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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

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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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West Central Florida Fishing Report, 1/26/18, Capt. Ray Markham

by on Jan.26, 2018, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Changes for cobia are coming next week. Beginning February 1, 2018 the recreational and commercial bag limits for cobia in Gulf state waters will be the same, reducing the commercial limit from two to one fish per person and reducing the recreational and commercial vessel limit in Gulf state waters from six to two cobia per vessel, per day. The minimum 33-inch size limit is unchanged.

Breezy weather for the weekend will challenge some boaters along with greater changes for rain on Sunday. Check the weather before you go and if you do go, leave a float plan with someone.


Breezy weather continues through much of the weekend as it has for much of the past couple of weeks. A low pressure area in the Gulf may move up the Florida coast bringing wind and rain for Sunday. But the past week has allowed a day or two for anglers to get on the water. Cold conditions, however, have dripped water temps to levels that slow the bite wherever you are. Under these situations, fresh cut bait seems to produce best, since fish don’t have to chase a bait down to eat it.

Nearshore options have been limited due to cooler water temps, but Capt. Dylan Hubbard reports a fairly decent hogfish bite. A few lane snapper have been caught, but the best action has been on the all day trip with fair action on the half days.

Hubbard’s 12-hour Extreme trips offshore have crushed the amberjacks; however, the weather hasn’t allowed many trips. Some big red grouper have been caught in 150-to 200-feet of water. Some nice scamp grouper are being pulled in as well. Last weekend’s 39-hour trip was killer. The loaded the boat with AJ’s including on tipping the scales at just over 100-pounds, caught by Roger Poulin. The boat landed with porgies, red and scamp grouper, mangrove, vermilion, yellowtail, mutton, and dog snappers along with tuna. The next 44-hour trip is slated for February 2. For info on hopping aboard, go to www.hubbardsmarina.com.


Cold water temperatures have made for a tough bite. But still, persistence pays off when trying to put a few fish in the boat. Flounder fishing has been tough. Most fish have been small and barely legal, but if you concentrate on working lures on the bottom you’ll find them. Look near passes where there is moving water. Tides should pick up by next Tuesday’s full moon. With north winds, expect some exceptionally low tides. This will be a prime time to do some exploring and find those potholes on the flats that will hold trout and possibly redfish. Bring a camera to document bottom irregularities like oyster bars, debris, rocks, and rubble for future reference.

Some larger trout are moving in and out of the bays in waves. Reports say the last of the outgoing tide has been the most productive. Jerk baits like the CAL 5.5 and the Zoom Superfluke in pearl or glow colors are working best for the big gators. MirrOlure’s new 37MR49 MirrOdines, the largest model, have been taking some monster trout.

Big trout are being caught up in Clearwater and Dunedin near the passes and on the south sides of the spoil islands near Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands. CAL Deadly Tandem Jigs are working well along with MirrOlure TTRCH twitch baits for the larger fish. An assortment of suspending models of Unfair Lures is doing a good job.

Sheepshead fishing has been good. This is the normal time of year for this species to crank up and get chewing. They will be spawning next month and into March. The tail end of the outgoing to slack tide is best for these fish. Knocker rigs with just enough weight to hold baits down are productive. Fiddler crabs, shrimp, and sand fleas are top baits, but barnacles, clams and brined oysters also work well. Some anglers find small circle hooks effective. A 2/0 size seems to work well.

Some reds are showing up again for anglers fishing the Fort Desoto area. Wade fishing around the maintenance shack has been productive for redfish, trout, flounder, and sheepshead using live shrimp under popping corks. Weedon Island and Master’s Bayou off Gandy Bridge are holding some nice reds. Anglers fishing live shrimp or whitebait, when you can get it, are doing well in these areas.

Most anglers have held off targeting snook due to the cold water conditions, since these fish don’t fare well in the cold. But several reports say some monster snook are holding up in Riviera Bay in the deep holes and around Big Island in the upper Tampa Bay.

Last weekend’s Old Salt Johnny Kellar Tournament showed that Tampa Bay still holds some monster black drum. Several near the 40-pound class were hoisted on the scales. Look for the bay bridges to hold these fish, primarily the Gandy and Howard Franklin.


