Tupperware Navy – December
Welcome back Yak Fans. This month, I’m taking us up to Yankee Town, located north of Crystal River, just above the barge canal and the Withlacoochee River. This area is a kayaker’s dream. Yankee Town was founded in 1923 by Armanis F. Knotts, also known as AF Knotts, from northern Indiana. He was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, as well as being instrumental in the founding of Gary, Indiana. As you know, I really enjoy doing these kinds of stories; you never know what you may learn as you dig in.
Also, as to two other things near and dear to my heart, bait shops, and food. Captains Cove Outfitters on SR 40, (AKA FOLLOW THAT DREAM PARKWAY) just west of the light, has a great shop with a full line of bait and tackle, helpful staff, spot-on fishing reports (as they say, everybody there is a fisherman). If you head that way, stop in and tell them I said “Hey”. As to food, I was going by the Shrimp Landing restaurant at like 5:30 am, and saw they were open, so next trip I’ll be stopping in. Back to fishing; this column is about kayak fishing, in case you forgot. Yankee Town offers several put-ins, both on the Withlacoochee and the Gulf side. On the river side, you have Allen Park. This one was a little hard to find, and locals of warned me about leaving a vehicle there, so be warned. Another is just before
Yankee Town, at the end of the barge canal. You drive out to the end of that road, and there is a little launch from which you can reach the river, or the power plant outflow (but that’s a bit of a paddle). Going out toward the boat ramp on the right, you have Bird Creek Park. Both of these areas are best to fish on incoming tide, and by the time you read this, the monster black drum should be stacking up at the outside of the river. I’ll be going back soon. The last trip I took was to Bird Creek Park. I paddled back toward Pumpkin Island. My client was working a fast-moving cut, with a gulp mantis shrimp on a jig head, and soon had his limit of trout. I was working a top- water, the Zara Spook Jr. in bone silver (like that’s a surprise to those of you who read my stuff) around the grass islands, and a monster red came up and snatched it. After fighting for a minute, he headed straight for the grass, and I’m thinking, “Not again.” Into the grass he went, as my leader goes thumping through, and he came out the other side. I’m trying to figure out how that spook didn’t get caught in the grass, but he didn’t give me much time to reflect, as he came straight at me, and under the yak he went. I barely got that back under control, and into another stand of grass he went, and again, I don’t lose the lure or the fish. Now, I’m really confused! I finally worked him into deeper water, and after about five minutes, I got the answer to my question. The reason I didn’t get hung up, was because it wasn’t there. Mr. Red swallowed the whole thing! As I peered down, I saw the spook, sideways no less, and just above the crusher plates. I’m wondering how I’ll ever get it out, but a pair of forceps came through, and with only a bloody lip from the leader, five minutes later he swam away.
We caught more reds, a few black drum, and had two really heavy break-offs. At the end of the day, my client had his limit, and a fun day on the water.
Till next time, and happy holidays to you and yours.
Bruce, The Stumbling Gypsy.