Recently our family discovered a new local outdoor activity that we all enjoy, seining at GTM Research Reserve. The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve offers monthly Family Seining events that are so fun for all ages. Seining is a method of fishing that uses a seine, a type of net. The seine hangs vertically in the water with weights on the bottom. There are two poles on either side of the net that two people hold as they walk slowly with the net while dragging it along the bottom of the water to fish.
The GTM Research Reserve offers Family Seining events led by knowledgeable volunteers and GTM naturalists. Upon arrival at a Saturday morning session, you’ll be instructed to gear up in provided waders. I suggest wearing socks, leggings, or shorts and a tee shirt or sun shirt underneath. After a brief introduction on instructions, the volunteers will guide you and your group to start seining.
Seining is Fun for the Whole Family
The seining event takes place at the beautiful GTM Reserve that runs along the Guana, Tolomato, and Matanzas Rivers. As you pull your nets through Guana Lake you may catch species of fish, shrimp, crabs, and other marine life. We’ve collected flounder, puerfish, shrimp, crabs, lots of ghost jellies and so much more! As you seine, you will collect your findings and place them in buckets to identify, observe and measure before releasing them back into their habitats. Not only is this a unique experience you will definitely learn some new things about our local waterways and the estuary that the GTM works so hard to preserve.
To attend Seining at GTM Research Reserve events you must preregister online. There is no fee for the event but there is a $3 cash parking fee. Make sure to bring water in a reusable cup. Once the event is finished, stay and explore the trails or have a picnic lunch along the lake or at the pavilion. On your way out there is also an amazing nature center that explains the estuary and habitats beautifully. This area is great for hiking, and you can also venture over to the beach side of the park.
Visit GTM National Estuarine Research Reserve
The GTM National Estuarine Research Reserve is located at 505 Guana River Road in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082. Participants should meet at the Guana Dam Recreational Area which is located at the boat launch.
Jillian Gishler is a New Englander at heart. Born in Jacksonville Beach, she grew up in Massachusetts but was beckoned back to Florida by Mickey Mouse for a Disney World Internship. She returned to the beach in 2005 after graduating from Florida State. Ten years ago she opened her handmade & vintage collective shop, Sew Vicious, in Neptune Beach. Jillian raises chickens, is a passionate gardener, a DIYer, a thrift store junkie, a deal loving mama, and has several inspirational travel journals available on Amazon. She leads her daughters Girl Scout Troop, teaches sewing at a local Montessori School, and is a Parents Who Lead Alumni. She loves surprising her husband and daughters with mini-vacations around the Sunshine State.