Two minutes later, I hit my first portage. There would be more of these ... many, many more.
Right after the first portage, an otter popped up next to me and paused for a breath and a picture.
Already the trip was worth it.
Always take limpkin advice. Just ahead, a shallow stretch looked like a B-52 had unloaded on it. The bowl shaped depressions are bream beds. Bluegills and shellcrackers fan out these nests, lay eggs in them and then defend them against all tresspassers ... well, maybe not against the otter, but almost any other trespasser.
The beds went on for 20 yards or so and covered the entire bottom. It was easy to see the bream and largemouth bass cruising by in the clear water. The main source for the Waccasassa River is Blue Springs near the town of Bronson. In a drought like this one, it's supplying most of the water in the river so the clarity is excellent.
I was barely paddling, just drifting with the current and munching a piece of Publix fried chicken. In this first part of the trip, I was passing through a short section of the river that was straightened out back in the cypress logging days early in the last century. In an narrow bend in the river that's usually several feet deeper there were some old square timbers and a few pilings from an old logging rail trestle. The water was only knee deep due to the low river conditions, so I checked for gators, then hopped out to poke around.
Suddenly, I knew why the limpkin had urged me on.