I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday, my family went to Georgia to spend the week with family for our Thanksgiving break. I took the opportunity to fish two places I have never fished before. I fished one on the way up, and one on the way back. This is the season where people may find themselves traveling up and down I-95, so I wanted to share two places that are within a few miles of the interstate, but have an off the beaten path feel and experience to them.
So today, I am going to talk about Tomoka State Park in Volusia County. I live in Melbourne, and this park is roughly an hour and a half drive from my house, so this is a place that is also very do-able as a day trip for anyone living on the Space Coast.
Where to Launch: I launched from the boat ramp of Tomoka Outpost inside the state park. 2099 N Beach St, Ormond Beach, FL 32174 is the address. This is a really cool place, it is a campground general store that sells everything from camping supplies, fishing gear, books, souvenirs, locally brewed beer and wine, pretty much everything one may need for a convenient stay at a state park. They have restrooms on site, and also offer kayak and canoe rentals – so if someone reads this and wants to spend a day kayaking or kayak fishing and doesn’t have their own, this is a great place to try it. This store is a family owned business, the husband and wife that run it are super nice people, so I highly recommend stopping in before or after spending the day on the water.
Where to Fish: So I initially paddle north to the river basin, the wind was pretty strong that day, so I struggled fighting against that. I was able to catch a handful of schoolie Trout, but the most exciting catches for me were the Jacks that were busting bait in the river basin. I was able to catch a few that towed me around and tested my drag out. I paddled back to the outpost and took a break and then went down river for the rest of the day. I just worked the shorelines targeting Snook. There are no mangroves on this river, so it’s a lot like targeting Bass. I was throwing weedless paddle tails and Zoom flukes into laydowns and along shorelines. I was able to catch a few Snook throughout the afternoon, but nothing larger than 20 inches. I did not go much further down than the Beach Street bridge, but the guy at the outpost told me there is good Bass fishing beyond the US Hwy 1 bridge, but getting there from the basin of the river would be a haul.
The two baits I caught fish on was a Zoom Fluke rigged on a ⅛ oz twistlock hook. I used a color called “Baitfish” which was a black back, silver belly, with red, silver, and blue flakes sprinkled in. The paddle tail I used was a Saltwater Assassin 4 inch Sea Shad in “Golden Bream” which is black with gold flake sprinkled throughout. This is one of my go-to color patterns in darker, stained water.
Where to Eat Dinner: Tomoka River Grille, check it out! Great place to unwind and enjoy a great meal after a day of fishing. They have a really cool outdoor seating area, and literally everything they serve looks outstanding.
Historical Sites Close By: I visited the Chief Tomokie statue located within the state park, which sits on the site of Nocoroco, a Timicua Indian village that was the first to be visited by the Spanish explorer Alvaro Mexia in 1605 when he explored the Florida coast, south of St. Augustine. The Dummett Sugar Mill and Rum Factory ruins are also close by, just outside of the boundaries of the state park. These ruins are what is left of a once thriving sugar mill plantation that was burned and destroyed during the 2nd Seminole War. This plantation was the largest sugar processor south of St. Augustine at the time, and was the sight of the first steam powered cane crushing mill. This plantation was overrun and raided by a local band of Seminoles in 1835 at the onset of the war.
Conclusion: If you’re looking to mix things up, or find your self on the road and want to bring a paddle board/kayak on the trip this is an excellent place to check out, located just a few miles off of I-95 north of Daytona!
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