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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Just One Point North–Rocky Points Along Florida’s Big Bend

by on Oct.29, 2017, under Cedar Key, Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Steinhatchee, Suwannee, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

Big Bend Action Spotter, Florida Sportsman Magazine

October 2017

 

There are many rocky points along Florida’s Big Bend. And I suppose there are many places labeled “rock point” along the United States’ coastlines. After all, it’s not a particularly innovative name. But there’s only one Rock Point near Steinhatchee, in Taylor County.   And it’s one you should know about if you’re interested in some pretty good inshore fishing.

Unlike local Sponge Point, that has no sponges, and Sand Point, which has no sand, Rock Point DOES have rocks. Lots of them. While its rocks offer good cover for redfish and the adjacent flats and backwaters can also add good numbers of spotted seatrout, getting there can be a tedious exercise. Rock Point is only about 3 miles north of the Steinhatchee River channel, but to get there, especially on low water, you need to dodge some offshore sand bars and shallow inshore grass flats. My advice is that you take a northwesterly course from Marker #7 in the channel, staying outside the bars, and SLOWLY and CAREFULLY head towards Rock Point when you’re offshore of it. The shoreward approach towards Rock Point isn’t especially rocky, but it’s important you respect the integrity of grass flats you’ll cross. On low water, you may need to shift modes from your outboard to your trolling motor or push pole. On higher water, usually above 2-plus feet on your tide chart (Use the “Steinhatchee River Mouth” tide station.) you might be able to idle with your outboard jacked or trimmed up. In either case, be careful not to damage the sea grass. Doing so is a fineable offense.

The rocks at Rock Point are not pebbles. Some are boulder-sized and the niches and canyons between them offer shelter to predators waiting for schools of bait, usually small mullet, to cross the point with the tide. Knowing that, and that it happens on almost any tide and in any season, should give you a clue to fishing this point—and any others you might encounter that are similarly structured. The tide runs across the point, so set your boat up in order to make long upstream casts. Don’t crowd the point. This may mean casting into the wind, but larger and heavier lures will work here. The “hatch” you’re trying to match are likely to be 6-8inch mullet, so big lures like MirrOlure Top Dogs or D.O.A. PT7s are good choices. If the tide’s full, you might try something that suspends, like a Paul Brown Devil, but be careful not to work them too deep or too slowly. If you do snag one on a rock, break it off and try to fetch it after the catching’s done!

The fact is that “one point don’t make a whole day of fishing”.   So, while you’re in the neighborhood, take advantage of some other October options here. The seagrass beds you’ll cross on your way to Rock Point will finally be devoid of summer scallopers and the trout they scared away should have returned to fatten up for the winter. There are some deeper potholes to the southwest of the point, and more important, a deeper creek channel in the bay to the south. The small rock pile on the north side of the creek bed is a good place to try, and a drift into the southeast corner of the bay is a worthwhile exercise, if the mullet are jumping. The tip of Rock Point is actually a small island, and the north shoreline inside the cut that separates it from the mainland can also be fishy, provided you take a stealthy approach. For some reason—maybe lack of pressure—the redfish along this shore can especially spooky. Long casts and silent running are a must.

This particular Big Bend “Rock Point” is pretty typical of many similar points that you’ll find from the Suncoast Keys in Citrus County, all the way to the shoreline near St. Marks. Learning each one might take a lifetime, but having knowledge of just a few can make for lots of fun days of fishing.

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