(3.4) FISH and/or FISHING - SHRIMPING the Ocklawaha River, Florida?

SHRIMPING the Ocklawaha River, Florida?


An Information, Opinion, Photos, & Sources Report
With a Touch of Humor
Compiled by Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca
Created:  26 August 2015
Last Revised:  13 October 2015

 

NOTE:  Click-on individual photos to enlarge them!


 IF A SCHOOL OF LARGEMOUTH BASS guards the Pearly Gates of Heaven, then Ocklawahaman full-well knows that he is definitely in a whole heap of trouble!

Although I've never owned or fished from a bass-boat since I started my Florida bass fishing in 1965, I have caught and probably kept more largemouth bass than all other fish species combined. Hopefully any possible big-mouthed sentries on-duty upstairs will mercifully recall that Ocklawahaman -- using man-power not motorized horse-power -- bamboozled all those bass sportingly into his grasp with artificial lures and then released the overwhelming majority of them (to live another day). 

Let there be no doubt that I am a river bass angler first and foremost! Over the past 30 years my preferred angling experience has been fishing freshwater streams for some 9 different bass varieties from my un-motorized canoe (or sometimes even bank-walking and/or wading when advantageous) using buzzbaits and spinnerbaits as lures. Only about 30% of my bass fishing trips have been in still-water lakes or ponds. I very rarely use plastic worms as lures or shiners or any other live bait to catch bass. And I never fish bass-beds. I truly worship my technique of stream bass fishing and have pursued it ethically along aesthetically pleasing free-flowing segments of various creeks and rivers in the northern half of Florida plus other states of the South.

Florida largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus)

BUT SOMETIMES, HOWEVER, I DO TACKLE OTHER TYPES OF FISHING -- AND ATTEMPT TO GIVE THE LARGEMOUTH BASS A WELL DESERVED BREAK! 

Quite possibly my favorite type of NON-BASS-FISHING angling in Florida is "SHRIMPING" the Ocklawaha River and its side-creeks! "Shrimping" the Ocklawaha River to me means using ultra-light open-face spinning tackle spooled with 6 to 10-pound test monofilament line to cast 1/32 to 1/8-ounce Beetle-Spin (safety-pin-type spinner) lures while fishing for "SHRIMPS" -- those several Ocklawaha-native bream (sunfish) species: bluegill, redbreast (redbellies), redear (shellcracker), spotted (stumpknocker), and warmouth (perch or goggle-eye) – 7 to 11-inch total length (TL) stream-bred panfish whose deliciously tender and usually small but sweet fillets all fry-up just about as tasty as any fried shrimp (the familiar crustacean-kind) that I’ve ever eaten. Dipping them in pancake batter then deep frying or rolling them in seasoned cornmeal and then pan frying both produce some scrumptiously delicious Real-Florida eating. TRUST ME, Florida freshwater fish taken from cool-flowing creeks and rivers (summertime water temperatures of 70 to 80 degrees F) almost always taste better than those caught in hot (summertime water temperatures of 85 to 90 degrees F or even higher), still-water lakes and ponds!

A mess of Ocklawaha River "shrimps" prior to being filleted for deep-frying

My own computerized creel survey data shows that this Ocklawaha River "shrimping" yields about 80% of the various bream (Lepomis spp.) species with the other 20% of the catch mostly comprised of: Florida largemouth bass (usually but not always under 14 inches total length [I have caught 20-inch and over largemouth bass on Beetle-Spin lures while bream fishing]) and black crappie (speckled perch) plus an occasional pickerel, bowfin, gar, or catfish as a collateral damage by-catch. 


As far as the catch statistics of the individual bream (sunfish) species are concerned
my Ocklawaha River cumulative creel survey updated through 10/12/15 reports:
44% = Spotted sunfish (Lepomis punctatus) usually at between 6 and 8 inches total length (TL)

33% = Redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus) usually at between 7 and 11 inches TL

18% = Bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) usually at between 7 and 11 inches TL

04% = Warmouth (Lepomis gulosus) usually at between 7 and 11 inches TL

01% = Redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus) usually at between 7 and 11 inches TL

Equals 100% = total of my Ocklawaha BREAM catch by Lepomis sunfish species.


