John Lloyd State Park, 1/8/05
"I told you the tide was runnin!"
Save the Manatees!
The response was quick and increasingly vocal. Participants like Superfly, Chef Mike, Critter, Fishhunter, and of course Scupper Pro Frank chimed in and loudly. We discussed the law, posted sections of the Endangered Species Act, etc. And came to the conclusion that...
Nix. Nada. A bad idea. Although watching from a distance was probably within legal limits, feeding was out and the notion of zooming in en masse was simply canned. The thread then turned funny and deteriorated into manatee sex and the usual frustrated yakfisher drivel.
So we changed the yak-in to John Lloyd for just plain yakfishin.
Same location, great replacement, fish the intracoastal, the Horseshoe, Whiskey Creek. Plan was to meet at 10 am at the boat ramp, hang and socialize a bit then in the water by 11 am. No real extras, just a nice day on the water. Got early returns from about 10 yakkers including Superfly, RalphL, Solar 1, Fishhunter, Chef Mike, Rob & Kathy Fisher, Critter and of course Sue Sea and I.
Nite before got a sad call from Kathy. Their Hobie Two-Seater, hanging in the garage from the carry handles lost a handle along with a 6 inch dia. piece of plastic. Ouch! Couldn't attend. I agreed to help 'em fix it later.
On Sat am the weather was killer, lots of sun, 80's, rising tide all afternoon. Chef Mike, in one of his usual Type A modes was already on the water. In short order we met RalphL, Solar1 (Bill), Critter, Don B. and a brand new member "Q". Turns out "Q", a new and yakless neophyte, ran into Superfly at Bass Pro. Ken, being the consumate gentlemen, not only talked up yakfishing, offered a spare yak and invited "Q" to the event.
What a man! And "Q" was there, excited and ready to go. Fly and Carol were late, so we left "Q" dockside while we adjourned to the nearby beach under the bridge. When they didn't show by 11:30 we yakked up, I blew my whistle and we were off. To where:
Yup. To the turning basin, aka the original site of the aborted Manatee Watch! Go figure.
Despite all trepidations and advise to the contrary, it was a marvelous experience. Only 20 or so manatees and some nice lookin water. Almost immediately RalphL broke the ice with a very agile and healthy snook (pic above). As we cruised around the basin we were followed and even nudged gently by the manatees. Being prudent, we spread out and moved slowly and quietly watching these gentle creatures slide by and under us. An amazing experience as always.
One motorboat violated the peace and I whistled out, warned him of the manatees. A Sheriff's boat quickly intervened and advised the boater to leave immediately. Not long after another small outboard skiff was stopped and ticketed for petting and feeding the manatees.
As we left, concerned over our fate, I stopped by the Sheriff's boat and asked if he monitored Ch. 16. He acknowledged he did; we had a very friendly conversation and encouraged us to call him if we or the manatees were bothered by motorboats or jetskis! It was clear that kayakers were welcome.
We left the basin, then fished a nearby mangrove channel. It was at this time that the Chef suggested we head toward the bridge then back Whiskey. My suggestion that we'd be fighting max flow on Whiskey was sluffed off.
So we proceeded south on the ICW toward the Dania Beach Bridge. Bout halfway there Don B. turned into the Dania Cut-Off loop (which runs 10 miles, ending by the bridge). About a hundred yards in there is another cut-off which runs south and comes out right by the bridge. Very fishy and a great way to avoid the ICW boat traffic.
Only problem is that the group had spread out, so I stayed behind, made sure Bill and Critter knew the plan, which was to go to the bridge, then return via Whiskey Creek. Bill took a break on a little beach across from the Cut-off, while Critter, Sue Sea and I proceeded back Whiskey.
Two little issues: first that Whiskey was near dry at the south end. So the three of us ended up wading and dragging our yaks through the shallows. Finally we got a foot of water and proceeded, cursing Chef with every stroke. Second was the healthy incoming I warned the Chef about. Bout halfway back against the now surging current we ran into Chef, Carol, Fly and Q. Chef simply shrugged and said "some current, eh?". The dog.
After a nice break Sue Sea, Chef and I headed back to the launch as the tide continued to roar against us. We arrived whupped and deyakked. My only concern was Bill (Solar) whom I hadn't seen since the Cut-off. Happily I got a call later from Ken (Fly) who advised that Bill indeed had shown up.
Poor Bill, who'd travelled from Palm Beach and no doubt ended dragging his Malibu II down Whiskey. A nice man, good fisherman and more than welcome to our group.
So that was it... a great day with great people. We never did do the Horseshoe and the acres of interesting water to the north and east, but that's for another day. John Lloyd remains a convenient place to fish; there are big tarpon, jacks, large cudas, snapper and snook in this area.
We made some new friends, caught a few fish, did some manatee watchin - and just had a darn good time. Thanks to all, and regrets to Rob and Kathy.
Your faithful servant,
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