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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: chassahowitzka

Some Excellent Rye Whiskey–From The Backwoods of Florida’s Adventure Coast?

by on Dec.13, 2015, under Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Recipes and Food

Wild Buck Whiskey is all about Natalie and Kevin Goff's pride in their products!

Wild Buck Whiskey is all about Natalie and Kevin Goff’s excellence in small-batch whiskey making!

The backwoods between Weeki Wachee and Chassahowitzka are mostly known by folks visiting the 31,000 acre National Wildlife Preserve in hopes of spotting a Whooping Crane or a manatee.  This Preserve is huge, and the general impression, at least to passers-by, is that there’s no “civilization” west of US19.  That’s not the case, especially in terms of whiskey-making!

Historically, I suspect that lots of whiskey was made in these woods.  Of course, it wasn’t done so legally.  However, Kevin and Natalie Goff, owners of Wild Buck Whiskey, are operating their “still”, adhering to all the rules set forth by local, state and federal authorities.

The hand-hammered copper still at Wild Buck is where the small batches of whiskey is distilled.

The hand-hammered copper still at Wild Buck is where the small batches of whiskey are distilled.

Rye whiskey must be aged in new oak barrels

Rye whiskey must be aged in new oak barrels


It takes lots of love and diligence to make good whiskey, and Kevin and Natalie are dedicated to creating a quality product, in small batches.  This is a whiskey made for sipping and just a splash of spring water or an ice cube will bring it to life in your glass.  Made from natural ingredients and pure Florida water, their rye whiskey can be found at finer restaurants, bars and liquor stores.  But don’t expect to find a case or more than a few bottles at your local retailer as the rye whiskey has been in high demand since winning several awards.

And stand by….Wild Buck’s Rum will be available in early 2016.  It’s made for sipping, too. So don’t even think Cuba Libre!

Natalie and Kevin Goff, escapees from busier parts of Florida, are extremely proud of their products.

Natalie and Kevin Goff, escapees from busier parts of Florida, are extremely proud of their products.

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Homosassa Fishing Report, 6/18/12, From Capt. William Toney

by on Jun.19, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

Every year I look forward to June because I am invited to the River Palms Fish Camp in Jensen Beach for the D.O.A. Outdoor Writers Event. The fishing is always great for me because it offer’s a change of scenery and a good chance at a snook or trout of a lifetime. Beyond the fishing though the camaraderie with fellow D.O.A. pro staff guides, professional writers, photographers and representatives of the fishing community is the hart of the event all because of one man’s quest to produce fish catching lures. To put a face on D.O.A. Lures it would have to be Mark Nichols rod in hand, wading a flat along the Indian River with his trusty old Dolphin skiff staked out somewhere near by. He field test his lures daily and I’ve fished with him enough to know that the 3” shrimp is his baby. The two days that I fished, this was the lure of choice for me although I caught fish on most all the assorted lures from D.O.A. that I was supplied with, the 3” shrimp was my comfort lure.  Capt. Chris Myers (www.floridafishinglessons.com) and I on the first day caught 8 different species on the 3” shrimp including playing ping-pong with some monster snook through some bridge pilings. The second day I fished with James Harter a expert angler of the area. As we fished our way up the south fork of the St. Lucie River I caught 16 snook that morning but the largest one got the best of me when my leader was cut after a series of runs and crazy cart welled jumps. I still laugh when I think about his words to me “ you had your chance”.
Back over on the west side, Homosassa still has a few trout inside the flats. The bars north and south of the Chassahowitzka channel are producing some large trout on the first of the incoming tide and just as it turns back out. Near Homosassa Point and also at Trout Key on high tide look for trout around the sandy potholes. For deep water trout along with a variety of other fish, the deep grass bottom out in 10’ to 12 ’ of water north or south of the Homosassa channel is a good starting point. Dragging your lure behind the drift of the boat works best out there.
Red fishing has been a hit or miss lately and to be successful cover a lot of ground. Work the outside keys on the incoming high tides. The north or south sides of the St. Martins river have been the most productive area as of late for me. Near Chassahowitzka Point tarpon fishermen are having success with most of the tarpon moving by on the incoming high tide. High incoming tide this coming weekend will be late afternoon.

Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Homosassa/Ozello/Chassahowitzka Fishing Report, 5/5/12

by on May.07, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

As I write this report the air outside by the river is 90 degree’s, that’s sounds like summer to me! On the water it’s slightly cooler because of the breeze and as long as there is a breeze the trout have been cooperating. The best areas have been north west of the St. Martins Keys and south around the Chassahowitzka channel. I’ve had success with both dark colors and glow soft plastics. On some mornings they like to have the jig under a cork but mostly on just a 1/8 oz. chartreuse jig head. This is the best way to find out. If there is more that one of you in the boat, each angler should use a different rig until someone starts catching the most fish, then switch to that bait.
Some tarpon are beginning to arrive around Black Rock and I’ve heard report’s of some guides clients catching a few on the fly. Homosassa has record breaking tarpon to be caught on the fly rod and some of the best fly fishing guides in the state, so if your interested in catching a tarpon on the fly, now is the time. With the arrival of the tarpon, along come’s the big bull and tiger sharks. These big sharks can also be sight casted with a chunk of cut mullet on the flats around Chassahowitzka  and the St. Martins Keys. As the incoming tide covers the flat the sharks move in with the water and don’t think you can just motor up to one and cast out to catch it. Big shark’s are not big from being dumb, you have to approach them as quietly as possible from a drifting boat to get them to eat.
Redfishing  has been a little tough because they just don’t want to eat. My clients and I are seeing plenty and catching a few but some fish around the Ozello area are either getting to much angling pressure or ran over by to many boats. My opinion is that they are getting run over by to many boats because I’ve watch them go from being normal to crazy as a sprayed roach whenever a airboat is within a 1/2 mile. When this happens you can kiss that school of fish good-by. In the Chassahowitza Wildlife Refuge it’s a little more redfish friendly because of it’s large size and lack of airboats. Look for incoming high tide this weekend very early morning or very late evening.
Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, 1/23/12, from Capt. William Toney

by on Jan.23, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

On a recent Nature Coast Outdoors filming trip I had the opportunity to film with one of Hernando Counties best guides Capt. Josh Fritz. Leaving out of the very scenic town of Aripeka, the boat ride wasn’t long to the area Capt. Josh had been catching fish.
The weather was warm but the days before we went, the nights were down into the low 40’s and with this in mind I thought the fishing would be tough. Capt. Josh had other thought’s about tough fishing in the way of a big black drum that took me for a ride only to send me packing back to my tackle box to rerig after it broke my line. We fished the same backcountry spot for the next hour and caught some big black drum, trout, grey snapper, redfish and lady fish. I even spotted a couple of nice snook but had no takers.
A good friend of Capt. Fritz, Capt Keith Tomlinson called and let us know that the big trout bite was hot at his location. As we navigated the shallow waterway to the trout you could see the gelcoat on top of the rocks were others before had tried to get were we were going. After seeing this I’d take Capt. Josh advise and leave it up to his local knowledge of the area and it’s tides to get in and out safely.
The spot was good with a big trout on most every cast. We caught them on MirrOlure MirrOdines , LiL’ Johns and D.O.A. CAL Shads. After about 30 minute of non-stop trout spanking fun we called it a rap and when I looked at my watch we had done all this in less then 4 hours.
On the home front in Homosassa the bite has been good with pompano, trout, sheepshead and redfish. As long as this warm weather is around I believe the fishing should stay good and keep getting better. Incoming tide this weekend will be very late evening. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, Capt. William Toney, October 9, 2011

