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Entries in Florida (127)

Tuesday
Dec162014

'Recreational Fuel' Ripoff in Florida

Florida anglers and other boat owners are really lucky to have a state government that is looking out for them.

A state law makes it illegal to sell non-ethanol gasoline for anything other than boats, motorcycles, small engines, and “classics.” Consequently, most stations offer ethanol only fuel. But some stations scattered around the state offer “recreational fuel” just for anglers and boaters.

Isn’t that great?

Not really. In truth, Florida anglers and other boat owners are being ripped off by the state because they must use non-ethanol gas to keep from destroying their engines.

Here’s what I mean: When I was down at Lake Okeechobee last week, 10-percent ethanol gas sold for $2.69, while “recreational fuel” at the same station cost $3.69.

That’s right. If you want to run to your older outboard without destroying it, you must pay $1 more a gallon for a fuel that actually is cheaper to produce than 10-percent ethanol gasoline.

By contrast, where I live in Missouri, “recreational fuel,” which is available at just about every station, was selling for $2.38 when I left on Nov. 29 and just $2.19 when I returned.

Here’s an article that explains the situation in Florida.

Friday
Dec052014

Life Returns

Newly flooded shorelines are bursting with life these days in central Florida's Clermont Chain of Lakes, as water levels are their highest in eight years. As the water rises, it floods grass and shrubs, providing habitat for insects and other invertebrates. Minnows and other forage species move in to feed on them. And they are followed by predatory fish and birds.

The great blue heron (top) gobbled up minnows yesterday evening, while the wood stork sifted through the grass and muck early this morning.

If the water stays up long enough, bass and other species should have spectacular spawns in these resurrected shallows during late winter and spring. That could translate into much better fishing in a year or two--- if the water remains high enough for anglers to access this chain of lakes.

Sadly, that probably won't be the case. Most likely because of so many withdrawals and diversions --- some legal and some not --- the Clermont no longer sustains historically "normal" water levels. 

Thursday
Dec042014

High Waters Tough for Fishing, Great for Photography

Nature is full of beauty. You must slow down and pay attention, though, if you want to see the little gems like this damselfly that I spotted this morning in the flooded grass of Florida's Crescent Lake.

Waters are way up in many central Florida lakes right now, as well as on the St. Johns River, meaning fishing is, at best, difficult. When that's the case, I  often put down my rod and pick up my camera. Below is a shot of a family of sandhill cranes that I also saw this morning.

I'm still hopeful, however, for good fishing at Lake Okeechobee next week with topwater legend Sam Griffin.

Sunday
Nov302014

Clermont Chain Filling Up --- Again

A rainy fall has helped the Clermont Chain of Lakes in central Florida start filling up again, following half a dozen years of decline. The lower photo of Cresent Lake was taken in fall 2012, the upper in November 2014. The angler came into Crescent by canal from Minnehaha, something impossible to do just a few months before. That's because the canal had become a foot path.

But likely more than just precipitation was involved, as water started rising before the rains came. Public outcry and pressure just might have forced politicians to listen and act. While the Clermont has been drying up, other chains were not suffering the same fate, suggesting withdrawals and diversions were in play. Some of them likely were illegal and possibly even intentionally overlooked by the decision makers.

Whether the water levels return to "normal" and stay there remains to be seen.

Check out my Janury 2013 post about the issue here.

Wednesday
Nov262014

Florida Considers Anchoring Restrictions; Voice Your Opinion

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking for comments through Dec. 7 on possible changes to Florida’s anchoring laws. It is important to take the FWC survey to register your opinions on anchoring restrictions to help influence what could be allowed by the state legislature.

In 2009, the Florida Legislature enacted legislation that stopped local governments from placing inconsistent and often onerous restrictions on anchoring. But during the 2014 Florida legislative session, strong attempts were made to repeal part of this prohibition. While these changes were defeated, new legislation likely will be introduced in the spring that would grant local governments the authority to regulate anchoring in their municipalities.

Boat Owners Association of The United States would like to ensure that active, responsible cruising boaters help the state understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to anchoring laws in the Sunshine State. If having a full range of anchoring and mooring options are important to your cruising in Florida, this is a critical time to share your views with FWC about potential anchoring regulations.

Take the FWC survey and file your comments at Anchoring Survey.

For additional survey information, visit the FWC website. 

More information on anchoring in Florida is here.