Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Now's a Great Time to Troll for Specks

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Now's a Great Time to Troll for Specks

Article excerpt

Byline: BOB BUEHN

Specks, also known as speckled perch, are tasty panfish that school at this time of year in Clay County waters.

Although they are year-round residents, specks are concentrated from January to about March, prior to spawning, and are easy to catch once you locate the schools. Some good catches have already started being reported over the past few weeks.

Deep holes, drop-offs and brush piles are good places to start your search for specks. The mouth of Black Creek around the bridge has been productive, as have Doctors Lake and Swimming Pen Creek. Area lakes are starting to produce strings of specks, too.

Many anglers troll or drift until they locate the schools, and then anchor. A good depth recorder can be helpful in pinpointing prime spots, or even marking the fish themselves.

Serious speck fishermen carry lots of rigs, and their boats bristle with 10 or more poles to cover a large area and variety of water depths. Speck tackle can be as simple as the time-honored cane pole, favored by many, or as elaborate as ultralight spin and fly tackle. Long casts are not usually necessary.

Small jigs in 1/8th and 1/16th ounce sizes are good lures and they come in an endless variety of colors and materials, from deer hair to plastic curlytails. Light lines of four to six pound test are all you need.

What color lure to use is always a matter of debate, and anglers have different favorites. If you're unsure, start out with yellow, white, black or green and go from there. Keep changing until you find the right combination.

For live bait, minnows are most popular, and they can be fished on an unweighted hook or on a weighted jig, with or without a float.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Web site, forage fish like minnows and threadfin shad are the primary food for adult specks so keep that in mind when choosing lures.

One rig I have enjoyed using is a small marabou-tail jig under a float. …

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