Art and industry collide as Art Republic 2018, a communal celebration of public art changes the face of downtown Jacksonville again. Art Republic is known for infusing the city with bold outdoor murals that define an area’s character. Exhibitions, which are curated by industry experts, showcase the top artists in their field of expertise to create a sense of place, spark global conversations, and inspire community engagement.
Muralists for the 2018 collection include 2Alas, Pastel, Chris Clark, Datastorm, Golden, Sipros and NEAN. Murals will be installed at various locations throughout the Downtown Core from November 1st-11th. This year, Art Republic also will include partnerships with the leading international digital and video artists to demonstrate the shared capacity for affecting change.
In the spirit of walking down different streets, Jacksonville-based photographers Toni Smailagic and Khalil Osborne created captivating photographs of Eyes Wide Open, the photography exhibition on November 2nd in Springfield. The exhibition serves as a portal into the eyes, perspectives and experiences of the city’s diverse population based on cultures, race, ethnicities, age and religions. The opening event featuring art, music, live performances, light installations, cocktails and food is free to the public.
An immersive digital art exhibition created by one of the industry’s premiere digital artists will open November 10th at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. “Reometry” by REO is a full-sensory show designed to challenge perceptions of the surrounding world in the present. REO bridges the gap between high art and technology using music and digital art, taking you into an experience designed to change the way you see the world. REO has developed graphic design, animations and video projections for such high-profile businesses as Nike, Spotify, Aprite, Adidas and Veuve Clicquot and big-name clientele from Beyonce to Bruno Mars. Having just completed visuals for Travis Scott’s VMA performance and the iconic, On The Run II Tour of Jay Z and Beyoncé, REO is heartily welcomed back to Jacksonville for his first solo digital art show. The opening of “Reometry” is a ticketed event that includes music, hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.
REOMETRY Digital Art Show by REO TOMORROW! 7PM at the Prime Osborn Convention Center, only a few tickets left, get yours now!https://artrepublicglobal.com/product/reometry/ *this video is a part 1/2 stay tuned to our page to learn about REO’s mission as an artist tomorrow! Video by Eriden Images
Art can illustrate the importance of passion, leadership, human potential. It also serves as a form of self-maintenance and an escape from the drudgery of daily life. Art Republic invites us to view the world from a broader, inspired perspective. Join in the movement, and get more information at www.artrepublicglobal.com.
Muralists design outdoor collections that allow the public to experience what living with art can do to nourish their soul daily. This year’s featured muralists include: 2Alas, Pastel, Chris Clark,
Muralists design outdoor collections that allow the public to experience what living with art can do to nourish their soul daily. This year’s featured muralists include: 2Alas, Pastel, Chris Clark, Datastorm, Golden, Sipros, and NEAN.These murals will be installed in various locations around downtown Jacksonville from November 1st – November 11th, 2018.
A Jacksonville business owner is making it easier to shop local this holiday season. Emily Moody-Rosete, who operates the downtown Wolf & Cub boutique on Laura Street, is bringing a pop-up storefront to the space formerly occupied by La Cena restaurant. Located at 211 North Laura Street, Duval Mercantile will grace the historic Elks Building.
Duval Mercantile will celebrate its grand opening November 7th during Artwalk and will remain open through the month of December. As the former owner the live music venue Underbelly in the downtown core and Anomaly in the Five Points neighborhood, Emily Moody-Rosete knows how to create a buzz. She’s hoping to energize Downtown with a concept that will bring together artists and makers in a shared space and inspire shoppers to curate an interesting and eclectic list of locally produced goods this holiday season.
Vendors like Congaree and Penn and Jax Brothel will be among those to stock such items as local gourmet foods and sundries, candles, pottery, and vegan bath products. There are no plans to update the interior space with a major build out save for adding a couple coolers to refrigerate necessary items. “Because its a pop-up, we didn’t want to spend a ton of money making it real pretty,” she says. “It’s going to compliment Wolf & Cub but still have its own vibe, too.”
While the concept is designed to give local makers a dedicated space to showcase and sell their goods, Moody-Rosete is also hoping to increase Downtown’s accessibility to retailers in an area plagued by more empty storefronts than established businesses.
“Being Downtown now for a few years, I hear on a daily basis from clients coming in and people traveling through, tours actually coming through to visit the city. It’s embarrassing to hardly have any retail Downtown, so people walk in my shop and ask what else is there to do down here, and I give them a little run down. There’s lots of places to eat and drink, but there’s not a lot of retail,” says Emily Moody-Rosete.
“That’s unfortunate, but the city doesn’t really encourage the nurturing of small business. They’re more into the multi-million dollar projects, which I get too, but, at the end of the day, the small guys are the ones who are creating the culture and the feel for a district.”
“That’s unfortunate, but the city doesn’t really encourage the nurturing of small business. They’re more into the multi-million dollar projects, which I get too, but, at the end of the day, the small guys are the ones who are creating the culture and the feel for a district. That’s what I seek out. When I travel, I go to all the cool little local businesses, and that’s how I get the feel for a city. That’s where Duval Mercantile comes in.”
