This is my National Fishing and Boating Week contest entry sponsored by Take Me Fishing and the Outdoor Blogger Network.
Well, my original post magically disappeared on me. I also failed to save it anywhere else on my computer so I get to start from scratch again. Second time’s the charm…right?
The National Fishing and Boating Week occurs ever year during the first full week of June. The event attempts to coincide with most states free fishing days. Prior to this writing prompt, I had not even heard of National Fishing and Boating Week, much less the fact that states had free fishing days. This caught my interest and I looked to see when Florida’s free fishing days are. I wasn’t really surprised when I found that, unlike all other states, Florida’s free fishing days occur in April.
Way to go sunshine state….
The question was asked: How do you plan to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week? I thought long and hard about this question and came to a tough answer. I thought about all the places I’ve taken fishing trips to in the past and how much I enjoyed each one. One location, however, really stuck out as the place I would like to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week.
The location I chose is Port St. Joe Florida. Port. St. Joe has a state park that can best be described as a pristine coastal environment along the Gulf. I spent many summer days of my youth camping with my dad along the seven miles of coastal wilderness and fishing the grass flats for Speckled Trout and Redfish. The state park is home to beautiful white, sugar sand beaches and high vegetated dunes. It also holds deer, raccoon, possum, coyote, and all sorts of bird species. One of the best parts about Port St. Joe state park is that driving is limited to the campgrounds and single boat launch. The other seven miles of peninsula are untouched wilderness that only see the occasional hiker or boater who waded ashore. My dad and I would load the canoe down with as much camping gear as we needed, and motored down the beach in search of a good spot to camp for the next few days.
Camping down at Port St. Joe wasn’t just about the fishing. It was about the solitude. The closeness to nature. The fact that one could sit on a washed up log all afternoon and only see one or two boats motor by in the bay. Or that I can unzip the tent in the morning to watch the sunrise, and have deer wander through the middle of camp. Living out in the wilderness is what draws me to Port St. Joe. Yes, it isn’t completely wild. After all, the truck was always just a few miles up the beach. But it certainly felt wild. My dad and I would eat what we caught whether it be fried trout or a crab boil. If we didn’t catch anything, we ate our MRE’s. Regardless of the fishing, I always enjoyed myself.
To me, Port St. Joe is more than just a place to go fishing and camping. It’s also the place of a thousand childhood memories. It’s the place that I caught my biggest trout, learned to throw a cast net, capsized the canoe, made a spear from a horseshoe crab tail, camped for 5 solid days of rain, watched our tent fly down the beach during a thunderstorm, failed at shooting mullet with a pole gun, saw my first spinner sharks, hooked my first tarpon, and the list goes on. It’s a place that’s very special to me and it wasn’t until this writing prompt that I realized I haven’t been to Port St. Joe since I was in High school. Long enough that I could only find one picture on a computer in the house (I didn’t get this computer until after I graduated).
Unfortunately, school and work started to become more and more of a priority in my life and before I knew it, I hadn’t been to Port St. Joe in over five years. But I plan to fix that this year. With National Fishing and Boating week on the horizon, I’ve already begun to plan out my camping trip on the wild state park. I’ll be taking my dad with me just like old times, and with any luck, it’ll be just like I remember it.