Fishing report: Fishing anomaly averted

Kirstie Lawrence with a pair of Seahorse Reef mackerel.
Kirstie Lawrence with a pair of Seahorse Reef mackerel. (Courtesy of Logan Lawrence)

We’ve heard the stories for years —unusual fishy happenings on our coasts following the passing of a named storm. 

Even if the storm’s effects locally are limited to tidal extremes (like this one’s), they often bring us some kind of notable fishing anomaly. In past years we’ve heard curiosities such as shallow sailfish, Mahi on the grass flats, and wayward tunas.

And so we waited to see what crazy catch might come after Ian. To boot, the post-storm spell coincided with the season’s first real cool snap, and so we were certain we’d see something.

But so far, no mind-bending fish stories have come through.

On the other hand, one trip for a standard shallow water favorite did seem unusually strong. Sunday, Gainesville angler Al Clements and Matt Scott of Trenton went out of Steinhatchee. The fishermen had only fair luck through the morning, releasing several trout and small redfish. 

It was afternoon that brought the really special fishing action. On a shallow, clear flat with hard bottom, Scott and Clements found a wad of hungry reds that seemingly wouldn’t leave.  In fact, for a while, they hooked fish on every cast. 

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That was, however, only after determining the reds were strangely persnickety.  Although abundant, these redfish seemed very reluctant to take artificial lures. The men found success in casting cut bait—strips of pinfish, grunt, or mullet set just a few inches under 4 Horsemen popping corks. 

“For a while”, Clements said, “the reds were so frenzied they would strike the float, and eventually they even knocked off most of the corks’ paint.”  

He went on, “The fishing was so good we just couldn’t leave…didn’t load the boat back on the trailer ‘til dark.”

While we’ve not heard from Seahorse Reef post-Ian, the weekend just ahead of the storm produced reports indicating the fall mackerel season could be gathering steam.  Out of Cedar Key, Logan and Kirstie Lawrence visited “The Reef” and found decent mackerel action.  

The best part was that the fish they hooked were mostly big ones.

It seems likely that the expected fall uptick in fishing will produce fine weather and catches in several upcoming fishing events.

The annual “Chasin’ Reds for Dan” redfish tournament will be held out of Cedar Key on Oct. 22. This tourney is held in memory of beloved Gainesville angler, Dan Alford and presented by his friends and family.  The entry fee is $50 per person and cash prizes will be awarded for Largest Legal Redfish, Second Largest Redfish, Heaviest Two Redfish (limit), Redfish with Most Spots, and Heaviest Trash Fish.

Phone James Stewart (352) 328-7321 for more info.

Also on Oct. 22, the final open tournament of this year in the Florida Redfish Series goes out of Steinhatchee’s Sea Hag Marina. This one offers a higher-stakes event for the most serious redfish anglers.


Oct. 22nd will also offer area freshwater anglers a shot at competing, as bassers will convene at Buzzard Beach on The Harris Chain of Lakes to support the UF Bass Club in their third Fall Fundraiser. 

Phone Jake Keller (914) 359-0425 or Carson Kamien (407) 851-1321.

On Nov. 5, a rather rare speckled perch contest, the Speck Headz Fall Tournament, will go out of Orange Lake’s Marjorie K. Rawlings Landing.

This tournament will max out at 50 boats and pay for 4 places plus ‘Big Fish’.  Each angler can use a maximum of 4 rods.  There will be a 7-crappie limit and only live fish will be accepted for weigh-in. 

One very interesting aspect of this tourney in this day of supreme fish-locating technology is that no Live Scope /Active Target Forward Sonar will be allowed. 

Contact Justin Hardy 352-559-9257.

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Steve Deaux

Hi Gary! Good to see you and read your fishing stories again. Hope you’re well. God bless you.