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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Archive for December, 2017

Homosassa Inshore Fishing Report, 12/13/17 from Capt. William Toney

by on Dec.13, 2017, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

With the latest cold front fishing is what should be expected after the Nature Coast first frost of the year. The near shore flats are holding a few red fish on the incoming high tide. Searching rocky points can help a angler locate some red fish. There are a few mullet but most of them are milling around the shoreline and not jumping, a occasional little flip will be help locate the best shoreline to hunt for red fish. I use live shrimp to sight cast for them.
River fishing has had the best action. Rocky shoreline near the channel are the best places to fish. Live shrimp on the bottom will catch red fish, mangrove snapper, and black drum. For good snook action use a MirrOlure  MirrOdine near docks or blown down trees on the outgoing tide. Incoming tide will be in the morning this weekend.

Capt. William Toney

captainwilliamtoney@gmail.com

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 12/9/2017

by on Dec.09, 2017, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action catching and releasing false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail in the coastal gulf on flies and trout and pompano in Sarasota Bay on CAL jigs with shad tails during the past week.

MichaelRobbSarasotaflyalbie3
Michael Robb, from Buffalo, fished the coastal gulf with me on Monday and had good action catching and releasing several albies on a fly. In addition he also caught and released his first tripletail on a fly. Michael’s dad, Larry, joined him on Wednesday but despite a stable weather pattern, the action with albies in the coastal gulf ended as baitfish moved on.

Walter Poxon, from MN, and Bill Poxon, from Sarasota, celebrated Bill’s birthday with their annual fishing trip with me on Tuesday in Sarasota Bay. They had steady action catching and releasing numerous trout and a nice pompano on the west side of the bay on CAL jigs with shad tails.

With the passing of this weekend’s front, water temperatures will plummet and fish will move. Migratory species could reappear following the front depending on conditions. After the weather stabilizes, there should also be good action with trout, blues and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for snook, trout and reds is improving due to cooler water. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for catch and release snook with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option.

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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Plan Ahead For 2018–FWC discusses regional bay scallop seasons on Big Bend

by on Dec.09, 2017, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST

At its December meeting in Gainesville, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) discussed draft changes that would create regionally-specific bay scallop open seasons and would allow a trial scalloping season in state waters off Pasco County in 2018. Stakeholder input gathered over the past year was presented to the Commission along with an overview of the bay scallop fishery, an update on the status of scallops in St. Joseph Bay, and proposed management changes for the fishery.

This draft proposal includes both long- and short-term changes and will be brought back before the Commission at the February meeting for a final public hearing.

Regionally-specific open seasons, if approved, would mean the timing of the summer bay scallop season would vary across the allowable harvest area to provide a better scalloping experience for the public and maximize the benefits to various regions. For some regions, that means having a season that starts later so that scallops are bigger when the season begins and for other areas, that means having a season that starts during early summer to allow for more opportunities for those on summer break.

Allowing a short trial season in Pasco County, which has been closed to harvest since 1994, would likely provide an economic benefit to the county and create opportunities for local residents to scallop in their nearby waters.

If approved in February, long-term regionally-specific open seasons would include:

  • Franklin County through northwestern Taylor County (including Carrabelle, Lanark, and St. Marks): July 1 through Sept. 24.
  • The remaining portion of Taylor County and all of Dixie County (including Keaton Beach and the Steinhatchee area): the third Saturday in June through Sept. 10.
  • Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties (including Cedar Key, Crystal River and Homosassa): July 10 through Sept. 10.

If approved in February, the following open seasons will be created by executive order for 2018 only:

  • St. Joseph Bay and Gulf County: Aug. 17 through Sept. 30, 2018.
  • Pasco County: Establish a 10-day open season to run July 20-29, 2018.

The FWC will set a long-term season in St. Joseph Bay once the population in that area has more fully rebuilt.

Share your input on these season changes by visiting MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments or emailing Marine@MyFWC.com. You can also learn more by viewing a workshop presentation at MyFWC.com/Fishing (click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Public Comments/Workshops” and “Workshops.”

For more information or to view the presentations given at the Commission meeting, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings,” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”

Proposed 2018 Regional Bay Scallop Seasons

Map of tentative 2018 seasons. Final approval for these draft seasons will be considered at the February Commission meeting.

