Hernando County By: Capt. Joel Gant

Its Time!

It’s like when the announcer from UFC yells ” It’s time.” That’s right, it’s fishin’ time. After the winds, the rains and the cold, the fish are moving into their spring time patterns. With the water warming, this is prime time to go fishing. After the winds, we usually get dirty water from the silt being stirred up. It’s not always easy, but look for the cleanest water. Dirty water makes it harder for the fish to see the bait. So, working areas where the water is clearer will increase your chances of getting more bites.

For the offshore and near shore fans, cobia, kingfish, grouper, snapper and sharks are just some of the species you can target. For cobia and kingfish, I always keep a free lined bait out when bottom fishing and a rig ready to toss, if one comes by. Many times, someone on the boat says “look a shark.” That’s when I grab the toss bait and will usually hook up a never-ending fight with a cobia. Trolling also works great this time of year for kingfish and even grouper. Pick the right lure for the depth you’re going to be trolling. You want to be as close to the bottom as you can without hooking the bottom. As we all know (or should know) gag grouper season does not open until June, but red grouper is open. Anchoring and bottom fishing is very productive right now. Using cut bait, shrimp or squid will bring in grey snapper, hogfish and lots of grunts. Once you get a bite going, drop a live bait or frozen threadfin with heavier gear for grouper.

Inshore is on fire right now. Work the mangrove and rock shore lines, from Hernando Beach to Homosassa for redfish, snook and trout. Topwater, crank baits and live baits all will produce some exciting fights. I love to work a topwater bait for many species–especially bluefish. When you get into the blues, be ready for some very vicious strikes. I like to work the bait really fast and watch them jump out of the water knocking the bait two feet into the air. They move fast so, if the bite slows, just keep casting and they will usually return.

I’m always looking for reports and pictures. You can email me or stop by my website and become a “FISHHEAD.” Get out there on the water and make some memories with friends and family!