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George Welcome

Stick Marsh/Farm 13

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The most often statement that I hear as we start our way across the Stick Marsh is, "wow, I thought this was a much smaller lake". As we round the point of the separation levy they get the full impact as all 11 square miles is in view. "Where do we start?" is the next common question. There are times that our trip is set up to learn safe navigation and Sunday was one of the days. I spent the morning on a combo trip of, "where's safe?", and "where's the fish?".

The first thing to point out is that at this time water levels are up and it is relatively safe to run on the Stick Marsh side of this lake. However, caution must be maintained as this side is the land of stumps, brush, and floaters. Also there are routes that are far safer than the rest. On the Stick Marsh side there are areas that historically produce better than others. The northwest corner which still has plenty of stumps and trees is many times is an area that produces 100+ fish days. Twin pines, an area named as such because there was a pair of identical palms, is located more in the middle of the Stick Marsh, and is a dynamic area many times. In the south central area just inside of the divider ditch is another such area, as is the SW area of the Marsh. All of the Marsh is of the same depth and it is all covered with stumps and brush.

As one rounds the point of the center levee and enters Farm 13, what's below the surface of the water changes completely. This side of the lake was at one time a radish field belonging to Fellsmere Farms known as farm #13, hence the name. This is the side with the structure and is crisscrossed with 3 N/S submerged irrigation ditches, and one E/W main feeder ditch. On the east wall there is a irrigation pump station that is still active and provides water for the farm. Water can flow into the Farm from the spillway located in the SE corner. If either the pump house is working or the spillway is flowing, the moving water can produce days of catching that approach disbelief. The south end of the Farm, from midpoint on the west wall, running diagonally to the SE corner has as much if not more wood and brush, than the Stick Marsh. This area needs to be learned if one is going to keep their equipment intact for another days fishing. Again, as with the Marsh side, water levels are up concealing a lot of the wood, however, unlike the Marsh side, the south end is never safe to run.

The next question is "where's the fish?" At this time they are into full summer pattern, which means they are going to found in the deeper water. This doesn't mean that the deeper water is where you will catch them. What this does mean once located they will be caught when they move into the adjacent shallower waters to feed. The trick is to find their holding area and with 11 square miles to cover this can be a daunting task for the fisherman that only gets out here occasionally. However, if you do locate them and then have the patience and persistence needed, the following can be your reward.


Believe me, although it looks quite warm, which it was, when catching a fish like this all the heat disappears.

The guys treated me to a pizza lunch, and promised that the Marsh/Farm was now on their list of lakes to fish more often. Fortunately for me, it was their boat and vehicle that got dirty on our lovely 6.5 mile long hit-a-bump road, so their was no boat cleaning on the schedule for me.

Yesterday, Don Willis and I headed out to, (I hate to say it but!) a secret fishing hole. Total number of other boats on the lake throughout the morning equaled none. Once in a while it's great to just get off to the peace and privacy of such a place. I hadn't been out here since before the hurricanes, and it would be Don's first trip on these waters. Starting a daybreak on this lake of crystal clear water, things were nice and call. Don worked a rattle trap as I worked a Senko, and it immediately became evident that the rattle trap was going to be the winning bait. Of course, Don laid claim to biggest fish this trip but I would rather show a picture of me, in Don's pond yacht as we didn't take his picture for fear of breaking the camera.


As noon approached and the heat level rose we opted  for the cool of air conditioning and headed back to the ramp. Although we only had about 15 bass for the morning, (most of them Don's), it was a morning that we enjoyed greatly.

See you on the water. Say hi if you get the chance. Oh! I do have a few openings! Want to go fishing?

Note: Neither picture are of days fished, but rather representative of fish caught on those days. In both instances my camera was forgotten on my boat.

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