Emily and Varick Rosete based the model for Duval Mercantile on their early experiences with Wolf & Cub, which they initially operated at such venues as Jaxsons Night Market and Artwalk. The couple expanded the business and opened a pop-up shop in Riverside’s Brooklyn Station during the 2015 holiday season. The success of that venture led to a permanent storefront the following year. If Duval Mercantile does well, it could become a regular fixture and establish a business model to encourage more retailers to follow suit.
“We’re just trying to make it work for a few months. If it sticks, then we’ll visit maybe signing a lease there, maybe finding a different spot. Who knows. We’re just taking it day by day for now,” she says, “I’m an optimist so I hope that it is possible. Is it possible in a time frame that I feel is reasonable? Maybe not necessarily. That’s why we just kind of took things into our own hands. We don’t have time to wait around for the city to recognize us. We just have to make it happen. Hopefully it’s that ‘if you build it, they will come’ kind of thing.”
The world’s premier Halloween event, Halloween Horror Nights, is now open at Universal Orlando Resort – with more haunted houses and scares than ever before.
With a total of 36 record-breaking nights through November 3, Halloween Horror Nights 2018 will be the most intense event in history. Cinematic greats, slasher films, cult classics and original nightmares inspired by the past will come to life as guests face 10 disturbingly-real haunted houses, five scare zones and one powerhouse live show.
Find themselves in the Upside Down where they will come face-to-face with the predatory Demogorgon from Netflix’s original series “Stranger Things”
Be transported to the suburban town of Haddonfield, Illinois where the infamous slasher Michael Myers is hungry for revenge in “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers”
Fend off malevolent spirits in the Freeling house as they cross into the “light” in Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s (MGM) iconic supernatural horror film “Poltergeist”
Live by the rules or suffer the consequences as Sam – the spirit of the Halloween – readies to punish those who break the dark holiday’s traditions in Legendary Pictures’ cult classic “Trick ‘r Treat,” from producer Michael Dougherty
Live the horrors of two terrifying films by Jason Blum – Happy Death Day and The First Purge– in “TheHorrors of Blumhouse”
Scream their way through five spine-chilling original haunted houses created by the twisted minds of Universal Orlando’s Entertainment team, including “Dead Exposure: Patient Zero,” “Slaughter Sinema,” “Carnival Graveyard: Rust in Pieces,” “Seeds of Extinction” and “ScaryTales: Deadly Ever After”
And it doesn’t stop there. Menacing scareactors in five highly-themed scare zones will invade the streets of Universal Studios Florida, two of which are based on classic ‘80s horror icons – MGM’s“Killer Klowns from Outer Space” and “Revenge of Chucky” – as well as three original concepts – “Vamp 85: New Year’s Eve,” “The Harvest” and “Twisted Tradition.”
Plus, Academy of Villains returns for its third consecutive year with an all-new show combining dance, acrobatics and theatrics in “Academy of Villains: Cyberpunk” – featuring a new storyline that tests humanity against technology.
Netflix’s Sci-Fi Thriller Comes to Life at Halloween Horror Nights
For the first time ever, Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Singapore are partnering with Netflix to bring “Stranger Things” to life at their Halloween Horror Nights events. Each park will feature its very own maze that will give guests the chance to brave the Upside Down and encounter iconic scenes, characters and environments from season one of the critically-acclaimed series.
Guests will encounter eerily-authentic environments including the Byers’ living room adorned with an erratic display of flashing Christmas lights, Hawkins National Laboratory in the Upside Down, Will’s makeshift fort called Castle Byers and more.
The Horrors of Blumhouse Bringing New Chapters of Frightening Films to Life from Leading Producer of Horror Jason Blum’s Blockbuster Movies
Partnering with the creative minds at Blumhouse Productions (Get Out,Insidious, Split), Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort will unleash a series of Blum’s most terrifying films at the nation’s most intense and immersive Halloween events.
At Universal Orlando Resort, “The Horrors of Blumhouse” maze will bring guests face-to-face with the most gruesome scenes from the déjà vu thriller Happy Death Day, as well as fromThe First Purge, the newly-released prequel to The Purge series. In Happy Death Day, guests will be transported to the film’s college town, where they will be forced to relive the last day of a student’s life over and over again…until she breaks the murderous cycle. Then, in The First Purge, guests will run for their lives as menacing citizens from the film hunt them as part of the first barbaric government experiment where all crime is declared legal for 12 hours.
Trick ‘r Treat
Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood will bring Legendary Pictures’ cult Halloween classic Trick ‘r Treat to life in all-new Halloween Horror Nights mazes that dare guests to live by the rules or suffer the consequences. Guests will meander through Mr. Kreeg’s infamous house, watch as college students viciously transform to bloodthirsty werewolves and dismember the town, and come face-to-face with Sam – an evil Halloween spirit who readies to punish rule-breakers.
Carnival Graveyard: Rust in Pieces
As guests trespass into a dilapidated carnival, they will find a maze of decayed rides and games – and soon discover they are not alone. Horrifying guard dogs, a grotesque ‘tunnel of love’, gleefully vicious performers loaded with deadly weapons fabricated from old rides and more will stalk guests’ every move as they try their best to escape Carnival Graveyard: Rust in Pieces.
