AREA FISHING REPORT
Specks continue to bite well off area waters
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.
Prime bass fishing time is at hand, and the longest-lasting crappie spawn in memory continues on a couple of area lakes.
Ren Gallon, among the most consistent area crappie catchers this season, proved that the specks were still spawning in the Newnan's Lake shallows as recently as Sunday. Monday morning, the Gainesville angler brought by an iced-down bunch of slabs that he and his buddy, Andy Hadsock, had taken the afternoon before using lightly weighted crappie jigs with chartreuse curly tails. On top of the pile were two fish that looked to be big females of about two pounds. I noticed that one was clearly full of roe. Ren said more than half of the 30 on ice were still holding eggs. Those of us guessing that the lion's share of the Newnan's speck-bedding was finished will have to think again. Now, we look to the traditional timing of the spawn as its possible finale. The February full moon falls on the 25th.
Lochloosa specks, like those on Newnan's, continue to bite well in shallow cover. When I phoned Twin Lakes Fish Camp on Wednesday, Jeff Septer said Jim O'Brien had just returned from a couple hour trip out from the camp in his rowbat. The wintertime Cross Creek resident had cast small, hand-tied jigs around lily pads near the mouth of Cross Creek to boat a half-dozen nice specks.
The Bassmasters of Gator Country fished their monthly tournament on Rodman Reservoir last Sunday. Most of the Gator anglers had enjoyed very good pre-fishing trips in the days ahead of the tourney. For that matter, nearly everyone who fished for Rodman bass last week was impressed.
Capt. Don Lewis and Pat Lanier fished the reservoir last Thursday. The Jacksonville anglers cast various artificial baits in the pool, but Carolina-rigged soft plastics produced best. Employing this technique and bait, they caught and released 13 good-sized fish topped by Capt. Don's 8-pound 2-ounce beauty.
As is too often the case, though, quality bites were harder to find on tournament day.
Still, several Gator Club members managed good catches. Keith Chapman boated a five-bass limit that weighed in at 16.85 to win. Close behind were Wally Grant (15.47) and Chris Heron (14.61). Heron's 5.26-pound bigmouth was the day's best single fish.
So far, this has been a far better than average February for fans of gulf redfish and trout.
Kevin Lyons worked creeks near Shell Mound Friday morning with visiting brother-in-law, John Martoloni. Fishing with live shrimp during an incoming tide, the anglers hauled in 32 redfish. Most were small, but 10 were stout fish of legal size.
Saturday, Kyle Gold and Mitch Hall fished shrimp in creeks north of Suwannee to take 20 good reds. The Gainesville anglers were enjoying a friendly fish-catching competition that was about even until Kyle whipped the day's best fish — a nice 26.5-incher.
Also on Saturday, Beau Crevasse, Doug Johnson and their sons took Dr. Jamie Berk out from Suwannee. Fishing from an airboat in creeks near the river's East Pass, they found both trout and reds — and big ones. Five of the trout they caught measured at least 20 inches, and the best of these was Dr. Berk's heavy-bodied 25-inch beauty.
Every year about this time, sheepshead gather to spawn on natural and artificial reefs a short distance offshore. Scattered reports are starting to come from Cedar Key and Suwannee, so the congregation has apparently begun there. So far, though, the reefs off Steinhatchee have failed to produce many sheepies.
On the other hand, Steinhatchee trout and redfish seekers are faring well.
Practicing for the ‘Lots of Spots' redfish contest coming up Saturday, Kristin and Toby Griffis of Gainesville cast Sebile lures on a shallow flat to take several good reds and trout. None of the reds, however, sported enough spots to have been likely winners in the upcoming contest. The Lots of Spots event is part of the Fiddler Crab Festival — Steinhatchee's annual community gala.
Recent windy conditions have stirred up some shallows above and below the Steinhatchee River mouth considerably. Good local anglers are still finding fish, and they say that locating areas that have retained good clarity is the key. Monday, Stan Mitchell and friends again succeeded by casting Mirrolure Catch 2000 lures in a clear zone 3-to-4 feet deep. The three Georgia fishermen docked at the Sea Hag Marina with two nice redfish and 15 trout. One of the trout was an unusually thick 26-inch whopper that weighed in at 6.6-pounds.
Gary Simpson, a veteran tournament angler, operates Gary's Tackle Box at L & S Auto Trim.