er the last week or so, speckled perch fishing in the area has improved in a big way. A few serious speck seekers have told of successful road trips to Dead Lake at the south end of Crescent Lake.
And another moderately-distant hot spot is south of Astor, where the St. John’s River widens at Lake Dexter.
Most speck fans in the Gainesville area, though, would agree that hundred-mile treks are unnecessary. Recent days have been plenty good to fishers in waters much closer to home.
Typically, February offers better action to the North Florida freshwater angler than to those saltwater-oriented.
So far this month, things have leaned a bit toward the coastal casters.
Some Newnans Lake speckled perch seekers this week found plenty of thick spawning slabs in the north end cypresses.
The worst of the winter season seems to have passed, and freshwater fishers know that prime time to catch big fish is here.
Water temperatures are on the rise, speckled perch are spawning, and the initial wave of bedding bass has moved shallow in some lakes.
The Gold Rod Bass Club’s monthly tournament, this one held at Rodman Reservoir on Saturday, produced the kind of fish that Florida bass anglers dream of in late winter.
A nice weekend followed by a water-warming week produced considerably better and more widespread fresh and saltwater catches.
Santa Fe has not ranked among the top local speckled perch-producing lakes this season, but it might just be getting off to a late start.
Sunday, Danny and Daniel Renfroe gave Santa Fe a try, launching at the Melrose public ramp. Drifting minnows down deep along with a few other boats offshore, the Gainesville father-and-son found specks and pulled 30 fish from water around 18-feet deep.