Local artist John Riedel starts his oil painting of the Bait House using his portable easel.
Work: a dangerous disorder affecting high public functionaries who want to go fishing. ?- Ambrose Bierce --American writer, journalist, and editor, 1842-1914.
Over the years the Bait House has been photographed thousands of times and painted or drawn a dozen times. Now one of Clearwater’s most famous local artists has his sights on bringing the Bait House to life on canvas. John Riedel is known for his oil paintings of seascapes, landscapes, as well as our local wildlife. His painting style is reminiscent of painters during the Impressionist Period of the early 19th century. Prints of his oil paintings are sold at galleries locally and occasionally you can even find John himself autographing and selling prints at the “Sunsets at Pier 60” artisan shows. John has allowed us a chance to show you the painting as it progresses from start to finish so we will keep you informed.
Now onto fishing. With the cold temperatures that we have been experiencing lately the fish have slowed down to a crawl. Anglers are still catching some very nice fish, but they have changed tactics t o do it. Because of the sluggish speed the fish are moving through the water, live or cut baits seem to be bringing in fish better than artificial lures or baits. We can see this trend just by the decrease in our sales of Powerbaits. Most of the bigger fish we’ve seen caught in the last week have hit on stationary rigs. This seems to be the case whether you are using a ready-rig right on the bottom or even single and double drop line rigs. The key word in all this is stationary. Flounders are showing up anywhere where you can find the edge of the sea grass beds. They are sitting tight to the bottom and hitting live or cut bait. Marinas, docks, and piers are putting out a lot of very nice size sheephead. Live fiddler crabs and shrimp or frozen sand fleas are working best during daylight hours. Redfish are showing up stacked on the edges of channels and hitting on cut ladyfish and live jumbo shrimp. There is still Spanish mackerel hitting in the main channels of the intra-coastal waterway. You’ll find them suspended at two to three feet down from the surface. Greenback minnows seem to be their bait of choice, but several have been caught using live shrimp. If you are having problems catching greenback minnows, try along docks and piers that are getting direct sunlight. Seems the little guys love the heat of the sun. Don’t we all?
On a serious note: My mother is coming to visit me this week for the first time since I moved down here. If any of you see me at the marina wearing a rented naval officer’s uniform, please refer to me as “Admiral”. For some reason, Mom has the impression that I’m in charge around here. Thanks, it will be our little secret. Remember, the Bait House has dock access for your boat. We have rental rods and reels as well as aerated bait buckets for your day on the water. Thanks to those that email at Jim2988@msn.com and as always, Good Luck Out There!
Jim can be found daily at the Bait House - Clearwater Municipal Marina, phone 446-8134
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