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bassin assassin

Tough Bite On The Alafia River

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Decided to hit the Alafia today. Launched around 11:45am at the Civic Center. They have done a lot of good work over there. Re-paved the roads and graveled an area for parking. Incoming till about 1:30pm and then a slow outgoing. Water was 71-72 degrees and a bit stained. Water was low and didn't get much higher. Wind was pretty strong out of the E/NE.

 

Forgot my watch so no exact times. Didn't really need it anyway. Worked a few docks with the 4" mullet in shadflash and nothing. About 45 minutes in and get a strike reeling it under a dock.Thinking it might be a red, I put some scent on my bait and hopped it off the bottom. Hooked into a rat red. Caught another one under the same dock using the same technique a few casts later. No more strikes on that stretch.

 

Over to the other side of the river. Wave at a couple outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Skip under a nearby dock and reel it through. Nothing under it, but my lure stops about 5 feet on the outside of it. Set the hook and feel some weight. A nice snook launches out of the water. She is digging hard to get back to the dock. I put pressure on her and turn on the tm to get me away. She tail-walks back towards me. I got her away and loosen the drag. By this time the guy on the bank has noticed. He asks what I have on. I said it is a nice snook. After an extended fight, I finally get her to the side of the boat and lip her. She is a solid fish. I hold her up and the guy offers me $5 for the fish. Yea right! I said I don't keep fish plus snook season is closed, but not for him apparently. She measured out at a healthy 32".

 

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I worked that stretch of docks on down and have a fish on, but lose it. Probably another rat. Over to the other side of the river and I lose a small snook at the boat on the 4" mullet, but in rootbeer and gold/flake. Went into a cove and no luck. Back out to the main river and catch another small snook on the shadflash. I worked it for about 2 hours and didn't get another bite working docks andor deep water for trout. Water was low and not moving. I headed for the ramp about 5:30pm. It was a pretty tough day, but catching one nice fish made it worth the effort.

 

Final Body Count

 

Snook - 2 (Dink and 32"er)

Reds - 2 rats

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Nice to read your reports again BA. I had success yesterday as well in terrible conditions doing the exact same technique. The zman jerk shads skip extremely well under docks if you haven't tried them already. And was that guy serious about a $5 offer!? Not that I would go with it anyway....but $5 darn sure isn't even going to cover the tackle used to catch that snook lol. People are ridiculous.

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I am sure that guy was serious about the $5 offer. I wouldn't even consider it for a $100. Jerk baits are good to use under docks. I have tried the Zoom jerkbaits, but I like the direct contact that I have with the swim bait/paddle tail. I already have the bait coming to me and I can set the hook and get the fish coming to me faster. Plus the hook is exposed with a swimbait as opposed to a jerk bait which allows for more secure hook-ups. You will get hung up more and lose a few lures at times, but I didn't lose any yesterday and I must have fished 40 docks. The other thing is that you have slack line when working that jerk bait from side to side. A fish can eat it on slack line and wrap you around a piling before you know it and you are toast. The final thing is depth control. I can work all water columns under a dock much easier with a swimbait and even hop it off the bottom, which has paid off a lot. Allowing a jerk bait to sink, even with a weighted hook, allows a fish to eat it and take off around a post very quickly. Boink! Just my experience fishing docks.

 

On a side note, the trolling motor is better than ever. The handle no longer slides out all the way when boating and the motor vibration is gone.

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Appreciate your reports on the Alafia. I live across the street from the river less than 3 miles from the ramp but rarely fish it.

 

Fished it at least 3 times a month starting in 1978 when we moved to our present house. It was a slice of paradise. I would tell you what the fishing was like back then but you wouldn't believe me.

 

The phosphate spill of 1999 killed it.

 

Admittedly it has recovered somewhat but it is only a shadow of it's former self and it saddens me tremendously when I do fish there.

 

That's one of the reasons I get furious every time I see a Mosaic commercial on TV telling us all what good stewards they are of the environment. Lying [email protected]%*!$.

 

I digress.

 

Enjoy your reports and am glad to see the river is limping back to reasonably good health.

 

Dave

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I'd be surprised if you didn't like the results you get with Zman Paddlerz BA.

 

Give em a try. Reds and snook both seem pretty attracted to them. Reds like their scent and the swimming action is good. Pick up one pack of the rootbeer Gold speckled and see what you think.

 

They are pretty durable and last quite awhile per bait usually. It takes a bit of steady force to get them seated just right on the Jig head - but once in place they are on there very solidly.

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BA

 

I used the Zmann PaddleZ Houdini and Bad Shad color patterns.  They are very effective, and do cost a bit more.  However, last week when I I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and went on a tear of 20-30 fish I used 2 Houdini paddletails all day. I believe they only offer the paddlerz in 4" length.  

 

The tally  was about 15 trout (largest 22"), 5-7 reds (largest 28.25) and a snook (19").

 

This was for the SSA One Lure format - so I had to use the same lure all day, but you could use up to 5 of the same lure.

 

Normally I use a Riptide Rootbeer Goldflake 3" mullet, but they stopped making the 3" version.  At best I might get 3-4 fish on the Riptides (although I've been know to flip them upside down and try and reuse them).  So long term the Zmanns are more economical.

 

You can find them at Walmart.

 

So...why did I use two paddletails...see for yourself.  Back to back casts cost me two lures.

 

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No soft plastic can stand up to those damn puffers...

 

Yea the Paddlerz do not come in a smaller size. But hey - big bait - big fish - right? LOL. I like the Houdini color too when you want something lighter.

 

The Monster 3X soft baits also have a similarish durability factor and their paddletail swims nicely as does the shrimp. Snook in particular seem to go for them so I recommend people trying those to see how you like the results as well. They are pretty expensive per unit compared to most soft baits - but again - are durable. I certainly believe that good baits/lures are worth paying more for - if you find you can attract fish with them.

 

Then again - there's certainly something to the idea that baits only catch fishermen. Its the fisherman who catches the fish - not the bait. I think mostly it boils down to what you have confidence in.

 

BA is going to catch fish no matter what he fishes with. I always love his - "yea it was a crappy day but I'll tell the details anyway" reports. Because most of the time there's a slam in there somewhere and at least 2 or 3 each of his targeted species. I've often wished my bad days were like that.....

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That's a great day jb. No more 3" RT in rootbeer?! wtf! The RT is just so deadly plus I have been getting a discount.  I f&%k up every puffer I catch now.

 

Thanks Mike. I have good and bad days just like everybody so I try to share the "bad" too. Though any day out on the water is a good day. Catching and releasing fish is an added bonus. It's all about the thrill of the strike. Such a rush!!!

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Yeah...I couldn't believe it either. They still make a 3" model, but not in that color pattern.  I have a couple bags left that might make it to spring.

 

I called/emailed them and they said we only have what's on the web site.  I suspect that I need to reach a supervisor vs. front line support.

 

They make the 4" root bear / gold one though.  It's a bit heavier and make a louder splash, but you do what ya gotta do.

 

I have used their 4" version of smoke halo (or something like that - looks like a white bait); it's pretty effective too, but I REALLY like the 3" version.

 

I may call them again and see what it would take to get a 3" batch made.  Obviously they have the mold and plastic.

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