Rodman Reservoir good spot unaffected by drought

Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:19 p.m.

The middle of a cold winter seldom offers a very wide selection of fish or good fishing spots. When you factor in very low lake levels, the pickings get even slimmer.

It’s a sure thing, however, that the best and most dedicated anglers will find the best spots and techniques to produce tight lines.

James Hubbard has found that the best way to battle low water is to go where it isn’t low. And, with that in mind, his top fishing hole has been on Rodman Reservoir, a lake unaffected level-wise by drought. Hubbard launched at Kenwood Landing on Wednesday morning, eased out into a bed of lily pads and fished minnows set about two feet under small floats. The Gainesville angler soon had 22 fine specks, including several slabs in the two-pound class. A fat, three-pound catfish filled out Hubbard’s good take.

Some bass fishers, too, have chosen Rodman with good results.

Charlie Lawson of Orange Springs and Cajun Perry of Citra fished live shiners under floating Rodman vegetation Friday. Aside from the fun of fishing, the men’s trip had another purpose. They were searching for good spots, scouting for an upcoming event that will pair several area guides with Wounded Warriors. The Wounded Warriors organization arranges fishing and hunting trips for combat-wounded veterans. And the warriors that fish with Lawson and Perry are likely to have a great time. Without lingering at any one spot for long, the two men boated and released 12 nice-sized bass, and lost one very large fish that took a jumbo shiner and refused to be pulled from its lair far under a hyacinth raft. Lawson and Perry returned to the river Tuesday, launching at Orange Springs to hunt for more hotspots. On this day they boated seven bass ranging in size from 3 to 6 pounds, along with “lots of jacks and mudfish.”

Crystal River is often a strong bet for cold weather fishing. Sunday, the Bassmasters of Gator Country held their first contest of the year there, out of Pete’s Pier, on Kings Bay. At take-off that morning, the air temperature was 32-degrees … and it was windy. Still, the bassers managed to locate a good number of willing bigmouths in the clear, spring-fed bay. Billy Dyson Jr. bagged a five-bass tourney limit that weighed 8.69-pounds, and that was just enough to top Chris Prowant’s 8.04-pound limit. Twenty five intrepid club members fished the tournament.

Even a lake that has produced precious few notable results for weeks can put out a whopper. Darell Nipper fished on Newnan’s Lake last Saturday night, slow-trolling Beetle Spins in the dark for speckled perch. The Gainesville angler did pick up a handful of small specks, but it was the unexpected bite that made the night memorable. Out in the darkness a short distance behind his 12-foot canoe, something took one of Nipper’s little spinners. He knew that this was not another panfish. Finally, Nipper wrestled the big fish to the little canoe, and hauled aboard a whopping 9-pound, 2-ounce largemouth bass.

Saltwater fishers in North Florida have just a couple of weeks left to harvest speckled trout before the annual February trout closure. And the Steinhatchee River is still one top-notch place to do the harvesting. Friday, the Victor party from Sharpsburg, Ga., arrived at the Sea Hag Marina in search of the river trout that have been biting for a month. The Georgia men started fishing right at the marina, casting Gulp! and Saltwater Assassin grubs on -ounce jigheads. In just two hours, the four filled limits of very fine trout. While they were pulling in fish, they never left sight of the marina.

The 3rd Santa Fe High School Raider Slam Inshore Tournament was held last Saturday out of Suwannee Cove Marina. On a chilly and windy day, 46 entrants in bay boats, flats boats, airboats and jonboats went after winning freshwater and saltwater fish.

Mark Brady swept the speckled trout division, weighing the biggest single ‘speck’ (2.74-pounds), and also the heaviest trout limit (6.8-pounds). With his new BillystiX rod, Matt Bednarek took the contest’s heaviest redfish at 4.6-pounds.

Hugh Cain caught the top bass, a nice 4.2-pound specimen, but Kevin Walker claimed the prize for the heaviest bigmouth limit, as his combined bass catch weighed 5.6-pounds. The event was successful in raising considerable funds for Santa Fe High School baseball program.

Gary Simpson is a veteran tournament angler who works at The Tackle Box.

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