AREA FISHING REPORT

Speck action strong at Newnan’s, Lochloosa


Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 1, 2013 at 12:25 a.m.

Newnan’s Lake and Lochloosa speckled perch seekers have enjoyed a banner season of harvesting slabs in skinny water, and it seems the months-long spawning session isn’t finished yet.

Weekend speck fans on these lakes reported that quite a number of the full-moon females they pulled from around shallow cover had roe that appeared to be far from fully developed. This, along with the nice rain event early this week, makes locals rightly hopeful that the good speck fishing could go on for weeks longer.

The best speck results on Lake Santa Fe continue to come from deeper water ... and these days, the stories told by Santa Fe crappie fishers always seem to include a few of the recently stocked hybrid sunshine bass. Brian Roe’s trip to Santa Fe on Sunday yielded fast fishing — for a while. The Gainesville angler slow-trolled purple Crappie Sliders tipped with minnows in water 17- to 20-feet deep. Along with fifteen specks weighing up to two pounds, Roe boated 10 sunshine bass, a yearling largemouth, and a 4.5-pound catfish. And he took all of these before 10 a.m.

“After that,” he explained, “the barometer changed and the bite just stopped.”

Gainesville father-and-son bass fishing team, Sean and Travis Blucher, took a few days off during prime big bass season to search for lunkers. Their trip Friday took them to Santa Fe Lake, where Sean fooled an eight-pound beauty.

The Suwannee River wouldn’t be very high on the lists of many trophy bass hunters, but the Bluchers apparently knew what they were doing when they chose it for their Monday trip.

Fishing a few miles upriver from the gulf, they hooked several good-sized bigmouths, topped by the perfectly proportioned giant that Travis landed. The bass weighed just a shade more thabn 10 pounds before its photo and release. Both of the Bluchers’ big bass went for soft plastic Gambler lures called “Why Nots.”

The best North Florida bet for big bass, though, has to be St. Johns River system from well north of Palatka all the way through Lake George — and including Rodman Reservoir.

At Saturday’s BASS Federation Nation Northeast Region Qualifying Tournament out of Palatka, members of the Bassmasters of Gator Country finished on top in both the “boater” and “non-boater” divisions. Bob Heron outfished the other competing boaters with a five-bass limit weighing 22.06 pounds, while John Haynes bested the other co-anglers with a fine bag of bass weighing 20.54.

Considering the windy conditions Saturday, those are impressive winning weights.

Heron and Haynes will likely reveal their winning techniques at the Gator Country club’s membership drive meeting Monday at Gary’s Tackle Box. Refreshments will be served at the get-together that starts at 5:30 p.m. and will last until the regular monthly club meeting begins at 6:30.

President of the Florida BASS Federation Nation, Tom Mahoney, will be on hand to speak, as will Jim Hooven, Past President of the Lakeland Bass Club. The Lakeland club is the country’s largest Federation Nation club with 150 members.

Many of the top recent gulf coast catches have come from the Steinhatchee area. Saturday and Sunday, Chase and Chaeli Norwood and Matthew Harris located a huge group of sand trout in the Steinhatchee, well upriver from the gulf. On almost every cast with shrimp threaded onto jigheads, the young trio hooked a spotless trout (and an occasional specimen of the spotted variety). They released their fish, but had fun “keeping score.”

Keith Kelley and Kelly Sziy docked at the Sea Hag Marina with an interesting story. The St. Augustine anglers said they had spotted a group of sheepshead swimming on the clear flats near Rocky Point. As they watched, the fish (likely spooked by the boat) disappeared into a rocky hole. The men anchored at its edge and cast shrimp and fiddlers into the dark spot to take 10 of the toothy convicts.

Folks looking to launch at Steinhatchee during the next few weeks are advised that the second phase of construction on the new public boat ramp will start on Monday. Stormwater drainage will be improved and the parking lot will be paved. Launching won’t be eliminated during construction — just a bit slower, as the contractor will make every attempt to keep one side of the ramp open. Parking will still be available across the street on county-owned property. Although the project could take 75 days to complete, the contractor expects to complete it considerably sooner.

For questions or concerns regarding the project, contact the Taylor County Engineering Department at (850) 838-3500.

Gary Simpson, a veteran tournament angler, operates Gary’s Tackle Box at L & S Auto Trim.

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