WHY VISIT OLD CEMETERIES?By: Toni C. Collins
One of the more interesting aspects of living in the country is discovering old cemeteries. North Central Florida has many cemeteries, so there is a great deal of history to discover.
At burial grounds, there are plenty of passed individuals with interesting stories. Taking note of the names you find and researching their history at your local Historical Society or public library can be one of the best ways to learn about previous generations. It also will provide the means to connect to the area in which you live or are visiting.
Cemeteries are a mirror of the society that creates them. They also are a place of remembrance and of peace. Loved ones, hu bands, wives, children, friends ~ they all end up in the ground together. You will find the many names of people who lived long before you.
In one of my visits to a cemetery in Levy County, I found a monument in the Montbrook Cemetery south of Williston which intrigued me. The monument read Robert D. Beck, FLA MTD VOL, Seminole War. There were three Seminole Wars ~ in which war did Beck serve? And what was the Florida Mounted Volunteers inscribed on his tombstone?
An email to the Florida State Archives resulted in a referral to the Florida Department of Military Affairs, Volume 5, Florida Militia Muster Roles, Seminole Indian Wars. I found Beck listed in the Third Seminole Indian War. He was a 23 year old Private whose horse died May 22, 1857. Beck was not remounted which ended his military service on June 20, 1857.
I also learned that the Third Seminole War (1855-1858) was a recurrence of hostilities created by the policy of Indian relocation. By January of 1856, six companies of Volunteers had been raised mustering approximately 700 Florida volunteers. Beck mustered in on December 24, 1856 at Fort Brooke, Tampa, Florida, for a period of 6 months. His horse was valued at $70.00 and horse equipment at $8.00.
Robert Beck is only one of the many interesting persons buried in our local cemeteries. You can secure a listing of the cemeteries located within your county from your local Historical Society or local Property Appraiser’s Office.
contact Toni Collins at the
County Historical Society, Inc. 397 E. Hathaway Avenue, Bronson, FL. 32621
Seahorse KeyBy: Nikki Douglas, Country Rivers Realty
The city of Cedar Key is located on one of a series of barrier islands that lay scattered out across the Gulf of Mexico. Each of the small islands has both a unique name, and a colorful history. If you walk out onto the city pier, and look off towards the west, your view will encompass one named Seahorse Key.
Seahorse’s long history includes it’s use as an internment camp for captive Indians awaiting relocation westward. It once housed a garrison of yellow fever victims from the 1st Infantry group of Fort Armistead. It played a key roll in the Civil War, when blockade-runners used it. Pirates supposedly snuck into it’s interior to bury their treasure.
It’s sad and often bloody history has given way to one of tranquility, as it is now a protected wildlife sanctuary. The island plays host to a variety of migratory birds who nest upon it’s secluded shores. Students from the University of Florida document the feathered visitors, and conduct various studies of the habitat. Oh, and then there are the denizens of the shadows. Spectral figures from the past who linger on, guarding the secrets of Seahorse Key.
Legend has it that Jean Lafitte, the infamous pirate, made use of Seahorse to hide his plunder. Since pirates tend to be a cutthroat mix of vagabonds and thieves, he left behind his trusted man Pierre to guard the location of the hidden treasure. Pierre patrolled the island from the back of his golden palomino steed. His days were long and lonely ones.
When a soft-spoken snake hunter named Leon came ashore to hunt his quarry, Pierre relaxed his guard, and befriended the man. Leon thought it strange that Pierre and his horse were alone on the island, and over a bottle of rum he asked Pierre to tell him about his life on the key. The rum and loneliness both worked to loosen Pierre’s tongue, and he told Leon of the treasure he guarded for Lafitte. The next time Pierre rode off to check on the treasure, Leon skulked along behind. Sneaking up quietly behind Pierre, he drew a knife and stabbed him in the back. To make sure Pierre wouldn’t tell anyone of his foul deed, Leon took Pierre’s sword and cut his head clean off.
In the years that have followed, many people have claimed to hear the sound of hoof beats thundering
down the beach, but no trace of the beast or tracks have ever been found. A few have even sworn they’ve seen Pierre himself, mounted on his palomino patrolling the shores, his head held firmly in his hand.
In 1851 a lighthouse was built atop the dunes, and William Wilson was hired as the first light keeper. It was said that William was devoted to his job, and that even after his death in 1855, he still climbed the stairs to man the light and lead boats safely to shore. He was even buried on the island close to the lighthouse he had manned for years. Visitors to the lighthouse sometimes hear a sound in the stairwell, like a muffled voice whispering from below.
