Rock Springs Run, FL and my Dad turns 98

We rented a cabin on Rock Springs Run this last week to celebrate my Dad’s 98th birthday. We haven’t been with him since Christmas of 2019 because of the pandamnit, his age, health issues etc. However, now seemed to be the right time since cases in FL are among the lowest in the country and we have had our booster shots as well. He loves to fish and hasn’t had a chance too for some time now. The day we fished he caught bluegill, redbreast, and a good size mudfish (bowfin). We had a fish fry at lunch the next day. Given I have always enjoy canoeing Florida’s clear spring runs this seemed a perfect choice since he lives about 30 minutes away from the cabin rental.

I took my Mad River Explorer 16 tandem for everyone to paddle. However, I would get up early and paddle up river by myself in the mornings. I would only see a few folks paddling from Kings Landing on my way back down stream. One morning I didn’t see anyone, as it was cloudy and a bit cool.

The run is a favorite of mine, and in the early 70s I would do survival style paddle trips taking a hammock, tarp, mosquito bar, pan, gig, fishing gear, knife and ax. Spring water, fish, mussels, turtles, watercress, cattail roots, and swamp cabbage were the staples. I would spend a day or two at one location and then move on. Would take out on the Wekiva River where my Dad had some property at that time. It’s hard to believe now, but back then I never saw another person on the run paddling.

Here are some photos.

The turtles are easy to catch.

Apple Snail eggs are laid above the water.

A wary wild turkey. I turkey yelped with my mouth to hold it there for the photo.


What a great birthday gift!

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You sure didn’t fall far from that tree! And you actually ate the mudfish?
My Mother in Law just turned 97. Does your Dad like younger women?


Beautiful and well done.

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Such a great report. Thanks fir sharing this. I’ll be in the area next March, where do you recommend putting in and taking out? Perhaps water levels will be too low then?

Thanks in advance.

Rock Springs Run is my favorite and most frequent place to paddle; usually I start at the confluence with the Wekiva and paddle upstream first, but I like doing the eight miles downstream with a shuttle, too.

In all my years of paddling RSR, I have never seen anyone catch a fish like that!

Was the cabin nice?

A photo from earlier this week, farther down the Run.


It is spring fed. You should be fine.

Happy birthday :partying_face::tada::partying_face::partying_face::tada:

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I use to put in on the Wekiva and paddle up it to. yes the cabin was perfect for what we wanted to do. Sent you a message.

There was a Florida Archaic projectile point imbedded in the epoxy of the table. I have found a couple over the years while living in FL. they are from 5,000 to 9,000 years old. I thought that was a nice touch. You might consider bringing cushions to sit on as the chairs at the table are hard.

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Kings Landing was just upstream of where we stayed. I think you need to reserve a spot as they ony allow so many a day there. As sissy 103 said you can put in on the Wekiva River and paddle up from there too.

They are spring feed and if they go dry the folks in FL are in trouble!

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I hated it when people thought we were brothers, and he loved it!!! :rofl: He does like younger women, but can’t run fast enough anymore to catch one! :frowning_face:

Mudfish and gar are eatable, but I haven’t eaten either yet. We let it go. Both have very sharp pointed teeth, so you don’t pick them up by the mouth. That makes for an interesting time trying to get the hook out if you forget you pliers or hemostat like I did.

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Not to mention that mudfish are extra slimy.

Nice post.
My Dad just turned 97 in Seattle but has a hard time getting in boats now. We grew up on the water. He was in the Navy.


You look so much like your Dad! What a fantastic birthday gift!!

This has given me ideas about doing something for my Mom’s birthday in January. Thank you. We have only seen her once since the pandemic started, but we’re getting boosters soon so maybe it would be okay to gather. I’d love to rent a cabin in the woods. Pity paddling would be out of the question - at least for the rest of the family, but not for me. Hmmmm…

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I ate some baked mudfish once. Tasty but the more you chew, the bigger it gets.

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Your father on the right of left?

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I can’t tell… :wink:

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He looks :+1: :+1: GREAT!


Much appreciated!

Your dad looks great castoff. That looks like a fine spot to rent a cabin. There’s something magical about paddling in clear water.

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