Florida FSU Tates Hell 2013
Posted 27 December 2013 - 05:53 PM
Hmm. I have seen both Casper, and Bryce's excellent photos, now it is up to you to seal the deal Isaac.Looking forward. I Really like the dead tree out in the middle of the swamp photo.
Looks like a great trip guys. I am envious.
Posted 04 January 2014 - 04:28 PM
Meet me in the Creek James, i want to again point out, is the fella who found the Flagfish site by dipnetting in the Bank's parking lot ditch during in Tates Hell 2009. I know of no other sites, nor records, on the other side of Ochlocknee bay, the farthest edge of the NW expansion.
Thanks Doug, these trips are more than fish for sure but that is what brings us to the adventure.
It's a bit difficult selecting from all the pictures but i have a few from the week after the gathering, some days alone, others with friends and several after my family arrived...
Day 8 Electric Canoes
My new Florida friend is a native fish enthusiast with aquariums and ponds all over his Gates of Hell property. A certified naturalist, photogenic Serge leads canoe trips into the waters of Tates Hell. After a tour we did a quick cruise in the drizzling rain and netted Pygmy Sunnies, Least Killies, Golden Ears and noted prehistoric Gar just under the surface.
Day 9 Springs
A pretty day forcasted i drove south 2 hours to rendevous with Isaac at a favored snorkel site from my past wanders, Fanning Springs. Home habitat of Mullet and Sunfish aplenty. Spotted Suckers too and beneath the safety of fist sized stones Isaac exposed blue barred Pygmy Sunfish. After a couple hours there Isaac had another spring noted nearby, Manatee Springs and into it we were soon face to face with the beasty Bowfin and lots of other species in this pretty spring head and run to the river. We stayed til dusk and found a Florida BBQ roadhouse to warm us back up.
Day 10 Wanders
After spending the day checking out various ditchy sites around Carrabelle i returned late with the days catch to experiment in earnest with the photo tanks that both Michael and Bryce had gifted me. Setting up on the beach house table i used a variety of LED flashlights to illuminate my squoozed subjects. Just as i was set up and refining techniques i was called to rescue my family who had broken down just south of Tallahassee, an hour before midnight.
Day 11 Photo Tank
Finally in bed by 4am post rescue i awoke near noon and took a few lackluster pictures before Cyan and i relocated the subjects to David's back yard pond and freedom. We wandered around a bit visiting local sites before returning to get the family, stopping at the FSU Lab and enjoyed the sunset from the high wooden platform. Driving on to Panacea we shared in the family's first seafood meal of the trip, the same place the Tates Hell 2013 Gang had our first meal.
Day 12 Wakula
A new day begun we took a meandering eastward drive first stopping at the Carrabelle History Museum where they had on display an original 45 from the balladeer Will McLean. I have yet to find his original recording to share with you but have heard it twice now at Serge's and it is most excellent, much superior to the YouTube posting by a cowboy hatted singer. On through Sopchoppy, stopping at Bad Bobs for some worm grunting shirts and a detailed Tates Hell mural viewing, we settled up with the auto shop for the van repair and headed on to Waklua Springs for the day. The jungle cruise for my second time in 2 weeks, this time a lot more manatees were about including several plump, refrigerator sized babies. While the girls and Connie took a board walk hike i tried for better Bluefin Killies photos just as a turbid mass of wading children descended upon me. McBride Slough offers more pristine snorkeling but the swim zone of Wakula is loaded with clouds of Bluefins but they are very skittish and dodging waders has its difficulties as well. That evening Instead of a meal at the fancy priced lodge we dined in Sopchoppy, the favored site of last week's Hellions. This time the young chef treated me to a plate of broiled fresh caught Spanish Mackerel for a single dollar bill.
Day 13 The Gates of Tates Hell
Cyan and i visited Serge's as he wanted me to seine and identify all the species from his ponds. An artisian sulpher well flows constantly filling a stairstepping series of small ponds, each relativily easy to seine, once all the woody, sheltering debris is removed. After sorting our catch Doc provided an excellent lunch of last night's roasted and chilled chicken but with time running short, Serge took Cyan for a electric canoe cruise up Pine Log Creek while i stayed back with Doc and took pictures of all the species we had collected. Their property is uniquely set, as after a high water flood occurs the receding water generally returns down through a series of low channel washes funneling to the river. Serge sometimes blocks this outlet with a soft mesh screen and catches virtually every fish that rose with the high water of the flood. Nifty trick.
Day 14 Festival of Lanterns
Our last day, the festival started late afternoon but we were there early checking out the lighthouse, museum, candle makers, blacksmith, and the pirate ship outfitted as a playground. Tonight the ship's deck were used as the stage but its recessed hold was decorated as if below the sea with Davy Jones' bones and illuminated paper mache fish and jellies and rays and a myraid of dayglo painted seashells glowing with ultraviolet light. Outside all kinds of lanterns were hung from every branch, twinkling lights dangled from trees and glowing markers illuminating the paths. For a small contribution the girls climbed the lighthouse during the day and later the night while enjoying the long views out over the Gulf and the vast forest inland. Mid evening the ghostly spirit of the Dog Island lighthouse keeper appeared and spoke of his and his wife's amazing survival of the great hurricane of 1873, stripped of all their clothing while huddled on the highest wind torn sand dune. A wonderful tale he told and an illuminated ending to the 2 weeks.
And that be it. Tates Hell 2013 Another return is called for.
Posted 04 January 2014 - 04:49 PM
Posted 04 January 2014 - 05:07 PM
There are several mystery to me Sunfish down there and i could be wrong at times. I cannot say we have ever seined something and heard "Mud Sunfish". Blue Spotted Sunfish are the prize but hard to come by. The best success with Blues was years ago with Tates Hell Forester Ace Haddock. We really worked hard that day pushing into snakey gator black ditch waters... something i have difficulty getting others to do! Banded Sunfish are more common, Dollars and odd Bluegills. Bryce and i came up with a net of flipping Flyers which was fun.
I thought it neat to use really clean white sand as a phototank substrate but note the grinding particals all over his eye and head. Ouch.
Posted 04 January 2014 - 05:36 PM
Posted 05 January 2014 - 10:38 PM
Posted 10 January 2014 - 12:44 PM
Bryce and Casper seine with Bob and Phil looking on
Casper's mushroom art
Phil and Bob on the dwarf cypress boardwalk
Scenery from the boardwalk
Casper and Bryce on the dwarf cypress observation tower
Bryce taking a photo of the sunset
Dwarf cypress sunset
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