Southern Marsh Charters

Capt. Andrew Mizell is a third generation Floridian. Born in Pensacola, he was introduced to the great outdoors at an early age. His father served in the navy, which gave Andrew the incredible opportunity to fish in numerous destinations around the world including Florida, Cuba, Bahamas, Tennessee Maryland and Maine. After his father retired Andrew set roots in Jacksonville and attended the University of North Florida.

Capt. Andrew is owner and operator of Southern Marsh Charters and General Manager of Strike-Zone Fly Fishing http://www.strike-zone.com in Jacksonville. He has over 25 years of experience inshore fly fishing. If you want to experience a charter targeting redfish in the shallowest of waters during low tide or chase tailing redfish in northeast Florida’s unique floodtides visit the website of Southern Marsh Charters http://www.southernmarshcharters.com or give him a call at 850 346-0060. Andrew is a supporter of http://www.captainsforcleanwater.com.

I can tell you from personal experience that he will work tirelessly to put you where the fish are and do everything in his power to help you catch them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Day In Paradise

Looking east from Jim’s Boatyard at the confluence of Sisters Creek and the St. John’s River…… 6:30 AM…It’s a beautiful sight. I’d love to see it more often if I didn’t have to get up so damn early. It’s a good start for a 4-hour charter with Capt. Andrew Mizell of Southern Marsh Charters.

Saw my first manatee this morning, at least the nose of a manatee. Wasn’t quick enough to get a photo. Maybe next time, if I’m quick enough, I’ll get to see an entire manatee.

Capt. Andrew Mizell displays a flounder

Fishing is NOT cancelled

This is a tough time for our country, actually for the  international community.   But this morning it was kind of hard for me to concentrate on how serious the  situation is when Capt. Andrew Mizell of Southern Marsh Charters  and I  were taking off for a few hours of fly fishing for redfish. Isn’t that what fishing is all about?

Florida redfish

Moving from Kansas to Florida is not a cultural shock, it’s an ecological shock.  Kansans are not used to seeing flocks of curlews feeding in our front yard, reports on the evening news of alligators or black bears wandering around the suburbs.

It’s taken me over a year to find an outfitter who takes clients fly fishing for redfish…and doesn’t have an age limit. Well, I’ve found it: Blackfly Outfitters. Blackfly has a fully stocked shop with all the tackle you could ever dream about, plus a nice inventory of fly tying materials. And everyone I’ve ever met there has been FRIENDLY and HELPFUL.

So…long story short…I signed on for a four hour charter last Thursday Nov. 7th. I’m an experienced fly fisherman so when Captain Andrew Mizell of Southern Marsh Charters asked me how far I could cast, I said , “Oh thirty, maybe forty feet”. But that’s standing in my driveway, no wind, and no fly on the leader. In real world conditions…I sucked. I wound up trying to cast a fly the size of a small sparrow with my 7 wt. rod. I soon switched to my 9 wt. It wasn’t pretty. But Andrew was patient and kept putting me into position to catch fish and I finally boated this small redfish. Minutes later I hooked but did not land a much larger fish. Story of my life.

Needless to say I’m already planning my next charter.

If you want to go check out Blackfly Outfitters  http://www.blackflyoutfitters.com .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida fly fishing

We’ve lived in Jacksonville over a year now, smack dab in a tangle of rivers, creeks, backwaters – not to mention the Atlantic ocean –  and I haven’t gone FISHING yet!

I’ve located two local outfitters, www.blackflyoutfitters.com and www.backwaterfishingadventures.com who take clients fly fishing for redfish, speckled sea trout, just about anything except alligators. I’ve got to sign up with one or both of these guys to get me on the water! Hope they don’t have an age limit.

Here are two popular redfish patterns. I don’t know their names but they look deadly. Help me out here Lefty Ray Chapas. I know you fly fish for reds in Texas. Tell me what flies we’re looking at. Click thumbnails to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blast from the past

I love looking at grainy old photos of guys just like us, having a good time hunting and fishing years ago. These snapshots are pictures of my wife’s family and friends; from their clothing I’d guess they were taken  in the ‘30s or 40s.

