suv spin-off I'm driving now.

    :)

    The mullet boat reminds me of a now-deceased friend of ours. He was born and raised on an island (still bears the family name) near the mouth of the Suwannee. Had to take a boat to go to school, his father was a commercial mullet (I think) fisherman.
    Tells the story of he and his dad going to a fish house to sell their hard-won boat load of mullet - and the buyer offered such a low price that the dad got mad and dumped the whole lot overboard. Stan says that was the last time he ever helped his dad fish, and to the day he passed we couldn't even get him out on the boat. (that's the story to the best of my memory)
    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,744 Moderator
    My Mom's side of the family were all from Yankeetown and her and most of my great uncles were born in this house in Gulf Hammock.
    House was built in the 20's and sits on Butler road. Part of my summers were spent here and is one reason I ended up here.

    WeAll.jpg
    "You'll get your weather"
  • THINKICANTHINKICAN Homosassa, FLPosts: 424 Deckhand
    Well said, Billy! We all seem to have those days when we become introspective but few of us share our thoughts as you have here. I first fished here in 1967 on a company fishing trip. Highlight of the day was the shore lunch where the rental house now stands at the mouth of the Homosassa. Moved here in 1994 and have been exploring the waters ever since. You're correct, for this is truly an awesome area with great fishing! Let's "two Gheenoe" it together one day.
    SO WHEN IS THIS "OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER" SUPPOSED TO KICK IN?
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,744 Moderator
    Welcome back .
    "You'll get your weather"
  • BillyBilly ChassahowitzkaPosts: 2,678 Captain
    thinkican2 wrote: »
    Let's "two Gheenoe" it together one day.

    Maybe next week Dave...weather and tides look good.

    Bill
    "And the ocean is howling for the things that might have been..."
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,506 Admiral
    Grady-lady wrote: »
    What a cute kid you were!

    My paternal great-grandfather was born in what's now Levy County before Florida became a state. He was, as far as I know, nothing more than an illiterate dirt farmer who raised a passel of young'uns. I'd like to think he must have spent some time crabbing or fishing too, because I'm pretty sure that I've got salt water marsh in my veins.

    I feel at home in the marsh...and among the shallow creeks, the oyster bars, the mangrove islands.

    ps - had a '94 same-color-red Chevy dually (is that a dually in your pic?) - sold it just two years ago when we sold the Grady. It was my daily drive for a decade. Loved it! - could park it easier than I park the much smaller suv spin-off I'm driving now.

    :)

    The mullet boat reminds me of a now-deceased friend of ours. He was born and raised on an island (still bears the family name) near the mouth of the Suwannee. Had to take a boat to go to school, his father was a commercial mullet (I think) fisherman.
    Tells the story of he and his dad going to a fish house to sell their hard-won boat load of mullet - and the buyer offered such a low price that the dad got mad and dumped the whole lot overboard. Stan says that was the last time he ever helped his dad fish, and to the day he passed we couldn't even get him out on the boat. (that's the story to the best of my memory)
    GL, the blue boat belonged to Drew Bertine. I had scanned some old pics a while back and did two at the time.
    The b&w are of the cabin my father built in Ozello early 60's, before that (and me) we had a place on the Homosassa somewhere around Ward's Resort (not sure if it's even there now).
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Grady-ladyGrady-lady Posts: 5,276 Admiral
    That's a pretty neat history, Louie. Still in the family?

    I've been told the old home place in Levy County is still standing but being used to store hay now. My immediate branch of the family moved to Tampa in the '20's. My dad sold his interest in the land sometime back...but I believe at least some of it is still in the family. My sister and I have often talked about researching the place - after all, it's just the next county up!

    Capt. Louie - for all former Keys critters!...one of our favorites by Micah Gardner, Barstool Sailor - Last Keys Critter. :grin

    Pineapple hands and flip flop feet...raccoon eyes and barracuda teeth...
    ...'livin' life at 6 knots...


    I love that line - 'livin' life at 6 knots'.
    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

  • BillyBilly ChassahowitzkaPosts: 2,678 Captain
    Grady-lady wrote: »
    'livin' life at 6 knots'.

    As a long time sailor of many sizes of sailboats I have always used that line...that and the illusion of speed.

    Bill
    "And the ocean is howling for the things that might have been..."
  • Grady-ladyGrady-lady Posts: 5,276 Admiral
    ANUMBER1 wrote: »
    GL, the blue boat belonged to Drew Bertine. I had scanned some old pics a while back and did two at the time.
    The b&w are of the cabin my father built in Ozello early 60's, before that (and me) we had a place on the Homosassa somewhere around Ward's Resort (not sure if it's even there now).

    Priceless old pictures. Do you still have the cabin? What water were you on in the boat?

    I don't know what it is, but Cedar Key, Ozello and parts of Homosassa 'really got a hold on me'. The waters of Tampa Bay used to be a great place to go crabbing at night with a washtub, a lantern and dip nets...and to wade fish for trout.

    We're not here full time yet - and it'll be tough to leave behind the woods, the cypress swamps, fields and lakes where our babes were born and raised...where the closest neighbors are turkey and deer - even if it is only an hour and a half inland. :) But this area makes more sense for oldsters like us - everything is so much closer...and it feels like home.

    Speaking of childhood pictures - '58 or '59 in Tampa - all little girls had a Seminole skirt and blouse.
    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

  • BillyBilly ChassahowitzkaPosts: 2,678 Captain
    Grady-lady wrote: »

    I don't know what it is, but Cedar Key, Ozello and parts of Homosassa 'really got a hold on me'.

