Fall getaway to Long Point

Almost forgot to write this one up.  Its a couple of weeks ago already, I took advantage of the cancellation of my Wednesday class due to an odd weekday football game, and scheduled 4 nights camping and fishing at Long Point Park  (Oct 5 – 9.)    Its my go-to annual getaway.  I’ve learned that weekdays are blessedly quiet and uncrowded, and the mullet run is usually in pretty high form in October.

Unfortunately, I was greeted by a couple days of very high and consistent winds, which kept me off the water for much of the first days.   The good news: the water was unusually high, making access to some mangrove shorelines I had never fished before real easy.   Those shorelines were also protected from the wind.  On the second day I tried those backwaters and found redfish.   Using a gulp swimbait I caught 3 juvie’s and one healthy upper slot fish which I kept for the cooler.  On the following afternoon I got another upper slot red in the same place, and the following day, I caught a third bruiser redfish on a live finger mullet drifted behind the boat.    Additionally, I caught ladyfish, some cats,  and dozens and dozens of sea trout including one trophy sized trout on a 6 in. purple plastic shad

Redfish caught on gulp bait along mangrove shorelines trophy sea trout caught near St. Sebastian river off spoil island

The windy weather curtailed my usual outdoor culinary pursuits, so I’ve got no enticing cookery photos this time.  But I did fire grill some of the redfish and on my final night a boneless ribeye steak.  In the  evenings after dinner, I would set up coffee for the next morning, then retire to the tent and watch  archived episodes of Freaks and Geeks (1999) on my netbook.    Sunrise that week was not until 7am, so I could sleep in until 6, brew the coffee, grab some food and easily be out on the water at first light.    Heck, I get up earlier than that most weekdays at home.

By the end of the week, the winds had calmed down and water levels returned to normal.   The St. Sebastian river across the lagoon is under controlled release from the Upper St. Johns watershed, and I suspect there was a big release around the start of the week, which takes a few days to fully drain out through the Sebastian inlet.   On Thursday afternoon, I had to enlist some muscle assistance from friendly campers to push my beached boat back in the water.  I forgot to raise my outboard motor, and it was stuck in the mud by the falling tide.

On Friday night, the partying crowds  and weekenders arrived and every waterfront campsite was filled, mostly with RV’s.   My novice tent-camping neighbor was a friendly enough young tattooed guy, but he started drinking early, and by nightfall, he was out of control and engaged in off and on abusive arguing with his girlfriend.   He also played thrashing rap/rock too loudly.   He didn’t cause me any trouble other than annoyance, and to his credit he extended apologies the next morning.    But like I said, weekdays are the way to go down there.

Saturday night, back home, unpacked, shaved and showered, I grilled up the rest of the redfish which Linda and I enjoyed out in our patio twilight.