AREA FISHING REPORT
Many positive reports, mostly including mackerel
Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 9:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 9:13 p.m.
Lots of great fishing stories flooded in this week, and 90% of the proud anglers scored in the salty shallows somewhere along the gulf coast. It seems that, for now, area fishing highlights have swung almost completely from fresh to salt waters.
When I asked Bill Stanley of Gainesville how the fishing had been for him, I didn't quite understand when he replied, “I think the mackerel have gone green.”
Then the Gainesville angler explained with a fish tale. He and Gordon Keller of Chiefland had fished Friday out of Steinhatchee.
They headed through the early morning chop for Nine Mile Bank, and upon arriving at the large hump of bright white sand, trolled hair jigs along the edge of the reef in water 10-to-12 feet deep. Bill opted for a trusty white-skirted Floreo, while Gordon picked a jig with green hair … and Gordon's lure produced four fish to every strike that Bill's tried-and-true favorite drew.
When Stanley finally tied on a green jig, he and Keller caught mackerel about equally until they filled a combined 30-fish limit just before noon.
Last Wednesday, the Gainesville trio of Roby Dorsett, Doug Medlin, and Marshall Carlton fished out of Horseshoe Beach with Capt. John Squires. After filling limits of speckled trout quickly, they went after redfish.
But at the “redfish spot”, the first fish to take a live shrimp on a red jighead was another trout — a heavy-bodied 28-inch giant. The anglers went on to fill their redfish limits, as well.
Mike Gentry of High Springs and Kevin Blackburn of Alachua fished Saturday at Suwannee. Near the river's mouth, the men found “black water” covering their favorite shell bars. Undaunted, they cast live shrimp and Gulp! shrimp set under noisemaking floats.
It was soon evident that fish were present in spite of the heavily-stained water. Their number one target that day was redfish … and they did catch several, including a too-large 32-incher and a nice 26-inch keeper.
But much of the three-hour window of tidal stage they prefer was taken up catching black drum. Blackburn and Gentry brought in and released six of the brutes that they figured must have weighed between 20 and 30 lbs.
John Cotton and his dad enjoyed outstanding fishing last Thursday and Friday out of Steinhatchee. The Melrose men ran south out of the river to Pepperfish Keys, where they cast pearl white Gulp! lures threaded onto red jigheads.
They hauled in loads of fish each day highlighted by a 27-inch red, trout of 25, 23 and 22 inches, a few mackerel, two undersize cobia, and a 17.5-inch flounder.
The warm-weather heavyweights have likewise arrived. Tarpon, kingfish, sharks, and cobia were all mentioned in gulf reports this week.
Bill McDavid took a long boat ride Saturday from the Sea Hag Marina in Steinhatchee to the deep flats off Horseshoe Beach. There, the Gainesville angler trolled dusters to take three nice-sized kings.
Steve and George Schaff fished off Steinhatchee with Capt. Wiley Horton Sunday. In water about 60-feet deep, young George hauled in and released sizable gag grouper and amberjack. Following an epic battle, the Gainesville fourteen-year-old also whipped a fine 35-pound cobia that took a squid he fished on 20-pound spinning tackle.
The Ninth Annual Shands Hospital Fishing for Kids Saltwater Trout Tournament held Saturday at Steinhatchee drew a large field of 95 teams, all trying to put together the heaviest five-fish bag of speckled trout. Their five-trout limit anchored by a studly speck of 6 lbs., 9 oz., Rick and M'Alice Julius of Gainesville topped the field with 13 lbs., 12 oz. Right behind them were Joseph Starling and Jody Griffis (13 lbs., 3 oz.) and Brian Fletcher and David Webb (12 lbs., 14 oz.).
Casey Cook and Ashley Mock weighed in the heaviest legal redfish at 7 lbs., 3 oz.
Nearly 50 young anglers fished in the youth division, where Truett Maund entered a fine 3 ibs., 6 oz. trout, Riley Faulkner bagged a 3 lbs., 7 oz. beauty, and Cole Mattox finished on top with a 3 lbs. 11 oz. whopper. As always, this well-run benefit tournament drew high praise from everyone on hand.
Competitive saltwater anglers now look ahead to a few more major Big Bend contests topped by the biggest shootout of all — Doug Johnson's Reeling for Kids Tournament at Steinhatchee Friday and Saturday, June 7 and 8.
Gary Simpson, a veteran tournament angler, operates Gary's Tackle Box at L & S Auto Trim.