Crystal River – Fall 2021

YEAH!!!! Here we are again! Get to log in another fishing trip to the Gulf coast, staying at Crystal River’s King Bay Lodge.

We have clear weather for fishing. But, take a look at the time on the photo.

Yep, didn’t get out on the water until mid-afternoon and we left home early morning. Why is that you might ask????? There was one important piece of equipment needed for the boat:


………the GPS. In my mind we had 3 options. (1) go without (not an option said Eric) (2) purchase another one (Eric also said not an option and (3) drive back home to pick it up. Yes, he went back home. I stayed at KBL and hung around the grounds until he got back. He exceeded his expected time of return and I believe a trip through the golden arches was part of the reason. Really?

Even though we had a late start, we still came back to KBL with some keepers.

Seatrout top and bottom with a grunt in the middle.

My particular trout was a very nice size. Hence a photo with me and my fish. Our boat is one of those in the background.

Man! Very different fishing this time of the year. The time change and shorter length of daylight really cuts into available fishing. Dusk was creeping up quickly and the shadows were getting long.

A late start fishing discouraged Eric from cooking that evening and we drove to a local favorite Peck’s Old Port Cove Restaurant.

Weather permiting we sit outside and this day it worked out for us. A little breezy being so close to the water (literally 10 feet from the back of the outside porch) but throw on a jacket and you’re fine.

Eric always goes for a dozen crabs – steamed with old bay seasoning (spicy!) – while I ordered the grilled grouper, complete with fries and a (very) delicious cole slaw. Yes, it looks like ‘normal’ cole slaw, and it is………but it definitely hits the spot when eating at this locale.

The next day of fishing starting out with catching some unusual species: a shark (24″) and needle fish (16″).

Whaaaaaaat. Really? Really.

But the Dardens persevered and brought these beauties back to KBL. The trout ranged from 15.5″ to 18″. At the bottom was the black seabass, extending beyond 10″ (the legal size needed).

Such a boring photo…………………………..

Eric makes fun of me but I like to dress them up a bit with some local fauna.

Invariably while we’re taking photos at KBL, we draw (really I should say I draw) attention and this time I added another layer of color to my last photo.

He’s possibly going to use all of these ingredients when he prepares the fish, so I thought ‘Heck, why not.’. It was fitting. Eric just shakes his head.

I must say, two of the above fish were nice and plump – mine.

While Eric caught this one. Sorry hon.

Since it’s a regular occurance at KBL for fishing and thus filleting, local wildlife is always hanging around. This guy (great white heron) was getting bold. He’s about 8′ away from where Eric is filleting our catch.

Persistant devil! He got even closer and while not truly aggressive, you couldn’t turn your back or he would have snatched a free meal.

While no photos of that night’s prepared meal, the fresh trout was delicious. All too soon it was our last day of fishing. Eric likes to grab a photo of me on the boat leaving KBL. I take the boat, he takes the truck, picks up the boat trailer and we meet at Pete’s Pier where he parks. BEAUTIFUL day on the boat, with crystal clear water.

This last year we’ve expanded our acceptable catch and come home with a variety of fresh fish. Our last day had these fish coming to the Darden kitchen. Eric was impatient for the photo to be taken so no extra flora or fauna – so boring.

Middle fish 12″ grunt with a sand perch top and bottom – used for fish stock.

Loved our visit to Crystal River. Not sure if that will be the final trip for this calendar year, but I hope not.


 P.S. – Right before I posted, I saw something that made me smile. Did you notice the bumpers on the boat? To the far left, one bumper is a mermaid. 🙂 Little touches of whimsey can be put and found where you choose even when fishing.

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