• Stick Marsh Vegetation Returns, Bass Never Left (Part 2)

    The smooth water is topped out eel grass in one of the grass beds.

    (Part 2) Go to (Part 1)

    This summer has been mostly overcast. There have not been those days of high sky and high sun. The days of high hot sun cause the shad to come to the surface. Then the bass eat them up and anglers see the action and move in and catch the bass. Without the sun the shad have stayed below the surface. The shad are in the lake; they just are below the surface. So.. while the angler has had good fishing weather the weather to produce schooling fish that can be seen hasn’t been regular. When I questioned Bob about the shad population he told me that shad are not regulars on electrofishing as shad tend to live off shore.

    Bob did tell me that the wild shiner population was reduced from the 90s. However, Bob went on to mention a couple of facts. First, it is normal for a new lake to have an exploding wild shiner population and then as time passes the wild shiner population decreases. I remember days when the “Koreans” catching wild shiners would catch 1200 wild shiners per boat with three boats out on the water. Their wild shiner catch was so good they used a Mercedes car to pull one of their boats. Also, Bob pointed out that wild shiners live in vegetation. When the vegetation left that caused a reduction in the wild shiner population. Well…can we say that more vegetation will increase the wild shiner population? I do! Bob further noted that the population of Seminole Killfish was greatly increased in recent years as compared to the 90s. The Seminole Killfish is not well known by most bass anglers. But I will gladly tell you that bass love them. They are easier for bass to eat than wild shiners because of their shape. I don’t think I could get enough Seminole Killfish to use as bait because the bass would eat them right up-right away-and come back for more.
    The Biologists have made a couple of attempts to plant grasses in Stick Marsh and Farm 13. Those met with little success. They also placed fish attractors in the lakes. The value of those was for about a year. Mother Nature has done a job that no amount of tax payer dollars could do. Mother Nature has got some really pretty grass beds growing in Stick Marsh and Farm 13. We can credit those grass beds to water flow through the spillway from Garcia. However, that water has flowed for years without any growth. What ever caused the grass to grow- Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

    My interview with Bob Eisenhauer, basically, reaffirmed my belief that the bass have always been there; always will be there; and the only difference is the abilities of the anglers to catch them. One more thing: anglers do better catching when there is vegetation in the water. And now there is lots of vegetation. And there is more of it every day as it is growing. Oh, the biologists want the vegetation.

    The smooth water is topped out grasses.

    Gary Clark with a large Chug Bug bass caught in August out of eel grass.

    Don Willis moved to the area in 1996. Don’s memories of Stick Marsh include the catching of a 17 pound largemouth. Don doesn’t talk much about it, in fact, Don is sometimes afraid to talk about it. You see Don did not have a camera at the time. It is Catch and Immediate Release at Stick Marsh for largemouth bass so no one else saw the bass. Keep in mind that a 17 pound largemouth is probably within the top 250 largest ever caught.

    Don, being new to bass fishing at the time did not realize how big the fish was in accordance to ordinary bass catches. Don has caught four bass over ten pounds so far this year (2013). He has not topped the seventeen pounder but, like all bass fishermen he is out there on a regular basis trying.

    Don fishes Stick Marsh multiple times a week. He says he has no reason what so ever to fish any where else. Stick Marsh is the best place to catch numbers of bass, large bass, larger bass and numbers of larger bass.
    When the water is running, usually the summer time, the bass move into the running water and feed on the schools of bait that have also moved into the running water. It is common to catch a hundred bass, and more, a day in the running water.

    Spillway running water fishing.

    John loves to fish a deep diving crankbait in the running water. John told me about catching a large number of bass over six pounds a day in the running including a ten pounder and a thirteen pounder. It is not uncommon for the large bass to move into the running water in schools. Catching multiple ten pounders in a day is highly possible at Stick Marsh.

    Crankbait John working the culvert current.

    The most ten pounders my clients caught in a day was five reports Hugh Crumpler III (myself), followed by four over ten in a day, followed by three over ten in a day (multiple times) and I have no clue how times my clients caught over two ten pound bass in a day.

    The evidence is over whelming. If you want to catch large bass, number of large bass and number of bass the place to go is Stick Marsh. I moved here because of the bass fishing. I still live here because of the monsters in Stick Marsh. And with the vegetation coming on- hold on to your rods or the bass will take them away!
    Over the years I’ve said it many, many times. And now I say it again: “It does not matter how good of a fisherman you are; if there are not any ten pounders in the lake you won’t catch one. The more ten pounders there are in a lake the better the chances of ANYONE fishing to catch one.” Stick Marsh and Farm 13 have a large number of large bass. The lakes are not that large. It is simple math. ANYONE’s chances of catching a large bass are OUTSTANDING at Stick Marsh. And, in my opinion, better than any place else in the world! According to Bob the Biologist Stick Marsh and Farm 13 are at the top of the lakes in Florida.

    Stick Marsh is a great place for young angler.

    Don’t forget, it’s always best to stack the odds in your favor. That means good equipment, good bait, be it artificial or live, good information, and the use of good techniques.

