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Red tide, cold a mild nuisance

Posted Jan 24, 2013 by The Tampa Tribune

Updated Jan 24, 2013 at 05:54 PM


Captain Van Hubbard reports patchy red tide around Venice Inlet and Lemon Bay as well as in Gasparilla Sound, but he’s still been managing to find some big snook for catch-and-release as well as trout and tons of ladyfish. Hubbard said waters around the inlets tend to be clear, while those in the Intracoastal Waterway have “bad” water in some areas. For details, visit
From Homosassa, Captain “Red Ed” Brennan reports spring fishing in winter — he’s been catching Spanish mackerel, sea bass, blues, sheepshead, trout and pompano around rock piles in about 6 feet of water.

He said some nice reds are prowling the clear flats, and a bit of everything stacks into the deep holes in the lower creeks and spring-fed rivers when a cold snap blows through. Jigs or live shrimp are the ticket;

Captain Ray Markham notes the big tides this weekend will drain many flats, and cooler weather may move some fish to creeks and holes, but the sunny afternoon forecast for Sunday should turn on the bite again. Markham said his anglers were catching big pompano on the outside bar from the Manatee River to Piney Point before the most recent front, and that may pick up again with warmer weather. His anglers also have been catching trout to 4 pounds on deeper flats on shad-tail jigs.

Despite cold, the South Shore often has tailing redfish on full-moon low tides, though it’s a wade-fishing-only situation. DOA Shrimp or Gulp Crabs are the best baits for these skittish fish;

In fresh water, George “Ol’ Bear” Henson of Plant City and pals caught 20 nice catfish at Medard Park Reservoir on live night crawlers. George, 77, complained about the $7 admission fee at the park, but said stocking programs there are apparently doing a good job with the fishery.

At Okeechobee, captain Mike Shellen reports the speckled perch bite is off the charts, with the easy place to get them straight off the mouth of the Kissimmee River drifting minnows just off bottom in the fleet. They’re also around the bulrushes, in some of the same areas where lunker bass are in spawning mode and will take live shiners or weedless plastics;

Tribune correspondent Frank Sargeant can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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