A ten-minute walk from my home is Sanchez Park which overlooks Strickland Creek, a brackish backwater that is fed by Thompson Creek from the south. Strickland meanders northward and empties into the Tomoka River which feeds the Halifax River.
My photo of Strickland Creek shows John’s Island to the left (west), an area known for deer. To the right (east) is the pristine section of Sanchez Park.
During the Great Depression of the 1930’s Strickland Creek was dredged (and possibly widened) to combat mosquitoes by improving the movement of the water. I’m curious to hear what others know about this time period of Strickland’s history.
Along the dock area of Sanchez Park people come with scraps of raw chicken, dangling the bait to catch crabs that hide in the water that is dark with tannic acid (likely from oak trees). My fishing efforts have never been successful here, but within the past couple of years some fishermen, especially young guys, have enthusiastically told me they’ve caught snook using live shrimp by casting all the way across the creek nearly to the bank on the west side. Their stories never have the proof of a string of fish or a bucket of fish or even a single fish. On the other hand, Kent Gibbens, an expert fishing guide for the past forty years or so, has often taken his client fishermen in his boat to spots where snook abound; he knows just where to go north of Sanchez on the Creek, and like a battle-savy captain takes command of both the Creek and the fish.
I recall that about thirty years ago, shortly after we moved near Sanchez, that a sewage spill killed off the fish in the backwaters between Thompson Creek and Strickland, but I personally didn’t see this. Off and on, through the years I’ve taken some interest in Thompson Creek which is little more than a cut canal that flows north, crosses under Granada Avenue, and continues its run just west of Ormond Ace Hardware as it drains toward Wilmette Avenue before joining Strickland Creek. When my son was young we explored this and another nearby creek, and some years later we tromped back into the slough north of Wilmette to try fishing there to the west of where it crosses U.S. 1 and then empties into Strickland. My son made a little project for fifteen minutes or more, trying to catch a mud fish there in shallow water no more than a foot or so deep. Another time we played at catching a gar in the little creek that crosses Wilmette, once again catching nothing, and making ourselves mosquito bait when we slipped deeper into the woods along that creek, heading upwater to the south. The gar fish, like Captain Nemo’s submarine, drifted below the surface, not quite out of sight, as though searching to find where to let the crew out to hunt along the creek bottom. The history of these creeks is known for the most part mainly by the fish.
I’m curious to hear from others about any history of these areas.