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Palm Coast Thursday, Mar. 10, 2011 7 years ago

Trout cooperative since season opened

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by: Capt. Rob Ottlein

The first part of the old saying, “March rolls in like a lion and out like a lamb,” has been holding true so far this month.

The strong winds have made fishing the flats difficult, but if you can find places to get out of the wind — such as canals and behind tree lines — you’ll find some pretty darn good fishing. Trout are plentiful, as are reds, flounder and ladyfish.

Trout have been very cooperative since the season opened March 1. What a difference since last March, when trout were very difficult to find. I’ve had a couple of trips out this month where the people have caught 30 fish in four hours of fishing. Right now they’re eating just about anything you put in front of them — live shrimp, plugs, soft plastics and flies. They are averaging between 14 inches and 20 inches, and they are very healthy.

By now, most of you who read this column know that I love to fly fish, so I must tell you that I’ve been tearing up the trout on fly. I’ve been using a rendition of a Clouser fly that my buddy, Rich Santos, from Jacksonville, showed me how to tie.

There are two things I believe are the key to my success with this fly pattern.

The first is the color — black and purple.

The second is using an intermediate fly line — it’s a slow-sinking line.

Santos and I recently fly-fished an area of the Pellicer Flats on foot. I used the above combination and out-fished him with a 15-2 count. The next day, I fished in the Intracoastal Waterway alone with the same combination and lost count of the number of trout I caught.

The flounder are eating live shrimp, Berkley Gulp fished on a jig head and black buck tail jigs. The best place I’ve found for the flounder is in the vicinity of Highbridge.

If you don’t have a boat, you can fish the canal along Highbridge Road from the bank.

By putting in a few days of fishing this stretch of road, you’ll quickly learn where the oyster bars are. This area has also been producing trout and redfish. Just be careful of the passing cars.

A lot of the redfish in the Intracoastal have been under slot size (and there have been plenty of them), but if you keep at, it you’ll eventually find a slot-sized fish. They, too, are eating live shrimp, Berkley Gulp and 1/8-ounce black buck tail jigs.

Time will only tell if March “goes out like a lamb.”

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