The grave of Joseph Napoleon Crevasse, who died in 1874, also lies among the palmettos and palms of Seahorse Key. A dedicated ship’s captain, he was a blockade-runner during the Civil War, and supposedly still wanders among the trees peering out at the restless sea.
So if you’re ever out on the water after the dark of night, and drift over next to Seahorse Key, keep one eye on the water and one eye on the shore, you just don’t know what you might see!Credit: Levy County Historical Society Maureen Landress
“So if you’re ever out on the water after the dark of night, and drift over next to Seahorse Key, keep one eye on the water and one eye on the shore, you just don’t know what you might see!”
Igrew up herding. Moving a few steers in our pasture, chopping ice in a frozen creek for cattle, then guiding ducks to newly assembled windbreak icehouses, swimming and pushing arms-full of floating moss off a pond, hurrying friends off a long-tall railroad trestle bridge ahead of an approaching train, and guiding visitors through large factories in the U.S. and Mexico. I became expert at rounding up escaped calves, recruiting enough friends for a ball game, or chasing down enough resources to execute a project – rearranging a factory, adding a homebuilding division, or gathering anxious scuba diving students experiencing their first open water dive, distracted by curious fish, turtles, and waterbirds. Regardless of the type of roundup, all had one onery thing in common – sudden cantankerous resistance from one or more members of the herd. Riding these moments out requires their own skills.
A few years ago Tina and I were driving back from Big Bend National Park in Texas heading into Alpine, then to Stockton to hop I10 to Florida. Always on the lookout for a good photo or video shot, I asked Tina, to pull over so we could capture a few minutes of video of a lone mounted cowboy herding a couple of large bulls just beyond an old but well-maintained barbwire fence along the lightly traveled two-lane highway. Recently, I again thought about that April morning filming a lone West Texas cowboy’s pokey rodeo. I had decided to finally attend and video my first live rodeo show September 23rd and 24th in Cross City, Florida.
At home on our small farm and out West exploring by Jeep or trekking in hiking boots through open range ranchlands, our family accumulated many memories of peaceful moments, and a few ornery ones, like when a long-horn bull came charging out of the creosote brush aiming at the Bronco’s door operated by my oldest daughter learning to drive around the rim of an extinct volcano. It was stopped short by a loud continuous blast of her own horn. Life has many types of roundups for all of us. Each requires specific skills and resourcefulness. The quiet periods we enjoy are often punctuated by those wild moments when nature or beasts disagree. Inevitably we all will take a tumble or two.
“Texas Roadside Rodeo” -Big Bend National Park to Alpine Lone Cowboy’s Texas Rodeo April 5th, 2018
“This Isn’t My First Rodeo… If I Can Count a Lone West Texas Roadside Rodeo.”
My wife and I and our two daughters spent 18 years in Texas exploring from the mouth of the Rio Grande at the Gulf of Mexico on up into West Texas and into New Mexico and surrounding western states. We vacationed across the West and on occasion rode horses on mountain trails. Yet in all my 67 years, I don’t recall ever attending a real arena rodeo… until September 2022 in Cross City, Florida, yards from where I’ve been helping host our annual Fly-Ins, Cruise-Ins and Business Expos since 2015.
Thursday the 22nd I shot photos and video of the animals brought in to rope and ride in the evening rodeos on the following Friday and Saturday nights. My wife Tina and I attended both nights, first because I always wanted to be honest and able to say, “This ain’t my first rodeo!” Which I said when I paid again on Saturday night. Second, because even I was tired of just listening to rodeo songs. In my adventuring, I’ve rode horses, fed horses, and observed a few wild horses, all fodder for many a country music song that I played ad nauseum for my wife and kids during our hours of road trips across the West. Eventually, when Paula, our oldest got her license, then got a bit cantankerous about my music, we changed the rule: “The driver gets to choose the music, not Dad, Mom, Paula then little Lisa, in order.”
The well attended Cross City Rodeo had lots of thrills and spills as competitors of varying ages and skills rode bulls and broncos, roped calves, and raced their steeds around the barrels. The kids raced each other barefoot and sock-foot to be the first to find their boots in the middle of the arena, struggle to put them on, then race to the finish. Stragglers with too-big growing feet were hoisted and carried off by adults and the young rodeo clown to keep the events on schedule.
Rodeos, whether our first, second or umpteenth one, serve as a gentle-to-jarring reminder that in all our own chosen environments and endeavors, we really do have the right to pause in the middle of chaos and yell, “Relax! I’ve got it. This ain’t my first rodeo!” (And hope and pray, we really got it!)
