I 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.