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Captain's corner

By WADE OSBORNE

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 3, 2001


Late afternoon continues to produce the most action. Try to select an afternoon with a major solar-lunar table, outgoing tide or falling barometer.

Trout are back in season in Florida's South Region. Try working lush grass flats along the Intracoastal Waterway from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. Start in depths of 6-8 feet. Trout will move closer to shore as the water warms during the day. Drift-fishing is best to locate fish while working a plastic curly-tail jig. A 1/4-ounce to 3/4-ounce red head with a fire-pumpkin tail has been my most affective jig.

Work the area slowly, trying to find some fish, and note the depth in which they are holding. Keep drifting that depth. Most of the trout I've caught lately have been in the 2- to 3-pound range. Since the net ban I rarely catch any under 15 inches, and 20 inches and larger is common. Please remember the bag limits when fishing this area. The South Region stops at Fred Howard Park and has a four-fish bag limit. The Northwest Region starts at the park and has a five-fish limit. The slot is 15-20 inches statewide with one fish over 20 inches. If you launch your boat south of Fred Howard Park and fish north in Tarpon Springs, keep only four fish. Trout season closes in the Northwest Region in February.

- Wade Osborne operates Afishionado Guide Services in Tampa. Call (813) 286-3474 or e-mail wade@wadefish.com.

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