Its’ time to dust off your flipping sticks and hit the freshwater lakes for some spawning bass. Big bass will be found in the shallows fanning beds on warmer sunny days. Creature baits like salamanders, eels, and snakes that are a menace to bedding bass will be great lures to toss at these fish. Males that will be protecting the beds will attack these baits whether they are hungry or not, just to protect their territory. Bad weather tends to move fish off the beds, but with next Tuesday’s full moon approaching, look for some good action on the beds after the front passes that will approach us on Sunday. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham

(941) 723-2655



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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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Florida West Central Fishing 4Cast, Floridasportsman.com, 11/9/17 by Capt. Ray Markham

by on Nov.11, 2017, under Bradenton and Sarasota, St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs

Coming off last weekend’s full moon, anglers posted a variety of reports ranging from brisk action on Spanish mackerel, kingfish, and gag grouper to trout, pompano, and snook. The action this weekend may be a little threatened by an incoming cold front that may kick up seas and blow beginning Friday. Pay close attention to the weather and make sure all your safety gear is in order if you decide to head out.

Tom Tait with a nice pompano, caught on a CAL Jig with a grub tail while fishing with Capt. Ray Markham aboard the Flat Back II.


Gag grouper are where you find them right now. Water temperatures in the Gulf are beginning to cool and gags are slowly moving toward shore. Long runs to 125-foot depths are still producing some big gags for anglers, but just inside Tampa Bay, the Ship’s Channel is producing some nice fish for both trolling and bait-soaking anglers. To the north, Hernando anglers are finding gag grouper on shallow rock bottoms in depths ranging from 8 to 15-feet of water. These shallows allow for some topwater lure action. Larger crank baits like the Bomber Long A and or the slow sinking MirrOlure 77M twitchbait are excellent at this depth range. For anglers trolling depths from 25-to 40-feet, the Mann’s Stretch series in the model made for the depth fished are very good as is the MirrOlure 111MR 25+ and 113MR lures in orange with gold sides can troll up some nice gag and red grouper.

Mike Mahoney, of T. A. Mahoney Co., Inc. in Tampa trolled up some nice gag grouper in 35-to 45-feet of water in the bay this week. Mahoney was trolling inside the bay using a #3 planer with bright colored lures his green and pink plugs caught the largest gags they pulled out of the bay. Mahoney and some of the area’s top guides will be speaking at next weekend’s Reel Animals Fishing Show at the Florida State Fairground’s Expo Hall. On hand will be one of the nation’s top outdoor writers and former outdoors editor for the Tampa Tribune, Frank Sargeant.

Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina reported some ‘extreme’ action aboard this week’s 12-hour extreme trip. Anglers boated a 40-pound gag grouper and broke off a handful more that would have made the 40-pounder look small. They also broke off a huge wahoo that was estimated at 90-pounds. On their 44-hour trip, anglers whacked the snapper on the full moon. Mangrove, yellowtail, and lane snapper bit all night. Cobia and tripletail action was non-stop, according to Hubbard. This time of year is right for fishing and there’s no better time to book a trip. Go to http://HubbardsMarina.com for more information.

Anglers fishing with Capt. Rick Grassett out of CB Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key reported steady action along the beaches with fly anglers catching little tunny, i.e. false albacore or bonito, Spanish mackerel, and tripletail.


The flats from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs have seen some better trout over the past few weeks. Many anglers are reporting upper teen sized trout being caught on live shrimp under popping corks and on DOA Deadly Combos. Snook fishing seems to have slowed a bit in the area, but anglers continue to catch redfish in the Palm Harbor area around oyster bars on the flood tides using whitebait and gold spoons.

Look for the weekend’s slower tides to slow the action somewhat, but you can use the wind to your advantage by setting up between pinch points where wind blows through an area, producing an ambush area for predators.


Anglers reported some good bass fishing action on the lake at Walsingham Reservoir in Pinellas County. Using the new DOA PT-7 bass to 5-pounds were landed here. The large worm hook on the lure allows the lure to be cast into and around structure where these large bass are hiding. Give one a try. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham

(941) 723-2655



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