    Don't venture south of Homosassa or you really will be hooked. :wink

    Bill
    "And the ocean is howling for the things that might have been..."
  • manateebobmanateebob Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    "ShHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
  • Jim311Jim311 Posts: 4,908 Captain
    This thread seems like the internet equivalent of sitting around a campfire with a few beers telling stories.

    :)
  • Little_GeneLittle_Gene Posts: 370 Deckhand
    Spent almost every summer break in Gainesville with my grandparents from the time I can remember till the time I was 14. Grandpa worked at the VA, and every day when he came home we would spend a few minutes playing fetch with the dog and then he would come up to the house and have a cup of coffee. After the coffee, we would go fix whatever needed fixing on the farm, fences, plumbing, etc. EXCEPT for Fridays!

    Friday would get here, and I would be waiting at the base of the stairs come 5, by 5:15 or so he came rolling up the drive and would back the old station wagon into it's parking place. We would load up the groceries for the weekend, a few changes of clothes, water, and then we would be on our way out to Suwannee. Stopped at the Lighthouse in Fanning for dinner, then down to the old mobile home in Suwannee. It would be pitch black by the time we got there, so we would unload the car, take the dog for a walk, get in a game of Uno and then bed. Spend Saturday and Sunday fishing unless it was lighting out, then I would just sit in the boat shed staring at the sky hoping it would clear up, play cards with Grandma, or do one of the seemingly endless puzzles that Grandma worked on while she was out there while we fished. When we finished up for the day with the boat, I would sit on the sea wall with a cane pole and fish till grandpa would say it was time to call it a night.

    The wife wants to retire somewhere northward. If I ever get to it, I want to retire and spend at least my winters in that old mobile home on a canal off the Suwannee. More people down there now, but it still feels kind of like it did back then. Everybody waves, those who are rude or do something stupid generally aren't from around there. It's not a big deal to go sit down with your neighbor and spend the afternoon just jawing and complaining about how **** hot it is. :grin

    This forum has opened up my eyes to more of the big bend. I'm falling in love with the diversity and quality of fish you can catch inshore in CR. CK is neat, just don't leave anything not bolted down unattended. HB.... Wow, flats for MILES. And one of these days I'll get out to Steinhatchee and west, but I'm learning and loving more and more of this area of coastline. And the friends I've made here are some of the most genuine I've met in a LONG time. Man I love this place.
  • manateebobmanateebob Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    think Bill was trying to pen a Toby Keith song......."I love this bar"
  • BillyBilly ChassahowitzkaPosts: 2,678 Captain
    manateebob wrote: »
    think Bill was trying to pen a Toby Keith song......."I love this bar"

    Actually it's "I love this Place"...:).

    Many come here and have no idea what a gem it is and they complain about no good restaurants, nothing to do, all the old people...you get my drift.

    I moved here and said "how do I change to allow me to fit in with those who have lived here for many years" and not try to change them to what I might have experienced elsewhere. I might not have completely succeeded at doing so but it "ain't" for lack of trying. :)

    Bill
    "And the ocean is howling for the things that might have been..."
  • HammerheadTedHammerheadTed Posts: 1,234 Officer
    Great post , Bill and others. Love seeing the old pics and thinking how beautiful the water must have been. It's stil a beautiful place to live and have fun. Wildlife at times tops the fishing, if that's possible. Went out yesterday with my wife and we got 32 & 28"Snook along with some bruiser Jacks, but it was the family of 4 Otters that came out of the grass and started frolicking in the water 40' from the boat until they noticed us and made a hasty retreat, that was most memorable. The Eagle sitting on the bar that we got close to wasn't a bad sight either! Many people have not had an afternoon like that in their life! We are blessed!!!!!
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,506 Admiral
    Billy wrote: »
    Actually it's "I love this Place"...:).

    Many come here and have no idea what a gem it is and they complain about no good restaurants, nothing to do, all the old people...you get my drift.

    I moved here and said "how do I change to allow me to fit in with those who have lived here for many years" and not try to change them to what I might have experienced elsewhere. I might not have completely succeeded at doing so but it "ain't" for lack of trying. :)

    Bill
    You get it!

    Many don't.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,744 Moderator
    GL , yes the family still owns the old homestead. I like that song. :cool:
    "You'll get your weather"
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 9,506 Admiral
    Grady-lady wrote: »
    Priceless old pictures. Do you still have the cabin? What water were you on in the boat?

    I don't know what it is, but Cedar Key, Ozello and parts of Homosassa 'really got a hold on me'. The waters of Tampa Bay used to be a great place to go crabbing at night with a washtub, a lantern and dip nets...and to wade fish for trout.

    We're not here full time yet - and it'll be tough to leave behind the woods, the cypress swamps, fields and lakes where our babes were born and raised...where the closest neighbors are turkey and deer - even if it is only an hour and a half inland. :) But this area makes more sense for oldsters like us - everything is so much closer...and it feels like home.

    Speaking of childhood pictures - '58 or '59 in Tampa - all little girls had a Seminole skirt and blouse.
    The original room was built with all hand tools as power wasn't run off the main road till around 64 or 65. Dad sold the cabin in 68 or 69 to a man named Bob Foreman.
    Bob had a piano repair shop in Tampa, he and his wife retired there in 1980 or so and lived in the cabin until the 93 storm wrecked it.
    They then built a stilt house which their daughter owns today.
    The cabin was on a bay off Black Creek and roughly 1/2 mile north of the double bridges on Ozello Trail.


    This little cabin was built on the same bay around 1960 by Frank Thrift, a banker from Ocala.
    It's still there.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • navigator2navigator2 Posts: 22,436 AG
    Found a photo I took back in the 70's, duck hunting trip I took my little brother on at the mouth of the gulf on the Suwannee. He's 54 now. :grin
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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