A quick trip to discover Jacksonville, Florida for a unique adventure

By Darren Shepard

Depending on exactly what you may seeking from a Florida vacation or fishing adventure, the Jacksonville, Florida area is one area to consider when making your plans. Key areas such as St. Augustine, Miami, Daytona, the Keys, and Panama City are just a few of the places in Florida most people first think about but for something a little different, don’t overlook this great city in the far northeastern corner of the state.

I was traveling visiting several clients in southern Georgia and was in search of a new area to visit for an extra day to test a couple of BOTE Paddle Boards that were set up for shallow inshore fishing with redfish and trout being the principal targets. With a few great suggestions and since I work with the Coastal Conservation Association with TIDE Magazine, not only were we able to pinpoint a few “secret areas” to catch a few fish but were able to do so on the “boards”   Certainly, the St. Johns River area and inlets hold a few fish but catching a few reds on paddle boards in “sight” of the city is a unique experience.

A quick trip to discover Jacksonville, Florida for a unique adventure Depending on exactly what you may seeking from a Florida vacation or fishing

The inflatable BOTE “Bug Slinger” paddle boards worked well. The great idea of an inflatable paddleboard (SUP) works well especially in my case when traveling. In just a few minutes with the boats inflated, fishing accessories added, and gear laid out, we were off to try our luck.  I was most surprised by the stability of the BOTE. Certainly, an inflatable is not as performed based as a few of their other models, but when you can pack an inflatable boat in a pack with gear for a car or even an airline to take off for different adventures, the BOTE “Bug Slinger” has its place and performs well.  A perfect set up for me, when traveling and have the chance to “catch a few” in marshes, tidal creeks, and beaches. I can’t trailer a boat everywhere on a road trip! Plus, younger anglers and those of interest in coastal conservation are exploring the options of fishing paddles boards such as those manufactured by BOTE as well as small inshore boats and kayaks due to cost, storage needs, and environmental concerns.  TIDE Magazine published by the Coastal Conservation Association and all their State Chapters recognize this growing market and will continue to support this expanding angling opportunity.

One key ingredient for the trip was to explore a few additional areas in Jacksonville, and we choose Neptune Beach. One key reason was we did not want to stay at a “big chain” motel or hotel at the beach. With a little research, we found the Sea Horse Oceanfront Inn and is right on the beach, but that caters to a smaller number of guests. Great views of the beach, right on the water, pool, affordable and with their famous small restaurant and the “Lemon Bar.”   Frankly, this motel reminds me of the motels on the beach in the past before massive hotels bought up the smaller locations to build these high-rise monstrosities.  The Sea Horse Oceanfront Inn is an excellent value, great service and has everything you will desire as well as a unique environment for guests. Perfect for a spring, summer and a secret fall mini-vacation as well.

The Neptune Beach area consists of several great restaurants and shopping areas close to the beach and motel. Everything is just like you would expect from a beach community and is in walking distance. Being a lover of seafood vs. a steak any day, the North Beach Fish Camp restaurant provided several great seafood options for dinner and is affordable as well.

A quick trip to discover Jacksonville, Florida for a unique adventure Depending on exactly what you may seeking from a Florida vacation or fishing

Really, within a short time frame, being in the area to explore, fish, product test paddle boards for future inshore fishing and conservation features, Jacksonville ended up being a great trip to meet all our needs as a part of an extended business trip. 

Jacksonville, Florida can be reached by air of course, but considering the proximity of several southeastern cities being a short drive away, including Charlotte, Atlanta, Nashville and Birmingham, a quick long weekend trip is more than doable as well.

If you’re looking for a different Florida experience yielding a beach city with all these benefits, beautiful beaches, rivers, islands, great food, unique places to stay and a coastal fishery that is really underrated, Jacksonville, Florida is an excellent destination for a weekend trip, family vacation or fishing adventure. Check out www.VisitJacksonville.com for more information. 

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

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