By Capt. Brylee
Special to the Pioneer
With off shore fishing at a lull due to restricted seasons anglers have been focusing on in shore and fresh water fishing and from specks to speckled trout have shown much success.
On the fresh water side of life specks or black crappie as many refer to them have been hitting well in most every lake reports come in from. Living in north central Florida is a benefit as we are privileged enough to have several top ranked speck producing lakes within a relatively short distance. Lake Weir, just south of Ocala, as well as Lake Lochloossa and Orange Lake are ranked in the top ten best spots in Florida. Newnan’s Lake in Gainesville has also shown great results.
The unusually warm winter we have experienced has possibly slowed the transition of speck from the deeper waters to the shore line shallows where they bed and breed during early spring.
Steve Jarboe of Williston reported limiting out in a short time as well as landing a few “slabs” in his day on the water at Newnan’s Lake. Capt. Jim Keith with Saltwater Assassin In-shore Charters out of Cedar Key also reported limiting on speck in Newnan’s last Friday.
When fishing for speck more poles are often better and an easy way to find the depth in which they are feeding. Finding the correct depth not only will take some patience but is also very necessary to have a productive day on the water as they will feed at different depths ranging from just a few feet above the bottom to just a few feet below the surface.
In addition to speck hitting well now, the bass are also in transition of preparing to bed. This means they are either in the shallows preparing their beds or in heavy cover and feeding.
On the saltwater side of life in shore anglers are doing well with trout and redfish. Due to the warm weather and in shore water temperatures still in the mid to upper sixties the trout are still on the flats and hitting well on jigs. Capt. Keith reported using Saltwater Shad jigs on a 1/8 oz to 3/8 oz jig heads and catching several trout. The bag limit on trout is 15 inches total length and five fish harvested per angler, so be sure to have a measuring stick with you as a lot of your catch may be just under the required size limit. He also reported catching reds off of cut mullet fishing oyster beds and flats on the bottom.
Please obey all state and local laws and remember to catch and release. Good luck catching.