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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: alachua farm and lumber

Florida’s Big Bend Flats Come Alive After a Cool Winter…

by on Mar.13, 2014, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST

…and it’s time to get out your shallow-running and slow-sinking hard baits for both seatrout and redfish.

As the flats come back to life at the beginning of spring, the redfish and seatrout venture away from their wintertime hidey-holes and head away from shore.   That usually happens in early March in our part of Florida, giving boaters less willing to take chances on our rocky shoreline a better chance of catching a limit of fish for dinner.  While many anglers prefer to fish live baits for springtime fish, the majority of trophy trout (known as “gators” to locals) and redfish are taken with artificial baits that mimic the look and action of small mullet or sardines.

Good choices of hard baits include the  Live Target Scaled Sardine, the Rapala X-Rap or Flat Rap, the MirrOlure 7M, the Yo-Zuri 3D Minnow and the Heddon Swim ‘n Image.  These plugs naturally sink slowly and are designed to run just under the surface of the water when retrieved.   Your ability to make long casts is important, as is your stealth.  Springtime trout and reds can be spooky, so no “hootin’ and hollerinl” is allowed when fishing.  Just make long casts and make a big smile when you hook up to big fish!

Most of the above named lures are available at specialty tackle shops like Captain’s Cove Outfitters (Inglis)Mangrove Creek Outfitters (Chiefland), Gary’s Tackle Box (Gainesville), Alachua Farm and Lumber (Alachua), The Sea Hag Marina (Steinhatchee) and Big Bend Outfitters(Perry).

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Alachua Farm and Lumber–Despite The Name A Great Tackle Shop!


In my ongoing quest to visit as many of the small mom-and-pop fishing tackle shops in North Central Florida as I can this spring, I spent a recent morning at  Alachua Farm and Lumber on NW 145th Avenue in downtown Alachua, north of Gainesville. There, owners Wayne and Linda Tanner offer an excellent all-around selection of fishing gear.  The “Fishing Department” is lined with racks full of Bass Assassin, Rapala, MirrOlure, Rapala, Live Target and Berkley Gulp! lures.  I was lucky in that Greg MacLean, the salesman from Big Rock Sports. A major tackle distributor, was in the store making his weekly assessment of AFL’s tackle needs and was able to give me a good idea of what lures and tackle are currently popular.  Greg said that while MirrOlure TTs had been popular throughout the cold months, AFL would start selling more Catch 2000s now that the Gulf waters were warming up.  In terms of soft baits, Gulp! 5-inch jerk shads in “Pink Shine” has been a best seller recently (at the incredible low price of 4 bags for $20!), paired up with Bass Assassin jig heads.   In addition to terminal tackle, AFL also sells complete lines of Shimano and Penn reels, Star Rods, and both Yeti and Engel coolers.   And if you’re a fresh water angler, their selection of freshwater gear is equal to that in the saltwater section.

Do you want to know the only problem I have with shopping at AFL for fishing gear?  The simple answer is that I have to pass through the hunting department to get to the fishing department.  That’s a good problem to have!

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