Bob McNally’s Outdoors Outlook

Wed, Dec 4, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

Lake Santa Fe, near Melrose, is offering excellent sunshine bass (striper-white bass hybrids) for fish to 3 pounds. Sunshines are aggressive and hitting lipless crankbaits and spoons near deep water shad schools. Largemouth bass to 4 pounds also are available near baitfish pods. Crappie fishing is fair.

Crappie action has slowed considerably on lakes Lochloosa, Newnans and Rodman Reservoir. But largemouth bass over 10 pounds are in good supply on Rodman for anglers using live shiners in thick cover. Noted guide Sean Rush led anglers to a pair of 10-pound bass with shiners on Rodman last week.

Rick Hamilton of R&J Tackle in Green Cove Springs says a wide variety of fish are being caught in his portion of the St. Johns River. Croakers and weakfish (yellowmouth trout) are hitting well in the river again. Best action is near deep sandbars, particularly near river channel markers. Top fishing is during moving tide phases for anglers soaking dead shrimp on the bottom from Marker 18 south. Croakers are good size, with many in the 14- to 16-inch range.

Crappies are hitting better with cooling weather in the major feeder creeks off the St. Johns River south of Jacksonville, particularly in Black, Trout, Six Mile and Deep. Mid-stream trolling with live minnows is best for “specks.” Large bream are being caught in the small feeder creeks off these larger streams, mostly on earthworms and dead shrimp. Some undersize redfish are being caught in the river between Palatka and Jacksonville.

Some sheepshead and striped bass have been caught from the pilings of the Florida 16 (Shands) Bridge over the St. Johns River. Stripers also are being caught from the upper St. Marys River, near the I-95 bridge pilings.

St. Johns River largemouth bass action has been good for anglers working muscle shell bars in 7 to 12 feet of water, from the I-295 (Buckman) Bridge south to Welaka. Carolina rigs with soft plastic lures work well, as do jigging spoons, during moving tide phases. Bass average 2 to 5 pounds.

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