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Captain's corner

By RICK FRAZIER

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 18, 2001


Can you believe the speckled trout action this spring? If you're having the success I'm talking about, you're catching more of the biggest yellowmouths since the state-imposed gill net ban a few years ago. Eugene Craig Weaver and Jay Menzel got to experience just that.

Drifting the thick grassflats of south Tampa Bay, they caught and released numerous fish larger than the 20-inch limit. Menzel caught the first tournament-size speck: a 23-incher that brought bragging rights between the two anglers. It wasn't long before Weaver followed with a 24-incher. Armed with a jig, both reached their limit before lunchtime. Menzel started out throwing a favorite motor-oil color with red glitter 4-inch slug tail. Weaver used the same slug tail but with a pumpkinseed color with green glitter. After Menzel landed the first brute, motor oil was the choice for the rest of the day. It's always a smart idea to use a variety of colors at first until you find out what's working best.

Working the shallow grass with a jig can bring hardships with the bait getting snagged in thick weeds. To avoid this, add a small cigar-style "popping" float about 20 inches above the jig. This will slow the rate of the sinking jig and attract the hogs, with the cork popping when you twitch the jig.

- Capt. Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dog Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 448-3817 or by e-mail at captrick@luckydawg.com.

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