ScaryTales: Deadly Ever After
The twisted minds of Universal Orlando’s Entertainment team are bringing back a fan-favorite with a whole new twist in ScaryTales: Deadly Ever After. Guests will encounter The Wicked Witch of the West, who has seized control of the fairytale realm and is tormenting treasured storybook characters in hideous and cruel alternate storylines. As guests venture through this nightmarish bedtime story, they’ll see familiar characters now turned evil including Hansel and Gretel salivating for human flesh, a splattered Humpty Dumpty and more.
In the haunted house, guests will enter a decrepit drive-in movie theater and jump through the screens of original storylines filled with monsters and nightmares inspired by 80s horror B-movies. They will come face-to-face with terrifying creatures with razor-sharp teeth in Midnight Snacks 2: The House Swarming; deadly werewolf bikers in Devil Dogs; a lethal barber in Barber Chop and more.
Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 25 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights to become victims inside their own horror film. Multiple movie-quality mazes based on iconic horror television shows, films and original stories come to life season after season. And, the streets of each park’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing scare-actors lunge from every darkened corner.
For more information about Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com. Additional details about the events will be revealed soon. All tickets and vacation packages are now on sale.
Jacksonville’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) will be hosting Drowning World from world-renowned photographer Gideon Mendel. The series features photographs he’s captured from around the world of floods and the people affected by them, including some from locals in Jacksonville and Middleburg after Hurricane Irma hit the First Coast, which he did as part of his winning the Jury Prize of the 2016 Greenpeace Photo Awards. I spoke to him to learn more about his work and his hopes for the reception of the exhibition.
What led you to this photo series? Why did you choose flooding?
The project emerged 11 years ago at a time when I had young children, and I was trying to do a mental exercise of when they are my age, what will the world look like. I was concerned about global warming and climate change and the images used on the issue. I felt that they were very distancing. I saw a lot of images of polar bears and glaciers, but not very many of people. I set about to do something which is kind of visceral which really shows the faces, the eyes, the people who are dealing with climate disasters. I wanted to make it very in-your-face. The central narrative of Drowning World is a series I call ‘Submerged Portraits,’ people in their flooded homes and flooded communities. It’s quite disconcerting for the viewers because the images are quite conventional portraits but in a hectic and extreme environment.
So why did you choose Jacksonville and the aftermath of Florida in your series?
I was in Houston last year. I travelled there to photograph the impacts of Hurricane Harvey. There was a lot of fear in the media about the impending approach of Hurricane Irma. I had already an interesting connection with Caitlín Doherty who is the Director of MOCA; I did a project with her when she was the acting Director of the Broad Museum in Michigan at MSU. So when Jacksonville was being threatened by flooding, she invited me here to photograph and gave me support and connections to people who could help me. I managed to fly into Jacksonville, and I was slightly in the aftermath of the floods here, but I did a day’s work in Jacksonville, and then I spent a day photographing in Middleburg as the whole Black Creek area had been devastated. It was completely underwater.
How was your experience in Jacksonville and dealing with the different subjects?
People were very warm and very responsive to what I was doing. People were pretty keen to be photographed, and, in a sense, show the world what had happened to them. I had a very particular engagement with with Terrence McKeen and his mother Gloria in Middleburg. They, in a way, are kind of the centerpiece of the exhibition. Their home was underwater, and when I arrived in Middleburg I joined them [in] trying to get through the water to see what had happened to their home. I witnessed Terrence, who on the outside looks like quite a tough guy, but, I went into his home with him, and he just burst into tears. Everything he had seemed completely destroyed. It was quite a profound experience witnessing his discovery of that.
Have the subjects that you photographed in Jacksonville seen the photos and what will be displayed in MOCA?
At the time, I sent everyone the photographs. We are hoping that a lot of the people who were photographed will be coming to the exhibition opening. It’s very important for me in my work to maintain a connection if possible with the people I photograph. I think the opening will be quite a profound event, particularly having Terrance and his mother coming along.
There was another family, Chuck and Mary Highhouse, who I met in that area as well. The water had receded from their home, but they had a lot of possessions. She is a former school teacher, and there was a whole team of her ex pupils and colleagues, about 30 people, laying out her photographs, drying out her possessions. It was quite amazing to see that incredible support of her community and the help she was getting from the people who knew her.
When you are choosing locations for the series, does it occur to you to go to places where the consensus isn’t so progressive on combating climate change?
I don’t plan my locations in that sense. Obviously, in America for some reason, climate change has been cast as a debate. I try to avoid getting into that argument and that dialogue. For me, it isn’t a debate at all. I certainly wasn’t trying to say, ‘this is an area where a lot of people deny climate change, we’ll see how it feels when they are affected.’ There was nothing remotely like that going on for me when I chose and respond to areas.
For many, climate change seems unfathomable. How do you think your photos help push that understanding and put it into perspective?
