A Visit to the River of Grass

The River of Grass, aka The St. John's River, is Florid'a longest river. The headwaters start in Indian River County. It meanders north, twisting and turning through 12 counties, finally emptying in the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville. The St. John's River is a lifeline for Florida. The waters, which are mostly fed by swamps and watershed, are dark, tannin-stained, slow moving, and provide life to numerous fish, crustaceans, and birds. The shorelines which can vary from location to location, support hogs, deer, bears, bobcats, and countless other life. Each bird, mammal, fish, and plant are interconnected; relying upon one another for some form of food or protection.


Visitors to Florida often choose to enjoy an airboat tour along this river. Airboats allow visitors to enjoy the sights this beautiful place has to offer; however, they can limit the sounds and time spent on the river. Many airboat tours take out groups and spend about 30 minutes making a loop through a given area. While it is a great way to spend an hour or so, to really enjoy the St John's and appreciate everything it has to offer, one needs to spend a full day on it. The St. John's is where I love to go, to transport myself back in time to Natural Florida, reconnect with the life of Florida, and enjoy everything the state has to offer. This isn't the make-believe Florida, where roller coasters zip on steel frames, traffic congestion drives you crazy, or shops flash the latest sale on LED billboards. This is Florida as it has always meant to be: natural, wild, and beautiful. It is the area you lazily cruise down, take a deep breath and enjoy the smells of sweet swampland. You let your mind wander, relax, and forget about the fake Florida.


This time of year also brings about some spectacular fishing opportunities. Largemouth Bass are starting to bed, crappie (which are like sweet little pieces of candy when fried up) hold next to structure and bends, Shad (American and Hickory) arrive and put fly anglers and ultralight gear to the test, and there is an abundance of various panfish to keep everyone happy. The fishing is relaxing and there is plenty of time to enjoy everything else in the area. On a trip last week I had a hard time putting the camera down and picking up the rod. Every time you turn your head there is something else to see. You owe it to yourself to come enjoy the wonderful place and take yourself back in time, to what Florida should have always remained. Enjoy the photos and when you're ready to see it and experience for yourself, call me!



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