“Florida Arena Rodeo” Dixie County HorsemansAssociation Cross City, Florida September 23 & 24, 2022
Photos & Imaginings by Jeff Cary, Cary on Destinations, Inc.
“It’s not over until the bull says it’s over!”Dixie County Horsemans Association Rodeo “Cowboys, cowgirls, family and friends… “
Catching Up With Reel Native Fishing ChartersCaptain Brent Woodard
I hope everyone has had a great start to the beginning of my favorite time of the year. For obvious reasons I love this time, the fish congregate, the deer are moving, and we begin to see waves of ducks rolling in.
The tricky part about fishing this time of the year is you’ll either have the worse day of fishing you’ve ever had or the best. That all boils down to timing. Try and time these fronts correctly and time the tides correctly and you will be just fine.
Don’t forget we are starting to see some of these negative low tides. Guys I can’t stress this enough if your boat doesn’t belong out on a grass flat that’s only 1 foot deep then don’t put it there your doing nothing or nobody any good. Slow your fishing way way way down during these cold fronts These fish will eat anything that’s barely crawling across the bottom when they get lethargic from the cold. Remember to be stealthy in the clean shallow water as well and you will find yourself catching much more fish.
Wanted to give everyone a quick reminder that we also offer duck hunting trips. The season starts November 19th27th, if going on a duck hunt is something you’ve always wanted to do then give us a call and we will get you taken care of. We also offer cast and blast where we hunt morning fish during the day and even hunt again in the afternoon if you would like. Well guys and
gals please give us a call with any fishing questions you may have would love to get y’all on the boat and until next time Keep it Reel Native.
Captain Brent Woodard
Protect your boat and
MISS GINNY IIBy: Brian Smith, Big Bend Charters
MissGinny, my ‘aunt’, has fished with me for years. She has over time, brought family and friends with her so often, I’m included as part of the clan. Both of us have aged.
Little B, her fave pick of mates, and I had dressed the boat, finishing re-rigging as necessary to take on the fishing day early. He and I watched the sky tie-dye into morning. We awaited ready.
Her and her entourage were late. No worries. Little B got a call from Peggy, groupie #1, “where y’all at?” “We’re at the new marina, Deadman’s Bay.” ‘Capt. B and I are on the boat.” “We don’t see y’all or the boat.” “There in a minute,” Lil B quipped as he jumped the gunnel and headed up the dock.
He and I got to the top of the gangplank and were greeted with the explosive happy face of Miss Ginny and the rest. Hugs and kisses for the lovely ladies and good hand shakes from the the two guys, Freddy and Jeff.
Miss Ginny was using a ‘roll-a-later’ hooked up to a portable oxygen machine. She was beautiful on the outside and Little B and I new the inside was like a sunrise and sunset, spectacularly beautiful.
I asked Joyie, a most gracious dock manager the size of any WWE wrestler, for help. “Anything Capt.” He saw the need. He and the rest escorted Miss Ginny down the dock to the boat. She said, “These docks are so nice.” Translation—stable even the finger dock to the boat. Deadman’s Bay was well thought through prior to construction with financial allocation for such needs.
We did the butt down on the gunnel twist movement to get her aboard. “I know I’m a pain in the butt”, she
said. My response, “You’re a joy, shut your mouth.” ‘Shut your mouth’ was mutually understood in jest and love. “Where do want me to sit?” As usual, beside me. “You’re navigating!” The morning smile continued.As
A spare oxygen tank was loaded along with spare batteries for the O2 machine with enough food and snacks incase we landed on Gilligan’s island. Mature women, Peggy and niece Jamie, think of everything unnecessarily wonderful.
Four non-fishing people make bait fishing for pinfish fun and stretch time longer than usual. However, the collective positive attitudes shrinks time. We caught a couple dozen plus. Enough to carry the day with the addition of frozen sardines and squid.
We headed west to do some shallow grouper trolling. In thirty minutes, we caught a grouper less the size of a short trout. I felt sorry for the fish and left.
Further west to a wreck to try our luck. A couple of hard runs, a cut-off and a tur-duck-en.
A tur-duck-en is when a pinfish is taken by a fish then it is consumed by a jew fish. It’s a cajun dish where a turkey is stuffed with a duck then a chicken is slid inside the duck. Sounds pervy but I’ve heard it’s fantastic fare. Leave it to a Cajun to usurp the French.
Oh, Freddy puked during that forty-five minute stop. Seas were two to three feet. Half the previous day. I didn’t expect sea-sickness.
