I had the pleasure of taking out Gary Lastition from Leesburg, who purchased a trip donated at the Sante Fe tournament last fall. Gary is an experienced fisherman (in fact, he is a licensed captain) but hasn’t fished in very shallow water around Steinhatchee before. I was hopeful that after several days of warming temperatures the water would be warm enough for hot activity, but that turned out to be a pipe dream. There were plenty of 14 inch trout in the river, and tons of boats to go along with them, but we wanted some larger fish. We left Sea Hag at 8:30, and headed south to some offshore rocky areas, worked our way in to shore with the tide over clear water, but there was nothing home. Very few mullet, no baitfish, and no swirls on topwaters. We also had a lot more company than I would have liked, so as the temps warmed we ran north of the river to the Rock Point area. More mullet, but not much activity. I was showing Gary how to fish Corkies, the best winter trout lure, since it looked like the topwater bite wasn’t active yet. He fished it perfectly and came up with this nice 4.5 pounder that we released.
We moved a little further to the north and fished a flat that has scattered rocks and finally found some active redfish, with multiple hits on topwaters and crankbaits. We ended up with two fine redfish, one 26″ and one 24″.
We headed in early as Gary had a long drive back to Leesburg. I think I convinced Gary that he just needed to rub a little gelcoat off the bottom of his boat and he can get access to a lot of great fishing spots around Steinhatchee. Very enjoyable day on the water, but water temps were in the high ’50s….when they get to the mid-60’s, watch out…things will get much much better.