WITHLACOOCHEE/RAINBOW RIVERS/LAKE ROUSSEAU — Captain Bob Jewett out of Angler’s Resort in Dunnellon reports bluegill being caught on the Rainbow, using worms, crickets or small jigs. Bass are hitting on domestic shiners in watermelon red or green pumpkin. Up the Withlacoochee, bass are going for wild or domestic shiners, as well as topwater frogs, and bluegill are biting on jigs, crickets and wiggler worms. The bass are also biting where the two rivers meet. On Lake Rousseau, folks are mainly using wild shiners for bass.
LAKE ROUSSEAU — Bill Burgess of Lake Rousseau RV and Fishing said bass are hitting on black and gold Rapalas, as well as Bandit 100 Series crankbait in off-white with a little bit of orange. Also try big worms or wild shiners for the bass buried under the weed beds. Crappie and bluegill are biting on crickets and cut-up hot dogs. Catfish are actually being caught during the day, in 8-10 feet of water on the deeper flats next to the navigation channels. Use mullet, night crawlers or even chicken soaked in red Kool-Aid.
CRYSTAL RIVER/BARGE CANAL — Ed’s Tackle Shop reports people are catching redfish around the inner islands off the point, using cut pinfish and Gulp! jerk shads. Trout are biting in 10-15 feet of water and a few have been caught off Long Point.
KING’S BAY — Mark Brewer of Pete’s Pier in Crystal River reports grouper biting in 30 feet of water on live pinfish on a knocker rig, use a 7/0 hook with a 80-100-pound test. Inshore, the trout is starting to show back up along the spotty bottom. Redfishing has gotten better but remains hit and miss. Larger ones are being caught offshore near the outside islands or oyster bars, try live pinfish or cut mullet. For trout, use shrimp under a popping cork or a jig head with a small plastic lure and slow jerk along the soft bottom. Also pinfish under a popping cork could get the bite.
SALT RIVER — Twin Rivers Marina in Crystal River reports redfish, trout, grouper and red snapper are being caught. Top baits are shrimp, Spanish sardines and squid. Scallops are in deeper water. Check out water conditions by visiting www.twinriversmarina.com to view a live video feed.
Captain William Toney (352-422-4141) said, “If you would listen to a good, mellow reggae beat this is how I would describe how our scallop season has been so far on the Nature Coast. Me personally I like the less crowded days on the water and I feel that fellow anglers/scallopers do too. Weekdays are still the best if you would like to have it all to yourself but if weekends are all you got then plan on putting the boat in early because it can be a little ‘adventurous’ if you wait till the crack of 9. I have not heard of a full 10-gallon limit yet, most folks are getting between 3-5 gallons, maybe more for the hardcore. That’s enough for a dinner with sides or in pasta that evening for a family of four. Head west of the St. Martins Keys during low tide in 3-6 feet of water for best results; don’t stay in one spot all day, move around.
“For some fun action I’ve been fishing some near-shore rocks and getting Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, grunts, mangrove snapper, flounder, sea bass and others. To find structure look for sandy bottom with a dark patch or green turtles catching a breath on the surface. They live on the rocks and eat the grasses and sponges that grow there. The best bait is a live shrimp on a 1/8th-ounce jig head cast near the structure. Look for incoming tide late morning or lunchtime this weekend.”