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George Welcome

Stick Marsh/Farm 13

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There are times when we have the opportunity to share our fishing experience with the younger members of our families. I had such an opportunity this last week, sharing two mornings of fishing with my 12-year old grand-daughter Caitlyn.


Caitlyn caught her first big bass at the age of 8, and that 12.6 pound lady hooked her completely.

These two mornings of last week didn't get her anything to compare with that catch, but we had a great time.


Jeff Zeitz and Allen Rind of Marlton, NJ joined me on the 5th and 6th. The first fish of the day proved quickly that the Stick Marsh can provide some quality fish, as this 8-pound lady hammered Jeff's SwimSenko.


Allen was not about to stand by on the low end of the day's catching and responded back in short order with this rod-bending lady of the Marsh.


We had a great two days and I look forward to there return to the Marsh.


Did I mention? Don't move to quickly through the town of Fellsmere as they like to hand out tickets for attending there wonderful court sessions.

Next up on the 7th were Will Harrod of Frankfort, KY, his son Chase, friend Mike, and his son Rick. With four fishermen we utilized two boats, with Don Willis pitching in with the assist on the second boat. The night before we had some very strong t-storms rip through and it definitely slowed the bite considerably.

The big fish of the day was caught by Chase. At 7-pounds even she produced quite the excitement for the youngster and gave Dad a moment to remember.


The nights wild weather kept things a bit quiet but the Yamamoto SwimSenko came through again and provided some moments of excitement for the gang.

Getting out of the wind's main force has been key for us this last week and perseverance paid off. When you have days like this keeping the bait wet is most important. Again, as it has lately the SwimSenko lightly weighted with a 1/4 ounce torpedo has proved to be the biggest producer. We did have one day of really good top water last week as the bass jumped all over a Chug Bug, but it didn't continue. However, don't hesitate to throw that top water bait out there as it is going to turn on big time any day now.

I have noted of late some rather bogus comments being made about events that take place on the Marsh/Farm.

Spillway openings and closings: Controlled by St John's Water Management and is directly related to rain fall activity. Heavy rain fall, (usually 3" or more) build up water levels south of us in the Ft Drum Conservation area. This build up is lowered by opening the entrance spillway in the SE corner of Farm 13. As levels reach normality south of us, the spillway is closed. There are also flow pipes located next to the spillway and they can be used in the control of water levels. At no time is the opening or closing of these flow structures publicized, so the only way to know what is going on is to go there.

There are four lakes plus the Ft Drum area that are part of the Blue Cypress Conservation Area, and they are: Blue Cypress Lake, a natural lake - Ansin/Garcia, a man-made lake - Stick Marsh/Farm 13, a single man-made lake with two names - Kenansville Lake, a man-made lake. The primary function for all of the man-made lakes is filtration of run-off from adjacent farms and ranches.

Both Ansin/Garcia, and Stick Marsh/Farm 13 supply a secondary function of supplying irrigation water for adjoining farms. Fishing is nothing more than a by-product on these bodies of waters. All of these structures provide the headwater source for the St John's River, which means all waters from these structures flow north.

Various weeds, there growth, control, and loss: Foremost on the control list is Hyacinth. This noxious weed if give free rein will quick block out navigation on the waters it inhabits. This weed is controlled using what is known as a contact spray. It's potency is only that in which it comes into contact with and dilutes very quickly in the water. The second weed of importance to these water structures and to the fisherman is Hydrilla. This weed was heavily present in both the Stick Marsh/Farm 13 and Ansin/Garcia. On the Marsh/Farm Hydrilla was completely devastated in the 2004 hurricanes and has yet to return. Not only is this weed an excellent water cleanser as well as a place for bass forage to hide. Its biggest function for the bass fisherman is to provide if you will, a finger pointing to the likelihood of bass presence. Its lack of return on the Marsh/Farm is a bit of mystery to all, however it "is not" a function of any treatment as this would be absolutely contrary to any of the main mission of this lake.

This last year Ansin/Garcia saw a drastic reduction of Hydrilla, however its comeback is strong which should dispel any latent rumors of treatment over there.

There is a lack of fishing reports on these lakes and very limited creel count data available, and because of this there is some chatter about a drop in production of catches. Let me assure you, that if you know these waters and what cover truly held the bass you will have mostly good days out here. However, if you don't this lake, it as any lake can slip you some tough fishing conditions. There's lots of structure and lots of cover on this lake, and definitely lots of bass to be had. With a staunch catch and release policy on the Marsh/Farm the fishing remains extremely dynamic, and provides the opportunity for that illusive 10-pound bass plus.

See you on the water. Say hi if you get the chance.

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Those are some nice fish. I'm a little envious of your granddaughter, she has a DD. I wish we could get the hydrilla back in the lake that I like to fish. One year it was everywhere and the next year it was gone within 1 to 2 weeks.

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That fish is almost a long as your grand-baby!

Nice fish, great report.


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I can't wait for my grandchildren to get big enough to fish with me.  You are a lucky dude, George.

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