Notice the man and kid showing off two nice stringers of what appear to be bass and bluegill with maybe a crappie or two in the mix. Yes, the “hero shot” has been around for a long long time.

Look at the three dudes all dressed up in their Sunday finest, proudly displaying their gigantic jackrabbits. Did they skip out from work on their lunch break for a quick rabbit hunt? Or maybe ditch the wife and kids after church  to go out and blast a few bunnies?

How about the two guys with the big game animals strung from a pole? I can’t tell if they’re does or antelope. And what are all the light-colored things on the ground? My guess would be corncobs.

The gent dangling the two big fish obviously hadn’t learned to hold them closer to the camera so they’d look bigger. I’d guess they’re trout but it’s hard to tell. What do you think?

The grinning dude sitting on the car fender is my father-in-law. Those pointy things to his left appear to be antlers. You know this wasn’t the only photo taken that day. Wouldn’t you love to see the rest!

The two guys in front of the tent, with the white dog and the campfire: my wife swears that’s her dad, seated with the cigarette in his mouth. I have my doubts. There are also some antlers beside his left leg. Did one of them bag a deer or were the antlers just used to rattle up a buck?

Wouldn’t you love to hear the story that goes with each photo?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Voices Of Rivers

Matthew Dickerson was a June 2017 artist-in-residence at Glacier National Park. In May 2018 he was artist-in-residence at Acadia National Park. If you dream of fishing for native trout in some of our country’s most beautiful places – and protecting them – you will fall in love with his latest book The Voices Of Rivers.

 

 

Two Glorious Days On The White River

Let’s get started!

After spending three days in Little Rock Arkansas attending the annual Outdoor Writers Association Of America conference Dave Zumbaugh and I headed north for Mountain Home and the fabulous White river.

Headquartered at Riley’s Station where the Buffalo River meets the White, Miles’ son Gavin drove us up to Rim Shoal. Dave and I stayed out of the way while Miles and Gavin launched the battered 20’ johnboat.  With Dave and I safely aboard we motored upstream through heavy fog to Redbud Shoal, then started our drift back downstream throwing two-fly rigs…and catching trout.

When we had drifted through a particularly productive piece of water Miles would fire up the 9.9 hp Mercury and take us back upstream so we could drift it again…and again…and again until it stopped producing and we moved on downstream to the next hot spot.

We fished through the popular Rim Shoal area, on down through Lower Rim Shoal, catching and releasing 11’ to 16” rainbows with an occasional cutthroat or brown in the mix. Dave and I both playing a trout at the same time and keeping Miles busy with the net became almost commonplace.

The afternoon fishing was cut short about 2:30 when a violent electrical storm sent us grabbing for rain jackets. Our race downstream was briefly interrupted when the cowling blew off Miles’ outboard motor. After a few unsuccessful circles trying to find it we gave up and hauled ass for the safety of Riley’s Station.

Fishing in the fog

Hot flies of the day were red San Juan worms tied on jig heads by the Riley’s twelve-year-old daughter Jalen, orange egg patterns and #16 zebra midges. And they proved just as effective the next day.

Dave fighting the big one
This little White River cutthroat fell for an orange egg pattern
Dave displays his rainbow trout tattoo
One of many “Twofers”.

 

Even Geezers can catch fish on the White.

We had hoped to spend Day Two between Buffalo Shoal and Riley’s Station but the storm that had driven us off the water yesterday had turned Crooked Creek into a torrent of mud so once again we put in at Rim Shoal and immediately started boating and releasing trout. Looking for shade anyplace we could find it we pulled to shore at mid-day and once again enjoyed one of Miles’ (or maybe Michelle’s) gourmet lunches.

Somehow during our downstream float, happily bouncing off rocks and catching trout, Miles discovered the entire lower unit of the Merc was missing. This didn’t mean we were dead in the water but it did mean less power. So Dave and I continued to catch fish while Miles deftly maneuvered the big johnboat around rocks to avoid further damage. When we reached Crooked Creek and the inflow of muddy water we stowed the rods  and, tired but happy,  limped on down to Riley’s Station.

