The last two weekends have marked the arrival of a consistent spring fishery in the Steinhatchee waters. Fishing with Capt. Tommy Thompson both weekends, we found a great selection of large trout and redfish, in spite of the fact that the grassflats are regrowing slowly after the frigid winter. Areas of rock and grass hold pinfish, crabs and other immature baitfish that attract predators, and some of our usual areas are still lacking in pinfish. In spite of that, going exploring is a great way to keep tabs on the progression of the seagrasses and baitfish.
The trout bite right now is the spring pattern. There are large numbers of keeper-sized trout being taken on cork rigs south of Steinhatchee at the Pepperfish Keys and on the deeper flats in 3 to 8 feet of water. But this is the time of year when larger trout, which are usually solitary and not in schools, move in shallow water in early morning. Shallow water doesn’t provide as much cover for schools of baitfish, with no excape route downward. Fishing topwater plugs in 2.5 feet of water on two successive weekends, we found a good number of 4.5 to 5 pound fish.
Redfish have also begun their spring antics. While the large schools are still widely scattered, we found several smaller schools of slot-sized fish and a few larger ones, taken on topwaters and on simple jigs with soft tails.
Captain Thompson has begun working on some short videos for a variety of uses, and a brief one about redfish (with an excellent cast) can be found here:
This is a great time to hit the water. A number of local and regional tournaments are coming up. Take this opportunity to get out in some great weather before it gets too hot to think and the scallop boats are thicker than no see’ums.