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Fishing Blog

Sandhill Cranes and babies

Sandhill Cranes

Some people do not know what a Sandhill Crane is.  Well, they are very large, tall birds with a long neck, long legs, and very broad wings.  They weigh between 6-14 pounds and stand between 3-5 feet tall.   Their bodies are grey, the forehead and top of the heads are covered with reddish skin and face, chin, upper throat, and nape are white to pale gray, and their legs and toes are black.  The male and female look a lot alike, except males are bigger. They mate for life, but if one show die, they do find another mate.  They female chooses their partners based on dancing displays. The male birds stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air.   They then build their nests from the dominant vegetation, such as cattails, bulrushes, or grasse, using dried plant materials early in the season and adding green materials later on.  The female lays 1-3 eggs, it takes around 30 day to hatch, but sadly, most of the time only 1 baby makes it to fledging.  I personally think they look like baby chickens with long legs when the are born.  They eat a variety of animals, including frogs, small animals, insects and snakes, along with grains. Adults will often feed the little ones earthworms and grubs.   Mated pairs and their babies stay together all through the winter, until the 9 to 10 month old babies finally separate from their parents the following spring.  They spend their winter in Florida, Texas, Utah, Mexico and California.  The Florida sandhill crane is protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and can not be hunted. So, the next time your in Florida, look for these amazing birds....

Kissimmee Florida….where it all began!

The History of Kissimmee goes all the way back to 1883.  Originally, the area was known as Allendale, named after JH Allen, a Confederate major who operated a cargo steamboat on the Kissimmee River.  It was later renamed Kissimmee after the Native American name ‘Cacema’, which means long water. Thanks to a large drainage operation and the use of the Kissimmee River for boat transportation, the area grew quickly.  The Kissimmee shipyard was to keep up with the demand for large steamships. At the same time, the South Florida railroad extended to Kissimmee,  and the area grew quickly.  But there were a few unfortunate events that happen, including The Panic of 1893, freezes in 1894 and 1895 and the relocation of the steamship operations,  left them depending mostly on cattle ranching. Kissimmee still has amazing historical areas for people to enjoy.   The Osceola County Courthouse, dated back to 1890,  is the oldest and still in use court house in the state.   Pioneer Village at Shingle creek has an 1898 "Cracker House," a 1900 general store, pioneer artifacts, blacksmith shop, sugar cane mill and an eight-acre pristine nature preserve under 100-year-old trees.   Every April, cowboys, horses and cattle take over downtown Kissimmee as a cattle drive makes its way to the rodeo arena. There are many stores and restaurants on Main St in our Historical district, so stop by and enjoy the day....

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Alligator Hatchlings

There is so much information about alligators, but not much about baby alligators, also known as Hatchlings. Breeding season for alligators is May and June.  They start building nest in late June and July.  The nest can be 7 to 10 wide and 2 to 3 ft tall.  They lay between 35-50 eggs, some upto 90, and cover them up.   There is a 65 day incubation time frame until the little guys start to hatch out with a little eye tooth at the tip of their mouth.  It later falls off.  They will also start "chirping" for moms help to get out, where she will dip up the dirt on top of them and sometimes she will pick them up in her mouth to get them into the water. The depth and temperature determine the sex of the hatchlings.   Female gators is below 82.4 degrees and male gators are 91.4 degrees or above.    If the eggs are in the middle, 87.8 degrees or so, they will be a mix of both male and female.   Believe it or not, alligator eggs are soft, not hard like chicken eggs. Hatchling are tiny when born, only between 6 and 7 inches long, so they stay very close to mom.  A female alligator will only mate once a year but can have up to 3 years worth of babies (called a "pod") around her, but only concern is for her new offspring.   She is only there for protection though, she doesn't provide their food. When the Hatchlings get to about 4 years old, they venture out on their own.  Alligators reproduce or multiply when they mature.  This takes place when they are about 7 to 12 years old....

Makinson Island

Makinson Island

If you have some time, you need to take a trip out to Makinson Island.   I had the pleasure of spending some time out there recently and was just amazed at the surroundings.   The huge oak trees, picnic area, nice restrooms, walking trails, gazebo and even campsites.   This 132 acre island is located in Lake Tohopekaliga, pronounced "toe-hoe-pea-kah-lie-gah", and you have to find your own way out there, but it's worth the trip. Some of the local history of the island includes Emathla, a 19th-century Seminole chief who made it his home, and his son Coacoochee, one of the great chiefs in Florida history and born on the island in 1807.   Its location at the mouth of Shingle Creek, which flows south from Orlando.  Dense growth protects the shoreline and there is a small dock and beach to put your boat. Makinson Island was purchased by the state back in 1999 but wasn't turned over to Osceola County until 2001, where is was opened up to the public.   At one time a lot of exotic animals were brought to the island, most were removed but there are still a few longhorn sheep, goats, hogs and wild deer left.  There is also plenty of  birds of all typed that have make this island home. The family that the island was named after also owns a hardware store in downtown Kissimmee called Makinson Hardware, be sure to stop in and say hello to Elaine and John Makinson.    ...

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month!

There is an amazing event going on for the month of September!  Orlando restaurants are having a Magical Dining Experience where you get a 3 course meal for only $35.00.  There are over 100 restaurants participating and its sponsored my American Express. The BEST part of enjoying a fabulous dinner is that through Visit Orlando, $1 per meal will benefit Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida. This is a good time to try something new!  For a list of the restaurants visit www.visitorlando.com/magicaldining  ...

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New Adventures With Marsh Landing

Some of you might be wondering how the airboat days are going.  I know, its been awhile. For starters, we have a wonderful office now here at our departure location, and we enjoy decorating it up for the different seasons.   The county park we are in has picnic table, playground,  racquetball and tennis courts and even a dog park.   We have hats, t-shirts, sunglasses, gator heads and so much more.    We also made a new little squirrel friend that seems you enjoy hanging out on our front porch. Now with our boats...

Taking Children on Their First Fishing Trip!

SourceFew memories last as long as those surrounding your first fishing trip ( family’s first RV trip maybe? ). You probably still remember the sights, sounds and smiles of the occasion vividly, and you probably look back on the outing fondly. Now, so many years later, it is time to introduce your children to angling. You certainly don’t have to do anything fancy to introduce children to the sport, but it helps to have a good game plan in place. After all, you may be introducing your children to a lifelong hobby, and you want to get started on the right foot.   Good Gear for Kids Adult anglers often enjoy using the most complicated and nuanced tackle and presentations possible in pursuit of their quarry, but this is obviously not a good idea for youngsters. When fishing with kids, simplicity is the name of the game. This means that it is best to use cane poles or spinning reels instead of bait-casting gear or other complicated systems. You should probably start young children out by fishing with a bobber and live bait, instead of lures, which is more likely to become snagged on the bottom, and will take some skill to cast and retrieve properly. Additionally, kids will often appreciate being able to see their float bounce and bob around in the water, rather than trying to use a submersible lure, which requires them to feel and interpret the location of the bait. To fish this way, you’ll need A pole strung with lightweight (4- to 8-pound-test will suffice) fishing line. To this, you’ll need to attach a float or bobber, with a small hook (#8 to #12) tied to the end of the line. A live bait of your choice can then be threaded on the hook. Sometimes, you may need to attach a bit of split shot to the line between the bobber...