Sublime Santa Fe River
By Terry Gibson
We picked a gorgeous campsite overlooking the river, and set up camp. Teresa got home from work at the hospital at 8 a.m. that morning, and we'd driven the 4 hours without stopping so that we could fit in a late-afternoon dive, and hopefully score a sunset bass bite. But we made the "mistake" of sitting down after setting up. We wound watching the river flow and enjoying a late afternoon and evening around the barbecue.
The shores of the Santa Fe River proved a great place to relax. We drove up with some ambitious fun in mind and wound up enjoying a long weekend that let us catch our collective breath. We snorkled in the clear, cool springs. We tubed down the river. And of course, we wet a line.
Something didn't quite look the same about the "largemouth bass" that our buddy Mark Hafer caught on a plastic worm. It was short, chunky and barred. Turns out he released a Suwannee bass, a subspecies that only occurs in tthe Suwannee and Ochlockonee drainages, as well as the Santa Fe, Ichetucknee, St. Marks, Aucilla and Wacissa systems.
This area is gorgeous and offers boaters, anglers and divers so much. We are definitely headed back to do some diving, and to take a multi-day canoeing/fishing trip down this gorgeous, 30-mile-long river. If you go, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore and play.