The strongest cold front of the fall season probably brought big changes to the fresh and salt water fishing landscape in North Florida . We say “probably” since the wind that accompanied the chill was sufficiently strong to keep most would-be anglers at home—greatly reducing the weekend reports that could have confirmed our speculation.
We do have one “before” and “after” catch comparison from a small area lake. But, since each was fairly impressive, we can’t yet say that the cold really changed things—at least for speckled perch fans.
Friday, just ahead of the front, George Dekle and Larry Nutt fished for specks on Little Orange Lake, near Hawthorne . Drifting crappie jigs in deeper water, the men caught five specks while rain showers threatened. They stopped by the store to weigh the biggest two—slabs that pulled the needle on our State-certified scale to the 2-pound and 1-pound, 12-ounce marks.
Dekle and Nutt returned Monday, after the worst of the cold front had passed. The weather on their return trip was very different—bright, dry, and windy. The anglers drifted minnows and jig/minnow combinations through the white caps in deep water to take 14 nice specks. Again, the best of the fish were thick slabs weighing from a pound-and-a-half to two-pounds. A seven-plus-pound catfish topped off the fish catching for the Gainesville fishermen.
On Lochloosa and Cross Creek, both specks and bass remain active. While standing on the small island in front of Twin Lakes Fish Camp Monday evening, Mark Goldberg hauled in eight bass in the two-pound class. The Cross Creek resident made his fine catch while casting Storm WildEye Shiners in a sparkly green finish.
With overnight weekend temperatures down to about 40-degrees, the gulf shallows must have chilled measurably. Usually, such a sudden drop will push speckled trout into Big Bend tidal creeks. A small drop in water temp can, too, fire up the mackerel bite out a bit deeper. So far, though, we’ve not been able to locate a trout fisher that has given the creeks a try since the chilly spell…or a mackerel seeker that’s braved the chop to check out Seahorse Reef or Spotty Bottom. Mild, stable conditions are forecast for the rest of this week, so the angling answers are likely to come soon. Stay tuned…