Second only to the Florida largemouth bass as the usual by-catch when bream fishing the Ocklawaha River casting Beetle-Spin lures on ultra-light spinning tackle is the black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) a.k.a. speckled perch -- usually at between 8 to 14 inches TL


The Real Florida: Prime Ocklawaha water for river bream fishing using a Beetle-Spin on ultra-light tackle

The Real FloridaPrime Ocklawaha water for river bream fishing using a Beetle-Spin on ultra-light tackle

The Real FloridaPrime Ocklawaha water for river bream fishing using a Beetle-Spin on ultra-light tackle

The Real FloridaPrime Ocklawaha water for river bream fishing using a Beetle-Spin on ultra-light tackle

The Real FloridaPrime Ocklawaha water for river bream fishing using a Beetle-Spin on ultra-light tackle

The Real FloridaPrime Ocklawaha water for river bream fishing using a Beetle-Spin on ultra-light tackle


FOR THOSE WHO ARE THINKING OF TRYING THEIR HAND AT COLD-WATER TROUT FISHING IN THE STREAMS OF THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS (OR ELSEWHERE) 

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Ocklawaha River “shrimping” is somewhat similar to and was my own in-Florida basic training for successful cold-water trout fishing trips upon small streams in the Blue Ridge Mountains later on. Learn to cast spinner lures UPSTREAM (at least at some angle) into small tree-lined rivers and creeks -- containing in-stream wood or rock structure -- and reel back with (not against) the current. Bass, bream, and trout all position themselves facing the flow looking for downstream moving food items. Successful angling for pan-sized brook, brown, and rainbow trout in the Southern Appalachians calls-out for the same general ultralight open-face spinning tackle using 6-pound monofilament line and 1/16 to 1/8-ounce spinner lures – but in the cold, fast trout waters (summertime water temperatures of 58 to 68 degrees F) of the mountains substitute Rooster-Tail treble-hook in-line spinners for the Beetle-Spin single-hook safety-pin spinners used in the cool-water bream-fishing streams (summertime water temperatures of 70 to 80 degrees F).  https://sites.google.com/site/blueridgemountainsandpaulnosca/georgia-blue-ridge-mountains

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) caught on one of my 1980's-1990's vintage Shimano AX-100Q Quickfire II ultra-light spinning outfits that I still use for Ocklawaha River bream.
The Shimano AX-100 Q (and 200Q) Quickfire II with push-button spools are still my favorite open-face spinning reels!
Shimano ought to consider making them again!

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) caught on my original, old-faithful 1960's-1970's vintage Garcia-Mitchell 308 ultra-light spinning outfit -- now long gone!
That reel and rod combination caught many, many Ocklawaha River bream before ever catching its first Blue Ridge Mountains trout!



Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca's Bass Fishing Began in Florida 50 Years Ago (1965)!
Ocklawahaman in 1966 with a Florida largemouth bass caught on a plastic worm from a man-made still-water pond.
But Ocklawahaman prefers to catch bass from free-flowing natural streams where they have been NATIVE for 1000 years!

Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca is an accomplished stream angler who has caught nine different varieties of bass plus three different species of cold-water trout along with many other fishes from the flowing freshwaters of several Southern states. Although he has fished many of the still-water canals, lakes, and ponds plus salty tidewaters that almost all other Florida fishermen are accustomed-to and greatly prefer; river bass angling in current is undeniably Paul's preferred pursuit. Paddling a canoe (or bank-walking and wading when advantageous), Ocklawahaman skillfully uses buzzbait and spinnerbait lures almost exclusively while bass fishing moving freshwater. Motorized watercraft for run and gun fishing or other aquatic tomfoolery and plastic worms or live shiners for bait are not part of his personal angling ethic. Ocklawahaman practices a style of bass fishing on natural segments of streams that is ideally an aesthetically pleasing and un-crowded solemn quest for some of Nature's most game fishes; the great majority of bass caught to be released unharmed for future benefit. North-central Florida's swift-flowing Ocklawaha River is the home water of Ocklawahaman; it is where Paul Nosca first learned freshwater stream angling techniques and where he continues to employ them as often as possible -- from his man-powered canoe.

 

STREAM-BRED FLORIDA LARGEMOUTH BASS ARE NATIVE TO
THE FREE-FLOWING OCKLAWAHA RIVER FOR 1000 YEARS!

GET BACK TO THE REAL-FLORIDA!

THE OCKLAWAHA RIVER IS SPECIAL -- SET IT FREE!

FROM ITS SUPREME SOURCE TO THE SEA!

ALL SPRING-FED SWIFT-FLOWING 56 CROOKED MILES OF MAINSTREAM!

FROM ITS SILVER SPRINGS HEADWATER TO THE ST. JOHNS RIVER ESTUARY!

 

REFERENCE AS:  Nosca, P. 2015. "Shrimping the Ocklawaha River, Florida" webpage report. "Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca reports" website. Paul Nosca, Eureka, FL. https://sites.google.com/site/ocklawahamanpaulnoscareports/shrimping-the-ocklawaha-river-florida

 

"There are lake fishermen, and there are river fishermen, and seldom do the twain agree!" - Original author's name is unknown.

 

Email: ocklawahaman1@gmail.com

End.

 

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