Good weekend on the Gulf despite dire early predictions

Bass-Assassin-Sea-Shad-chicken-on-a-chainI had a chance to go to the Gulf last weekend and decided against it due to numerous reports of red tide and fish kills. Naturally (and thankfully), back at work Monday the weekend fishing reports started coming in and they were all good. Hands down, in fact, the Gulf Coast produced the best fishing stories.

Saturday, three young men from Gainesville launched at Shell Mound at daylight. Cameron Phillips and Scotty Sorgi had a Mad River canoe, while Austin McDavid slid in his new Eagle Talon 12 kayak. They paddled out toward the Derrick Key channel while casting various artificial baits in water they found to be surprisingly clear — and they finally found the one that worked. Elliott insists the fish would only bite Bass Assassin Sea Shads in the Chicken on a Chain color; and once they figured that out they caught and released several trout — plus 15 redfish from 16-to-22 inches long — before paddling back to the launch site shortly after noon.

Ren Gallon and Andy Hadsock gave a remarkably similar story. After launching at Cedar Key’s Number Four Bridge, the Gainesville anglers spent a while casting the bridge pilings, but interested only Gafftopsail catfish. A backwater cove was full of activity including tailing drum; but the spinnerbaits, gold spoons, and Baby One Minus lures they cast produced no strikes. The men finally tied on a Bass Assassin Die Dapper in the Chartreuse Dog color. Right away, a redfish grabbed it. After bagging a limit of keeper-size fish, they re-tried other bait styles…again with no luck. Back to the Die Dapper, back to almost-every-cast fish-catching. Along with the Chartreuse Dog, the Black Shad, Hot Chicken, and Chicken on a Chain colors all produced reds. Most were on the low end of the legal slot, with only one over 27-inches.

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Public meeting set up to help manage Orange Lake

orange-lake-tussocksWe’re often asked about the condition of Orange Lake. No matter how good fishing is in other local waters, folks all over the country seem to have Orange on their minds.

And it’s no wonder.

When the sinkhole on the south side opened up in 2011 to slowly drain the legendary lake, a good case could be made that Orange was the top bass fishery in the country.

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Suwannee, Steinhatchee spots still thriving

09-04-11A red tide bloom that seemingly won’t die still has gulf anglers from Suwannee, southward rightly concerned. But inshore and offshore anglers and folks taking their final scalloping trips of the season are all finding success up the coast at Steinhatchee.

In Sunday’s breezy overcast, Glenn Acomb and Doug Soltis fished out of Steinhatchee. The Gainesville men headed out from the river toward Nine Mile Bank, but stopped short of the reef to try a good-looking spot with a nice sand and grass mix.

As the tide rose, they cast Gulp! shrimp and Paul Brown Original lures on the deep, clear flat.

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September struggles starting to appear

gonefishing3Late summer can sure be a challenging time for fishing in North Florida. An old timer summed up the past few days early this week when he declared, “It’s hot and tough — must be September.” There is good shrimping, scalloping, and fishing to be found … but presently, lots of usually productive spots are not.

Anglers casting on Lake Santa Fe on Saturday struggled mightily. In a small, ten-boat bass tournament, Mark Gunter and James Hatch caught five bass that weighed 6.7 pounds, combined. Not a great day, but good enough to win.

Most other nearby fresh waters have produced similarly, but fishing on the Suwannee River remains hot. Understandably, many of the anglers that have temporarily abandoned the tepid area lakes are heading for one of the boat ramps along the rivers’ last 50 miles.

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