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Adventures in Warm Water

By Ed Mercado, Florida
I always have been the restless sort. I can never leave well enough alone and am always looking for better. I'm sure many of you know just what I mean. It's no different when it comes to my fishing either. I'm always trying out something new and tying up some new fangled fly to see what difference it makes if any.

Of all the things that excite me most when it comes to fishing is discovering a new place and finding out whether there are any fish or not. I've driven around town to the established places where trophy bass are known to be caught. Within an hour drive there is Lake Okeechobee, the Savannahs Park, and the Stick Marsh in Vero. There be monsters there, but those aren't the type of places that I get the biggest kick out of. No, what I search for are the overlooked places. That hidden treasure that, many times, is right in front of your face, disguised as something else.

I work in the middle of town. Even though it's a fairly small town it's still big enough to surround me in concrete and diminish any feeling of being near nature. But nature is pretty persistent and if you look close enough you'll find she's still there. Behind the local strip mall is a medium sized retention pond. These are nothing more than collection areas for the reclaiming of rain water. As can be expected it has its share of garbage and debris floating around in it. It's really not much to look at, but to an adventurous angler it's a midday getaway filled with largemouth and bluegill. It was in those very waters that I caught my first fish on fly, my first bass, and my first bluegill. Every now and then someone will stop and ask "are there any fish in there?" but I never see anybody else fishing it.

When I travel to and from work I take the interstate. It was on one of those uneventful evenings while heading home that I notice water behind a wall of dense brush. It was hardly visible, but I was certain that I had seen water. What was interesting to me was that this little treasure was right smack in the middle of the highway nestled in the median. When I returned with a 4wt rod I was rewarded with as many bluegill as could be counted, and not a one, I would wager, had ever seen a hook.

Just up the street from where I live is an apartment complex. Like some apartments in Florida this one has a pond with a fountain in it. It shoots water about twenty feet in the air and leaves a fine mist hanging that on a warm day is actually quite welcome. I visited this place also and it wasn't long before I was pulling bass and pan fish out of there. The bass where easy to spot in the shallow water; and the small green sunfish that I pulled out from there where an uncommon treat.

All of these places have a couple of things in common. None were exactly hidden, but none where "advertised" as fishing spots either. None of these spots had been fished very much, if at all, and all of these spots had plenty of fish for the taking.

I think my greatest out in the open "secret" is at a local city park. It has part of the St. Lucie River running through it and it attracts many anglers. With it's brackish waters, the variety of fish that can be found there is vast. Now, just a few feet from the rivers edge in this very park lies a medium-small sized pond that doesn't seem to attract too many of these anglers. It's a lovely pond with large aquatic plants and flowering trees surrounding it, but to the keen angler it's a hot bed of action just waiting to be tested. In it I caught my largest bass to date using an old bamboo rod. I thought I was going to lose that rod that day. It was bent so much it still has a set in it. There are some pretty big carp in there as well that I'll get to some day. But right now I'm searching for my next adventure. I hope you do the same.

Tight Lines, ~ Ed Mercado

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