Thursday, August 23, 2018

Lots of Sun, Few Fish

August 23, 2018--Everyone needs to get away from the usual routine. We have been getting away more than usual, it seems. And that's a good thing. This week, we cashed in another of our three free weeks at a Travel Resorts of America (TRA) campground. We are at Luna Sands RV Park in Orange City, Fla., about 30-45 minutes east of Orlando.

We were not overly impressed with the TRA resort in Lake Oconee, Georgia, a few weeks ago. The resort had potential, but it sorely needed a lot of work. Its best feature was that it was located directly on the lake, with virtually all campsites having a view of the lake. Its worst features included slanted campsites, occasional smelly sewer gas, and poor roads.

Compared to Luna Lakes, however, Lake Oconee was a gem.

Luna Lakes was the "resort" where we had our introduction to TRA last September. (We did not buy into their program.) They promised that it would be in terrific shape before long. Well, nothing has been done. Describing it as a resort is a stretch of the English language. Campsites are close (although virtually no one is here--good thing for us); the roadway is dirt; the only amenity worth mentioning is a small pool. And it is not close to anything, unless you want to visit Blue Springs State Park. If you wanted to go to the attractions in Orlando, you would have to travel about an hour. That's not very convenient.

We knew the downsides of this campground, of course, but we decided to take a week here and bite the bullet to travel to the coast to fish (about 45 minutes). We had planned to fresh-water fish in some surrounding lakes or at Blue Springs State Park, but when we checked them out, we discovered that we would probably not be catching anything: Two different people confirmed that the river and lake oxygen levels were down significantly, from two different causes: last year's hurricane and very heavy rainfall this summer. I don't think the fish have died (although there was loss after the hurricane last year). I think they seek deeper water and are lethargic, due to the low oxygen as well as to the summer heat. That said, we decided to pass on fresh-water fishing and concentrate on dipping our lines in salt water.


Tuesday, we fished under a bridge in New Smyrna Beach. That doesn't sound very pleasant, but it was. We have discovered that unlike Jacksonville, almost all of the small cities we have visited have invested money in building fishing piers for their citizens and visitors. At New Smyrna Beach we found several such piers. The one under the bridge was great: We sat is the shade all afternoon as we unsuccessfully tried to catch our dinner. The only catch we made was a robin fish Jim snagged.


Under the bridge at New Smyrna Beach. 
The robin fish is a weird-looking fish. It has fins that spread out and look like wings! We believe that any fish is edible, but this one was too small to keep.
Robin fish, awaiting his return to the water

Wednesday (yesterday) we spent some time fishing on the jetty at the inlet. That was an interesting place. The long jetty is formed by huge rocks. A sidewalk and railings are provided for fishermen, although many prefer to fish from the rocks. We climbed down (cautiously) and carefully set up our chairs and other gear among some relatively flat rocks. We (like almost everyone else there) had no luck. We were also chased away after a couple of hours by a fast-approaching summer storm.
Along the jetty 
As we drove away from the inlet, the rain let up and we decided to check out another of the piers by the causeway, where we befriended an old couple who fish every day. They were not having any luck (neither did we), but they told us that their favorite place to fish was the Canaveral National Seashore. They said they always catch fish there. When we asked why they were fishing at the causeway instead of at the National Seashore, the lady said, "I drive Uber so I can afford to buy bait. I had to drive this morning, and it is too far for just a short time, so we came here." Fishing means more to some people than just having a good time.

Bird crept close to us, thinking he might get some supper. Too bad;
we didn't catch anything at the causeway. Bird had to fend for himself!

Today, we drove to the beach with brother Mike and his wife Susan. The beaches around here are hard-packed sand; we were able to drive onto the sand (at a cost, $20), which avoided our having to haul all of our gear from the SUV to the water. It was novel to actually drive and park on the beach. (First time, for me.)

Mike and Susan don't have salt-water licenses, so they did not fish. (Jim and I don't need fishing licenses, since we are over 65.) Mike's hobby is metal detecting. He lent Jim is old detector, and both of them went in search of buried treasure. Their outcome? Each found a car...a hot wheel! Jim's was a Corvette.

Jim took only a small break to metal detect; he spent most of his time tending the surf rods with me. Despite our diligence, however, we did not cook fish tonight. The only catch Jim made was a shark--actually almost two sharks. The first one he landed, and with the help of a fellow fisherman, he managed to get the hook out and let the shark back into the water. The second shark (it might have been the same one) disengaged itself just as Jim was reeling it in. Probably a good thing. The sharks were not big, but they had razor-sharp teeth.
Jim caught a small shark. 

Except for the afternoon showers, the weather has been great--not really too hot at the water and the humidity has not been bad.

I haven't caught any fish, but I have improved my tan!
Until later,


Your Reluctant RoVer,

Linda


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