By Captain David Lifka
Spring has sprung and so has the fishing. Ideally, by this time of the year you should have the dust off the gear or be shopping many of the great spring time tackle sales that are now taking place.
Recent fishing has been really good and should only improve in the coming weeks. As always for this time of year, the surf is hot with plentiful catches of whiting, and the surf fisherman’s favorite, the great tasting pompano.
Shrimp and sand flea baits are both these species’ favorite. Being able to long cast past breakers and sandbars is usually a must for catching pompano. Fishing around low tide will help make the long casts needed a bit easier. Fishing for whiting in the surf is less strenuous, usually only requiring shorter casts far enough to get right behind the breakers on the immediate shoreline. Store bought pompano rigs work really well for attracting both species in the surf.
Currently, the freshwater scene is at its finest fishing, if it is trophy largemouth bass that you are wanting to catch. Whether they are going on the bed or coming off the bed, springtime bass are at their hungriest right now and easiest to catch. Trophy size bass can be caught in most any neighborhood pond, area lakes, area creeks, or the St. Johns River shorelines and docks.
Although the purest of bass fishermen will consider artificial bait as the only means to catch a bass, live wild shiners are the one singular bait that no bass can refuse, especially a trophy. Wild shiners can be attracted by tossing bread into the water and then caught with a small hook and line with a bread ball for bait. They are also readily available at area bait stores in Orangedale and Green Cove Springs. An aerated bait bucket will be needed to keep your shiners alive. Remember to always have a scale, a tape measure, and a camera with you to document your trophy of six pounds or larger as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) does offer a rewards program for trophy catches. Visit myfwc.com to find out more.
Fishing Report: Bass fishing in area freshwater is at its peak and is a “best bet” for anyone wanting to catch a largemouth. Surf fishing is also at its best time of year right now with a variety of species to be caught. Fishing the last and the start of a high or low tide should help improve your chances of bringing home a catch to feed the family.
Whether you catch one, some or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.