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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015
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Tomlinson: Work lures slowly when water is cooler

Hernando Beach Fishing Report


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December is a great month to target redfish and big trout. Both these fish put up a great fight and are excellent table fare. Targeting the right areas is important, but there are other factors to consider. Choosing the correct tackle, bait, and strategy can make for a successful fishing trip.

Points, cuts, and spoil islands are great locations to fish. Be sure there is adequate structure like mangroves, oyster bars and grass. Also try to target areas that are near springs that will provide some warmer water. These areas provide cover for reds and hold mullet, crabs and small bait fish. Redfish are often found near big schools of mullet feeding on whatever they stir up. Stay well away from these locations and make long cast.

Cut mullet, live pinfish, or select shrimp are great "bait" offerings. As for lures, I go with old faithful! A 3-inch white Gulp shrimp worked slowly on a 1/8 ounce jig head. I also like surface plugs like the "glow" or "Hot Chartreuse" Skitter walk (sw08). Top water plugs like this are still effective in these conditions for redfish, big trout, snook, and jack crevalle if worked slow. That goes for any lure when the water is cooler.

Quality light spinning tackle is key. A light/medium rod coupled with a 20-40 series reel will handle redfish and any other back water species. I rig my rods with 15-pound Power Pro braided line with a 20-30 pound monofilament leader. Make your leader 3-4 feet long for a stealthier offering, and if it gets a nick in it all you have to do is cut and re-tie and still have plenty of leader to work with.

December and January means our area will be hit with frequent cold fronts, but fishing can still be good if you "fish where the fish are." Remember, 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water and with a little knowledge and proper strategy, anglers will bend a rod and put fish in the cooler!

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.

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