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Florida Sportsman Online West Central Fishing4Cast, 12/8/17, from Capt. Ray Markham

by on Dec.08, 2017, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Finally, the weekend ahead will see some cooler temperatures. These temperatures will be quite a bit cooler than the near record highs we’ve been seeing recently. Look for falling water temperature to slow down metabolisms of fish, making the necessity of slowing your presentations with artificial lures and smaller baits, both natural and artificial, more important.

OFFSHORE/ NEARSHORE

The clock is ticking down on the closure of gag grouper at the end of the month. Now’s the time to get out and take advantage of the nearshore action with some big rod benders. Anglers are reporting taking the minimum 24-inch and larger gags in as shallow as 15-feet of water. Gags can be caught in lower Tampa Bay exiting the bay in the Egmont Key Ship’s Channel on the sloping rocky channel. Trolling has been a deadly effective method for these fish. An assortment of big jigs with soft plastic curly tails and plugs like some of those from MirrOlure, Rapala, Mann’s are the norm. Lures that have small lips are best trolled behind planers or on downriggers. Controlled depth fishing with downriggers is the most effective method. Vance Tice of St. Petersburg has these methods down to a science. While he ventures out into the Gulf for some big gags, his forte is Tampa Bay trolling. For information on these trolling techniques, Tice may be reached at (813) 787-8712.

Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina at John’s Pass in Madeira Beach reported his Extreme 12-hour trips landing gag grouper approaching 40-pounds! These monster gags have been caught on the 39-hour trips, but with gags moving shallower, the 12-hour Extreme trip has been exceptionally productive for bottom fishers. The gag action has been so hot, that Hubbard’s has added two more 39-hour trips, on December 15 and December 19. Hubbard commented, “The gag bite has been off the charts to say the least the Dec 1st 39 hour had nearly 60 fat keeper gags along with scamp, red grouper, mangroves, yellow tail and more! Tuna are being caught on the trollers and flat lines too.” If you want to get in on the action, book your trip now with Hubbard’s at www.hubbardsmarina.com.

Nearshore action with tripletail has been very good. Most any kind of floating object, piling, channel marker, or stone crab trap float can hold these fish. Approach the structure quietly with a light to medium power rod with a live shrimp, jig, or artificial shrimp, like those from DOA Lures, rigged on a popping cork and about two feet of leader and cast to it. If there is a fish there, and you don’t see it, it will generally rise to the occasion.

INSHORE

Water temperatures that have been in the low 70’s for several weeks will see a dip in the mercury this weekend as a cold front moves south through the Suncoast. Adjust your retrieve, slowing it down. Work the lower third of the water column for the majority of the species you target. Snook season closed last week, but catch and release action will continue as these fish move into the backcountry, into residential canals, and up rivers and creeks. Look for slow moving baits like the DOA Shrimp to get some top action from these fish.

Coming off last Sunday’s big moon, tides have been lower than the norm, but with northerly winds expected for part of the weekend, you will continue to see some low water and can also expect fish to move into the potholes that this low water creates. Trout fishing will be like shooting fish in the barrel. Jigs, like the CAL Shad and MirrOlure Marsh Minnow will take flounder, trout, redfish, snook, bluefish, and many others. Just work them slowly. Curly tail jigs provide more action than most any other with just a little bit of current. Light jig heads that fall slowly will trigger strikes from lethargic fish.

Good numbers of bluefish have been chomping at trout in lower Tampa Bay. These vicious fish can chomp a keeper trout right up to the gills in one bite. Be prepared to lose some jigs when you get on the water and bring plenty of replacement tails.

Redfish action seems to have slowed lately. With lower than average low tides, look in channels where a flat dumps water off areas with oyster bars to find a few reds.

Sheepshead continue to show themselves in greater numbers as they prepare for the late winter spawn in February and March. Most area seawalls, docks and anywhere where barnacles grow and crabs gather will hold sheepshead. Rock piles along the coast and in Tampa Bay, and the Gandy and Howard Franklin Bridges are known big sheepshead attractors. Live fiddler crabs, oysters, blanched sand fleas, clams, and most any mollusks make good bait for these fish.

FRESHWATER

Capt. Angie Douthit, guiding on Lake Okeechobee, reports the water level is still higher than normal, but some great action from spawning bass and crappie has been taking place. A variety of lures is working for both, but bass have been hitting slow rolled spinnerbaits and topwater lures worked very slowly. Some of Capt. Douthit’s anglers have been catching some monster tropy bass.

