More music to the ears of inshore anglers

Rapala X-Rap luresFor fishers, nothing much has changed during December. Salty gulf shallows remain dependably excellent, while area lakes remain less productive than it seems they should be. This report might sound like a broken record, but at least it’s a nice tune for the inshore saltwater enthusiast.

A serious wad of speckled trout invaded the Steinhatchee River several days ago, and they have offered folks casting jigs and suspending lures fairly easy pickins most days since then. Captains Rick Davidson and Tommy Thompson have long enjoyed casting Paul Brown Devil lures, and these soft-bodied lures are again producing for the well-known guides.

It took Capt. Tommy and his fishing partner all of 15 minutes to fill their combined 10-fish limit one morning early this week, and all were nice 19-inch fish. Though the multitudinous trout are undeniably easy to access in the deep river, a number of knowledgeable cold-weather trout seekers say they are finding bigger fish, on average, still in the shallows well outside the river and creeks.

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Speckled trout abundant at Steinhatchee

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) in the harbor of Steinhatchee, FL


Last week’s report featured fast gulf redfish action, prompting a good many anglers to plan trips to the coast. By the time they could get there, a several-day spell of unseasonably warm temperatures had apparently repositioned lots of the fish.

Gainesville’s Don House spent all of last week hunting for Suwannee reds. When he arrived the last two days of November, he called the fishing “phenomenal.” As the week went on, though, water temperatures rose several degrees and action slowed each day.

The just-passed week has been much chillier, and it seems reasonable to think that this will send the fish back to deeper creeks and troughs.

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Suwannee is redfish heaven right now

red drum

Photo by Geeklikepi

An exceptional crop of late fall redfish along the gulf coast has anglers falling out at every port in big numbers. Experienced fishers are reporting results to impress almost anyone — and novices are commonly finding the best success in their angling experience.

Gary Rupp walked in early this week and summed the fishing scene with one statement, “Suwannee is redfish heaven right now.” There’s considerable evidence to back his statement.

Sunday, along with son, Eric, Rupp fished creeks south of the Suwannee’s mouth, casting live shrimp and Gulp! shrimp. The water temperature was 58 degrees early, warming to 64 in the afternoon. The Melrose father-and-son pulled in “over 100” reds, keeping their four-fish combined limit, plus a few trout, drum, and sheepshead.

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Seniors pass on knowledge to Boy Scout troop

specks-at-newnans-lakeLast weekend Gainesville’s senior fishing club, the Eastside Garden Club, passed fishing knowledge on to some of the sport’s junior fans. Several members spent Saturday with Boy Scout Troop 806, enabling them to receive various merit badges.

Friday night, the 13 boys, ranging in age from 10 to 16, camped on the Garden Club’s headquarters next to Powers Park on Newnans Lake. Then Saturday morning, parents and Garden Club volunteers took the boys to Lake Santa Fe, where they split into eight boats.

With the help of their experienced guides, the young men caught fish. In fact, by noon or so, they had taken “upwards of 100 speckled perch.” Everyone went back to the club’s Powers Park hangout, where the scouts learned to clean their catch. A fish fry wrapped up the weekend, with mission accomplished for both teachers and students.

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