AREA FISHING REPORT
Mayan calendar may predict doomsday, but here's predicting good fishing
Published: Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 9:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 9:16 p.m.
Many of the old-time anglers I know tend to be on the superstitious side. We wear the lucky-faded hats, listen for the owls call, make sure no fish bites on the first cast of the day, avoid bananas in boats ... and so on.
But, interestingly, not one of those fishermen seems to have a bit of concern regarding the Mayan calendar. Apparently, hoot owls can make fish bite, but the notion of an ancient civilization foretelling doomsday is just silly.
Anyhow, to the fishing.
Jolie Ference often walks to the canal behind her Melrose home to fish. She is primarily after wild shiners that she gives to her dad, Joey, for bass fishing bait. But lately, the bread balls that the 10-year-old flips out into the Lake Santa Fe canal have produced another fish. Most of Jolie's recent shiner-catching expeditions have yielded nice-sized bluegills. A tad unusual for December, but this is just one of the fishing quirks created by unusuall warm conditions to date.
Following a tough spell, good bass fishing reports are suddenly coming from the Suwannee River. Saturday, Joe and Koby Wood launched at the Yellow Jacket boat ramp, several miles upriver from the gulf. The Old Town father and son cast various soft plastic baits through the morning without much luck. But something seemed to change after noon, and the bass started feeding in the Fowlers Bluff area. Before their fishing day was done, the Wood men had caught 38 largemouth and Suwannee bass. In a 10-minute span starting at 3 p.m., Koby boated largemouths weighing 6.5, 4.5, and 3 pounds.
Richard Kingsbury and his 7-year-old daughter, Lindsay spent Saturday afternoon on Lake Palestine. The smallish lake between Lake City and Lake Butler is low, making access challenging for larger vessels. Kingsbury, though, was able to jockey his 16-foot jonboat in at the boat ramp. The father and daughter fished out in open water, setting live minnows 6-feet below floats — and the 14 speckled perch that found the minnows were impressive. Every fish was well over a pound, and two reached the esteemed 2-pound mark.
Gulf anglers that took advantage of nice conditions last weekend caught lots of trout. Ren Gallon and Andy Hadsock launched Saturday at Cedar Key's Number Four Channel boat ramp. The Gainesville men caught several sand and speckled trout through the day in various nearby spots, but they really got into the big ones at the end of the fishing day while tied up to a bridge piling in the Number Four Channel. They threaded live shrimp onto ¼-ounce red jigheads, set them under popping corks, and pitched the rigs as far under the bridge as they could. As the rising tide brought the floats back toward them and past bridge pilings, trout came out to ambush the shrimp. Hadsock and Gallon finished their trout limits in this spot, pulling in five fish over 18 inches long (and up to 24 inches) while cars and trucks came and went overhead.
When Doug and Alex Stringfellow and I launched at the Cedar Key boat basin Sunday morning, only a couple of tow vehicles with empty trailers were in the parking lot. Word had it that lots of trout were still available out on the grass flats off Snake Key — and having rarely caught flats trout this late in the year, we wanted to see for ourselves. Casting Corky Mullet lures and Saltwater Assassin jigs on the impossibly beautiful day, we got our answer. Dozens of legal trout (even though we kept none) up to about 20 inches proved the stories true.
Sue and Dick Holcschuher fished in the Steinhatchee River on Sunday. The Morriston couple caught some very fine fish, topped by a 23.5-inch trout and a 25-inch redfish. Reinforcing the old “bigger baits catch bigger fish” theory, Sue fooled the whopping trout with a large Gulp! shrimp in the pearl/chartreuse tail color. On top of this, she added to the jighead a big, live shrimp.
The hefty speck couldn't turn that mouthful down.
The Bassmasters of Gator Country is set to start the New Year, and are welcoming new members. The venerable bass club, with famous bass pro alumni such as Shaw Grigsby and Bernie Schultz, meets at Gary's Tackle Box on the first Monday of every month at 6:30 pm. Anyone interested in attending or joining should phone club president, Dennis Hart at 352-284-9243.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.
Gary Simpson, a veteran tournament angler, operates Gary's Tackle Box at L & S Auto Trim.