I ran eleven miles to ‘the spot with a hole in it’ for amberjacks and anything else. A wellness check before rolling out twenty-plus miles for red snapper and grouper. The amberjacks– reef donkeys— buck
danced within minutes. Jeff, the fourth Miss Ginny groupie, released his stomach contents, politely. I had the women, Peggy and Jamie, to turn the donkey deal. We belted up the ladies for a battle. Jamie struggled a thirty-two and a half donkey into the boat. All were gleeful. The biggest fish she ever landed. I had to be the ‘south-side of a north bound donkey’ and crush the celebration, saying the fish was too short and had to be tossed back. Not as bad as a doctor delivering bad news, but weakly similar.
During the zany, Miss Ginny was the circus master from the captain’s bench. I imagine her thinking when she was able to do the same without any coaching from the captain or mate. Many photos and videos were taken.
Women are generally better short struggle fisherfolk than men. They don’t try and muscle up a fish that does dig towards the bottom—grouper. They allow the rod and reel drag into play. Great response for amberjacks.
Twice we had a tur-duck-ens at the hole with a hole in it. Once Peggy and Jamie tag-teamed in an attempt to bring up the two hundred plus jew fish to the surface. Women will assist each other while men will chastise each other. Anyway, an eye on the 6500 Spin-fisher V Penn combo had a nick that was shaving the thirty pound Big Game green mono with each gain and loss of line. (there is a reason I tell people not to put the hook through the eye when storing rods) Little B decided to pull a Wicked Tuna and hand line that monster. The line gave way. It was going to be a disappoint either way.
Freddy and Jeff hadn’t improved during the fishing. I looked at Miss Ginny saying red snapper are another twenty-plus miles westerly from here. What do you think? My thoughts were sea conditions were only going to become larger the more westerly we traveled in the east wind. She said, “Go in to where conditions may become calmer”. It was conformation to what I was going to do anyway.
Calmness happened inside.
I punched in a waypoint for trout fishing. Halfway en route I came to terms, the remaining crew weren’t casting peeps. A quick change on the GPS directed us to a cobia location. The water was became clear from top to bottom. Six hundred feet from point, I ask Little B to hook up a pinfish and let is swim in the bait well until... I coasted up to the point of dead in the water. Little B pitched the pin to port. I pointed off starboard to the dark bottom target. He reeled and pitched again over top it. Within a minute, Little B said, “freaky pin.” On take, he set the pole to a forty-five degree bend, the the thirty ripped off the spool. I knew it was a good fish. Grouper or cobia. The boat was adrift, moving away from structure. It was a positive movement all the way around.
Peggy strapped on, Little B handed off. I’m not
happy. It was a cobia. I love cobia so much I named my black lab Cobia. Not big fish experienced, she was apt to lose the fish. Didn’t happen! After a small amount of dysfunction, the cobia was netted to everyones glee. I eye-balled the fish on the deck. After the amberjacks, Peggy ask, “Is it big enough?” Assuredly, I said yes. Got hugs and fist bumps.
Swung back and we released a thirty inch cobia for Jeff. He had recovered nicely in the soft water. The spot was spent.
We went trolling for gags. Within a hour, we brought in eight brown gags of which two were between 26-28 inches.
All day, Miss Ginny shared past fishing stories riding beside me on the captains bench that made my day regardless. She is one of my fishing heroes , an inspiration.
Miss Ginny and many stimulate my wobbled knees and slipped L4 disc to continue going offshore. They are worth it all, to me.
One day I’ll have an oxygen hook-up at the helm. That’s when I’ll fish for trout. I’ll have to give up the big yanks ungraciously, yet necessarily.
It Takes a Bridge
A River Way of LifeBy James Chewning
Dusk seems to be the quietest time at Deadman’s Bay. The river takes on a silence. The noises you can hear are faint. A swirl around a barnacle encrusted dock pole on a rising tide. A last squawk of a gull before it settles down for the evening. A lone outboard murmur carries from a distant no wake zone. The silence falls upon the grays and dark shadows of this black and white image. The transformation happens over a handful of minutes.
The street lights glow in the darkness along the winding River Road. The Mitchell’s dock lights come on, and picture windows along the river’s edge are filled with life, living. The lights bring color to the evening. Oranges, yellows, and golds brush-stroked with hints of white. Families huddle together on screened porches at the days ending, eluding the treacherous sand gnat. The scent of Skin So Soft fills the humid air. A pungent dungaree smoke drifts across the porch, an old timer’s remedy for fending off the beasts.
