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>> Dead Boy Creek :: By James C. Gates on 2001-04-10
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For sometime now, Little Hank and I , have been waiting for the weather to clear up a bit. Our plans have been to try to get into an old barge landing on a creek off the Suwannee River. This creek was where cedar wood was barged out to the river and down to the town of Suwannee, from there to the pencil factory at Cedar Key All this was done in the early 1900's. Last year we had walked in from the locked gate for about 4 miles to the landing. This is in the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Forest and the gates are locked on the main road. With the exception of some Crackers that ride bikes in, there is no hunting pressure. Here, I must stop to describe a typical river hunting boat. It is a metal boat 16 feet long, 72" wide, with 24" on the sides. Eleven ribs and heavy metal, with a custom center console, painted a splotched OD green and gray. Powered by a Mercury 25 HP speed prop engine, this type of light boat runs about 40 mph on slick water. We can run this boat, wide open, on 3 feet of water. We srrived at the ramp around a hour after daylight and put in. There were stares from our "Touristas" as we loaded the boat with gun cases, axes, and machetes. Of course I had my Super Blackhawk hanging on my side and both of us in full camo. A cold wind blowing off the Gulf so we pulled heavy camo jackets out of the boat box and suited up. After parking my 3/4 ton, we fired up and pulled out.

After a short run to the river, we headed upstream. The river had a heavy chop and we were in no hurry. All the tress along the river are "greening out", so we idled along watching the Curlews and Fork Tail Kites. Later, running fast on the lee side of the river for about four miles, we came "Dead Boy Creek", only to see a "Tourista" grounded with his 22' "plastic" boat on the bar going into the creek. It had warmed up and we pulled the jackets off. Of course then you could see the big "hawg legs" we were packing. We pulled up to the "Touristas" boat to help. They gave us the once over and figured pirates were upon them. Out from their boat was a 10' tame gator, wanting to be fed marshmallows. The man told us he was afraid to get into the water to push the boat off, since he thought the gator would get him. No such luck! I took my SBH and threw one of Contender's 280 gr OWC's about a foot from his head. Away went gator to find another "Tourista" with marshmallows! Anyway, we hooked on and pulled the boat off the bar, and away went "Tourista" with no thanks to us! S.O.P.....again! After that we pulled into the creek and enjoyed some egg and sausage biscuits, with hot strong Cuban coffee, that Cissey had fixed us. We heard one big Bull Gator bellowing up in the creek. We eased up and there was all 12 feet of him floating in 20 feet of water, to deep for what we had in mind! On up the creek we saw some small 6'/7' ones, all in deeper water. We saw hundreds of Curlews, Yellow Tree Ducks, and Kites. The banks were covered with purple Iris plants. The area looked like a botanical garden. The past three weeks of rain caused the water to be coffee color. Heading on up, we marked some deep holes for future trot lines. On in about three miles as a crow flies and six by water, we spotted an old blaze on a cypress. We pulled in and off loaded. It was a beautiful landing, but not the one we trying to find! We pulled out the shotguns and started easing up the old log road. There was plenty of hog rooting and turkey scratching. I pulled out my turkey caller and started making like a love lost hen. We got one or two gobbles back, but he would not leave his hens. We returned to the boat and headed further up. After a couple of miles the water got too shallow, so we turned back. Out in the river, we headed upstream again. Further up, we went into Sandfly Creek. There is no way for me to describe this wild country! I love to hunt snow country, but a Cracker is only happy down here in God's Garden. The colors are so vivid and the wildlife is somewhat tame. We passed Great Blue Herons within ten feet. As long as we radiated no aggressive moves, they kept fishing. We decided that the landing we had walked into must be on this creek and not "Dead Boy Creek". I would like to say we found it, but that's for another time. Well.....we didn't burn any powder and maybe didn't even want to disturb the scenario with a pistol blast! Comprende? Back out on the river, the wind had died, so we just kicked back and drifted. In our mind's eye we could see the steamboats coming up this great river. Hank and I, both being 5th generation Crackers, could see what our "Blood" had seen so many years ago. Back at the landing, we were told the "Touristas" had been telling how two strange men had saved them from becoming Gator crap! Oh Well...........!

On the drive back to Old Town, we didn't talk much....aloud, I mean. Sometimes, we old blood Crackers, can be in the swamps all day without saying a dozen words, and yet know what the other is thinking or about to do! Laugh, if you want....but the swamps treat you that way!

So......come on down and help us hunt that Last Landing! Comprende? I think you all do!

Best Regards To All, James

 

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