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      Surfcaster's 2016 Reboot!   09/21/2016

      Howdy, folks. I know this is way overdue, and the damage is probably already done, but after weeks of working with the database I've finally wiped out all of the spam posts and topics. This was no easy task, considering there were three-quarters of a million bogus posts and nearly three hundred thousand bogus topics. Once a hacker/spammer network finds a vulnerability, they send out automated programs that basically destroy a database like this. Over the past couple weeks I've migrated all of the good data into a more current, secure platform with the hopes that we can somehow rebuild. New member registration is tightened way up, and a third-party spam monitoring service is in place. I've also invested in an awesome new gallery extension,  allowing members to create, manage, and share image galleries. Please give it a try, and let me know if there are any issues. I'm still testing and working out the bugs. Surfcaster's forums were once an amazing resource for everyone to enjoy, and we're hoping it can once again build back up. The main site (non-forums) is pretty banged up, but once the forums are complete my next task is to re-invent that as well. Spread the word. Hope to see a lot of you back! Cheers, Andrew
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Megalops

Alligators, Snakebirds, Redfish & Trout

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Alligators, Snakebirds, Waterfowl and a few Trout and Redfish in the No Motor Zone of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge - Titusville, FLorida

My friend Jim and I launched out kayaks off Peacocks Pocket Road at dawn and paddled south. First island we came to, Jim went right and I went left. I saw bait jumping against the mangroves, paddled in and cast. First fish was a 19" Trout on a chartreuse Mirrorlure. Second fish a big Laddyfish. We met up on the other side and Jim had taken two ladyfish on a White Gurgler fly.

Jim then headed west and I went east. As I got close to shore I found a line of signs from point to point stating this was a closed Zone and not to enter. I followed along to the south and finally came to a cove that had no signs and saw a lot of surface activity about 300 yds. inside near the shore. I paddled in, cast the lure and hung another Trout. This one about 23".

Just as I released it a helicopter went by then did a quick turn and came right back. They hovered over me and announced on a PA that I was in a closed zone. So, I didn't tell them there were no signs, I just left. I worked my way back to the launch. In that hour I hung another trout and another Ladyfish - both small.

Meanwhile, Jim had worked his way to the westward and took two reds off the mouth of Gater Creek.

The wind had really picked up so he headed back. We hauled out at about 1:30, at lunch and headed out along Catfish Creek Rd. and W. Gater Creek Rd. Saw six aligators - 5 sunning and a small one that ran across the road ahead of the truck. A couple of those sunning were around 10' long. We also saw a mature Eagle, Ospreys, Anhingas, Hundreds of White Pelicans and myriad other waterbirds.

An interesting day in a fantactic area of Florida. I'm looking forward to a return in a week or two but Jim returns to New Hampshire this coming Monday..The entire no-motor zone area is within the NASA properties at Kennedy Space Center. It is a National Wildlife Refuge run by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. For a long time, no watercraft were allowed. About ten years ago the FWS negotiated opening part of it as a no motor zone. A couple years ago it negotiated further and now it is designated a Pole, Paddle, and Troll Zone and electric motors are now allowed.

Much of the area is only 6" to 2 ft. deep. When motors were allowed in there, the yahoos doug channels through the muck with their lower units all over the place which are still visable today. They not only ruined a lot of prime habitat but killed a lot of Manatees too. This is a great kayak fishing area; comparable to the Everglades.

It is a fantastic area for wildlife of all kinds. A total of 1,045 plant species has been identified on the Refuge. More than 500 species of wildlife have also been documented including 330 species of birds, 117 fishes, 65 amphibians and reptiles, and 31 mammals. Of these, 16 are currently federally listed as threatened or endangered. A lot more information is available at:

www.fws.gov/merrittisland

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