St. John’s River: The Fish are Assholes

For the first time since I was sixteen, I have been able to enjoy unemployment. I don’t like to waste my days away, so I decided to visit all my favorite parks. One, in particular, is Baker Point Park in the fancy-schmancy Ortega area of Jacksonville. Usually, the park fills with squads of moms jogging with strollers to lose their baby fat. The park has become rather popular. If you don’t get there at the right time, the only twelve parking spaces they have been filled. Unfortunately, there is no room to park on the street or the curb unless you want to risk a ticket.

The worst visitors to the park are fishermen because they hold parking spaces for hours catching fish, or at least trying to.

I sat on the sea wall relaxing with my notebook in hand as two young fishermen pass by me to set up further down the seawall. I noticed fish jumping out of the water randomly. It was a refreshing sight to see fish compete to see who could jump the highest. The two fishermen set up camp and threw their hooks into the water.

It wasn’t until half an hour later when I found the funniest thing happening. The fish continued to jump out of the water near the fishermen’s’ hooks. The two men would reel in their lines and toss them back out where they last spotted a fish jumping. I noticed how the fish start jumping in a different area a few inches away from the hook. This kept happening over and over for another half hour. I couldn’t stop laughing every time a fish would propel out of the water near the hook as if to laugh at the fishermen yelling, “Looking for me?” Eventually, the guys packed up and left.

It truly made my whole day to see how nature outsmarted man once again. Karma must have come around to the fish eventually because a small pod of dolphins enjoyed themselves tossing fish out of the water and catching them in the mouths before diving down to enjoy their meal.

Basin of Lake City

I’ve only visited Lake City once in the past… oooh… maybe 29 years. From my last visit, I confess it was quite dry and dull. The city looked like it had seen better days once upon a time. On my recent visit yesterday, the streets still seemed as dry and lifeless as it had the last time I visited. Often when I thought of Lake city, I would think of a lively small town where a large lake sat at the center of its location. The lake would be the gem of the city where everyone goes to have parties, weddings, reunions, and cookouts. Nope. The more I drove through downtown and the neighborhoods, the more I felt for the young adults who tell themselves every day how much they can’t wait to leave Lake City.

While driving to no particular destination in the hope of something that would make me want to whip out my anxious Canon, a large body of water caught my eye. Finally! After many u-turns from street to street, I finally found the best place to gaze at the gem of Lake City, the Ichetucknee Basin. The area wasn’t much to deal with, but it had the best view thanks to a single dock that stretched out onto the Basin. The pier allowed you to see how the Basin twist and turned in the distance.

DSCN0432

If it weren’t so hot, I could have stayed all day. The water is still and created a mirror effect on the sky. Because of the water’s semi clarity, I was able to look at all the species of fish below.

Lastly, I was on a mission to collect images of florae for my new Instagram project. I managed to collect a few helpful samples, and then I was on my way. Unfortunately for Lake City, It will be quite some time before I show my face again. Coming from a large city, Jacksonville, a small town would have to really put on a show to keep my interest.

DSCN0412

Maybe next time.

Heckscher Drive: Fishermen and Patience

If you ever drive down the long scenic road called Heckscher Drive, besides the views of massive cargo ships, fancy waterfront homes, and excellent hot spots for landscape photography, one thing that will definitely come clear to you is this highway is the honey pot for fishing. On a perfect day, every bridge or overpass you drive across, it is covered with fishermen and women. You would think it was a parade getting ready to happen except everyone is facing opposite of the street.

When I first discovered Fort George Inlet, it was quiet and calm, and no one was ever hardly there. I would sit under the overpass on the massive boulder for hours and take in the view. I’d take snacks, a book, my headphones and enjoy my Heaven away from home. Then bit by bit, every time I went to Fort George Inlet, there would be one or two fishermen in my area. I don’t mind sharing, but let’s be honest, I do mind sharing. It was my little spot, and now I had to share it with someone who clearly got the patience of a saint.

To me, fishermen are the absolute worst because they have all the time in the world. They will sit all day for the perfect catch. I would know because I was forced to watch. I never understood the sport of fishing and the excitement. To sit out there waiting for a fish to be silly enough to attract themselves to some food dangling on a hook is exhausting. I can’t tell if it’s funny or not to watch the disappointed faces of fishermen after they have sat for two hours trying to catch something and nothing comes. A waste.

I can only imagine what life lessons are created from fishing. Do you learn to be as patient in life as you are with fishing? I can’t imagine a professional fisherman with bad road rage. Either way, the only lesson I’ve learned from watching people fish is that I don’t want to waste my time with it. It’s just too much patience for a lifetime.