I think part of my mission is to set up a kind of global discussion and dialogue. Putting images from all over the world side-by-side is a part of it. What’s important to me is avoiding the conventional narrative of disaster is something that is happening far away to black or brown people, the conventional thinking of the pathetic Third World facing disaster. It’s important to me to have a mixture of people, culture, nationality and class included. I photograph people living in the poorest tin shacks in Bangladesh and people living in multi-million dollar houses in Texas. Despite the incredible differences, there is also a shared vulnerability and some kind of connection through the flood water. The newest iteration of the project which we are launching for the first time in Jacksonville is a new, multichannel video piece I’ve made called ‘Deluge’. It’s a piece which positions individual stories within a global narrative. There are different screens from across the world that are shown simultaneously. I think a lot of people respond to that very, very strongly. It’s a very hard thing to get across, and it’s quite a complex piece, and I hope it will go a little bit of the way to doing that.
I don’t necessarily feel that I want to prescribe a response or analysis. I’d like to think someone who is a climate change activist and someone who is a climate change denialist would both get a lot from the experience of seeing my exhibition. I don’t want it to be something that is purely preaching to the converted.
Have the photos from the Jacksonville series been displayed anywhere else?
Yes, they have. Certainly the photos from Middleburg. In the series I have a kind of small roster of a-list pictures, and the portrait of Terrence McKeen and his mother Gloria has joined it. That’s already been shown in two exhibitions I’ve had in Germany, an exhibition in Kyoto, Japan, and a pending exhibition in Sweden and one in Casablanca coming up shortly.
Numerous fish species, unbeatable weather, and a healthy fishing infrastructure make the First Coast a fisherman’s paradise. Our state offers 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline, 10,550 miles of rivers, 7,700 lakes, and countless ponds. Fishing the First Coast offers a multitude of options. From offshore saltwater fishing, surf fishing, bridge fishing, river fishing and plenty of freshwater ponds or lakes around, there are options far and wide.
Inspiration That Lasts a Lifetime
Former Jacksonville Beach Councilman and Mayor Rick Hale has been fishing Florida’s waters for close to 70 years. The Jacksonville Beach native’s passion for fishing was largely influenced by his father. “My dad used to take me fishing all the time,” Hale says, “We used to do a lot of surf fishing and we used to fish the Intercoastal Waterways.” Their father-son adventures led to a lifelong passion for fishing.
Hale owns Rick’s Bait & Tackle, a weathered fisherman’s treasure trove tucked next to the Beach Blvd Boat Ramp in Jacksonville Beach. Rick’s seasoned crew welcomes fishing enthusiasts of all experience levels. They eagerly share their knowledge of local fishing conditions and will outfit you with exactly what you need for a successful day on the water.
For best success, fishermen should check out the bait and tackle shop nearest to their fishing destination. “I think our store is one of the most knowledgeable around the Beaches area, that’s what we do,” Hale says, “If you want to go fishing down in Palm Valley, you go to Palm Valley Outdoors. And there’s a little place out in Guana, Guana Outfitters. The stores all around the different areas of town can give you information on what’s going on in your area.”
With dozens of bait and tackle shops in NE Florida, you’re never far from experienced help.
Keep it Simple
“When someone’s just getting into fishing, we recommend that they don’t go buy the $9000 rod and reel,” Hale advises. The specific gear required will depend on the type of fishing you plan to do, but regardless of style you don’t need to break the bank.
Lifetime Jacksonville resident and fisherwoman Christina Scott agrees. “The best advice I have is not to spend too much money right off the bat,” Scott says, “It’s called fishing, not catching!”
Plan to invest in an inexpensive rod and reel, bait, and fishing license (ages of 16-65). “You can go to the bait and tackle shop and pick up a 5’-7’ fishing rod combo. That’s your rod and your reel. It’ll come with line already on it,” says Captain James Brown of Set da Hook Charters.
Another option is to hire a guide. “When you go out with a guide, you don’t have to bring any equipment,” Captain Brown says, “All of the guides here are pretty seasoned and they’ll teach you different techniques while they have you out. It’s usually a 4-hour trip. You learn a little bit about fishing and a little bit about the area. Get out there and enjoy it.”
Add some sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water and you’re nearly ready to go. Keep careful watch for dangerous flora and fauna, read up on local fishing regulations (see below), and learn the laws of the water if you plan to boat. Lastly, a dose of patience and perseverance are recommended. “Don’t give up just because you’re having a slow day or not catching anything,” advises avid St. Johns fisherman Dave Strasser, “Tomorrow might be the day you catch the big one!”
The Fishing Lowdown
In order to score a First Coast Slam—catching three different fish species on the same day—anglers must snag a spotted seatrout, a redfish, and a flounder. Triple Challenge Tournaments are popular in our area. But fishing exploits need not be limited to these three species. There are hundreds of fresh and saltwater fish varieties thriving in the Southeast. With the St. Johns River and its tributaries in our backyard, anglers have nearly unlimited opportunities for good fishing. Largemouth bass and crappie are popular freshwater fish in our areas.
Miles of shoreline offer great surf fishing too. Whiting, redfish, bluefish, and pompano make for a great catch. “The first time we went surf fishing was at Mickler’s Beach and Andy (husband) snagged a black tip shark and as he was reeling it in, it flipped out of the water and spun around to snap at the line,” says Christina Scott, “We never keep sharks, but they are fun to catch!”
