LAKE ROUSSEAU — Bill Burgess of Lake Rousseau RV and Fishing said crappie measuring 13-15 inches are hitting, especially early in the morning until the sun gets up, use jigs, little spinners or minnows in 3-5 feet of water. Others have had success trolling a little deeper. A few bluegill have been biting on crickets and wiggler worms, as they’ve moved up close to where the crappie are. A lot of bass, weighing 1 1/2-2 pounds, have been caught using 7 1/2- or 10-inch Texas-rigged Culprit worms in fire and ice, Rapalas or Devil’s Horses.
WITHLACOOCHEE — Captain Zack Lewis of Reputation Charters (352-302-7928), via Hook, Line and Sinker Bait and Tackle, said, “With the cold front fast approaching and some wintertime low tides, the fish will be moving up the creeks. My father and myself fish out of a 16-foot airboat. That is one of the best ways to find fish during the wintertime. We generally stay and fish out of the boat; there are plenty of guys that walk around. But we just fish off the boat. Stick and move catching fish all day, some days better than others. But you definitely get a variety, from snook to reds, trout, flounder, drum, mangrove snapper.
“All sorts of fish move up the creeks and rivers for the wintertime. Not to say that there are not plenty on the outside, which there is. I use all shrimp and mud minnows and let them sit on the bottom, or put a shrimp on a jig head that produces a lot of fish slowly jogging it back to the boat, 20-pound test leader. If nothing else the airboat is always a good time with a fun ride getting away from where most boats can’t get to on the low tides. If you have never fished off of one give me a call. Tight lines and calm seas.”
CRYSTAL RIVER/BARGE CANAL — Ed’s Tackle Shop reports redfish and snook are still great around the mangrove islands, and they’re starting to move into the mouths of the creeks. Try live shrimp or cut mullet. Trout is in 3-5 feet of water, use MirrOlure Lil Johns in watermelon copper glitter under a popping cork. At many local piers it has been a mixed bag of redfish, snook and mangrove snapper biting on live shrimp or cut bait.
KING’S BAY — Captain Louie Argiro of Florida Fishing Adventures (352-601-1963, www.floridafishingadventures.com), based out of Pete’s Pier in Crystal River, said, “Pretty much the same as last week. There have been some massive schools of Spanish mackerel and albacores in about 8-15 feet of water that we are targeting by throwing a Lil John on a 1/8th-ounce jig head as they are busting the surface. Makes for a full day of drag screaming fun.”
SALT RIVER — Twin Rivers Marina in Crystal River reports redfish, Spanish mackerel, and shark are biting on shrimp or artificial lures. Check out water conditions by visiting www.twinriversmarina.com to view a live video feed.
Captain William Toney (352-422-4141) said, “After a moderate cold front this week and one more on its way, will make an angler have to change the methods of targeting inshore fish. Northeast winds following a cold front will be the start of what will happen this winter. Flats may not be always flat and all along the Big Bend old river channels will be laid out across the flats from the mouth of a creek or river that we all fish on most any day.
“The best way to discover these old river beds or sloughs is to look at Google Earth. They will appear as dark water in light-colored water west of the creeks and rivers that you are familiar with. As we get these negative tides, fish will fall into these fingers of deep water when the tide drops. Studying and using your GPS will help you stay with the fish on low water. Incoming tide this weekend will be in the morning, find those finger channels in the afternoon to stay on fish.”