With some winds out of the East I had to pick a spot that would be protected from gusts. I wanted to try something a bit different, as most of my spots I frequent during an East winds are places I have fished a dozen times or more. Off to Google Earth I went to scope out a spot.
Ponce de Leon park is a 10 acre park on Charlotte Harbor at Ponce de Leon Inlet, with a boat ramp, boat trailer parking, two fishing piers, a playground, a man-made beach, shelter, restrooms, and picnic tables. Also on site is the Peace River Wildlife Center. Whats special about this park is the entire waterfront community of Punta Gorda Isles is supplied through this inlet, meaning there is a TON of water flow. All of the inshore slam species reside here this time of year. For kayaking it is best to get out early and on a weekday as the park can get pretty busy. Also, there is no charge to park or to use the ramp, which is always a nice perk.
Unfortunately my fishing day started out slow and ended even slower. In between I had a twenty minute window of a hot topwater trout bite, managing 5 fish to 20 inches. The tannin-stained rainwater pouring out of the Peace River made finding fishy water pretty difficult. I resorted to throwing topwaters in 4-6 feet of grassy bottomed water, as for me that almost always entices trout to strike.
|The stained river water makes for some dark trout!|
After another hour or so of fruitless fishing, I chose to call it a day and explore the Ponce Canal, which is a Kayak trail tailored from old mosquito ditches and the barge canal that was used as a passage way for construction/supply boats during the building of PGI. This is a very interesting place and can get very tight in the tunnels at times. It was quite easy to follow, but I would reccomend a smartphone with GPS to aid in navigation as it could be a long paddle if you make a wrong turn. The barge canal itself is now closed off to boat traffic on both the harbor side and the PGI side, but now exists as a deep cut surrounded by mangroves on all sides. This is a very intriguing place that is pretty much only accessible by kayak, and it may be a place to consider fishing after a cold front. I did manage to catch a micro sized snook in the canal and suspect his big brothers and sisters might visit him in the winter.
I had a great time launching out of this park and have a feeling it may become a winter time go to spot for me. How great is it to be able to write off a difficult day of fishing and turn it into a leisurely paddle through fantastic scenery? Until next time, keep those rods bent!