Fort Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach, the Mayport Jetties, the Jacksonville Beach Pier, St. Augustine’s Ocean Pier, and the Flagler Beach Pier are just a few places to try your hand at saltwater fishing.
“The Matanzas River, the Matanzas Inlet, Washington Oaks, Bings Landing, and Princess Place Preserve all offer great fishing opportunities,” says Adam Morley, owner of Genung’s Fish Camp in Crescent Beach, “Target redfish, trout, flounder, and black drum, but don’t be surprised if you reel in some small sharks, rays, catfish, or a blue crab now and again.”
Redfish is a local favorite. “It’s a big, muscular fish that fights like a bull and they grow to crazy, dinosaur sizes,” Captain Brown says, “They get very large and very heavy and twice a year they come into the river to breed and to spawn. You can catch the big, massive ones at the jetties.” Just be careful of size and bag limit regulations.
“We have such access to water through our community of parks, just get out there and go fishing!” Captain Brown says. The more you study and practice, the better success you’ll have. “Once you’ve been fishing for a while, you start to learn the pattern of the fish. You read up, you research what they do, how they breed, how they feed, the times they like to eat, and the times that they say, ‘I don’t want nothing to eat. You’re not catching me today.’ Those are really the challenges: finding them and then getting them to eat what you’re throwing at them.”
Tranquility, Community, and Connection With Nature
For many of Northeast Florida’s fishing enthusiasts, fishing is an enjoyable and relaxing pastime. For some, it’s also a chance to give back. For others, it offers healing.
“The most rewarding part about fishing in our area is the awesome community of fishermen. It’s a tight knit group of great people and most of the tournaments I fish support local charities,” says Jacksonville fisherman Matt Crews, “I joined the local chapter of Heroes on the Water two years ago and have been able to make an impact on the lives of our local veterans and first responders. We take them out for a day of kayak fishing and comradery, providing the kayaks, fishing gear, a guide, and lunch. It’s all free and run by volunteers. Many of the vets we serve are struggling with physical and mental scars; we help them rehabilitate and reintegrate through kayak fishing and the outdoors.”
“Fishing is such a tranquil sport,” Captain Brown contributes, “It will probably be one of the most tranquil sports you will ever do as long as you have patience. It will build patience if you don’t have it. Or you’ll quit. And you’ll meet some of the nicest people. It’s one of the most fun sports you can do and it gets you outdoors.”
“There are plenty of great and beautiful spots to fish in our area. The challenging part is just finding time to go,” lifelong fisherman Dave Strasser adds, “It’s rewarding being out in nature and having a good day catching any kind of fish.”
Fishing is a great opportunity to get outside, connect with nature, ditch technology, and reconnect as a family. It doesn’t require expensive equipment and is accessible to people of all abilities and ages. Whether you’re into cast netting, shrimping, crabbing, deepwater excursions, fresh or saltwater angling, or even just casting a line into your neighborhood lake with your kids, fishing is a fabulous way to pass time, build bonds, and make memories. It’s an opportunity to connect with neighbors and meet new people. Get hooked on fishing! The First Coast is an ideal place to fish for the first time or to pursue a passion a lifetime in the making.
Florida is a killer place to cast a line. In addition to 4 million resident anglers, approximately 2 million people visit Florida to fish annually. Fishing is a multi-billion dollar industry. From major tournaments to laid-back fishing along the St. Johns River, there’s a bit of something for every taste and talent. Here are 10 facts about fishing in Florida that you should know.
If you’re 16-65, you need a freshwater fishing license.
For those under 16 or developmentally disabled, a license is not required. Florida residents 65+ qualify for a free Senior Citizen Hunting and Fishing Certificate. For those ages 16-65, a current freshwater fishing license is required. Annual, five-year, and lifetime licenses are available.
You might need a saltwater fishing license, or you might not.
Florida saltwater law is a bit complicated. If you’re fishing in saltwater from land or a structure fixed to land, from a boat with a Vessel Saltwater Fishing License, or from a pier with a Pier Saltwater Fishing License, you do not need a personal saltwater fishing license. There are numerous regulations, so talk to your county tax collector or bait and tackle shop about the type of fishing you intend to do and licenses required.
If you fish with licensed charter captains, you don’t need a fishing license at all. They’ve got you covered.
So long as there is a valid vessel license, you’re good to go.
If you’re hoping to hook a big one, Florida is the place to be.
Florida has more world-record catches than any other state–or country. The largest fish on record was a 123-lb Alligator Gar caught in the Choctawhatchee River in 1995.
You must research and abide by local fishing laws and regulations or risk fines and/or jail time.
Redfish can grow up to 45 inches and weigh up to 51 lbs in Florida, but if you catch and keep a redfish that size you’ll find yourself in trouble with Florida Fish and Wildlife. In NE Florida, there’s a limit of two redfish per person daily and fish must be between 18-27’’ in length. There are regulations about gear and fishing style too (spearing, gigging, or bow-fishing a redfish is illegal). Read up before you cast. If you’re caught breaking regulations, there are stiff penalties.
