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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides


Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, 3/19/18, Capt. William Toney

by on Mar.19, 2018, under Ozello to Crystal River

There is much to be said about good fishing. Earlier this week before the cold front most all anglers fishing on the Nature Coast experienced a excellent bite. Oh but what can happen in the time of 24 hours. As to be expected the day or two before a cold front and even during the front fish will turn on. Generally the wind will be from the south west and makes a good tide for our area and after the front it goes north west to north then north east and low low tides.
During the last cold snap I found some trout mid ways in the Little Homosassa River and St. Martins River. What both spots had in common was tall islands that blocked the north wind and the southern sun was shinning against the north side of the rivers, It was the warmest spot I could find for my clients and I , the fish must have felt the same way. It was old school fishing with a popping cork and live shrimp but over the course of a few hours we managed 7 keeper trout and a undersized snook. We dressed for the weather and were comfortable during the warmest part of the day.
Still good action on the nearshore rocks with more spanish mackerel moving in. The redfish bite has picked up on the inside keys at the last hour of incoming tide. Pinfish has been the best bait. Snook are scattered around but when you find then they are in tight bunches. Check around the outside keys with sandy holes to find them. High incoming tide will be in the morning this weekend.


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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota & Gasparilla Sound, FL Fishing Report for 3/17/2018


Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had some action catching and releasing trout in Sarasota Bay, snook at night in the ICW and trout and redfish in Gasparilla Sound near Boca Grande on flies and CAL jigs with shad tails during the past week. The best action was catching and releasing snook on flies in the ICW at night.

Monday’s trip was cancelled due to wind and cool temperatures as a front moved through that day. Anna Maria Island winter resident Tony Merlis and his daughter, Jen Merlis, from MN, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday and had some action catching releasing trout on flies and CAL jigs with shad tails.

Martin Marlowe, from NY, and his son Bruce Marlowe, from SC, fished the ICW me on Wednesday night. It was Martin’s last trip with me before heading back north for the year and they finished strong. Despite cool water and a cold north wind, they had good action catching releasing numerous snook on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly.

Lynn Skipper, from Apollo Beach, FL, fished the backcountry of Gasparilla Sound near Boca Grande with me on Thursday and Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL and Stephen Liska, from Naples, fished the same area on Friday. With water temperatures in shallow water in the low 60’s to start, fishing was challenging. We caught and released a few trout and a red on CAL jigs with shad tails.

The fishing world lost a gem when fly fishing legend, Lefty Kreh, passed away a few days ago. He was an author, photographer, outdoor writer and fly casting guru. A world class fly angler and casting instructor, he traveled the world pursuing fly fishing and sharing his knowledge. As rich as he was with knowledge, a conversation with him was like chatting with a family member or neighbor. I was fortunate to have had him as a guest on my boat twice. His wit and down home personality endeared him to many. He will be missed!

Rick & Lefty3aa

Fishing shallow water for big trout, snook and reds should be a good option. There should also be good action with trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Fishing dock lights in the ICW at night is always a good option for snook and more. Our natural resources are under constant pressure, please limit your kill, don’t kill your limit!

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFI Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, 3/7/18, Capt. William Toney

by on Mar.07, 2018, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

A very cool fish that is become a standard and talk around the dock is our Nature Coast snook. A colder than normal January took a toll on the snook population but from the reports of local anglers and guides snook fishing is good. When I was growing up snook were a fish of legends, apparitions up at the Blue Waters. At MacRae’s in Homosassa, Mr Duncan would sell wild shiners for bass anglers but I remember most of them were used for catching snook up the river. So that being said, snook have always been around but I have to say there are more of them now then ever. We can blame it on warmer winters but I believe its our warm fresh water springs that protect them from cold winters, salt water intrusion and conservation. I believe keeping one for diner every now and again is not a big deal if your lucky enough to catch one in the slot. Being lucky enough to experience one rip 40 yards of line off the reel, jump like a tarpon and show it’s bucket mouth while it cuts your leader is better then eating one.
At this time most snook have come from sandy holes on the outside keys, rocky/oyster points near deep drops along channels and the edges of a hole in the back country. Live shrimp, pinfish or D.O.A. glow 5.5 jerk baits will get the bite. The trout bite has moved out to deeper water near the Foul Area and a few Spanish mackerel are mixed in. Incoming high tide will be early morning and very late evening this weekend.


