Speckled perch’s activity increases despite cold
Published: Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 11:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 11:52 p.m.
The typical seasonal favorites are beginning to bite dependably, and the first really cool nights of the season should fire their feeding attitude up even more.
In fresh waters, speckled perch activity has increased in most nearby lakes. So far, angling pressure hasn’t quite caught up with the good action available…and that’s been just fine with the regulars who have had little on-the-water competition.
The locals seem to agree that the early morning speck bite is best. But Ronnie Brown proved Monday that early risers aren’t the only fishers finding the early-season crappies. The Gainesville angler launched at Lochloosa at 10 a.m. and set up a deep-water drift with minnows a few minutes later. By 2 p.m., he had 20 nice-sized specks in his ice chest.
Bluegill and shellcracker also continue to hang on as appealing options, especially on Rodman and Lochloosa. Over the last couple of weeks, the best bream catches seen at Twin Lakes Fish Camp have been pulled from a slowly flowing Cross Creek by cane polers using crickets and live worms for bait.
And some local bass casters here are likewise enjoying plenty of strikes. Danny and Lisa Shanley of Cross Creek cast purple and green plastic worms Sunday to boat and release several Lochloosa largemouths. The Shanley’s good catch included two chunky 3-pound fish and three fine 4-pounders.
Casters on the salty inland waters of the east coast are fishing at night to pull a bunch of good speckled trout from around lighted boat docks. For folks who prefer more standard daytime angling, flounder are the top target. The prized flatfish are taking mud minnows and jigs fished over soft-bottomed slopes and flats. Although we’ve been unable to track it down for confirmation, a persistent report holds that an 18-pound flounder was taken over the weekend at Matanzas Inlet. That would be an incredible, king-sized doormat.
Building numbers of Spanish and king mackerel will soon have the sleek predators in the headlines. But for now, redfish and speckled trout are the stars of the gulf report.
Capt. Jim Keith guided George Gibbs, Randy Jarmon, and Randy Jefferson around shell bars and on the Cedar Key grass flats Friday. The Gainesville trio pulled in several stout redfish, topped by George’s 33-inch beauty. Along with three legal reds, they finished the day with 10 good trout, a Spanish, and two smallish sharks.
Last Saturday, on the Cedar Key flats near Snake Key, Bob Doolittle, Randy Bart and Roger Rockhoff cast jigs and Rapala X-Raps throughout the outgoing tide. From water 6-to-8-feet deep they pulled 30 or more speckled trout, taking home the 10 largest examples. The Gainesville crew also released several jack crevalle and a half-dozen juvenile grouper up to 17-inches.
The weekend report from the Homosassa shallows was similar, and included trout and redfish limits filled by the parties of Captains Todd Cornielle, William Toney, and Marvin Williams. While jigs with white and pink grub tails have long been the preferred trout-catching baits among these guides, the standard redfish bait remains cut mullet — an old-school standard.
The most remarkable recent gulf report comes from the always-productive stretch of coast between Horseshoe Beach and Steinhatchee. When well-known inshore guide, Capt. John Leibach brought in a battered Yozuri Sashimi lure with stretched-out stainless split rings and missing its treble hooks, we knew a good story was coming. It was, indeed.
Two Fridays ago, Leibach and his guests, Dick Childers, Jim DeFord, John Jurnigan and Terry Stradomski, combined to catch and release 80 big reds and two speckled trout over 23-inches. The Yozuri plug, Mirrolures, and jigs fished under rattling floats all worked well for the reds that ranged in size from upper-legal slot, up to 32-inches.
The next day, along with South Carolina angler, Bob Webb, Capt. John hauled in 60 more reds. The high end of the September new moon tide produced the outstanding action near Pepperfish Keys.
Anglers competing in the “Raider Slam” inshore fishing tournament will hope to locate such a bunch of hungry fish. Benefiting Santa Fe High School baseball, the fundraising event will be held out of Suwannee Cove Marina today, and will pay cash prizes in five fresh and saltwater categories. Call Dennis Hart (352) 284-9243 or Hugh Cain (352) 494-0253 for more information.
Gary Simpson is a veteran tournament angler who works at The Tackle Box.
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