Where to Hunt Duck in Florida: If you’re unable to locate productive duck hunting in Florida, you’re simply not trying hard enough. Even a brief glance of Google Earth demonstrates we are not a state wanting for huntable waterways. The interior freshwater rivers, lakes, and Stormwater Treatment Areas garner most hunter attention, but excellent waterfowling exists along the coasts, too. With nearly 2,300 miles of tidal shoreline and rivers that greet the saltwater, Florida’s coastal habitats are winter homes to large numbers of waterfowl.
What used to be a popular aquarium fish, native to the South Pacific and Indian oceans, is no joke in Florida waters, where the aggressive invader is stealing food from native fish and eating their young. Lionfish are here to stay, it appears. So let’s make the most of this invasive delicacy.
I remember vividly the day I discovered the pleasure of fishing water with current. One day, on a whim, I took my boys—they were very young then—to the Santa Fe River north of Gainesville. We found gin-clear springs spaced perfectly for swim breaks. Eel grass waved in the current. Silver mullet darted, while golden shiners and snails slowly foraged on the algae growing on the blades of grass.
This is East Central Florida’s fabled No Motor Zone, 10,600 acres of water nestled in the Banana River, east of the Indian River Lagoon. It was established in 1990 to protect the manatee population. Merritt Island forms the west bank of the N.M.Z.; the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is the barrier from the Atlantic Ocean.
Spoil the reed and spare the fish. Let’s face it. Dropping even the smallest anchor in a tidal creek or wilderness canal can turn off the fish. Whether it’s the splash, or simply because fish sense your presence, they can be frightened by anchors, particularly in tight quarters.
How would you handle fishing for one particular kind of fish, hundreds of miles from home, on a random calendar date? What would be your strategy? What resources might you use? What tackle would you bring?These are the kinds of questions tournament fishermen routinely answer.
If Stephen Foster had known about the Econlockhatchee, or Econ, the lyrics to his famous song may have been different.
The Econ doesn’t come up in discussions of great Florida fishing waters. Fishing the Econ is usually a lovely day on the water with a few beautiful fish thrown in. It can be better than that, but you really can’t expect it to be.
1 of 41