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Archive for February, 2018

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

 

captainwilliamtoney@gmail.com

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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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West Central Florida Fishing Forecast, Capt. Ray Markham, 1/9/18

by on Feb.07, 2018, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Finally, a stable weather pattern with warmer days and lighter winds has been around this week, setting up the weekend for some great fishing opportunities.

OFFSHORE/ NEARSHORE

While I didn’t get many fishing reports from last week, I’d say that a lot of anglers were still waiting it out for the winds and seas to settle. This week has been another story with the weather but still very few reports and with the good weather this week I’d say folks are too busy fishing to send reports, but that’s a good thing! Just a reminder, that anglers are always welcome to send their fishing reports to me along with photos identifying anglers in the photos and any details of your catch.

Water temperatures in the Gulf remain quite cold in the low 60’s in depths out to about 15-miles but that hasn’t stopped Spanish mackerel from making a run at the beaches and inshore waters. Good action has been seen from Sarasota to Pinellas on nearshore waters this week and with a continuation of the warm weather pattern through the weekend, I would expect to see an even greater improvement. The predominant baitfish along the beaches has been glass minnows that the mackerel have been feeding on. Anglers looking to catch mackerel can troll #0 or #00 Clark Spoon Squids on flat lines and #1 or #2 planers to cover depths that these fish have been running in along the beaches. This will cover top to bottom from about 20-to 25-foot depths. For live baiters, anchoring up and deploying some glass minnow chum blocks like those manufactured by Aylesworth’s Fish and Bait under the Baitmaster’s Village Pride label, these chum blocks will draw mackerel to the boat and keep them around. Live shrimp or scaled sardines on long-shank hooks may be good bets rigged with 6-foot 30-to 40-pound fluorocarbon leaders on a light to medium spinning outfit spooled with a couple hundred yards of 10-pound braid or 15-pound mono. If a swivel is used, make sure it’s coffee colored or black and the smallest ball bearing swivel you can get. Sampo and Sea Striker Billfisher brands are some good ones that come to mind. Watch your bottom machine and look for hard bottom. This is where you’re likely to find the most action. But if you don’t have a bottom machine, look for stone crab floats in the Gulf and nearshore waters. These are usually found over rocky or hard bottom areas.

Hogfish continue to be in the catch for guys working depths from 30-to 80-feet. This fish that was once rarely targeted by anglers and considered top table fare by all was mainly targeted by spearfishers and a few anglers in the know. But with the advent of the internet and seminars at just about every fishing venue, this fishery has opened up and an increase in pressure has been noted by both anglers and rule-makers alike. Continued pressure and social media presence will likely result in more attention to and perhaps restrictions for hogfish. The species has been under observation by fish management for the past several years and extensive studies have already resulted in some changes. Currently the Atlantic state and federal waters have a regularly scheduled season closure effective through April 30, 2018, including all state waters south of Cape Sable in the Gulf, around the tip of Florida, and up the Atlantic coast. In West Central waters of the Gulf we currently have a 5-fish bag limit with a minimum size of 14” measured to the fork. Non-stainless circle hooks that are not offset are required when fishing for hogfish in Gulf state waters. Hogfish populations in our area able appear to be stable.

If you’re getting out to at least 100-feet of water, red grouper may be on your hit list. Some fairly good catches of red grouper are being caught west of the Sarasota/ Manatee County shores starting at that depth. The party boats out of Hubbard’s Marina continue to report good catches of red grouper along with an assortment of mangrove, lane, vermilion and a few other snappers.

INSHORE

Water temps inshore make a huge difference in the bite. Sometimes the temperature changes with the tide, and since the Gulf waters are cooler than the bays and inshore waters, the bite can be affected not only by the hours of sunlight but also the direction of the tide, whether it’s incoming or outgoing. Watching your temperature gauge on your boat is the best idea. If you don’t have one, an inexpensive pool thermometer hung over the side will give you an idea. This week, I’ve noted temperatures swinging from 71-degrees down to as low as 63-degrees in Tampa Bay waters and the surrounding backcountry areas. The warmer areas not only produce more fish but can even make for a topwater bite from trout, bluefish, ladyfish, and snook.

The South Shore of Tampa Bay from Apollo Beach to the Manatee River has been productive for anglers doing some trout fishing. Redfish have also been caught. Small schools of reds have been noted but many of these fish have been very spooky in the shallow clear water on sand where these fish have been holding. Long casts with fluorocarbon leaders are important for consistent catches and to avoid spooking the fish. Capt. Rick Grassett of Sarasota reported good action with trout, redfish, Spanish mackerel and bluefish over the past week for his fly and spin anglers fishing Sarasota Bay, nearshore Gulf waters and the lower Tampa Bay area. Contact Rick for more details via his website www.snookfin-Addict.com or through CB Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key.

Anglers aboard my boat, the Flat Back II have seen some good action with trout over the past couple of weeks. We managed some nice redfish on CAL Jigs with Shad tails and a few flounder along with limits of trout on MirrOlure Marsh Minnows, TTR MirrOlure hard baits, and CAL Shads. Bluefish continue to cut off our catches of trout. Jacks and ladyfish also provide more rod-bending action. With rising water temps in some of the backcountry areas we’re even seeing some action on topwater prop baits like the 5M and 21LS MirrOlures with both snook and trout.

The most consistent depth for trout action has been 3-to 4-feet. Bottomed out tides in the holes are holding these fish. Reds have been shallow and holding on yellow or white sandy areas. CAL Jigs with shad tails and MirrOlure Lil’ John’s have been productive.

FRESHWATER

The warmer weather this past week has really triggered the bass spawn in the West Central area. Anglers fishing Lake Tarpon, Lake Manatee, Lake Seminole and the Walsingham Reservoir have all reported catches of bass around the perimeters of the lakes. The top producing lures have been “creature-style” baits. Lizards, snake imitations, and similar lures are producing well now. Bass hanging just off the beds where depths drop are responding well to rattling crank baits like the Rat ‘L Trap in silver with a blue back and the Rapala Shadow Rap. Assorted soft plastics in the June bug color are working well for anglers flipping around the bushes and in heavy cover. It’s a great time to be on the water. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham

(941) 723-2655

Ray.markham@gmail.com

www.CaptainRayMarkham.com

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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.

captainwilliamtoney@gmail.com

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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.

captainwilliamtoney@gmail.com

 

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