Catches quite good at Rodman despite cold

Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 9:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 9:29 p.m.

Anglers who competed in Saturday's Xtreme Bass Series qualifier out of Rodman Reservoir's Kenwood Landing would later describe their misery caused by the cold and unrelenting wind. It is a testament to the great fishing there that the catches were quite good in spite of it. Referring to the weather, Tommy Studstill said, “It was one of the worst days I've spent on Rodman”. We know he wasn't talking about the fishing since he and Vince Edmonds bagged a five-bass limit anchored by fish of nearly eight and nine pounds to claim the top prize money.

Last week, before the blustery chill arrived, Vern and Debbie Hodsdon took four days to catch up on their bass fishing. They decided to try Rodman — a good choice. Casting crankbaits and dark colored jigs along the wall of the Cross Florida Barge Canal that dissects the pool, the Gainesville couple caught and released a total of sixty bass. Of these, 43 were good-sized specimens of at least than 2.5-pounds.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be in town at Gary's Tackle Box for a Bass Regulations Open House on Monday, March 18; and local bass fans will have a chance early in the review process to have a say in future bass fishing regulations. Several members of the FWC staff will be on hand from 4 p.m. ‘til 7 p.m. to hear your thoughts and opinions. Stop by anytime during the three hours and let FWC know what you think. That's at 5721 NW 13th Street in Gainesville.

Cane pole experts are beginning to shift some attention away from the speckled perch that have dominated the area panfish scene for months. If any member of the bream family can convince them to shift gears, it is the shellcracker. Fishing alone in a Lochloosa lily pad bed Monday, Mickey Belle of Gainesville located a bed of the thick-shouldered red ears. He lowered live grass shrimp amongst the pad stems to haul out 30 stout, hard-fighting shellcrackers.

The speck bite, though, continues for some. Chad Bankston fought the weekend wind to prove that it's not yet time to forget the Lochloosa crappies.

The Gainesville angler fished various crappie jigs (blue and chartreuse worked best) in water about five-feet deep off Allen's Point to take 25-fish limits of specks both Saturday and Sunday. When the wind grew after the early morning hours, he used a drift sock to slow the speed of his wind-pushed boat.

The poor weekend weather made the thought of fishing unappealing to most saltwater anglers. But in Florida, it almost never gets so bad that nobody catches fish. After picking up live shrimp Sunday, Jim Cook and Dave Eckel launched at the Horseshoe Beach boat ramp and ran through the howling chill to Sanders Creek. Not surprisingly, they saw no other boats on the water. Cook said simply, “You had to be tough”. The dedication of the Gainesville anglers was rewarded. Fishing the shrimp in rocky holes well up the creek, they caught more than a dozen legal redfish and returned to port with their combined four-fish limit of 24-inches.

And gulf anglers will be happy to hear that a favorite early-spring target seems to have settled into its spawning stations on reefs a few miles off the Big Bend coast.

Last weekend's cutting wind kept most would-be Steinhatchee anglers off the water. One group of Palatka fishers in two boats, however, would not take ‘no' for an answer. Sunday, Clayton Faircloth and Mike Flanders and the David White party made it out past Steinhatchee Reef to an artificial reef in water 30-feet deep. Using live fiddlers for bait, the anglers in both vessels actually managed to pull in decent catches of sheepshead. Upon returning to the Sea Hag Marina, the fishers were so cold they couldn't speak quite right. But their determination resulted in our knowing for sure that the sheepshead spawn off Steinhatchee is underway.

Monday, Allen Turner went after sheepshead out of Cedar Key. The Gainesville angler fished live shrimp on a wreck in 20-feet of water. Upon arriving on the spot, Turner let down his underwater camera to see if fish were present. Right away, a curious sheepshead seemed to peer back at him — good indication that he was in the right place. Thirty fish up to nearly 5-pounds later, he was even more certain.

Turner also reports that on the same day, fellow Gainesville Offshore Fishing Club member, Hal Wilson found spawners on a better-known GOFC reef off Cedar Key. Wilson caught fewer fish, but did haul in a square-toothed whopper of over 7-pounds.

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

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