Matt Cunningham 13/04/2018 | Posted in Fishing
I just got back from a trip to the Stephen C. Foster State Park located in the Okefenokee Swamp in Charlton County, Georgia which happens to nestle up to the banks of the Suwannee River and right there at the headwaters, to mention. This happens to be the largest black water swamp here in the United States coming in at a whopping 402,000 acres. This amazing place has some of the darkest skies you can imagine due to it being so far away from any city or township, the closest gas pump is right at 17 miles away from the campsite. Enough about that let’s get to the fishing, how was the fishing..?
Fishing teammate Bridgett Howard and I drove down from Middle Tennessee to meet up with Chris Funk and his son Ethan, both had some experience in the Okefenokee Swamp previously, and it showed. Chris and Ethan both of us know what their previous encounters in the swamp were like, over the campfire. It was awesome to get the opportunity to hear the colorful stories from the source itself, especially after watching the videos and reading the stories that Chris had made and written about this magical place. Ok, still not to the fishing, but it is getting close, I promise.
Morning arrived and to the boat basin we went with the hardly used Jackson Kayak Liskas. We paddled up the canal then into Billy’s Lake. I was looking for gators, as I have not seen one since my last fishing trip to Tarpon Lake in Florida, nor was I really looking forward to becoming up close and personal with one. The fishing was slow all morning on Billy’s Lake, so Chris mentioned that we go try a different spot located a few miles away. We paddled back to the boat basin, loaded the boats on the trailer and went back to area 51 (our groovy campsite) for some lunch. Chris gave us some insight on his plan, and then we were soon headed to the Suwannee Sill Recreation Area for redemption.
As we had nearly pulled up to the parking area, we noticed a massive alligator in the chilling in the sill; it had to have been 12’ or more, yikes!!! We then watched deer crossing the road and so many different types of birds were all around, this place is a bird watchers dream come true. Next we got to get the Liskas wet again as we paddled up the sill while fishing the deeper holes along the way. The fishing was great, Bridgett soon caught her first fish of the year, it was a big bowfin, and high fives were at large. We were all on bowfin, it was total chaos.
At first I was having so much trouble getting a bowfin to stay on the hook, even after a really firm hook set. Chris and Ethan let me know the secret to reeling in a bowfin successfully; it was to let them chew on the lure a moment. This meant that once you feel the initial strike, count to 10 or even higher, and then set the hook. Oh, this was the ticket!!!!! We caught and released bowfin until we had to be off the water that evening, we all couldn’t have been happier.
I’ll tell you all about day two, my thoughts about the Liska and some information about the Sill in the next segment of this story, thanks for reading.