Hernando County By: Capt. Joel Gant

Honorable Mentions

A couple of my favorite hard fighting fish are two of the under rated ones; Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Both of these fish can be caught close to shore and are great to keep kids excited. They can be caught with the same technique, tackle and baits. The first thing you want to do is chum. Use a chum bag, cut baits or menhaden oil. My number one go to lure is a 1/4 oz jig with a short (glass minnow type) jerk bait like Zoom or DOA. Other lures like spoons, skirted jigs and top water (another favorite for bluefish) all work well. You want to work the lures very fast. If you get a hit and miss, keep moving the lure or they will turn away. You will also loose a lot of tackle, because they run in schools and always have their sharp teeth ready to cut your leader. Speaking of their teeth, be very careful not to get even a nip or bite from them. These fish have some kind of anticoagulant that will make you bleed for hours. If you’re getting cut off too much, try using a bigger leader or even wire. These leaders can sometime slow the bite down. Live baits like shrimp (with a long shank J hook), with or without a strike indicator, will also produce some line screaming fights. I hear these fish can be great to eat when cooked or smoked.

With the winds letting up from last month, the water is getting much cleaner. With clean, clear water the fishing offshore is really taking off. Kingfish, cobia, grouper, sharks and many other species are all being caught. The gag grouper (season opens June 1st) are all over any structure with some red grouper mixed in. And, as always, big white grunts are abundant. When bottom fishing, always have one or two freelined baits out for the migrating fish like kingfish or cobia.

Going inshore, this is one of the best times of year to fish the shallows. The weather is still nice and the fish are biting. Redfish, snook and trout are all around the shoreline, channel and the grass flats. This is the perfect time for you fishermen and women that like to use artificial lures.

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!


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