On father-son fishing trips, Bart Swab’s dad taught him not only how to cast his line but also how to treat the aquatic ecosystem surrounding him with respect. Now a licensed and insured guide, Swab helps other fisherman appreciate the open water’s beauty, helming kayak trips through Florida’s pristine saltwater marshes. After arming prospective kayakers with safety tips and familiarizing them with their fishing equipment, Swab guides lead paddlers into the water. They maintain a 3-inch draft that allows students in kayaks to sneak up on fish without having to glue sequins to their skin to look like scales. Kayakers can also gaze through binoculars at the diverse fauna roaming the area’s shores. Trips range from a half day to a full day, and for a more structured route, participants can opt for destination trips to seasonal hot spots, where they can search out fish such as black drum, sheepshead, and tarpon.
It might be hard to believe considering its vast array of products, but Sears, Roebuck and Co. began with one accessory: watches. In 1886, Richard W. Sears bought a box of unwanted watches from a jeweler, thinking he could turn a profit by selling them. He was correct and committed to the watch business by hiring Alvah C. Roebuck, an experienced watchmaker.
As time went on, though, their business expanded its umbrella far beyond what people wore on their wrists. Sears became known as the place to shop for almost any appliance, from sewing machines to those magical boxes that create water from nothing and clean your clothes.
Today, the stores stock clothing, accessories, electronics, kitchen equipment, tools for outdoor living, and home decor. This variety is sustained by Sears's proprietary brands—Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, to name a few—and other national names that populate the shelves.
Nestled amid a tangle of scenic tributaries and the boundless Intracoastal Waterway, Cast and Cruise Boat and Sport furnishes adventurers with the requisite vessels for nautical exploration. Setting out from the Vilano boat ramp, kayakers can paddle along the gentle cerulean waves, spotting the pods of dolphins, flocks of seabirds, and the manatee dance troupes that inhabit the area. Those who prefer to sightsee from a higher vantage point and prefer distance from the salty spray can take the motorized reins of a sprawling pontoon boat replete with drink coolers, a radio, and sunny or shaded seating for up to 14 people.
It would be hard for Ormond Beach Kayak Center to have a better location. To its east stretches the great expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, and to its west lies the Tomoka River. Trees overhang the river's waters, and the marsh offers opportunities to spy birds, deer, deer dressed like giant birds, and other wildlife. Ormond Beach Kayak Center makes use of its scenery with fishing, surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. The team leads tours and lessons, and they also ferry rental gear to and from the ocean or river.
Captain Pat Needham of Buck N Bass Sports Center & Outfitters equips adventurers on fishing, hunting, and other outdoor activities in the nearly 400,000-acre Ocala National Forest. Beneath the mounted bass and 7-foot standing black bear in the shop's interior, an array of gear inspires a multitude of outdoor adventures, from snaring largemouth bass and catfish to sneaking up on squirrels and demanding your Nutter Butters back. Soft baits, such as Reaction Strike, Warrior, and Yum ($3.75–$8.45), undulate beguilingly at the end of ineluctable hooks and tackle ($1.10–$9.99). Jig heads and bodies, such as Fire-Fly, Road Runner, and Jiffy Jigs ($0.60–$4), dance open water at the end of strong spider-silk fishing line, including Vicious, Berkley Big Game, and Sufix ($1.80–$24.10). Dedicate today's Groupon toward storybook-worthy exploits with rugged rods and reels ($10.75–$174.95), camping and hiking gear ($1.90–$200), or hunting ammo and clothing ($2.50–$300) to spur a quest for the buck that grazed insults into your lawn.
An area native, Captain Ron Hatcher cast his line for the first time at the tender age of 7 and never looked back. Fifty years later, he knows the Halifax River and Ponce Inlet area like the back of his hand, and shares his knowledge with those who head out with him during chartered fishing trips. Providing rods, reels, and bait, Capt. Ron's fishing adventures are suited for curious beginners and more experienced passengers alike.