Capt. William Toney

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, Capt. William Toney, February 13, 2018

by on Feb.13, 2018, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

This week and last week were some of the best inshore trout and red fishing I’ve had this winter. Remember the year is young and the Nature Coast has experienced mid 70 degree weather. The flats near the outside rocky points are the best areas to target. The key to catching is having enough incoming tide to cover the limestone points so fish will concentrate to feed on the bait fish or shrimp on the rocks. On low water look for deeper depressions between navigable creeks to pole ( the best way ) to catch some of the largest trout of the year. I will admit my clients and I have put a few big trout in the box with no regrets and we have release a few also with high fives. Something I feel strong about is our environment whether it is deer hunting in our woods or catching fish in our waters. Those of us who spend allot of time hunting and fishing understand the importance of making sure the generation that follows us will be able to catch a big trout, redfish, scallops or shoot a nice buck.
The baits I used this week for some of the best trout and redfish were the Eppinger Rex gold spoon. One of America’s oldest lure manufactures, the spoon has caught (whacked) about as many squirrels or rabbits as the 22. riffle. When ask how to work a gold spoon I replied ” nice long cast like pitching a penny to a wall, lively on the retrieve with a steady reeling motion”.  Kid’s who can’t get this “put it close as possible to the mangroves and make it move on a upper water column retrieve”. Sorry to preach this week but just want you youth to be able to catch fish in a excellent enviorment long after the gold spoon has out lived us old salts. High tide will be early morning or late evening. W



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FWC approves regional bay scallop seasons for 2018 with some changes from original proposal

by on Feb.09, 2018, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST


Bay scallops

At its February meeting near Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved regionally-specific bay scallop open season dates for 2018, including a change to the season for Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties that was proposed in December. The Commission also approved a trial bay scallop season in state waters off Pasco County in 2018.

The following regionally-specific bay scallop open seasons will be created by executive order for 2018 only:

  • Franklin County through northwestern Taylor County (including Carrabelle, Lanark and St. Marks): July 1 through Sept. 24. This region includes all state waters from the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County to Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County.
  • The remaining portion of Taylor County and all of Dixie County (including Keaton Beach and the Steinhatchee area): the third Saturday in June (June 16) through Sept. 10. This region includes all state waters east of Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County and north of Alligator Pass Daybeacon #4 near the mouth of the Suwannee River in Levy County.
  • Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties (including Cedar Key, Crystal River and Homosassa): July 1 through Sept. 24 (previously slated for July 10 through Sept. 10). This region includes all state waters south of Alligator Pass Daybeacon #4 near the mouth of the Suwannee River in Levy County and north of the Hernando – Pasco county line.
  • St. Joseph Bay and Gulf County: Aug. 17 through Sept. 30. This region includes all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County to the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County.
  • Pasco County: Establish a trial 10-day open season to run July 20-29. This region includes all state waters south of the Hernando – Pasco county line and north of the Anclote Key Lighthouse in northern Pinellas County, and includes all waters of the Anclote River.

These changes are for 2018 only. In late 2018 or early 2019, the FWC will consider setting the 2019 seasons for Gulf and Pasco counties, consider continuing the 2018 season structure for the remaining portions of the open scallop harvest area in 2019, and will work toward creating a more permanent season structure starting in 2020.