It’s always fun to spend a day on the river with outfitter/philosopher Miles Riley. This was Dave’s maiden voyage on the White. He’s already scheming to go back and I hope I can tag along. Meanwhile if you’d like to catch a mess of trout, see some beautiful Arkansas scenery or just relax in a nice, quiet cabin, check out Miles and Michelle’s website www.rileysstation.com. They’ll be looking for you!

 

 

This way to Riley’s Station
Mile’s and some old geezer.
Miles & Dave. Lunch break
The old man and the river

All but three photos by Dave Zumbaugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Communicators of Kansas Conference

I love it here in Florida but one thing I miss about moving from Kansas is the Outdoor Communicators of Kansas twice a year. It’s always fun to get together with old friends. Especially when they’re people whose work you admire and respect.

El Dorado, KS hosted this year’s conference May 3 – 5th. A hardy welcoming dinner kicked off the festivities Friday night followed by a business meeting. Saturday and Sunday were devoted to the important things: fishing and turkey hunting.

A crappie tournament was being held simultaneously with the OCK conference. I’ve never attended a crappie tournament, but if they’re like the three Bassmasters Classics I attended where the contestants had to release their catch, it’s a travesty of justice. Crappie are DELICIOUS and should be filleted, rolled in cornmeal , fried and EATEN!

Fishing was difficult due to recent rains and high water, but the winning team in the Kansas Crappie Club Big Fish tournament had one 2 lb. fish. 

Doesn’t sound too good to me.

I’ve attended many Outdoor Communicators of Kansas conferences in the past. In May of 2008 photographer Blumb and I boated an obscene number of crappie on Clinton Lake near Lawrence with the help of a local fisherman. One crisp November morning in ’09 I lay on my back in a frozen field near Larned and listened to thousands of snow geese squawking overhead and never fired a shot. You can’t shoot what you can’t see and the fog was so thick I could hardly see a nearby treeline. So as you can see, being guided by local “experts” doesn’t guarantee success.

But it’s always fun.

I’ve asked some of the current attendees to send photos about this year’s conference to my blog. Let’s see what happens.

Blumb writes ..”Fishing was difficult due to recent rains and high water, but the winning team in the Kansas Crappie Club Big Fish tournament had one 2 lb. fish. 

Sunday Josh Peck and I went turkey hunting, guided by Jason Barnes of Whitewater, KS. We were near a flock, but the gobbler and jakes ignored our calls, and drifted away with numerous hens, out of sight. We moved to another farm, located a distant solo gobbler, and proceeded to try to sneak closer and call him in. He drifted away, and we had a 1 mile hike back to our vehicle.

To finish the morning, we returned to the area where we started, and Josh attempted a sneak with a fan blind. Still no luck, so we called it a hunt and unloaded our shotguns. The temperature had risen to 72 degrees by noon, and we had walked a total of 4 miles, so I was ready for a break.”

Many thanks to Jon Blumb and Dave Zumbaugh for the photos.

Brad Loveless and Mark Murrell show off a pair of keeper walleyes. Some uninformed people call walleyes walleyed pike which is incorrect. I call them FOOD!

A real wall hanger

I have five beautiful, talented nieces.

Okay, I can already hear the bitching. “I thought this blog was supposed to be about outdoor stuff. You know…fishing, hunting stuff like that”.

It certainly is,  and this post about my niece Mayo fits right in. Mayo made this big, beautiful FISH out of CDs! That’s right. Each scale is a compact disc. The kind old guys like me still listen to. It’s about four or five feet long, the fins and tail are bristles from a broom. The nose is a straw hat and the eyes are mini compact discs. Is that creative and original or what?

Mayo creates other interesting objects as well: bracelets, earrings, necklaces, pendants. In other words, “wearable art”. 

Check out her attractive, easy to navigate website http://www.designsbymayo.com.