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Shore Fishing
home : features : shore fishing
December 1, 2021

8/20/2021 11:39:00 AM
Shore Fishing
Fisherman Gerald Robinson, with his newspaper, tackle box and fishing rods takes time to talk fishing with the Beerys.
Fisherman Gerald Robinson, with his newspaper, tackle box and fishing rods takes time to talk fishing with the Beerys.

Kimball & Les Beery
Angler's Guide to Kayak Fishing Southwest Florida

Paying it Forward
After the recent storm, we drove around to check out launches in this area. While walking the trails in Oyster Creek Environmental Park, we took a look at the launch area and found the water tannic and cloudy, so we decided to visit some inland freshwater spots.
A drive to Deer Prairie Creek brought the runoff situation into sharp focus for us. The water was roaring over the spillway. Below the spillway the water level was up into the tree branches and moving downstream about twice as fast as we could ever paddle against it. Launching on the lake just above the spillway would risk the danger of being swept over it.
We then drove to the Venice Myakka River Park on Laurel Road looking for lower water and found that it was closed, probably due to flooding. The Carleton Preserve Kayak Launch was also flooded. After some thought, we considered checking out Webb Lake, but since it would be a long drive and the water could be high and over the road along the lake, we decided to explore closer to home. High water in all of these spots pushes the bass far back into the bushes as they chase lizards and frogs inaccessible to them when the water is lower. It also makes it hard for anglers to reach them when they’re that far back in the timber.
While gathering this launch information, we saw a fisherman sitting at a picnic table in Sleeping Turtles Preserve. He had 4 rods rigged and ready and was quietly reading a newspaper and eating a snack. It turns out, Gerald Robinson is a retired educator who has been fishing this area nearly as long as we have and was happy to share his insights from the last 38 years with us. He, too, was looking for fishable water but finding only flood stage runoff that made even getting to the water a challenge.
We had planned to walk around the park but found it, too, was flooded and ended up chatting with Jerry for over an hour. We talked about old favorite spots, many no longer accessible due to development. We talked about favorite lures and presentations that had worked for us over the years. Jerry entertained us with tales of baby tarpon in the Wildflower Preserve before it became off-limits to anglers. We told him about the big bass we catch on Deer Prairie Creek and how it is getting overrun with kayakers these days. We all agreed that catch and release was the only sustainable way to maintain quality fishing in these small creeks and ponds. Jerry mentioned that in his 38 years chasing fish around here, he had never killed one for the table. He remembered Rotonda like we did, with miles of canals that were filled with hungry bass and tarpon, and dirt roads in the woods. We shared a few favorite stories and photos on our phones of big fish we’d caught recently. He was amused to hear Kimball talk about the redfish and snook she caught on Zoom Horny Toads™ around oyster bars and mangroves.
As we finally parted ways, after several premature goodbyes, he gave us a sample of a favorite lure he buys by the dozen to catch everything from snook and reds to bass. If we had our fishing gear with us, we would have reciprocated by giving him a favorite lure of ours to try. We are known for sharing information and tackle with other anglers and hope to see Jerry again to share a lure or two.
As we have said many times, information is what anglers need most to be successful. Anyone can find a rod, reel and a bag of lures to go fishing. The question becomes where, when, and how to use these tools to catch quality fish. There are local publications such as WaterLine Weekly and local tackle shops like Fishin’ Frank’s that provide relevant and timely information to address this need. But also, that fisherman sitting by himself, reading his newspaper and enjoying a snack, can be a wealth of information if you just take the time for a bit of enjoyable conversation. You, too, can pay it forward by sharing your fishing knowledge with others. Our WATERPROOF guides for shore and kayak fishing Southwest Florida are geared to this same goal. Remember, that to assure future anglers get to enjoy this sport, it’s better to limit your kill, rather than kill your limit.

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