In the distance, one can hear the clatter of the timbered boards that line the base of the steal leviathan, which spans the river from bank to shore. Its skeleton riddled with bulging rivets, and the girders x-bracing draw a similarity to something out of a Jules Verne novel. The smells of the creosote timbers rise and can burn the nostrils of its young foot travelers on a hot summer afternoon. The center span teeters on a single pile, which reaches up out of dark water from the river’s jagged bottom. Its rippled corrugated surface is filled with concrete to support the massive spanning structure. A pair of circular train rails are divided top and bottom by a series of steel mine cart wheels. These allow its manual rotation for a tall mast vessel’s passage into the jungled terrain of the upper river. It’s an ironic passage for a captain, given the uncharted treacherous bottoms ahead.
The structures dull gray color pushes its importance to the town back into the shadows. Our bridge joins two communities making it one. It supports each sides daily activities. Sometimes for transport of local
“The old Pratt swing bridge hosted many more events in our lives.”
goods from fisheries to restaurants, for others a quick trip for ice cream. It’s a life line for emergency services and a jungle gym for the neighborhoods’ bravest kids. It feels the brisk footsteps of the young, and the rapping tap of the canes by the old. It has been known to host a stand-off of two trucks or cars with its single lane. One side eventually giving in and backing off when the opposing side stacks up more than two vehicles.
Sometimes the stand offs were worked out later in bars on one side of the river or the other over a few beers. Other times, in a churches parking lot after the service humbles both parties. Our bridge is a part of every local’s life for as far back as I can remember. We grew up on this bridge. Some gained bravery, lovers held hands and some stole kisses. In some cases, kids ran for their lives. A vehicle from the south side could enter the bridge at 40 miles per hour. It made for fast peddling kids on bikes. We knew deep down inside the driver wouldn’t run us down.
I think it brought out the dangerous side in both parties, the kids on an adventurous crossing of the single lane bridge, and the adult’s enjoyment of teasing. The driver closing the gap with in feet of the terrified kids just as they reached the other side. Us kids bailing out to one side of the paved approach. We could still hear them laughing as they would pass the group standing, straddling bikes. It became a bit of a local game between adults and kids. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, we heard growing up. The older kids, the teenagers would test the bridge at high speeds, spinning wheels on wet timbers on a rainy day, and launching motorcycles on long wheelies. Some ended on their sides with the rider climbing on top of the pitched machine as its chrome frame gains speed against the hard pavement.
They all lived to tell their stories. Jumping from the bridge into the brackish water below made you a brave soul. Some even dared to dive. A few would even climb to the top of the erected steel square columns. Grabbing onto each of the zig zagged supports bare handed and bare footed, only to be force to maneuver around the big steel turn buckles as they reached the top. Even the crazy kids in town knew to make this jump only at high tide. The word would get out that a big jump was going to happen. It was crucial to keep it under wraps and out of ear-shot of any adult to avoid it being shut down.
Every kid in town knew about the coconut telegraph, parents got a lot of intel from it. And the old saying, “It takes a village to ruin a kid’s fun.” The time would be set, and not a moment too soon would the rails along the east side become covered by on-lookers. Each leaning over to watch. Some would sit with their legs hanging over the side. Others straddled the rail and locked their legs together. The cars could still pass. You just hoped it wouldn’t be a sheriff. Soon the jumper had arrived.
The kids cheered as he scaled the steel gray structure. The jumper was usually a very fit young man. He was tan
“I remember the sad day our bridge was removed. We all watched in anguish...”
from going without a shirt his entire childhood. This helped to increase his immunity to the gnats and mosquitos. The jumper was almost a myth, a legend, to the younger crowd. They’d only heard stories and had never witnessed the actual jump. This would be a first for a handful in the crowd. As soon as he reached the top, the chant would start.
First low and slow building to a crescendo. “Jump, jump, jump, jump!” The jumper standing high and just above the sign (Clearance, 16 ft. 8 in.) would raise his hands into the air having no grip and showing no fear. Waving to the now crowded bridge rails. Cars would stop to watch. Sometimes a mom would get out and yell at the jumper, telling him, “He best get down or she’s going to call his dad!” While a dad standing in the driver’s door would smile while tipping his hat quietly, reminiscing about when he’d made the very same jump many years earlier. The Jumper feared no one at this moment. He couldn’t disappoint such a large crowd… He never did.
Turning and looking east, he stepped to the edge of the towered structure and with a bend of the knees launches himself up, out and away. The crowd roars! He bends at the waist, rolls over pointing his head down and his feet to the sky. A couple of seconds later, his hands split the surface of the water as he torpedoes into the depths. A plume of white-water points upwards as the rings of the black hole closes, swallowing him whole. It’s quiet for a long six seconds or so. You could hear a pin drop. And then, very slowly, a head emerges from the depths draped with long wet hair over the eyes.