Fishing from a bridge or pier is a great alternative to a boat.
If you’d like to catch large ocean fish but don’t have a boat, no worries. Fish move through our waterways within easy reach from a bridge or pier. They love hanging out around the pilings, so fishing straight down is your best bet. There may be a charge to fish from a pier; fishing from bridges is free.
The best time of day to fish depends on many factors.
Time of day, lunar cycle, spawning cycles, and weather patterns all affect your likelihood of getting a bite.
There’s water everywhere… just cast a line!
Florida boasts 2,270 miles of tidal shoreline and over 11,000 miles of waterways. There are infinite places to fish.
Shrimp run in the summer and the fall in NE Florida.
There’s a summer run (July-August) and a winter run (November-December). You need a Recreational Saltwater Fishing License to shrimp and are allowed no more than 5 gallons of shrimp per harvester daily.
There are hundreds of fish varieties in Florida’s waters.
Some of the most popular fish to catch are tarpon, spotted sea trout, snook, sailfish, redfish (red drum), largemouth bass, grouper, panfish, mackerels, and snappers.
Northeast Florida has a strong Southern food game, but we also shine when it comes to dishes from the water, sometimes from unexpected places. While places such as Safe Harbor, The Fish Company, Timoti’s and others that specialize in seafood are local favorites, there are a number of from-the-water dishes that residents love, even in places that don’t have seafood front and center.
At Blue Bamboo on the Southside, there’s three dishes we recommend, depending on what you’re craving. For a lunch item we think their fish sandwich is a winner. It’s served in their bento box with their shoestring fries, which are spiced with a little bit of salt and pepper. It’s also a fantastic item for kids or less adventurous eaters. The tuna ceviche has been on the menu for several years, and it’s a go-to item for a lot of folks, at all times of the day. The recipe for it is in Chef Dennis Chan’s cookbook Hip Asian Comfort Food. It’s a favorite of mine because the citrus doesn’t overpower the fish, which is true of too many ceviches out there. The added ginger and sesame oil take it over the top as one of the tastiest ceviches you’ll find on the first coast. The Velvet Yu Kew combines steamed rice, bok choy, carrots, and straw mushrooms served with a ginger-garlic sauce with a flaky white fish and rice, for a classy-from-the-water stir fry.
Another place with an Asian flair and a recommended item is Timwah’s crispy fried shrimp balls. This dim sum delight might not be for everyone, but it’s a staple on the West Coast. Here in Jacksonville, we do things larger, so these aren’t bite sized. It’s ground shrimp rolled into a ball, bound loosely by strips of wonton wrappers and deep fried.
Downtown’s Cowford Chophouse has a strong fish game, so if you’re going for something high-hat downtown, try the fish of the day. We also love their duck fat cornbread, which is topped with Maine lobster, and lump crab meat, with crème fraîche, dill, tarragon, paprika oil. The seafood and creme balances out the cornbread and the paprika flavor.
Everyone has their go-to menu item, even when they’re at a restaurant they’ve never been to before. Mine happens to be shrimp and grits, an item that has found itself on many a local menu. The best thing about the dish, is that every restaurant has their particular take on it–so it’s familiar, with elements in common, but it’s an excellent way to get to know the flavor profile of a chef. Downtown we can recommend two places to try it– the Candy Apple Cafe and Nola MOCA. At the Candy Apple, there’s a bit of Cajun flair to the dish, with the shrimp sharing the spotlight with sausage, and the grits are served Southern-style topped with a rich roux. The grits at the Nola are served as smoked cheddar grit cakes, and the sauce is white wine and mushroom based. The shrimp keep company with applewood smoked bacon and sun-dried tomato crostini.
Asking around on social media about fish dishes in unexpected places, Black Sheep at 5 Points’ Smoked Trout salad garnered one of the strongest responses from local residents. The Carolina Rainbow trout has been on the menu for about two years, featured in two places on their menu– in the starter Smoked Trout Rillettes and in the Kale and Smoked Trout Salad.
Although the fish isn’t local, the kale in the salad is–from the outstanding Bacon’s Select Produce. If you haven’t had anything from the Bacon family, you are missing out. The lettuce they sell at Riverside Arts Market that will benefit any salad you make at home. Everything, including the kale, is grown hydroponically.
The Kale and Smoked Trout Salad is popular at brunch, lunch and dinner. Says Chef Waylon Rivers, “It’s a lightly smoked fish, not overly done, which I think is appealing. It’s brined for a few hours ahead of time so there’s some nice background flavors aside from the smoked fish flavor. It’s a well-balanced dish.”
A newer place that’s been heating up because of their stellar sandwich game, Bread & Board has their Banh Mi Shrimp sandwich. Chef Dwayne Beliakoff says they’re inspired by Florida seafood and love using in their recipes “Key West pink shrimp are the perfect match for our spicy homemade chili sauce in our version of the classic Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich. Sweet, spicy, and exotic goodness heaped into fresh bread,” says Beliakoff
We’re sure you’ve got your own favorites from unexpected places, let us know on social media with the hashtag #UnexpectedFlavorJax.