    So whereis this fantastic spot? Why doesn’t it get more publicity?
    Stick Marsh and Farm 13 are on the East Coast of Florida. They are North of Fellsmere and South of Palm Bay. Palm Bay is the largest city in Brevard County. Palm Bay and Brevard County do nothing to promote Stick Marsh. Fellsmere is so small that they don’t need to promote Stick Marsh. Indian River County is actually the County where Stick Marsh and Farm 13 are located. Indian River County has taken some promotional efforts from time to time. But nothing serious. Fish and Wildlife didn’t promote the lakes. They were concerned that they might “over hype” the fishing. Which turned out to be impossible. Most of the promotion of the Stick Marsh and Farm 13 has been by guides and anglers who had the bass catching trip of a lifetime. While, I concentrate on bass, my favorite fish to catch, the crappie (spec) population is outstanding and could be said the same of as the bass population.
    There is no place close to the lake to stay, lodge, eat, get supplies, basically nothing near the lake. So no one promotes the lake except a guide now and then, such as myself, who wants his clients and everyone else who wants to catch bass to know about the place. I have listed the closest places to lodge and get bait and tackle. Those that I have listed support the fishermen who go to Stick Marsh and Farm 13.
    Many guides don’t want to make the trek from Orlando to guide at Stick Marsh because of the sand road, the expense of toting a boat, the possibility of “bumping” obstructions, and the time involved in the trek. However, for the client, for the person wanting to catch fish of a lifetime the trek is worth it. For me, and several others, it was worth moving close.

    The North end of the lakes are in Brevard County and the majority of the water is in Indian River County. There is a line on the boat ramps indicating the county line. One lane of the ramp is in Brevard County and one lane of the ramp is in Indian River county. Just as a matter of trivia if anyone ever asks you who was the first one to use the paved ramp. It was Hugh Crumpler III. And a treat it was!
    Lodging is available in Palm Bay and Melbourne.

    A BASS PRO SHOPS is moving into Palm Bay. One of the reasons for the store is Stick Marsh. With Stick Marsh a mere 6500 acres the importance of Stick Marsh to bass fishing becomes evident with the fact that the Bass Pro Shops is moving a store to Palm Bay.

    FROM THE NORTH: Take the Malabar/Palm Bay Exit off I 95. That is Highway 514. Go East to the first traffic light. That is Highway 507, also known as Babcock Street. Go South about 12 miles. You will cross a bridge that is curved to the right and slopes to the right. This bridge is over the C-54 Canal. RIGHT NOW, IMMEDIATELY at the end of the bridge is a sand road to the right. Take that sand round to the END. It is 6.4 miles and you will be at the boat ramp and parking lot.

    There is NOTING on the lake. No restaurants. No Pizza delivery,. No marinas. No tackle stores. No houses. Bring what you need and take what you bring with you home. Bass stay in the lake except for time take to a few photographs.

    FROM THE SOUTH: Take the Sebastian/Fellsmere Exit off I 95. That is Highway 512. Go West to into the town of Fellsmere. You will come to a BLINKING light. That is Highway 507. Go North. You will think you drove back in time as you drive through this part of town. Enjoy it. The road will come to a T intersection. Go left. This continues to be Highway 507. You will come to three way stop. Go right. This is still Highway 507. You are now going North. It is a straight drive. After a few miles you will cross a short bridge then there is a sand road on your left. GO LEFT NOW. Straight ahead is a bridge over the C-54 Canal that turns to the left and slopes to the left. If you cross this bridge you went too far. Go back to the sand road. It is 6.4 miles down the sand road to the ramp and parking lot.

    There is NOTHING on the lake. No restaurants. No pizza delivery. No marinas. No tackle stores. No houses. Bring what you need and take what you bring with you home. Bass stay in the lake except for time to take a few photographs.

    4505 West New Haven Avenue
    West Melbourne, FL 32904

    194 Dike Road
    Melbourne, FL 32904

    1206 Malabar Road SE
    Palm Bay, FL 32907

    MOTEL 6
    1170 Malabar Rd. SE
    Palm Bay, FL 32907

    890 Palm Bay Road NE
    Palm Bay, FL 32905

    3200 Dixie Hwy
    Palm Bay, FL

    2771 West New Haven Ave.
    Melbourne, FL 32904-3705

    Hugh Crumpler’s
    Florida Trophy Pro Bass Fishing
    Palm Bay, FL 32909

    About the Author
    Hugh Crumpler is an avid bass angler. Hugh is a Professional Bass Angler and Professional Bass Guide. Hugh is also an author. Hugh has caught more than 460 bass over ten pounds and his clients have caught more than 1500 bass over ten pounds. Hugh authored a phamphlet in the early 70’s that is considered to be “historically significant”. Hugh has authored an ebook: MEMORIES OF AN OLD BASS FISHERMAN The Formative Years. With Hugh’s experiences, skills, and knowledge he brings to light the present fishing conditions at Stick Marsh and Farm 13.