by on Oct.09, 2011, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

Great trout fishing is on schedule as it should be for this time of year. What I have found though is that the fish are not spread over a large area as in years past but are packed together in one central location. A large flat like the one south of the Homosassa channel may have up to 20 or more of these tight schools of seatrout. Some folks like to make long drifts and catch one here and one there but to get straight into the action once I locate a good bite I stay right with it. One method I use is when one of the anglers aboard the Miss Jennifer Ann hooks a nice trout then very soon after we hook another, out goes the marking jug. This will give you a visual location on where the fish are. I know some of you are saying just mark it on your GPS, this will work but like I mentioned before a “visual location”. Call me old school ( I’m proud of it!) but I find it easier to see the jug and make a wide berth around my fishing spot, so I do not spook the fish, then to stare at a small blip on a small screen. The best baits have been D.O.A. Deadly Combo’s with the large oval cork and MirrOlure’s soft plastics in watermelon redflake, rootbeer, glow and pink.

Redfishing in the Chassahowitzka Refuge and Ozello areas has been good on the incoming tide. Eppinger Rex spoons cast towards the points and rocky shorelines will get you into the fish. Inshore grouper fishing may start to get better with the falling Gulf water temperature and another reason that I was thinking about. All the stone crabbers have been setting their traps for the upcoming season and usually they set them close to shore in the beginning of the season. All those baited traps make one heck of a chum line wouldn’t ya think? I think so! High incoming tide will be late afternoon this week end. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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by on Apr.07, 2011, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. – A trio of fishing tournaments will attract anglers to Citrus County this April.

The first event will be the Mel Tillis & Friends Fishing Tournament. The Plantation Golf Resort & Spa in Crystal River will host the fifth-annual tournament on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Participants will join music legend Mel Tillis—singer of many number-one country hits and winner of multiple CMA Awards—and help support the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Full details and registration information can be found at FishingWithMel.com.

The competitive angling will continue with the Seventh Annual Citrus County Bass Challenge on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Teams will fish for a total purse of more than $12,000. The competing anglers will put in at the city boat ramp in nearby Dunnellon, then seek massive bass on the Withlacoochee River and Lake Rousseau. Proceeds from the Bass Challenge will benefit the non-profit Key Training Center, which serves adults with developmental disabilities. For more information on the tournament or to volunteer, call Matthew Beck at (352) 422-0888.

The Citrus County Builders Association’s 16th Annual Family Fishing Tournament will be held Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1, at Homosassa Riverside Resort. An estimated total of $13,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded across a variety of categories. Full details and online registration are available at CitrusBuilders.com.

To learn more about the area, special offers, other events and accommodations, please go to VisitCitrus.com, or call the Citrus County Visitors & Convention Bureau toll-free at 1-800-587-6667.

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, December 13, 2010 from Capt. William Toney

by on Dec.13, 2010, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

Severe cold weather is upon use this week so bundle up and buckle down for some great warm water action. In Citrus county we are blessed with three spring fed rivers and one artificially heated canal. The Progress Energy Power Plant hot water discharge is always a winter hot spot for fishing but can get very crowded. The spring fed rivers Homosassa, Crystal and Chassahowitzka all have a constant 72 degree flow at the headwaters and have a lot of room to fish.

The largest area to fish would be in Kings Bay in the Crystal River. The bay all the way down the river to the Yacht Club where the Salt River starts will hold everything from ladyfish to seatrout. For trout, ladyfish and jack creveille use a D.O.A. Deadly Combo or MirrOlures MirrOdine. Don’t be surprised if you catch a snook. For redfish, sheepshead, mangrove snapper and blackdrum use live shrimp hooked on a Eagle Claw 1/0 baitholder hook with a 1/4 oz. sliding sinker. The best places for these species is the deep holes especially those with rocky ledges or outcroppings. The same tactics will work in the Homosassa River and if you fish there try trolling D.O.A. CAL shads in the Blue Waters for snook, jacks and ladyfish.

Looking for that perfect gift for the angler in your life? How about a fishing trip for their Christmas present? I have gift certificates available and then your shopping list can be complete. Look for incoming high tide mid-morning this weekend. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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