NANFA-- short trip to Tampa

geoff (
Thu, 20 Mar 2003 19:56:34 -0500

I had the opportunity to go to Tampa Florida this last weekend for business.
I was able to go on Saturday for a little fishing. While I was there, I met
up with Allen Boatman, who is a good man and was willing to meet with me
despite the short notice I was able to give him.

I arrived at the airport Saturday around noon time. By the time I had
checked into the hotel and corralled the needed shipping supplies, it was
about 3pm.

I had chosen the Hillsborough River state park based on the info from
Monster Florida Fling. While I was on the way, Allen Boatman called me and
informed me that the name of the place on the trip was incorrect. I really
needed Togo tithe Morris Bridge park.

When I arrived at the park, I looked around a big and put the waders on.
Not for the cold, but to keep the rental car dry.

The water was a couple of feet higher than it apparently was at the end of
January. I also did not have a seine, so that was also limiting. At the
park, I collected:

Lucania goodei
Heterandria formosa
Fundulus cingulatus (1 female)
Lepomis sp. (juvenile - may have been warmouth)
glass shrimp
apple snail

re: the alligator-

While I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes, I was pretty annoyed that I had
not collected more of my target fish species. I noticed a baby gator and I
scooped it up. I looked at it a minute and it started croaking. I rapidly
put it back in the water and decided that this was not a healthy environment
for someone in waist deep water. As I was leaving, I became distracted by
some floating plants and I forgot to exit the water. A couple of guys came
over to the water and said:

"Damn! You're *beep*ing crazy man!"

Thinking it was a general statement regarding the waders, I asked what they

"There's a mama gator around here. There were 30 baby's right here a little
while ago and the mama was jumping out of the water at us! You're crazy!"

At that time, I scrambled out of the water and looked around. About 10 feet
behind me, there was a relatively large (6-8 feet according to the crowd
which immediately gathered) female gator. YIKES! I also have no desire to
be eaten by a gator, so I got ready to leave. Before I left, I want back to
the water, and the crowd was poking the gator with a stick. A short stick.

The next day, Allen and I met and went fishing. My target species included
flag fish, golden top minnows, and heterandria formosa. Allen took me to a
couple of spots near his house and we found all of the above in incredible
abundance. We even found a couple melanistic chrysotus. We also saw a
banded water snake. In one scoop, I caught I very small snapping turtle,
much to my surprise.

At Allen's house, I bagged the fish for shipping the next day.

I had to work Monday and Tuesday, and I shared a car with someone who didn't
appreciate fish much, unless it was batter-dipped or broiled.

All in all, a good trip, although I am a little more paranoid than I was

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