This year some of our fishing friends did not have such a happy holiday.
On Dec. 10, a brief but violent storm hit the Terra Mar Village in Edgewater and spoiled Christmas for most everyone there.
The official count was 90 homes with damage out of the nearly 200 there, but no one escaped cleanly.
Terra Mar is an idyllic little community nestled on the banks of the Indian River east of U.S. 1. My old fishing buddy Captain Leo Hiles lives there and, like him, most of the residents fish.
Through the years, I have met many of the fine folks who call Terra Mar home and a couple years ago I joined Capt. Leo for a fishing seminar in their clubhouse. Each time I make the trip, I wind up talking fishing with the residents I meet at the boat ramp. It's a nice place and nice folks. I have it from Leo that some of the hardest hit were those just getting by on Social Security and they have no insurance to cover their losses. Now the federal government says they won't be helping, so those people are in trouble. Capt. Leo reported the county sheriff's deputies were great during the blackout, making sure only the folks who belonged there were able to walk the streets. He also said Florida Power and Light was quick on the scene with full crews to do their best to get the community back up and running.
The next day volunteers came from as far as Orlando to help with the clean up. It's nice to see that when push comes to shove our citizens will step up to help those in need. Our hearts go out to those in Terra Mar.
This is my last column for 2012, a year that turned out to be a great one for local fishing.
In the brackish inshore, the flounder continued almost as strong as in 2011. Everyone I spoke with had tales of good numbers throughout. My own catch of tasty flatfish was at 89 for the year. I began counting in mid-March and ended in October. That number represents a lot of fun and many good meals. One note to my flounder year was that I began using plastic bass worms as a successful backup -- a nice surprise.
Despite the fine flounder year, I think 2012 will be most remembered for trout. This year, I don't think anyone who tried missed out on spotted sea trout. From boat, docks, pier or shore, just about any place you threw found a willing trout. I began the year catching a ton of small ones and ended it in the middle of a gator trout feeding frenzy -- all good fun for sure.
My red fish catch fell off dramatically this year, but I heard others did well. I can count on one hand the red drum of more than 25 inches that I landed. Most of the ones I did catch were between 20 and 23 inches and I can tell you there was not enough of those. My poor red fish catch may have been due to the fact I spent most of the summer targeting flounder. Still I should have had more reds and this year I will make an effort to do better. Capt. Leo says his red fish catch was much the same as mine. As you know, the Northern Lagoon suffered through a terrible algae bloom for most of the summer.
Shrimp ran hard, but briefly in the Halifax during the hot weather and now we are all waiting for the next chance at them. Dipping is good right now in Oak Hill.
In West Volusia, the specks were solid and are now doing well at the height of the season. Largemouth were spotty, but on the right day some tore them up. I hope everyone has a safe and healthy new year and that your coolers stay full. Let's keep Terra Mar Village in our thoughts and help where we can.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. E-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.