Everyone holding their breath waits. And then, both arms reach for the sky. The Bridge shakes with the movement of excitement. The crowd’s roar echoing down the river. The old Pratt swing bridge hosted many more events in our lives. As we grew older, we sometimes got the privilege to assist the bridge tender in pushing the giant key to open the bridge for someone not knowing our world. A visitor just passing through in a tall mast vessel soon to sail on an adventure of their own. The old bridge helped raise several generations of children. Each holds a specific and special story that’s stuck with them through the years.
The years have passed and the kids are grown. Some years later, the bridge was replaced by a large, taller modern concrete structure spanning the gap. It now has its own stories. I remember the sad day our bridge was removed. We all watched in anguish from the east rail of the new bridge, high and above. There were pictures taken that day, only a few have survived. Many of the photos washed away in the storm of Ninety-Three never to be seen again. The image is in my mind still today. Standing on the north side, I see it’s out reaching faded gray arms. Those that supported us as we grew through the years. The image backed by the high marsh and a deep green mix of palms and pines canopied by a pale blue sky. The old timers will tell you, all the storms over the years could not wash away a river way of life.James Chewning, Author Email: writerJchewning@gmail.com
“Some years later, the bridge was replaced by a large, taller modern concrete structure... It now has its own stories.”
Welcome to Fall FishingBy Danny Allen
Welcome to Fall Fishing here in the Cedar Key and Horseshoe Beach area. Fall brings cooler temps, which brings the water to a more likeable temperature for all species of fish in our waters. It’s also what makes most of the species transition, whether it be to shallow waters or deeper waters. Either the case, it causes their metabolism per say to rise, which makes it easier for us fishermen and women to look awesome holding them and releasing them. You’ll notice the trout in our area begin to huddle up on shell bars or simple hard bottom more than the norm. Your redfish will begin their winter transition to creek mouths and creeks. Our triple tail are pretty much heading deep and gone until next late spring. The Snook? Well, they just do what they do. And we are all still learning what that is in a case by case basis! Side note. Thought I’d just like to add that they are still very new to our area in terms of residential spawning. Catch and release is a great choice until we get a solid residential stock.
You’re going to find many ways to catch fish this time of year. It’s really one of the better times, as is spring, to dig in the tackle box some. Put down the live or cut bait and venture into suspending plugs, soft plastic, twitch baits, paddle tail worms and definitely gold spoons.
This time of year is one of the prime Spanish mackerel months, as well. In tradition, the seahorse reefs will hold large numbers of macks. There are chum and bait styles and also trolling styles. Both of these will produce large bags of mackerel. You’ll also find yourself battling a king Mackerel in the mix on some days. In the past, I’ve caught Treadfin and pinfish by just simply free lining them off the back with some chum and had field days out there. The trolling can be simply silver spoons pulled across edges and slopes to find them. Both ways are effective. I’m more into bait and wait, especially with the gas prices we are having these days. Don’t forget your small steel leader gear or at least a long shan.
Giving Thanks for many BlessingsBy: Mike Farmer, 352-210-1551
This has became tradition for me in November to write and share this list. This is the month of Thanksgiving, even though we should remember to be thankful more than just this one day a year which has been set aside for it. I wanted to take a moment and share some things of which I am thankful for. I hope this will inspire you to take some time and reflect on all that you have to be thankful for as well. Each and every one of us has so much to be giving thanks for even as frustrating as life may seem at times with our chaotic lives and all the things that may go wrong. Even if you don’t show anyone your list, writing it down on paper helps to put things in perspective of how blessed we really are.
1. I am thankful to live in a country where we are free and have the ability to worship as we wish, live out our dreams and pursue our individual desires. (Even as frustrated as I may become with our government at times, bottom line we still live in a free country.)
2. I am thankful to all of the men and women who fought and to those who even gave their lives to make and keep this a free country that we live in.
3. I am thankful for a loving and supportive wife and family (even though many of us are separated by distances and may not talk that much, we all know that each one is there for the other if needed and we may talk about each other and fight amongst ourselves once in a while but no one else better mess with them)
4. I am thankful for this little paradise of which I call home and being able to enjoy all of the vast natural resources and beauty that this area is blessed with, from the awesome sunsets to the star filled skies that glitter and shine in the dark of night and then followed up by the amazing sunrises that bring forth another beautiful day. This year I am thankful that all of the hurricanes during this very active year have left us mostly unscathed.
