Capt. William Toney writes that there are many live baits on Big Bend that he enjoys using. Shrimp is the most common live bait, and it’s bought at most tackle shops. Pinfish would be the next in line for inshore and offshore fishing. The pinfish Toney uses he catches at the spot he is fishing. He uses a small hook that he keeps on a spare rod just for this purpose. A small piece of shrimp is all it takes to get them. Most areas have some sort of grass that pinfish will be darting around, sometimes they’re so thick it looks like stars twinkling over the flats as the tide turns in. Mud minnows are another great inshore bait, and Toney catches them just the same as pinfish but the location is different. Needle grass shorelines inside creeks and little coves are where you can find them. Some areas are accessible by cars like Ozello Trail or Ft. Island Trail.
The good thing about a mud minnow is they last for days with minimum water or a good live well, so the day before heading out fishing you can catch some bait with just a little effort. One of the area’s top snook baits is threadfin herring or white bait. Being the last week to keep a slot-sized snook, threadfin is the ace up your sleeve to catch one, as snook can’t resist them as proven since the early 80’s in Tampa Bay. As our area has changed with more snook there are a few spots to catch threadfin with sabikis. The closest inshore spot is the old scallop rack that sits due west of Gomez Rocks or between St. Martins Keys and the Crystal River Channel. A decent live well is a must because these are not hardy baits and must be handled with care. High incoming tide will be late afternoon this weekend.
The 38th annual Cobia Big Fish Tournament is coming up on June 4-5. It will be held at Crumps Landing in Homosassa. Visit cobiabigfishtournament.com.
Last report:Area fishing report for lakes and rivers in and around Marion County
Outdoors:Marion County boat ramp and park at Orange Lake to undergo nearly $2 million in renovations
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Liz at Fat Daddy’s reports that a lot of bass have been biting of late. The biggest generally are being caught using wild and domestic shiners. There also are plenty of specks being caught with minnows and jigs.
According to Liz at Fat Daddy’s, angles have had a lot of success lately catching bass and specks. The baits of choice generally have been minnows and jigs for specks. Bigger bass are being caught with wild and domestic shiners.
Liz at Fat Daddy’s reports that most angles have been seeking specks and bass lately. Minnows and jigs have been the baits of choice for specks, domestic and wild shiners for bass.
Liz at Fat Daddy’s reports that plenty of specks have been biting of late with minnows and jigs being the baits used most often. Anglers also have had great success with bass, and the primary bait of choice has been shiners.
According to BassOnline.com, bass often can be found here in the open water. The canals have them at times, too. Many catches often weigh in between nine and 11 pounds. Specks also have been found here since the weather cooled the water.
According to floridasightfishing.com, redfish have been biting all over Ponce Inlet and New Smyrna Beach. Most big bull redfish have come in upwards of 20 pounds with some coming in as big as 40 pounds. A lot of snook also have been caught in New Smyrna Beach and Ponce Inlet with most using live bait but some using soft plastics. Generally, the snook have been between 26 and 34 inches. Several tarpon in the 50-75 pound range have been caught in New Smyrna Beach, as well. Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River Lagoon have good water clarity for sight casting.
Redfish, black drum, speckled trout, snook, juvenile tarpon — all have been more active around different ends of the cold fronts. That’s the way it’ll play out until the end of April as anglers adapt where they fish and what they target around the passing cold fronts.
Tip of the week
According to fishingbooker.com, any knowledgeable angler will tell you that to catch a fish, you need to think like it. Bass have spent most of their winter days foraging the deep waters. As the spring kicks in, they’ll start moving to spots that are rapidly warming up. They’re eager to spawn and set up their nests in shallow water, especially spots with structure. This means you should look for fallen trees, grass, rocks, water lilies — anything that can serve as cover. It can sometimes be hard to spot these places, but with the right electronics or a bit of research, you can find a real prize.
Remember, bass are always on the run and can get unpredictable, especially if the weather is finicky. One day can be all bite and fight. Come to the same spot the next day, and you get skunked. You need to be patient and experiment with the fishery. As a rule of thumb, fish with faster lures and patterns on warm spring days and swap these for slower-moving baits on colder days.