Fishing report: Tiny fly, giant lure both score 

Walt Daniels with his Glide Bait-caught 9-pound, 13-ounce bass.
Walt Daniels with his Glide Bait-caught 9-pound, 13-ounce bass.
Courtesy of Walt Daniels

Walt Daniels stopped by the shop Friday to pick up supplies. The young angler has as much passion for bass fishing as anyone I’ve known and has enjoyed a lot of catching success. 

An interesting trend — primarily among young fishers — for a couple of years now
has been a fondness for giant lures often referred to as ‘glide baits.’ They’re pretty pricy, and so it takes more than a casual fancy to commit to the trend. Walt picked one up…a Jackall Gantarel. He headed out, saying he was heading for a pond to give it a try.

That afternoon he walked back through the door. And you guessed it — on his third cast with the large lure, Walt had hooked a large bass that would weigh 9 pounds, 13 ounces before its release. 

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To make the tale even more intriguing, he returned to the little lake on Monday. And again, lobbing the big Gantarel, he caught another sizable bigmouth of seven pounds. After watching such success had by young fishermen on the wave of this trend, I’ve resolved to give the oversized baits a try myself. Maybe an old dog can learn a new trick.

A pioneer in the local glide bait movement, Ted Lincoln, fished a kayak tournament Saturday on Lake Santa Fe. While Santa Fe might not be thought of as a great place to cast such a large lure, Lincoln told me of using a huge bait to coax a large fish from under a Santa Fe dock during a practice trip. 

He ended up winning the tournament, a Florida BASS Nation Kayak Series event. But it wasn’t a glide bait that put the Gainesville angler in the winner’s circle. His largest fish, a 23-inch long 7-pound, 2-ounce beauty that anchored his winning catch, fell for a Gambler Ninja Spin spinnerbait.

I’ve been in the middle of North Florida fishing for such a long time…and so, I can be a mite jaded and stingy in my reverence to very good catches. Sometimes a whole calendar year can go by without my hearing of a single local catch far enough greater than the norm to really, really impress me. 

This year, though, there have already been a couple. The one-two punch to Orange Lake’s stable of enormous bass delivered by Kaley Taunton and Nette Whitney was more than impressive And now, a catch from the Gulf has dropped my jaw.

This one happened a couple of weeks ago, when two top area inshore guides took a Nature Coast flyfishing trip. Skinny water specialists, Capt. Trey Mikell and Capt. Hunter Brasington were in a favorite low-tide area when Hunter spotted a fish. This was a very large snook, and it appeared almost out of place, sitting in a sandy depression with its belly on the sand and its dorsal nearly at the surface. 

Capt. Trey was poling the skiff at the time, and Capt. Hunter made the perfect cast, looping a shrimp fly in front of the fish, which sipped it right in. The fight was on, and the giant snook plowed through the clear shallows, heading for open gulf and running a good distance into the fly line’s backing. 

The powerful battler might have made it but it ran out of water and was forced to pivot back into the slightly deeper pocket the young anglers had been fishing.

After a tense 15-minute fight, the whopper was in the boat for quick measurement and photos — and then released back into its shallow cove. A heavy-bodied 41.5-inch specimen, this is the largest fly tackle-caught snook I’ve ever heard of here in North Florida.

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Cynthia Binder

Fishing 🎣 is the best stories😄. Most if not all are true👈. Awesome catch🙌🏼👐🏻I have small hands . 👩‍🦰