DOA event lures writers, guides
Captain Marcia Foosaner with a snook
that fell for a DOA
Shrimp near St Lucie Inlet.
Being an outdoor writer will not make you a lot of money, but it does put you in touch with some of nature's finest places and people. The fishing can be exciting, exposing you to new species and techniques while providing insights that improve your craft. The travel opens up new vistas, and often expands your understanding of the natural world. Of course the camaraderie that develops between the people you meet and share your experiences with can make it especially rewarding. Combining all of these into a three day adventure is of course, priceless!
On June 26-28, I attended the annual DOA Outdoor Writers/Guides Outing at River Palms Cottages and Fish Camp in Jensen Beach, near Stuart, Fla. Without a doubt, Stuart has many of Florida's finest saltwater sport fishing opportunities. Add some of the state's best guides, first class accommodations, fishing's preeminent lure company and a host of outdoor writers and guides from around the country and you have an event that ranks with the very best.
I made the trip across the state with my friend Captain Rick Grassett. The area (including the southern Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie River) has a tremendous inshore fishery that includes large trout (to 10 pounds plus), tarpon, redfish, pompano and huge snook. The ocean also offers a chance at false albacore (bonito), sailfish, permit, tripletail and a host of other species. The evening we arrived, we convened at River Palm's chickee and were treated to drinks and a wonderful seafood dinner. Rain fell and cool winds blew through the thatched structure creating a wonderful evening of camaraderie.
On the first day I fished with Captain Marcia Foosaner, a veteran local guide, whose passion for fishing is evident as soon as you meet her. Marcia lives and breathes fishing and has developed a reputation as one of the top guides in a field of many seasoned professionals. She also has the honor of having a flat named after her, an area she made famous with the large trout and snook she consistently found there. Foosaner is a past Grand Champion in the Woman's World Invitational Fly Championship and fishes 300 days a year. Her favorite approach is wade fishing for trout, snook and tarpon on the grass flats of the Indian River.
"It's more like hunting than fishing," says Foosaner, "I study the water before getting out of the boat to see how the tide is flowing over a flat, looking for signs of feeding fish." We started the morning near River Palms drifting a series of shallow flats that line the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway. The tide was high and near slack (always a tough time to fish), but in a couple of drifts, we managed to land and release several trout to 18 inches on the DOA Shrimp. Mid-morning we made a move to the Sailfish flat near St Lucie Inlet and waded a grass edge that was full of small pilchard shiners and mullet. In an hour wade that was punctuated with a walk to a nearby bird rookery, we managed to land a Jack cravelle and a snook.
Unfortunately, our day was cut short when we noticed a leak in Foosaner's power steering. While we missed the best part of the tide we determined that it would be best to get the boat to a mechanic before steering became a problem. On the way back to River Palms, we stopped at a flat on the west side of the lagoon and caught several more nice trout. This time we used DOA's CAL Jigs a lure that equally on trout, redfish, snook and a host of other species.
That evening the writers and guides were treated to drinks and a delicious catered meal. Besides the great food, the evening provided a great opportunity to re-connect with old friends, meet new ones and preview some of the industry's newest products.
Tuesday featured a half-day of fishing before everyone departed for home. I was paired with Captain Grassett and Captain Dave Lear. Lear is a long time friend, guide, writer and conservationist from Tallahassee. In a morning of fishing that featured a welcome cloud cover and cool breezes, we caught snook in St. Lucie Inlet, trout on the Sailfish flats. We encountered tarpon in the mouth of the inlet, but were unsuccessful at enticing one to bite.
River Palms Fish Camp is the perfect location for this fantastic event. A collection of renovated old Florida cottages are positioned on a landscaped (with 80 varieties of edible plants, fruits and medicinal herbs) bluff with palms and spreading live oaks. An authentic Florida Seminole chickee hut sits next to a sand beach on the lagoon adjacent to the resort's docks.
Many quality fish were caught during the two-day event, all on a variety of DOA Lures. These artificial lures are so good at catching fish that they have catapulted Nichol's Company from a backyard garage operation to one of the world's most popular brands.
To experience this terrific fishery, contact Captain Marcia Foosaner at 772-287-5377. For accommodations that will provide you with an experience that will keep you coming back, call River Palms at 1-800-305-0511. Check out the resort at its website, www.riverpalmcottages.com.
To see the complete line of DOA Lures, visit its site at www.doalures.com. Local anglers can get an introduction to the fish catching power of the DOA Lure brand by fishing with Captain Rick Grassett, 941-923-7799.