WITHLACOOCHEE/RAINBOW RIVERS/LAKE ROUSSEAU — Captain Bob Jewett out of Angler’s Resort in Dunnellon reports a lot of bluegill was caught up both rivers, using little jigs, wiggler worms and crickets. Bass are biting on wild and domestic shiners or plastic worms where the two rivers meet and up the Withlacoochee, or on Lake Rousseau with wild shiners. Big, fat catfish weighing as much as 25 pounds are being reeled in up the Withlacoochee and where the two rivers meet.
LAKE ROUSSEAU — Bill Burgess of Lake Rousseau RV and Fishing said he and a few others caught bluegill, in good size and quantity, in 5-8 feet of water using wigglers and crickets. Shellcrackers in decent size were brought in, as well. Crappie are scattered and hard to find, but some have been caught trolling jigs tipped with minnows. Bass are in late spawn or post-spawn, try throwing out a Rapala in the topwater, let it set and then jerk it. Also try Devil’s Horses, poppers, or Texas-rigged Culprit worms in fire and ice.
WITHLACOOCHEE — Captain Zack Lewis of Reputation Charters (352-302-7928), via Hook, Line and Sinker Bait and Tackle, said, "The inshore bite is strong, but the wind has made it a little tough to get out several days. Don’t forget the last day to keep snook is April 30 till September.
"This coming month is a great month to catch cobia. They are a lot of fun to catch and even better to eat. You can find them around rocks, wrecks, pilings and free-swimming. Cobia will pretty much eat just about anything. I prefer a live pinfish, grass grunt or thread-fins. If I could find some live eels, that would be even better. If you can get live eels the artificial ones can work just as good. Flare hawk jigs are great, as well.
"I have caught a bunch of cobia while fishing for snook, redfish and trout. I like to use a 4-foot, 30-50-pound fluorocarbon leader. Sometimes they get finicky just like a lot of fish and might need to downgrade leader size. As well I like to use a 3/0-6/0 Owner circle hook. If you find them on a marker just throw your bait past them or up current and let it drift back to them.
"Now if you are fishing on a rock pile or wreck and can’t see them throw a chum bag out and put a couple of baits on the bottom and free-line a bait, and have one ready to go if you see one come up. Always, always, always make sure you let them get all their fight out of themselves, as it is not a good idea to pull a green cobia in the boat. I have seen them come off the gaff and do a lot of damage.
"Hope this helps. Tight lines and calm seas."
CRYSTAL RIVER/BARGE CANAL — Ed’s Tackle Shop reports trout are biting in 7-15 feet of water, use D.O.A. jerk shad or live shrimp. There have been a few Spanish mackerel in 4-5 feet of water and a few snook around the mangrove islands and spoil banks.
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, "Redfishing has been on fire on the outside islands of St. Martins and there have been some cobia starting to show up offshore."
Captain William Toney (352-422-4141) said, "Growing up in a commercial fishing community sometime it’s easy to forget how hard men and women work to make a living from the Gulf waters. I’ve found that you will never get rich, the rewards are far between hardships, but this life is very fulfilling for those who will have it no other way.
"One of our local blue crabbers had a tough day this week and was caught in the river during a tornado and had his boat picked up and flipped over. A local homeowner ran their boat out and picked him up and got him to the dock. A local shrimper helped him right the vessel and get it on the trailer. The crabber drained the outboard, got it running, replaced his safety gear and readied the vessel for work in the morning. Three boxes of blue crab were lost back to the river but with his can-do spirit, it’s back to work.
"When you’re fishing for trout on the big tides the best spots are coastal bays and passes. If it is low water and calm conditions the near-shore waters out at 10 feet is a good choice. Redfish are eating live pinfish on high water and snook around the same western points. High incoming tide will be in the afternoon this weekend."