WITHLACOOCHEE/RAINBOW RIVERS/LAKE ROUSSEAU – Captain Bob Jewett out of Angler’s Resort in Dunnellon reports folks are doing well on bass down the Withlacoochee, some weighing 10 1/2-12 1/2 pounds, by the Goldendale Boat Ramp using wild shiners. Bass fishing is also going well on Lake Rousseau. On the Rainbow, bluegill are biting on wiggler worms and little jigs.
LAKE ROUSSEAU – Bill Burgess of Lake Rousseau RV and Fishing said crappie are becoming scares, though some in good size are being caught as they look for deeper, warmer water, use jigs and minnows. Bluegill are moving up and being caught in decent numbers, moving into 3 feet of water as they look for the spawning beds. Watch for the potholes and use wiggler worms, crickets and other small baits. Shellcrackers are in 5-8 feet of water, being caught in good size as they start to spawn, but they’re difficult to find. Try wiggler worms, night crawlers or crickets with a slip bobber. Bass are hitting in the topwater, go with Rapala topwater baits in black and gold or poppers. Look for the weed beds on the breaks or use jerk baits close to the channel markers. Catfish are along the bottom, with 3-4-pounders biting on mullet and night crawlers.
WITHLACOOCHEE – Captain Zack Lewis of Reputation Charters (352-302-7928), via Hook, Line and Sinker Bait and Tackle, said, “The inshore bite is absolutely on fire right now, catching pretty much every inshore species, from trout, reds, snook and black drum, to tripletail, Spanish mackerel and pompano. A lot of the mackerel and pompano have been caught while trout fishing. The redfish, snook and black drum have been out and chewing in full force.
“There have been a lot of big snook caught and some big black drum. There will be some giant drum caught this spring. They are a lot of fun to catch, and you can catch them on shrimp or crabs. If you find the big ones you can stay on the school and catch them till your arms are ready to fall off.
“If you like to catch and eat Spanish mackerel they are pretty easily caught with live shrimp and a chum block. I use a small swivel so they don’t go after a bigger one, a short piece of wire about 6-8 inches and a long shank mustard No. 2 or No. 3 hook. If you can keep the chin flowing and have plenty of live shrimp you can fill the box pretty quick with a 15 fish per person limit. A lot of people don’t like them, because that can be a little oily sometimes or they have not had it cooked right.
“Two of my favorite recipes are, after filleting them take the blood lines out, cut them into chunks and fry them up, I personally like Italian bread crumbs with some parmesan cheese mixed in. And the next one is put them skin side down on aluminum foil, put some butter or light olive oil on the filets. Put whatever kind of seasoning you like on your food. I personally like pepper, light cayenne and garlic salt, and then put sliced onions and lemons around it and fold aluminum foil together. Hope this helps until next week, calm seas and tight lines.
“On another note we are still open for business with the coronavirus. If you’re looking to go fishing let us know. No coronavirus out there. Stay safe out there.”
CRYSTAL RIVER/BARGE CANAL – Ed’s Tackle Shop reports cobia along the outer banks. Trout are in 5-7 feet of water and redfish are around the outer islands. There are also nice trout off the spoil banks. Live shrimp has been the primary 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, “Snook fishing has started to fire up on the incoming tide throwing white jerk baits and live pinfish. Targeting points with fast-moving current edges and rocky bottom is where we have been having the most success.”
Captain William Toney (352-422-4141) said, “All is awesome on the western Gulf! The Big Bend is rockin’ out with trout, redfish, snook, jacks, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, tripletail, sea bass and the ever sporty ladyfish. Now that’s just what’s happening inshore, out deeper is some good mangrove snapper, kingfish and cobia action. Inshore incoming high tide is the best bite. Some of the best soft plastics are the glow 5.5 (305) D.O.A. jerk baits and MirrOlure Lil Johns in glow or watermelon red flake. The best spots have been the spoil banks, west points of Ozello and west points of Chassahowitzka.
“For cobia out deeper go to structure like old towers, markers wrecks and high-profile rocks. Heavy spinning tackle that can cast some distance with a live pinfish for bait will catch the surface-cruising cobia or just having it prepared when fishing the rock piles can make success happen. High incoming tide will be early morning or late evening this weekend.”