It’s no secret that people love dogs. Many of those same people also love hanging with friends over a cold beer or a good cup of coffee. Sadly, most venues won’t let you enjoy both. Jason Underwood and Lauren Wyckoff developed the concept for BrewHound, an off-leash dog park with an open-air bar, to create a common ground for people to enjoy all of what they love in a natural setting.
“That’s really what we want to generate is this core community of animal lovers and a place for everybody to hang out and share ideas,” says Wyckoff. “It’s a cool way to get people out of their comfort zone and doing other things, not just being there, but the bigger picture of coordinating stuff together and getting back to the center of what it’s all about.”
Located on an acre of wooded land between Florida and Atlantic boulevards in Neptune Beach, BrewHound will offer designated areas for small and large breed dogs, trail maps, a bicycle pump station and “the porch” where guests can enjoy a craft beer, glass of wine, or locally roasted Bold Bean coffee. The property is also situated on the East Coast Greenway and connects to a new 1,050-foot paved trail which runs along Florida Boulevard from Fifth Street to A1A.
The 1,200-square-foot open air beer garden will be open to anyone with or without a dog. Daily, weekly or monthly membership fees will be required to enter the leash-free area to ensure all dogs are current with their vaccinations. Discounted rates will be offered on annual memberships for all current service-members, veterans, and first responders.
“Ruffarees” will be on hand to monitor behavior and even keep an eye on your pup while you refresh your drink. “We figured we should be able to take our dogs literally everywhere we go to hang out,” says Underwood. “So, we had this crafty idea of combining both the social setting and dogs, off leash.”
When the couple first unleashed the concept for BrewHound, they had recently rescued their third dog and were missing the new addition to their family while they were out of town. The idea started brewing over poolside cocktails, fittingly Greyhounds. Both Underwood and Wyckoff are environmental scientists who share a love of the outdoors. Whether camping, hiking or just enjoying nature, their three dogs, Too, Wicket and Scrambles, are always in tow. A project like BrewHound was the perfect way to fuse their love of dogs with their passion for the outdoors.
“They say that ideas come and go, and not every one is a winner. But when you find one that’s a winner right off the bat, you either make it happen or you let it cruise on by,” says Underwood. “What I didn’t know was on the way home, Lauren’s wheels were turning.”
With her entrepreneurial spirit in overdrive, Wyckoff quickly catalogued the couple’s available resources. By the following week, she’d framed a business plan, developed marketing strategies and tapped into her professional network to get the dog park off the ground. The pair worked with The Pratt Guys to complete renderings of the property and an architect helped develop the engineering plans for city approval.
The pair researched similar projects located in progressive, metropolitan markets including Seattle, Austin and Charlotte and realized that a mixed-use park would be the perfect fit for the Beaches community. “The beach is such a unique community. There is culture, but you still have that small-town feel,” says Wyckoff. “There’s a bit of everything, so I thought what a cool place to do something like that. What if we could find some land?”
Underwood tapped into money he saved from his yearlong deployment to Afghanistan to buy the oddly-shaped and overgrown parcel of land. After finally closing on the property in April, the couple have invested countless hours clearing the brush and cutting away branches on their own to reveal a diamond in the “ruff.”
“I had some money saved up from when I was in the Army, so I said, ‘let’s make it happen. It really does make a difference when you just get outside. That’s why we’re really trying to make this a space for people to do that,” he says. “After work, take your dog and let him run crazy and get tired, and you don’t have the guilt factor of wanting to take your dog out but want to go to dinner or happy hour. So, you either let your dog out real quick and leave again or don’t go anywhere. This way you can do both.”
Being a combat veteran also played a significant role in his appreciation for pups and the services they provide for men and women who have experienced combat. He joined the Army right out of college, serving as a maneuver platoon leader with the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado. At 24, he was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in the summer of 2010.
He remembers Cali, a stray puppy he encountered on patrol in Kandahar during a routine patrol of the city. Underwood recalls the small mixed breed pup sniffing around outside of one of the patrol base gates. They named her “Cali” after the small company-sized outpost they manned in Kandahar.
“There were signs posted around some of the bigger bases overseas stating that under no circumstances were soldiers to befriend or even pet stray animals, but after nine straight months of being over there with no break, I didn’t pay much thought to what the signs said,” remembers Underwood. “I was going to get that puppy and hold it, pet it, name it, and carry it around wherever I could until someone made me stop. Metaphorically, that little puppy was a lit candle in a dark room. We kept her for as long as we could until we were moved to a new position in the city. Unfortunately, we couldn’t bring her with us.”
After he got out of the Army, Underwood left Anchorage, Alaska, behind to start a new life in Florida with Wyckoff and her dog Too, whom she rescued off the street in Orlando over 12 years ago. While he was tying up loose ends in Alaska, Wyckoff rescued Wicket, a feisty little border-collie mix, from the Clay County kill shelter. With Underwood finally settled in Florida for good, the couple brought home Scrambles, a food-crazy hound mix, from the Amelia Island Humane Society.
