Late-season struggles for some anglers, success for others

Bass-Assassin-Sea-ShadCedar Key and Waccasassa waters are presently a peculiar, splotchy mix of clear and turbid. Predictably, fish-catching is likewise spotty. Some gulf anglers struggled to find fish last weekend, while others enjoyed both perfect weather and great success.

Saturday morning, Gainesville’s Sam Drake and David Johnson of Melrose ran off Cedar Key to a productive spot in water around 20-feet deep. There, they found a wad of small, late-season cobia — but each of the five they boated was too small to keep. Casting large Bass Assassin Sea Shads, the anglers also hauled in a gag grouper and a very stout snook they estimated at over 15 pounds.

At day’s end, the men had enjoyed plenty of rod-bending action, but the good day failed to yield a single fish legal to harvest.

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Young anglers find success on local waters

kayakA new crop of young Gainesville anglers is on the fast track in successfully learning area waters.

Last Friday, Jake Bates and Luke Mathews, students at Buchholz and The Rock respectively, fished out of Suwannee Marina aboard Allen Clarke’s airboat. Fishing through a falling tide in a creek north of the river, the three cast shrimp on 1/8-ounce jigheads.

Redfish were abundant, but almost all were scrappy fish just a bit shy of the 17-inch minimum legal length. Just the same, a hundred-red day is always a good one.

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Gulf red tide outbreak taking turn for the better

waccasassariverThese are strange days, indeed, along our nearest and dearest portion of the gulf coast. Reports of fish kills persist, although now the scope of such sightings is apparently diminishing.

Even though they’re aware of the troubling patches of floaters, anglers continue to fish. What’s more, they continue to pull a lot of impressive inshore catches from the stretch of coast that is — or was recently — affected by the red tide outbreak.

Rick Pena and Mark Mckinney fished last Friday out of Waccasassa. Well south of the river mouth, the Gainesville anglers found speckled trout right away that were willing to blow up on topwater lures worked alongside shell bars. “There were tons of baitfish and mullet”, Rick related, “porpoises, manatees … the area was alive”. In short order, the anglers bagged nine nice trout and two slot redfish.

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Red Tide beginning to show signs around Big Bend coast


Red Tide Current Status
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

After long, hot summers, October typically brings certain pleasant thoughts to anglers.

In the minds of many freshwater fishers, these thoughts center around the speckled perch (aka crappie). Redfish rise high in the consciousness of inshore salty anglers when the days shorten and the nights cool noticeably.

As the month begins, however, an even longer list than usual of competing activities and negative factors is succeeding in keeping anglers off the water. Last weekend a breezy rain joined football and archery seasons in decreasing boat ramp traffic.

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