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Thursday, Mar 26, 2015
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Fishing report: Head to backcountry during fronts

Hernando Beach Fishing Report


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The fishing has been productive off Hernando Beach. November means passing cold fronts often move through our area of the Nature Coast bringing rain and cool strong winds. These elements often determine where I go, and what I target.

If the winds are blowing and seas are choppy, I target the skinny backcountry waters. These areas hold species like trout, black drum, jack crevalle, red fish, and snook. They also provide a little protection from the rough seas and wind.

If the seas are calm, then I like to work the deeper flats in 7-10 feet of water. There is a mixed bag of fish willing to pull drag out there right now. Mackerel, trout, sea bass, lady fish, cobia, sea bass, grouper, and more will all be on the move and feeding. Working a 1/4 ounce jig will catch all these fish while drifting, but live pin fish and white bait are also great options.

Shallow water grouper fishing is in full swing right now. I prefer trolling 8-10 feet of water over spotty bottom with rocks and tall grass. I have had a lot of success in these depths using the Rapala Magnum X-Rap 10. The red head plug with a white body has really been producing. Place the plug approximately 50 -75 yards behind the boat at a speed of 4-6 mph. Keep the grass off the plug and vary your speed and colors until you find what they want. Gag grouper season will close Dec. 4, so get out there and test your tackle while there is still time.

Good luck out there and tight lines!

Capt. Keith Tomlinson owns Bulldog Fishin' Charters, operating out of Hernando Beach. Contact him at or (352) 238-3581. He is on Facebook as Bulldog Fishin' Charters.

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