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Fishing Report, 2/9/18, Capt. William Toney

by on Feb.06, 2018, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

William’s Florida Sportsman Fishing4Cast for the Big Bend:

Looking forward into February and how this month is the last bitter sweet part of winter, the shortest month and a push into warmer weather. I know Florida has experienced a cold winter, we’ve had some cold water fish kill, but by the end of this month I bet there will be some green on the tree’s. Cold winters are just a part of our environment, the same as hurricanes. I believe this will help the Nature Coast have a long and productive spring fishing event because it will take some time for the waters to warm.
The near shore rocks are swarming with sheepshead on the incoming high tide. The rocks at eight feet are a good starting point, I like to drift past the structure to look at the amount of sheepshead before I commit to fishing it. The water has been clear enough to do this but some days cloud cover or wind can make it more of a search and blind cast mission. The further south of Homosassa channel the clearer the water is. Live shrimp is the best bait.
The trout bite has been getting better every day. It is a mix of deep creeks on the outgoing tide or on the incoming tide the outer points and limestone bottom usually exposed on low tide.This exposed rock will warm on the midday sun and trout will sun on top of it. For the areas around the creeks the bite is more near the channels or holes so that after a cold night the trout will move toward a shallow flat that warms up with the day.
The Homosassa Guides Association will have its annual fish fry on Sunday the 25th at 12 p.m. at MacRae’s of Homosassa. The plates are $10.00 that will include fish, hushpuppies, bakebeans, coleslaw and entertainment. Before this fish fry look for incoming high tide this weekend early morning.


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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, February 1, 2018, Capt. William Toney

by on Feb.02, 2018, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

I feel as though I keep repeating myself the last few weeks just the same as our weather. The best fishing has been in our rivers with live shrimp for bait. Most of the keeper fish are sheepshead and black drum. A few red fish are in the slot but most are under size but good fun on like tackle. On the change of tides is the best bite. The near shore rocks are holding sheepshead but wind and weather has kept most anglers inshore.
With a warming trend coming this weekend it may trigger a sea trout bite near the creek mouths and adjacent flats. Glow nose hooked jerk baits are the best choice for a soft plastic lure. The best retrieve  is a twitch, twitch pause. Most strikes are during the pause part of the retrieve. Incoming tide will be early morning or late evening this weekend.



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by on Jan.30, 2018, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

The Yardarm Lounge, also known as The Riverside Crab House and The Monkey Bar, has celebrated 50 years on the Homosassa River. The iconic restaurant was opened by The Norris Development Company in 1967 and later purchased by the late Dave Stewart and Dr. Donald Vesley. It was most recently acquired by Riverside, LLC in 1998. On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, the doors will close for the final time. IF THESE WINDOWS COULD TALK Many things have changed in the span of 50 years, and the Yardarm Lounge and Riverside Crab House has seen it all. She has celebrated first dates, graduations, weddings, new births, anniversaries, and reunions with generations of Homosassa residents and guests from around the world. She has been the stepping stone to many local youngsters as they embarked on their first jobs before going off to college and other successes. She has witnessed sadness at too many memorials in honor of friends and loved ones. No doubt the Crowning Jewel was the location of this beautifully built restaurant overlooking Monkey Island. Unfortunately, the very thing that made the restaurant a favorite to so many is what finally closed her doors. She has endured more than five decades of daily brackish rising and falling tides, lapping at a foundation that is cantilevered over the beautiful Homosassa River. No name, Charlie, Ivan, Frances, Hermine and Irma are a few of the ferocious storms that have taken their toll over the years. Gail Oakes, the managing partner of The Homosassa Riverside Resort which owns the restaurant, hotel, marina and Monkey Island said, “The two story restaurant’s roof was structurally damaged during the last hurricane and is beyond repair. Experts agreed that the age of the building and the degree of the damage would require extensive repairs to the structure which are not financially practical.” WHAT THE FUTURE WILL HOLD Oakes said, “My partners and I made the decision to demolish a substantial portion of the damaged building and replace it with a smaller outdoor eatery with spectacular views of the Homosassa River and Monkey Island. The new venue will still feature our famous live blue crabs and seafood selections along with new and exciting additions.” The hotel, marina, boat rentals and banquet room will not be affected by this closure. While Oakes admits that February is the “peak” season in the Homosassa restaurant business and unfortunate timing, she is hopeful that the busy season will make it possible for her displaced staff to find positions with other local restaurant owners who are staffing up for the return of winter guests to our area. The Yardarm Lounge, Riverside Crab House and Monkey Bar are located at 5297 S. Cherokee Way, Homosassa, Florida, on the bank of the Homosassa River.


