This Week's Steinhatchee Report 12/31/99
This fluctuation in temperatures has kept the trout from flooding the river. Yesterday the three boats I talked to caught only two spotted trout each in the river, but caught their limits on the flats, most up near the Keaton Beach area.  The top water lures such as the 5M and 7M Mirrolures have been producing nice size fish.  Also the smaller live pinfish are triggering the larger trout and some redfish to hit.  For additional top water lures try Spitin' Image lures.
Off shore the weather has not been cooperating so I have not much to report. A bunch of boats have gone out today, so hopefully I'll get some pictures and some more news.  I took the baby to see the grandparents so I haven't been around to see any fish last week.
Chuck Odom, Johnny Crawford, 
and Ted Odom 
display  a fine catch
of Grouper!
Click on Photo to Enlarge

This Week's Steinhatchee Report 12/1/99
Hopefully the cold weather will move the trout into the Steinhatchee River. If this phenomenon occurs use a bow and stern anchor to anchor the boat cross river so that everyone can fish comfortably at the same time. Use a 3/4-ounce ready rig with a 2/O hook and live shrimp.  With the trout, expect to find some nice size Redfish hiding along the shoreline.  Be courteous and cautious due to the fact that the trout attract so many fishermen that the river will be packed with boats, some even anchoring up directly in the channel.
Offshore the Kingfish have arrived. For kings be sure to use a wire leader followed with a trolling bait. Try live mullet or blue runners or frozen bally hoo or cigar minnow.  If using frozen try to pick the fish with the nicest tail and be sure to break the backbone in a few places to give the fish more live action.  Try adding a silvery duster to the rig or use an already prepared king rig or a pre-hooked frozen bally hoo.  Also working very well at this time is the Stretch 25+ lure gold with black back.  The Stretch 25+ lure are working well with the Kingfish because they do not dive as deep as the Stretch 30+ lure. Trolling both Stretch 25+ and 30+ will allow you to catch both the bottom fish, Grouper and Black Seabass, and the surface fish, Kingfish and Amberjacks, at the same time.  Troll at 3 to 4 knots and use a 25lb. Or 30lb. test line (I recommend the 30lb.); any heavier and the line tends to pull the lures towards the surface. Let out approximately 200 feet of line beyond the boat. Since the Kingfish are in season, I recommend a steel wire leader with a swivel. If you purchase the Stretch 25+ be sure the lure has only 2 hooks and not 3 as a grouper will straighten the 3 hooks almost every time. One guide caught a flounder on a Stretch 30+. That's the first I've heard of that.
Sheepshead will move in to spawn and can be caught with shrimp, small crabs, fiddler crabs, and sand fleas around bottom structures.  Expect to catch Sheepshead at Offshore Marker 18 (14463.7/45993.2 29° 40.10'N/83° 35.40"W) when the weather is colder.
   Click on photos! 
This Week's Steinhatchee Report 11/13/99
The weather is wonder once again, that is, as long as you come on a weekday.  We just cannot get a break for the weekend fishermen!  Grouper have been phenomenal!!!!  I have seen the largest grouper I have seen in my entire life!  These fish must be 30+ pounders.  I bought a new digital camera and have been trying to capture them on digital card to put on the web site but I am still working of the logistics of the transfer of data from the camera to my computer.  I hope then to host a weekly picture.  The large grouper have all been caught on Stretch 30+. The 'mullet' color seems to work the best right now (that's pearl with black back).  The grouper have been active closer inshore this last week making it easy to catch a wide variety of fish on one trip.  The guides have been coming in with Black Sea bass, Spanish Mackerel, Grouper, Pink Mouths, Spotted Sea Trout, and Flounder most days. The trout are hitting Chartreuse Sparkle Greedy Guts very nicely and live shrimp are also working well.
I'll try to get more later.....  ...gonna work on the camera again as long as the baby is asleep!
This Week's Steinhatchee Report 10/28/99
The weather is wonderful for fishing right now.  The seas are calm and the air is cool enough to anchor up without sweating in the gorgeous sun.  Unfortunately it seems the fish are just not biting right now.  I think it might be because I keep reading my little baby girl the story by Dr. Seuss, "One fish, two fish…." and well, the trout and grouper must be listening because two seems to be the magic number at the cleaning table lately.  Actually I think the full moon accompanied with the extreme tides and the fluctuation in air temperature have caused the 'no bite' period. Once all that passes and the water and air temperatures remain at a nice cool degree, fishing will pick up and an excellent fall season will begin here in Steinhatchee.

Look for the spotted trout to move from the 6 to 8 water depth near the shoals of Marker 18 (Loran 14463.7/45993.2 or GPS 29° 40.10'N/83° 35.40"W) to the grass flats located both north and south of the river mouth.  Once the water gets really cool, expect both the trout and Redfish to move into the river.  So that everyone can fish the current well, anchor front and back cross current.  Fish with live shrimp, on a 2/O hook with a steel leader, 3/4-ounce weight and a bobber.  If the trout flood the river, expect the river to busy, almost busy enough to walk from one side to the other by stepping boat to boat.  Look to catch Redfish around shorelines, grassy points, and creek mouths.  Try using Rat-L-Trap plugs, Johnson or Gator gold spoons, Top Dog or 5M Surface Spinning Mirrolures, live shrimp, and live pinfish.  A few deep holes housing Redfish can be found at the mouth of the river just outside the channel behind the oyster shoals. Approach these holes only on an incoming tide so that you are not left stranded at low tide.