5. I am thankful for all of the wonderful friends that I have and the fact that they put up with me and still call me friend as well.
6. I am thankful for good health that allows me to get out of the bed and face each and every day. 7. I am thankful for all of my GOD given talents that hopefully I learn to better utilize so that I may help bring joy to others.
8. I am thankful for laughter, joy and smiles. Each day wouldn’t be as great as it is without these and I’m thankful for those that help to provide me with these things and I hope I help to provide them with the same in return.
9. I am thankful for a job that allows me to do the things I enjoy for a living. Fishing and Outdoor Writing are a passion. I am so thankful to be a full time Charter Captain and also be able to bring this article to you each month as well as the other writing that I do and I hope it is an enjoyment to those who read it. I am also thankful for each one of you who visits and does business with me. 10. Last but not least, I am so thankful that the blessings I receive are not reliant on the thankfulness I show for all that I have already been blessed with.
These are just a few of the things that come to mind that I am thankful for and only from my point of view and my opinion, each of us has our own.
I hope each of you reading this has a wonderful Thanksgiving, A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Take care, God Bless and hope to see you soon in the Hatch.
Capt. Mike Farmer 352-210-1551
The Hidden Coast of Florida
THE FATHER OF SOUL
Ray Charles Robinson, one of the most loved and respected entertainers of our time was raised in Greenville, Madison County, Florida. Ray was born September 23, 1930, in Albany, Georgia. When he was three months old, his family moved to Greenville.
His early life was riddled with adversity. The family was very poor and his mother was chronically ill. His younger brother tragically drowned when he was just a toddler. Ray was not born blind. It is believed he suffered from a rare form of Glaucoma and lost his sight gradually.
By the age of seven, Ray was completely blind. His mother was determined to help him, but she could not read or write and did not know what to do. Finally she turned to a neighbor for help, Mrs. Ruth Reams.
Mrs. Reams helped Ray apply to the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, Florida, where he learned to read, write, and arrange music in Braille. He also learned how to play the organ, saxaphone, clarinet, and trumpet. The State of Florida funded not only Ray’s education but also his trips to and from Greenville to visit his family. Ray attended the school in St. Augustine until the death of his mother when he was fifteen.
Following his mother’s death, Ray moved to Jacksonville to begin his career. He went on to become the first person inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, recorded more than 60,000 albums, and presented more than 10,000 concerts. Ray’s version of the Hoagy Carmichael song, “Georgia On My Mind” became the official song of the State of Georgia. Another Ray Charles favorite is “Hit The Road Jack”.
Ray Charles died on June 10, 2004, at his home in Beverly Hills, California. A bronze statue to honor the Father of Soul can be found in the Haffye Hayes Park in Greenville, Madison County, Florida.
Want to learn more? Readers can contact Toni Collins at the Levy County Historical Society, Inc. 397 E. Hathaway Avenue, Bronson, FL. 32621 | www.levycohistory.org • firstname.lastname@example.orgBy: Captain Tony Johns
Fantastic time of year on The Hidden Coast
This is a fantastic time of the year to get out and enjoy the wild beauty that abounds here along the Hidden Coast! With morning low temps that can be pretty dang chilly, it will then warm up most afternoons and be very nice!
If you are a gun hunter this is your time of the year! There are many places around the Hidden Coast to hunt, there are Private, State and Federal lands available. Go over to MYFWC at https://myfwc. com › hunting for the current rules and regs for each Region and Zone in Florida.
If fishing is your sport, the fish will be biting and there will be fewer people on the water! You will find the Speckled Trout and Redfish moving into the creeks and Rivers as the waters in the Bays cool off. If there is a rapid drop in water temperatures by the first of December many times the Speckled
Trout will move into the Rivers along the Hidden Coast like the Suwannee and Steinhatchee!
At this time of the year it’s hard to beat a live shrimp fished on the bottom with a slow to extra slow presentation! But, a very good alternative are the FishBites strip baits and Fight Club Lures! I am taking the Fight Club Dirty Boxer Curly Tail and adding a small piece of the Fast Acting E-Z clam or shrimp flavor to it. This added scent in the colder water seems to make the difference on those days when the “bite is slow”! Fished along the bottom with a slow crawling or popping presentation this bait will get bit when others won’t!
This is also the time of the year when the Snook will be looking for warmer waters! The last 10 years or so we have had unusually warmer winters, this has resulted in more Snook surviving the winters in
my Region. This year we are experiencing a cooler (normal) Fall Season leading into what could be a cold winter! If we do get a cold Winter where the water temps dip into the low 50’s or upper 40’s it will be interesting to see how our new resident’s the Snook and Tarpon can handle that!
