Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Fine Time to Be Outdoors

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Fine Time to Be Outdoors

Article excerpt

This week, let us pause and toot our own horn.

A recent issue of an outdoors magazine listed 10 great places

for sportsmen to live in the United States. Northeast Florida

wasn't included, though it easily could have been.

Sometimes, those of us who have lived here for a while take our

good fortune for granted. For sheer variety of outdoor

opportunities, we're hard to touch. Consider what this area has

to offer:

Year-round offshore, inshore and freshwater fishing, literally

at our doorstep.

Hunting for deer, turkeys, hogs, small game, migratory birds.

Despite Jacksonville's rapid growth, you can still find deer and

turkey tracks within minutes of town.

The St. Johns River, Jacksonville's most precious asset, where

you can see otters and manatees, eagles and alligators. From the

salt marshes to the cypress swamps, wildlife viewing

opportunities abound.

This month alone makes it worthwhile to live in Northeast

tailing redfish in the grass, flounder at the jetty rocks and

grouper on the close-in wrecks. Did I leave anyone out?

Aside from our natural bounty, there is a growing manmade side

to the local outdoors calendar.

We are a tournament town, boasting the largest saltwater event

in the world, and just down the road in Palatka, the state's

biggest bass tournament. Yesterday, for instance, there were

scheduled tournaments in Jacksonville targeting barracuda and

drum. Name another place that can make that claim!

We are the hands-down capital of kingfishing, and home to more

club bass tournaments than you can shake a stick at. Some

believe we have too many tournaments, but the popularity of the

events is undeniable.

Jacksonville is also a clubminded town. Northeast Florida

numbers several chapters of Ducks Unlimited, including the

state's largest -- the Jacksonville chapter -- whose annual

fundraising extravaganza was Wednesday night. …

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