Underwood also decided it was time to seek treatment for anxiety and trauma he experienced during his time in service. In addition to counseling and therapy, he credits the dogs for providing a sense of balance and comfort. “I can’t put into words how crucial an animal is to a combat veteran. Coming from a life of constant uncertainty, stress, and that uneasy feeling that makes you constantly look over your shoulder, the girls gave me a reason to seek help. In a lot of ways, [they] kept me grounded. I feel at ease around them,” he says.
“It’s almost magical that they can sense our feelings and adjust their behavior based off them. Dogs often train us more efficaciously than we believe we train them. They react to our emotions, feelings, and actions in ways that make sense to them, but often not us. This pattern of behavior, if we pay attention, can teach us to keep our own behavior in check,” he says.
Once BrewHound is up and running, a weekly trainer will be on site to provide instruction on various behaviors. Planned events will also include a quarterly pet market and partnership with such organizations as Go Ruck, Canines for Warriors and the VFW in Jacksonville Beach. Future collaborations could also include the Wounded Warrior Project.
“I believe dogs can give service members the most similar feeling of ‘brotherhood’ that you feel when in a combat scenario. They always have your back. They love you. They would do anything for you,” says Underwood. “My girls aren’t service dogs. They are not professionally trained to perform the duties of a service dog. However, they continue to impress upon me the strength to be a good leader and never give up.”
There are still a few hurdles to clear before breaking ground. Plans for the space are still in development review in Neptune Beach, and once approved, it will take an estimated six to seven months to complete build-out and open the fences. Until then, Underwood and Wyckoff will enjoy watching their dream take shape with a cold beer or a good cup of coffee and their three dogs by their side.
If you’ve ever dreamed of beachfront living with a swim-up bar, 40-foot waterslides, and unique restaurants and entertainment all in your backyard, you just might be in luck.
Crews completed the process of filling in the crystal-clear Beachwalk Lagoon in northern St. Johns County on Monday, July 23, 2018. The 14-acre lagoon contains 37 million gallons of water and will serve as the anchor for the Beachwalk development off CR-210. Developer John Kinsey tossed a ceremonial final bucket of water into the lagoon where residents will soon enjoy swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding or relaxing along the 100-foot wide white quartz beach. Kinsey hopes future residents will be swimming in the lagoon by late August or early September of this year.
Several model homes stand in the busy construction zone, casting a vision for what this coastal master planned community dreams to achieve. The development will host approximately 800 homes ranging from the high $300,000 to more than $800,000 as well as a 348-unit apartment complex.
The lagoon’s south shore will host an upscale shopping plaza bustling with dining, shopping, and entertainment. There’s room for a grocery store, office space, and even plans for a 12-14 screen movie theater. Kinsey’s goal is to create a “totally unique lifestyle” at Beachwalk, “Everything you see in this community will be new and different from what you might see in older communities.” The location couldn’t be better either. Just south of Jacksonville, Beachwalk is a short hop from NE Florida’s historic and cultural attractions and music and sporting events. “It’s 90 seconds from I-95, 60 seconds off of US-1,” Kinsey says.
When asked how he came up for the idea of Beachwalk, the amiable developer laughs. “I’m just crazy,” he jokes. Kinsey’s company has owned the 1200 acre property for over a decade and has witnessed St. Johns County’s astronomical growth. CR-210 is jam-packed with housing developments. St. Johns County ranks consistently as the #1 county to live in Florida and is the 18th fastest-growing county in the nation. This population boom shows no signs of slowing down soon. Kinsey knew that if he wanted to succeed, he would have to get creative, “We said, let’s create a community that is going to be a higher-end experience with the most unique amenity you could do.”
When Kinsey learned about Crystal Lagoons, a Chile based company with US headquarters in Miami, he thought he might be on to something. Crystal Lagoons promises crystalline, manmade lagoons with the ability to transform any piece of land into a beachfront attraction. Crystal Lagoons use 100 times less chemicals than conventional swimming pools and only 2% of the energy used by conventional swimming pool filtration systems. The clean, turquoise water makes for a year-round playground. “If done right, this technology has the potential to be a complete game changer,” Kinsey says.
“There’s no sea weed. There’s no sea lice, no sharks. There’s no Portuguese Man of War. The staff will know you and your kids and it’s a short walk from your house.”
In addition to beachside living, the approximately 20,000 sq. ft. Member’s Only Beach Club will host a restaurant and swim-up bar, large fitness center, multi-purpose room, heated pool, six Har-Tru tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, a playground, kayak and paddleboard rentals, waterslides, and an 18-hole putt-putt golf course.
To his skeptics, Kinsey says, “Here it is!”
“We’re the first ones doing something quite like this and there have been bumps in the road,” he admits, “But the lagoon and beachfront have come together exactly like we hoped it would.”
The Caribbean inspired architecture and laid-back opulence don’t come cheap, though Kinsey points out that prices are similar to other master planned communities in the area.
Residents can enjoy the resort lifestyle every day. Shopping, entertainment, and dining will be open to all. In a county where state-of-the-art amenity centers are par for the course, a crystalline lagoon just may turn heads. North Floridians are curiously watching John Kinsey’s wild dream come to fruition.