Rough winter weather interrupts good fishing

Published: Friday, January 21, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 11:43 p.m.
Winter weather returned just in time for the long holiday weekend and effectively nipped a three-week run of great fishing in the bud. Some brave anglers figured that fish would bite despite the cold and windy conditions - but it didn't take long for most of them to see that the elements would prevail.
Just a handful of determined weekend speckled perch seekers pounded through Lochloosa waves to the somewhat protected tree line along the north and west shores. Even in this relative shelter, conditions were pretty unfriendly, and catches, slim.
It was difficult to find further freshwater reports - from anywhere.
Along with the cold wind, weekend gulf anglers plucky enough to try their luck found yet another enemy. Low midday tides kept anglers off the shallow flats - allowing only airboats and shallow-draft vessels into tidal creeks that should have offered the best trout and redfishing. Folks in larger boats but determined to fish were forced to stay in the deeper rivers - and only one river produced. Chilly weekend anglers casting jigs and Mirrolures within the confines of the Homosassa River did manage nice limits of good trout.
During the mid-week warm up, gulf action picked back up quickly. Veteran Suwannee guide, Capt. Jon Farmer had an interesting assignment Tuesday. Capt. Farmer was charged with putting Dr. Peter Barcai of Kailua, Hawaii, on fish. Adding a bit of extra pressure was the fact that the visitor was accustomed to the world-class fishing his home waters offer. Farmer couldn't help but wonder how he could please someone that had, just two weeks earlier, caught a 150-pound marlin.
The Suwannee tide was low for the first part of the trip, so Farmer headed straight to East Pass. Redfish were abundant on a rocky stretch of river, and the pair boated at least 50 fish. Not one, however, was big enough to keep. A hole in Dan May Creek produced freshwater stumpknockers on every cast, but the Hawaiian fisherman had larger game in mind.
Finally, the tide rose sufficiently for Capt. Farmer to run north to Bumblebee Creek. Here, he located the bite that would finally delight the visiting doctor. Fishing live shrimp, the pair hauled a pair of legal redfish and two dozen stout sheepshead. Dr. Barcai's nine-pound sheepshead was the best of 15 they put on ice.
Later, Capt. Farmer learned that Barnett and Double Barrel Creeks had produced good trout numbers on the same day for fellow guides.
Angling activity in one of the fishiest towns on the Gulf Coast is at near-standstill for more reasons than one. Cold weather has done its share to shut down Cedar Key's sport fishing, but the recent lack of fishing piers has also turned away lots of would-be anglers. Two long-popular piers here suffered damage during the hurricane blitz last fall, and both remain condemned.
The loss of use of the Cedar Key Municipal Pier, in particular, has upset fishers - some of whom have enjoyed it for decades. Cedar Key bait shops aren't happy with the popular pier's current status, either, and don't know when or with what funds repairs might be made.
On a happier note, the dredging of the Cedar Key boat basin is progressing well. Some observers think the work might be complete in time for the reopening of trout season on March 1.
Remember, speckled trout will be illegal to possess in North Florida through the month of February.
Like everywhere else, the reappearance of rough winter weather interrupted what had been fast fishing on the East Coast's inland waterway. Weekend boaters were understandably scarce, but one group from North Carolina did show off several nice trout at Devil's Elbow Fish Camp.
The visitors caught fish for three days running by simply parking at a few locations along A1A, and casting slow-sinking Mirrolures from shore.
Guests are welcome to attend the Jan. 25 meeting of the Gainesville Offshore Fishing Club. This gathering at the Girls Club of Alachua County will feature a program on 'Marine Communications,' presented by Capt. Wiley Horton. This is an important but seldom-covered topic. Capt. Wiley is well schooled on the entire range of marine communications including UHF/VHF, CB, SSB, FRS and cellular telephone technologies. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. For details, call GOFC President Tommy Thompson at (352) 284-1763.
Gary Simpson is a veteran tournament angler who works at the Tackle Box.

Cedar Key

Day 1st high 2nd high 1st low 2nd low
Today 12:43 a.m. 10:40 p.m. 5:42 a.m. 4:57 p.m.
Sat. 1:22 a.m. 11:33 p.m. 6:30 a.m. 5:55 p.m.
Sun. 1:54 a.m. - 7:11 a.m. 6:42 p.m.
Mon. 12:20 a.m. 2:22 p.m. 7:46 p.m. 7:23 p.m.
Tues. 1:02 a.m. 2:48 p.m. 8:17 a.m. 8:01 p.m.
Weds. 1:40 a.m. 3:12 p.m. 8:46 a.m. 8:37 p.m.
Thurs. 2:17 a.m. 3:34 p.m. 9:13 a.m. 9:13 p.m.

St. Augustine

Day 1st high 2nd high 1st low 2nd low
Today 5:35 a.m. 5:50 p.m. 12:07 a.m. -
Sat. 6:23 a.m. 6:36 p.m. 12:02 a.m. 12:54 p.m.
Sun. 7:07 a.m. 7:20 p.m. 12:50 a.m. 1:37 p.m.
Mon. 7:48 a.m. 8:02 p.m. 1:33 a.m. 2:16 p.m.
Tues. 8:27 a.m. 8:42 p.m. 2:14 a.m. 2:52 p.m.
Weds. 9:04 a.m. 9:20 p.m. 2:52 a.m. 3:26 p.m.
Thurs. 9:40 a.m. 9:58 p.m. 3:28 a.m. 3:59 p.m.

Solunar tables

Day Minor Major Minor Major
Today 2:10 8:15 2:25 8:40
Sat. 2:55 9:00 3:10 9:25
Sun. 3:40 9:50 4:00 10:15
Mon. 4:30 10:35 4:45 11:00
Tues. 5:15 11:20 5:30 11:45
Weds. 6:00 - 6:20 12:10
Thurs. 6:50 12:40 7:15 1:00

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