Fishing report: Area fishing still makes sense

In a time when few things seem to make sense any more, the sport of fishing, at least, gives us dependable respite.

The normal draws for anglers during the holiday season—in both salt and freshwater—are working about as well as we could hope for.

In freshwater, it’s the speckled perch that is biting most dependably in our now-chilly area lakes. Several speck fishers have related impressive tales of crappie-catching on Lochloosa, Orange, and Newnans. Folks that come in the store to restock hooks, weights, and crappie jigs regularly say they’ve bagged 2-pound specks.

Now, there was a time when the threshold for claiming to have caught a “slab” speck was 2 pounds. Two-pounders are harder to come by these days, though, and now we tend to bestow on anything better than a pound and a half the “slab” designation.

Speck specialist Selig Hadley was tired of being doubted. He bought a nice digital scale from us a while back. Now and then he sends us pictures of good fish (usually from Newnans) hanging on the scale with the display visible—that he can legitimately call slabs.

But the fastest fishing has to be the very fine trout and redfish action along the Gulf Coast. This is the season we expect big numbers of smaller reds to arrive along with increased trout numbers, and it seems the ‘rat reds’ are here right on schedule.

Johnny Sanders of Micanopy and Jenny Peck of Gainesville spent Black Friday on the water near Shell Mound. The day actually dawned a bit nasty, with a light rain pushed by a stiff breeze. The pair found a protected deeper hole in a tidal creek and anchored up. Fishing shrimp on jigheads, they proceeded to catch and release 74 short redfish. During the catching spree, they boated only two keeper-size reds. But then, two is all they could have kept anyway.

Carson Kamien, Nick Setsma, and Tyler Rutherford took a short evening trip to Suwannee on Tuesday, arriving with only a couple hours of daylight left. No problem. In an hour and a half the three young anglers boated 20 trout ranging from 16 to 19 inches, plus a 25-inch red. They used 4” Sea Shads and Bomber long A jerkbaits for the trout, and the red busted a Rapala Skitter V in a creek near the river’s mouth.

Not all good gulf reports have come from the tight quarters of tidal creeks. Rick Pena and James Lovvorn went out of Suwannee Tuesday morning. Out in open water about 4 feet deep the Gainesville anglers found a smooth-bottomed spot that, for some reason, held a bunch of trout.

Casting jigs with grub tails, they pulled in more than 20 fish averaging 18-to-19 inches long. The pair returned to the mystery spot on Thursday to fill another double limit of trout. On this day, they caught their fish with Paul Brown Originals and Mirrolure Catch 2000s.

Logan Miller and Boyce Goff ran north out of Horseshoe Beach. They fished all day, casting primarily ‘Slick’ and ‘Slayer’ soft lures to boat over 40 trout. Several of the fish were ‘over-slots’—more than 19 inches long and up to 22 inches. Very few, Miller said, were ‘under-slots’, less than 15 inches long.

Gary Simpson is a local legend and a longtime fishing writer. This week, we are excited to welcome his talents as a new regular feature at Mainstreet Daily News, adapted with permission from his website.

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