When Hurricane Dorian finally took off up the Atlantic Seaboard, it left us with lots of sobering ‘what ifs’. As fishing specialists, we pay close attention to the state of area freshwater bodies.
Now, this is no big revelation, but they are pretty much full. With no good place to put more water, a slow-moving, wet storm could well have put us underwater in places we’ve thought of as high and dry. Now, overlay the wind damage and no power — probably for a long while.
We don’t need to look far at all from Florida to get an idea of what might have been for us.
The atmospheric dance of high and low pressure areas and steering currents won’t always work to halt and turn such a monster away from Florida just in time. But for now, we should be thankful.
I have fished just ahead of approaching hurricanes a few times. Sometimes, the fast-moving barometric pressure has made for great action, and the memory of these trips should give me plenty of incentive to always try to take advantage of the occurrence. The thought certainly crossed my mind several times Sunday and Monday, while Dorian was approaching and then flattening the Bahamas. But somehow, I never quite saddled up the palomino this time. Things kept coming up that I figured I’d better take care of. Not to mention, for the first time it seemed difficult to concentrate on fishing while knowing an epically-powerful buzz saw was nearby and deciding which way to go.
I wouldn’t have missed the chance a few years ago, but I did this time. Now I can’t decide whether that makes me wiser or just older.
Not all area anglers succumbed to these thoughts, and several told us through the week of good catches they made in nearby lakes and ponds while the storm was near. These were bass catches mostly, and some late-season bream, too. Jeff Septer, of Twin Lakes Fish Camp, said that few anglers were on the water over the weekend. One of his Cross Creek neighbors, though, did ease past Septer’s camp in his pontoon boat Saturday morning. Mike Parker had decided to motor out into Little Lochloosa to try his luck. Casting plastic worms, Parker quickly hooked six bass, boating four of them.
Over the next two weekends, competitive anglers will again have tournaments to fish — one for Orange and Lochloosa bass and the other for inshore gulf favorites.
Saturday’s Seventh Santa Fe Lady Raider Inshore Slam will go out of Steinhatchee’s Sea Hag Marina. In addition to the standard ‘Trout’, ‘Redfish’, and ‘Junior Angler’ divisions, this year’s tournament will include a new category — “Heaviest Single Bag Limit of Scallops”. This will be the first official scalloping competition that we can recall. Go to www.ladyraiderinshoreslam.com for more.
The University of Florida’s Bass Fishing team will hold an open tournament Sunday, Sept. 15, on Orange Lake. Based out of Marjorie K Rawlings Historic State Park, the Gator bassers are hoping to ride Orange’s big bass reputation to attract a sizable field of participants. Contact the UF Bass Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gary Simpson, a veteran tournament angler, operates Gary's Tackle Box at L & S Auto Trim.