On the Steinhatchee Reef (Loran 14459.7/46011.3 or GPS 29° 39.85'N/83° 37.81'W) expect to catch Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevalle, and ladyfish.  The best way to catch these fish is to troll Floreo lures, silver Clark spoons, or Spanish rigs plain or baited with a strip of baitfish or squid.  Another technique is to anchor up near the reef and put out a bag of chum.  This will attract the baitfish and in turn their predators. Try using live shrimp or casting silver spoons.

Offshore the Kingfish should have arrived but I have not seen one yet mostly because the weather has not permitted much offshore travel. For kings be sure to use a wire leader followed with a trolling bait. Try live mullet or blue runners or frozen bally hoo or cigar minnow.  If using frozen try to pick the fish with the nicest tail and be sure to break the backbone in a few places to give the fish more live action.  Try adding a silvery duster to the rig or use an already prepared king rig or a pre-hooked frozen bally hoo.  Grouper will be more active feeders these cool months.  Sheepshead will move in too spawn and can be caught with shrimp, small crabs, fiddler crabs, and sand fleas around bottom structures.
This Week's Steinhatchee Report 10/21/99
Well I did not realize it had been so much time since my last report.  A lot of people were fishing today but the catch did not seem that great. I guess the front crossing over with the cold weather has caused the fish not to bite.  I suspect that if the weather remains cool and stabilizes then this weekend ought to be fantastic for fishing, which in turn is perfect for the Gainesville Offshore Fishing Club tournament going on here in Steinhatchee.  If you're interested in checking out the catch, the weigh is at 3:00pm at the Sea Hag on sunday.  Stop by and see what the club is all about.
I do not have much new to report on the fishing. The trout are about the same as well as all the rest of the fish mentioned in the below fishing report.  D.O.A shrimp are still doing well, and I've not had a good test with the Floreo Lures for Spanish as of yet.  Seen lots of silver trout mostly.  Saw two fantastic Redfish landed by Capt. walt Carlson's crew last week, but mostly I've been paying attention to the baby (who now runs through the store pulling items from the shelf) and fending off the flu  (can't take medication due to the breast feeding) so I guess that's it for the report. Anyone who has more info, please send email and I'll post it.  I'll try to write more after the weekend.
This Week's Steinhatchee Report 9/29/99
Well as fishing goes for this time of the year, all is excellent!  Normally this is the slowest time of the year, and by gosh, everyone seems to be bringing home coolers full of fish. So many trout are being caught in the flats and even some keeper Spotted Seatrout have been caught right in the river!  I worked in the store the entire weekend so I have a lot to report.  Spotted Seatrout are being caught in the grass flats in approximately 6 to 7 foot of water.  I've been told between Marker #1 in the river and Marker #18 on the inter coastal is the place to fish (closer to #18 than to #1) and also 3 to 4 miles due west of Rocky Creek.  Saw a few guides rigged with a Cajun Thunder Equalizer float (the cajun ones have the bigger metal beads that make more noise) with a 1/4 ounce jig head (red and pink) tailed with Mann's Stingray white with pink tail, Greedy Guts with with firetail or Chartreuse curly tails (selling best).  Most folks were rigging the bait about 3 feet below the float.  Larger Spotted Trout were caught with live pinfish under a float.  We just started selling the pinfish but it seems we can only get enough for the early birds right now.  In the future, we hope to stock more up for the weekends.  Fishing with live shrimp has been a little slow (at least for this last weekend) but that changes on a daily basis.  I had one guy try D.O.A. shrimp on saturday and he reported great success with them so I sent everyone out with them on sunday.  Everyone who bought them caught nice size trout and bought one D.O.A. for the road when they bought ice to pack their fillets on after the fine day of fishing.  I have restocked the P.o.e.'s this week, so I will be recommending them again. The shrimp colored ones were working the best.  One guide uses a Striker Gotcha lure with a white tail for everything and even landed a 32" Cobia with it.  I've ordered a few in so we can see how those go this weekend too.  A couple commercial guys dropping crab traps say the Spanish Mackerel are really swarming out there.  Keep your eyes open for the diving birds and the bait fish breaking the surface of the water when chased by these fun to catch fish.  Most folks are using a silver spoon trolled just beyond the wake of the motor.  I remember Floreos being one of the best lures for the mackerel, but I do not get too many requests for them here in Steinhatchee.  I'll have to dust the few off I have from last season and give them out for a test run this coming weekend. I'll let you know how they go.  Lots of short trout are being caught right now so I think we are looking for a terrific season once the weather cools and they grow a few more inches.  Remember the kingfish run about the time the purple and pink wild flowers dot the sides of the roads.  Offshore grouper have been good using herring.  Seems one of the guide wrote an article about the success on this cheaper frozen bait and now I am selling quite a bit of it.  Still most of my regulars are still buying the Sardine and the Cigar Minnows. If bottom fishing is not going your way, try trolling a Stretch 30+ (pearl with black back or redhead) over your favorite spots.  The fish, some days, will only hit the lures.
This Week's Steinhatchee Report 9/18/99
I apologize for being so slow but with hurricane Floyd and all the relatives that have visited, I have not taken the time to type.  Trout and Redfish are being caught although most are short.  The guides state that the season should be excellent because normally they do not land any fish in late September.  I've seen some awesome trout and redfish.  The Grouper have been slow but the weather has been almost too bad to get good judgment on the truth to the  fish.  Gotta go......GO GATORS!