Thursday, June 11, 2015

2015 DOA Outdoor Writer's Festival - Day One

The 2015 DOA jam band and fishing friends
Spencer from Shimano and
Capt. Mark Nichols are old friends
The 16th annual DOA outdoor writer's festival at a fish camp along South Florida's East Coast offers a wide mix of media input, from jump drives to hard drives, as well as hands on time with DOA fishing lures and the fish that chase them. Of course the annual event takes place under the umbrella of DOA lures but Captain Mark Nichols is the driving force to keep the event going strong. Grabbing the microphone at the Chickee Hut shortly after his guests arrive, Nichols always speaks about his longtime sponsors like Shimano reels, Trokar / Eagle Claw hooks, Costa sunglasses, Humminbird / Minn Kota, Engel Coolers, Tailin' Toads and Hoo Rag. He also tips a cap to those writers that are no longer able to attend. For those that are present, I can relate that they feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards Nichols and the fishing guides that help our endeavors to get on some fish!

With the rainy season in S. Florida not quite in effect, the temps were holding at 90-degrees and the wind was steady on Day One. Fishing with Captain Blair Wiggins of Addictive Fishing, and we darted from River Palms to the Stuart Inlet Jetties at dawn using his 24-foot Team Skeeter bay boat. We saw a few large snook in the water but were unable to attract a strike, while another guide was nearby and reported the same lack of action. After the sun cleared the horizon we moved on to the popular hole in the wall fishing spot where I yanked a snooklet from in 2014, but this time it was the Mogan Man's turn and he snagged a beautiful 35-inch linesider on a rootbeer color DOA baitbuster. Visiting writer David Sikes of Texas was in a nearby boat and was able to make some photos, and a notable part of this DOA event is the spirit of cooperation that is present.
A wading Blair Wiggins chats with guide Rufus Wakeman

Blair Wiggins shows me his Snook - photo by David Sikes
Heading over to the fish under the Roosevelt Bridge is was angler Sam Root's turn to reel in a fish, snagging a spotless sand trout that ate a rootbeer color 3-inch DOA shrimp. The fishing was slow and that just allows for the anglers to talk about past fishing exploits and Wiggins shared that he had filmed a TV show here before, and I recalled how Capt. Nichols took me over to fish a marina wall near the bridge that no one else much seems to fish. Which reinforces my belief that Capt. Nichols and other local devoted anglers have fished every inch of the Indian River Lagoon with DOA lures in search of the best fishing spots, and attendees like myself benefit greatly from that experience. We tried several other proven fishing spots this day, but the fish just weren't biting, and it's worth noting that the area still suffers from a lack of marine grass and habitat loss that is limiting the carrying capacity of the estuary. Locals report that recovery of the fishery is ongoing, but not at a rapid pace.

To view past blog entries from the DOA Writers Event click 20142013 - 2012 - 2011 -2010 - 2009
Jack Crevalle caught on DOA holographic shrimp

Sam Root with sand trout on rootbeer CAL

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