I want to thank the many people who showed up in Southwest Florida immediately after Hurricane Ian to lend not only a hand but also brought in the much needed resources and supplies to get the recovery process started!
This will be a very, very long recovery process for them, so donations are needed now and in the future! See the side bar for several organizations that I like, some have helped me personally in previous Storm’s here in Florida.
Until next time y’all be safe and enjoy “The Hidden Coast”!
Captain Tony Johns 352-221-2510 email@example.com www.lowersuwanneriverfishing.com Instagram- captaintonyjohns Lower Suwannee River Outdoor Adventures
A Day in the FieldDr. Stefanie Gazda, Cedar Key Dolphin Project
One of the many questions we get about our work is “What do you DO out on the water all day?” We do a lot! Here is a “typical” day on the water for us:
6 am: First alarm goes off. Someone checks all of the weather apps for the latest information on wind, waves, and future thunderstorms for the day. Many times we know the night before if we are going out or not, but the weather can change quickly. Texts are sent to everyone who is scheduled for the boat that day. The person checking the weather gets to doze until....
6:15 am: Second alarm goes off. Full time field assistants start waking up and getting ready. Coffee is brewed but not always drunk. Lunches are packed, typically sandwiches and lots of snacks. Ice water for everyone plus extra gallons are gathered. We use another cooler to hold our camera equipment and data sheets: this was packed up last night, but is checked again. Sunscreen is applied liberally and the truck and boat get loaded up with equipment and safety gear.
7:00 am: We leave for the dock! Typically we launch from the Withacoochee, Waccasassa river, or Cedar Key boat ramps, though we have gone further south or north, depending on our research goals.
7:05 am: We forget something (hat, sunglasses, equipment) and have to run back and get it.
8:00 am: We arrive at the boat ramp and prepare to launch. Boat plugs are checked once, twice, three times. Supplies are loaded into the boat and last minute discussions about our plans on where to go are finalized. Someone backs the trailer down the ramp (straight down, on the first try!), and the boat is floated off the trailer. Truck and trailer are parked and we don our PFDs and take off to do research.
For the rest of the day, we are “on effort”, looking actively for dolphins. We might see them right away, or it may take hours to find them, depending on the tides and where we are. If it has been a long time since we’ve sighted dolphins, we often find that starting to eat something mildly messy (oranges, yogurt) brings them around as we have to quickly put the food away and get the equipment out. Once we are surveying dolphins, we start by filling out a data sheet that has the basic information on it: where they are, what they are doing, how many dolphins there are, and what the sea conditions are like. We also take photos of each dolphin’s dorsal fin: these are what we use to identify them back on land, as each fin is unique. Depending on our research goals for the day we will decide if we want to stay with the group for just identifying the dolphins and their activities (a survey), or if we want to do a longer focal follow of an individual in the group. A survey gives us a snapshot in time of a dolphin; a focal follow gives us a lot of information on how a dolphin spends its time. If we decide to do a focal follow, we will frequently supplement our data collection with handheld video, underwater acoustics recordings, and/or drone aerial video. Ideally we will do a focal follow for at least an hour, and sometimes we will follow them for several hours or most of the day. All of our data is collected under a NOAA research permit; while this allows us to get closer to the dolphins than the general public, we try to stay as far away as possible while still collecting good data.
call 386-719-1354 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A usual research day has periods of low activity (while we are searching for dolphins) punctuated by quick actions when dolphins are found. During these lower activity times, we spend time eating chips (we all have personal favorite brands and flavors), telling jokes, or sometimes torturing each other with riddles.
Throughout the day we regularly check the weather conditions, as they are usually what sends us back to the dock. Once the winds start kicking up or afternoon storms start rolling in, we will head to the dock. Sometimes that means we come back in the early afternoon, though we’ve had days where we’ve been able to stay out for 12 hours. Then the process starts back, but in reverse: we load up the boat and trailer it back home, rinse it down, clean the gear and put stuff away, refill the supplies we used, upload the photos and other data, and start thinking about dinner. Then it’s time to look again at the weather for the next day and make a plan before crashing, exhausted, into bed! For every hour out on the water there are at least two hours back in the office/lab processing data and identifying dolphins from their photos. This doesn’t even include the analysis of the data collected from acoustics, drones, and video footage, so our days “off” are just as busy.
Mark your calendar for our benefit event on January 6th at 83 West. Check our website for updates as the event gets closer. Delicious food and cold drinks await!