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Spent 3 days at a rental house on the Suwannee River near Branford with extended family members. Had never been there before. The river is very high and flowing pretty strong. Fishing was pretty lousy but did manage to venture in to the Sana Fe river that flows into the Suwannee. Caught the prettiest bass I have ever seen, a little Suwannee bass. Was only 13 inches but the coloration was absolutely beautiful. I’m used to “black” bass in central Florida. This little guy was bronze with some blue on his face, jaws, and gill covers. Lower jaw was shorter than a regular large mouth. Absolutely gorgeous. While trying to take a picture he flopped real hard, slipped out of my grip and dropped into the water. Sorry for no picture. Pretty neat all in all.

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Good report thank you for posting it. Suwannee bass fight harder for their size than a regular bass and they are one my favorite freshwater fish to catch.

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Thanks. Was first time I’ve caught one. Not sure I ever will again as it’s a pretty good haul from my place just south of Tampa all the way up there. Never know though. Starting next week it’s back to the snook.

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Biggest one I caught was in the Sante fe too. Around 2 1/2 pounds. Thought it was at least a 4 pound largemouth when fighting it.. They look like a smallmouth to me.

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Wading the Sante Fe when the water gets low in late fall/early winter is one my favorite ways to fish.  The leaves change colors a lot more than I feel is typical for Florida, and you get to bounce squarebills off of rock bottom and brush.  Skipping a little jig under overhanging trees can almost guarantee you a mixed bag of Suwannees and largemouth.  It's definitely a unique experience for anyone used to fishing for largemouth in grassy lakes surrounded by homes that seem to make up the majority of the state.

12 hours ago, davecon said:

Spent 3 days at a rental house on the Suwannee River near Branford with extended family members. Had never been there before. The river is very high and flowing pretty strong. Fishing was pretty lousy but did manage to venture in to the Sana Fe river that flows into the Suwannee. Caught the prettiest bass I have ever seen, a little Suwannee bass. Was only 13 inches but the coloration was absolutely beautiful. I’m used to “black” bass in central Florida. This little guy was bronze with some blue on his face, jaws, and gill covers. Lower jaw was shorter than a regular large mouth. Absolutely gorgeous. While trying to take a picture he flopped real hard, slipped out of my grip and dropped into the water. Sorry for no picture. Pretty neat all in all.

I'd say 10 inches is about normal for these guys, 14 inches qualifies for the state trophy catch program so a 13 is pretty good.  What did you catch him on?

8 hours ago, soflabasser said:

Good report thank you for posting it. Suwannee bass fight harder for their size than a regular bass and they are one my favorite freshwater fish to catch.

They're better fighters than largemouth, especially if they get into the current.

7 hours ago, N Florida Mike said:

Biggest one I caught was in the Sante fe too. Around 2 1/2 pounds. Thought it was at least a 4 pound largemouth when fighting it.. They look like a smallmouth to me.

I always thought the same about their similarities with smallmouth, and from what I've always read on smallies, they seem to have similar diets and preferred habitat.  With how cold the water coming out of the Sante fe and Ichetuknee is, I've always felt that smallmouth would have no problem surviving in those areas.

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Caught the little rascal on a Zoom Fluke Stik Jr., black with blue glitter worked weedless. He fought pretty hard for his size but the current in the Santa Fe was nothing compared to the Suwannee. Don’t know what the water color usually is in the Santa Fe having never been there before but it was almost black and it was high.

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6 hours ago, davecon said:

Caught the little rascal on a Zoom Fluke Stik Jr., black with blue glitter worked weedless. He fought pretty hard for his size but the current in the Santa Fe was nothing compared to the Suwannee. Don’t know what the water color usually is in the Santa Fe having never been there before but it was almost black and it was high.

The water clarity depends on what stretch of the river you're in.  Lower portion near the Suwannee, which I've never fished, is crystal clear every time I've been.  It's a really popular swimming area.  Middle portion is where I typically fish, water clarity at this time of year is probably close to zero, in the drier months it's about 4 foot of visibility.  Clearest I've seen that stretch is about 6 foot of visibility.  The upper stretch comes from Lake Sante Fe and actually goes underground for a couple of miles before resurfacing.  Being disconnected from the rest of the river, there's no Suwannee bass in it so I haven't spent a whole lot of time on it.  Lake Sante Fe has about 5-6 foot of visibility in my experience so it would be my guess the upper stretch of the river is probably around that.

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I was in the lower Santa Fe less than 2 or 3 miles from the Suwannee. It was really dark. Almost black with only inches of visability. Probably due to the recent rains and high water. The fellow that manages the house we stayed in said the Suwannee had risen over 4 feet in just a few days prior to our arrival.

 

Would love to go back in the fall or late winter/early spring.

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