For information regarding this story, please contact: Homosassa Riverside Resort, Gail Oakes gail@riversideresorts.com 352-628-2474.

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Legendary Guide Steve Huff Headlines Florida Fly Fishing Expo, Crystal River, Feb. 9 & 10, 2018

by on Jan.04, 2018, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST

The 2018 Florida Fly Fishing Expo in Crystal River on February 9-10 has scheduled legendary Florida Keys guide Steve Huff to show and tell some of his secrets for catching giant permit, tarpon, snook and other trophy gamefish on a fly rod.

Steve Huff

Huff, who has been described as “the top fly fishing guide on the planet,” tops a schedule of more than 20 expert-led seminars and new fly fishing product displays at Plantation on Crystal River on Florida’s west coast. Admission to the two-day expo is $25 but free for those 12 and younger when accompanied by an adult.

The Florida Fly Fishing Expo is put on annually by the Florida Council of Fly Fishers International. President Tom Gadacz said, “We are so pleased to have Steve Huff coming to the Expo. This guy has a bank-vault of knowledge about catching big fish on the fly and he’ll share some hard-earned insights.”

After earning a marine biology degree at the University of Miami in 1968 Huff started guiding in the Florida Keys. He pioneered fly fishing for tarpon, permit and snook in the Keys and also led clients to IGFA record tarpon near Crystal River and Homosassa. Sandy Moret, his good friend and a fellow fly fisher, once described Huff as “without question, the top fly fishing guide on the planet.”

On Friday, Feb. 9, Huff will present a tutorial about how to locate and catch permit on the fly. On Saturday he will discuss the importance of and how to make quick fly casts in all directions. As the featured speaker at the Expo’s closing banquet on Saturday Huff will share insights he has learned from 50-years of guiding fly fishers to saltwater trophy gamefish.

More than 20 other sessions about how-to fly fish, fly cast and tie flies are scheduled indoors and outdoors at the spacious, waterfront resort of Plantation on Crystal River. They include:

Fly Fishing for snook at night by Capt. Rick Grassett

Paddleboard fly-fishing by David Olson.

Fly casting tutorial for women by Mona Brewer, youth fly casting by David Lambert, emergency casting clinic by Pat Damico, and casting games led by John Hand and Jim Patchet.

Beginner and intermediate fly casting demonstrations by Capt. Pete Greenan.

Fly fishing for warm water fishes in North Florida by Tom Logan

Wading the flats by Leigh West.

History of women in fly fishing by Jen Ripple.

DIY bonefishing in the Keys and Bahamas by Capt. Bryon Chamberlin.

Fishing Mosquito Lagoon secrets by Capt. Frank Catino.

Fly fishing for baby tarpon in the Indian River Lagoon by Capt. Eric Davis.

Effortless fly casting by Joe Mahler.

Fly fishing the Everglades by Ed Tamson.

Fly tying with synthetics by Dave Schmezer.

Register online

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report. 1/2/18, Capt. William Toney

by on Jan.02, 2018, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Ozello to Crystal River

Well this weeks New Years weather will remind us thin blood Floridians that in can be down right cold here. I will have to say that it will be tough fishing for the time being but if you have to go this is what I would do. Getting on the water early will not do anyone no good so stop and eat some breakfast first. Live shrimp is the next stop if they can be found. ( call ahead ) River fishing will lend the best action, start at the mid point of the Crystal River or Homosassa and work towards the east until you find biting fish. This may not happen until an angler meets the warm fresh waters flowing from the springs. Warm water means life and survival during extreme cold conditions. Shrimp on the bottom might get the bite and possible suspending plugs in deeper water as well as jigs. Offshore I would believe the sheepshead bite should be starting although I would recommend waiting until better weather.
One other option is bank fish. Citrus County has many options on the west side to cast a line without launching a boat. Homosassa has a few spots and down Mason Creek. Going north is Ozello Trail, Ft. Island Trail, the Barge Canal and on the other side try the Follow That Dream road way. Good thing about bank fishing is a warm vehicle is not to far away. Incoming high tide will be early morning or late evening this weekend.

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