Crappies are hitting minnows slow trolled around edges of grass beds. The action will increase as cold fronts move south. To book your exciting and productive day of fishing for bass and crappie call 863-228- 7263. Be sure to check out Capt. Douthit’s website for all the latest client photos, fishing reports, accommodations, what to bring, etc. at www.southfloridabassfishing.com. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham

(941) 723-2655

Ray.markham@gmail.com

www.CaptainRayMarkham.com

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Sportfishing Industry Supports Florida’s Invasive Lionfish Removal Incentive Program

by on Dec.06, 2017, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Sportfishing Industry Supports Florida’s Invasive Lionfish Removal Incentive Program

Funding will reward harvesters who find and remove tagged lionfish

December 6, 2017 – Alexandria, VA – The American Sportfishing Association (ASA), along with other fishing and boating industry leaders and organizations, presented the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) with funding to support the 2018 tagged-lionfish removal incentive program. The program rewards harvesters who find and remove previously tagged lionfish from waters around the state of Florida. ASA’s contribution is part of an overall $25,000 donation presented at the start of the three-day meeting being held in Gainesville, Fla.

“The American Sportfishing Association is proud to help fund the FWC’s 2018 tagged-lionfish removal incentive program,” said Glenn Hughes, ASA’s vice president for Industry Relations. “We are thankful for FWC’s dedication to lionfish control efforts and their development of innovative approaches to combat this invasive species and to protect Florida’s native ecosystems.”

“It’s important for Florida’s recreational industry to be involved in the fight against invasive lionfish that threaten our fisheries, which is why ASA and Keep Florida Fishing® continue to strongly support the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission through programs like these,” said Kellie Ralston, ASA’s Florida Fishery Policy director.

Lionfish are a nonnative invasive species that can reduce native fish populations and negatively affect the overall reef habitat. This program will run May 19, through Sept. 3, 2018, and will coincide with the annual summer-long Lionfish Challenge, which rewards recreational and commercial lionfish harvesters with prizes for submitting their lionfish removal efforts.

About the 2018 Tagged-Lionfish Removal Program

The goal of the 2018 tagged-lionfish removal program is to increase statewide removal efforts by giving divers a greater incentive to harvest lionfish more often while in search of the valuable tagged fish. Additional non-cash prizes are also available for those that harvest and submit a tagged lionfish.  The program will also provide FWC with valuable data on the movement of lionfish.

Approximately six to eight lionfish will be tagged at each of the 50 randomly-selected public artificial reef sites throughout the Atlantic and Gulf between the depths of 80 and 120 feet. Participants will have access to the reef locations at ReefRangers.com. Additional information about the rules and requirements of the tagged-lionfish removal program will be announced in early 2018.

About Keep Florida Fishing®

Keep Florida Fishing® is an advocacy arm of the American Sportfishing Association with the goal of ensuring Florida anglers have clean waters, abundant fisheries and access to both. Learn more at www.KeepFloridaFishing.org. Find Keep Florida Fishing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing®, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, 12/6/17 from Capt. William Toney

by on Dec.06, 2017, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

Big changes are expected this weekend with a major cool down. The Nature Coast water temperatures are around 74 degrees making inshore and offshore fishing very good. Offshore captains are catching big king fish, gag grouper and catch release fly caught amber jack. Inshore the trout bite has been good. red fish so so and inshore rocks good with keeper gag grouper, spanish mackerels and grunts. This may all change if the cool weather drops the Gulf water temperatures 3 to 6 degrees.
With cooling water temps look for the coastal reef/rock fishing to slow down, to catch gag grouper use live bait, spanish mackerel and grunts use live shrimp during warm midday sun and patience will pay off. Most inshore fish will move back to deeper water in passes, deep water creeks and coastal rivers that will hold the warm water that cold weather can’t change in a couple days. Rivers will probably hold the best action. Try mid ways towards the spring,s and live shrimp wil get the bite. Not to say fish would bite on the outside but with the tides faceing us anglers this weekend my prediction every fish caught will be earned. Look for incoming high tide to be at daylight or dark this weekend,

captainwilliamtoney@gmail.com

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