Tag: fishing report
I am a very fortunate person because I get to make my living on the coastal waters of the Nature Coast. The only thing in my job that tops that is getting to fish with my clients who are my good friends and meeting new people from all walks of life. Catching plenty of fish is always good but the real reward is teaching someone to cast, helping them catch they’re first fish or turning them on to a new technique or lure.
I believe that to be proficient at catching fish you must be able to read the waters. A lure that worked during certain conditions or tide phase may not work as good an hour later. One lure that really shined for me this week (literally) is the Eppinger Rex gold or copper spoon. www.eppinger.net With the windy conditions this past week but with a decent incoming tide I was thinking of a way to put some folks on redfish. The Jr. Rex 1/4 oz gold spoon immediately came to mind because it could cut right through the wind and stay in the strike zone. The Rex spoon is very forgiving because of Homosassa’s rocky bottom most heavy lures will ultimately hang on the rocks. The Rex spoon has a soft flutter that allows an angler to get the lure moving before in sinks to the bottom plus with the twin weed guards it helps the lure bounce over a snag.
The best areas for redfish are in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, Pea Pass and Ozello Keys. I found more redfish by poling my boat and when we hooked a fish I would pin the boat down and work the spot more thoroughly and that would result in a few more reds. Points or shorelines that had mullet on them held the most redfish and incoming tide was best. At one particular spot that was full of mullet my clients landed over 20 redfish up to 27″. Incoming high tide will be in the morning this weekend.
Capt. William Toney
We have had several different angling options for us the last week and a half out of Crystal River/Homosassa and spring is definitely here. I spent several charters drifting my favorite area; the ever reliable bombing range, and the 5th to 8ft depth range granted us a variety of species. Schools of various bait fish, including ballyhoo, could be seen being harassed by mackerel and blue fish through out the area. Good catches of trout, Spanish mackerel, blue fish and pompano came on a combination of D.O.A. deadly combo rigs and also using a simple D.O.A. glow cal shad tail or MirrOlure Lil’ John, on a 1/8th oz jig head. A big surprise was seeing a couple early arrival bull sharks while running in my tower and as luck would have it, actually hooking into one, on one of our light tackle rigs while reeling in a trout. On the windy days, which we had several of, the bars in Crystal bay produced high numbers of trout. We had to weed through numerous shorts to produce keepers, but it’s a great place for good action and can save the day when the conditions are tough. Larger trout will fill this area in the coming weeks and it’s tough to beat a jig and cork rig for success. Full moon tides allowed us to red fish in the mid day to early afternoon times this week. Free lining live shrimp in with the mullet schools produced some quality slot fish, as well as several that were under the slot. There’s so much going on, so pick your favorite spring time area and good luck…
Capt. Dan Clymer
March roaring in with big trout!
By Capt. Ray Markham
Daylight Saving’s begins today, and later this week, on the 15th, we will have equal daylight and dark hours. As we get progressively into summer, the longer daylight hours will continue to heat area waters, always changing where fish will feel comfortable. But for the present, fish of all kinds are loving what we have going on here in lower Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Terra Ceia Bay, and surrounding bay and Gulf waters.
Top targeted fish this week were spotted seatrout. Trout are very plentiful and some of the largest speckled trout of the year will likely be caught over the next couple of months. The brisk-moving water around the full moon last Thursday made for some great action. Morning low tides were awesome for redfish, but the incoming afternoon tide was the trout tide here. Reds hammered the quarter ounce Eppinger Rex Spoon. Late in the day after the tide turned to go out, the period a few hours into that outgoing turned on the trout bite again, along with a few snook.
Pompano were reported around the area of lower Tampa Bay and over to Boca Ciega Bay. Fort Desoto, Bunces Pass, Blind Pass, and Pass-A-Grille are known pompano hot spots. Shell Key near Pass-A-Grille has also produced some nice fish on Doc’s Goofy Jigs and an assortment of small hair jigs with short shank hooks. CAL Pinch Weights from DOA Lures crimped on a bare hook will work for the pomps too. Orange seems to be the hot color for them in the Pinch Weight. Look at the shallow bar that runs along the Bulkhead at the mouth of the Manatee River too for some pompano.
Big trout baits…well, Paul Brown Originals, MirrOlure TTR slow-sinking lures; CAL 5.5 Jerk Baits rigged on either a worm hook or a 5/0 Owner circle hook rigged in the tip of the nose of the bait; 5M MirrOlures; MirrOlure Top Dogs; and DOA Deadly Combos all are producing good action with big fish. For sheer numbers of trout, if you can find the original Love’s Lures Tandems, they are killer! If not, the new DOA’s Deadly Tandem is beginning to show up in stores and will work too.
Spanish mackerel up to 22-inches are showing near the Skyway Bridge, and Clark Spoon Squids and Gotcha Plugs are producing fair numbers of these and smaller fish from 14-to 16-inches in length. Make sure you have plenty of ice if you’re keeping Spanish because they spoil quickly in the heat. For best food quality, bleed the fish out and put it on ice right away.
Fish are fired up, and big things are swimming here now. Book your trips in advance for best tide dates. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!
Capt. Ray Markham specializes in light tackle backcountry, inshore, and nearshore fishing charters using artificial lures with spin, plug, and fly tackle and runs the Flat Back II, a custom 1820 Action Craft Flatsmaster SE Hybrid powered by Yamaha out of Terra Ceia. He can be reached for charter at (941) 228-3474 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ray.Markham@gmail.com.
April showers brings Lots of salt water action on the Nature Coast. If march is any kind of indication to what April will bring the Trout bite will be huge! Here in Crystal river we have been catching record numbers of Big Trout, Even some in the 5 to 6 pound range, and have limited out and then some most days. I also have been catching limits of Red fish. In April as the water starts to heat up so will the Red Fish. I love to chase the big Reds in April they are getting active enough to hit top water baits. The pure thrill of watching one of those over the slot fish getting vertical so he can strike at one of those top water plugs and then missing the whole thing and turning back for a second turn at it again. I catch less of the Reds on top water than other methods of fishing for them but I think it is one of the most exciting ways to target them.
Trout are also a rush to catch on top water lures. Often I will use the same lure and the same color as I do for Red Fish. Alot of people that try top water for Trout and Reds tend to see the fish “Roll” at the bait, they get excited and them set the hook, then miss the fish. I always tell my clients when “walking-the-dog” with their top water not to set the hook until they feel the tug from the fish. There is plenty of action on the flats of the Nature Coast now and there will be more right on through the summer, so get out and go fishing, enjoy the day. If you don’t have a boat of your own, or you want to try something different give me a call I will be happy to take you.
Capt. Kelly Kofmehl
Flats and Back Country Fishing
I’m not going to complain about the extremely windy conditions on the water this week because we’ve been blessed with a mild winter, but if the Lord could turn the fan down just a hair….
With the full moon and east wind there is a lot of Florida real-estate sticking up on the coastal waters of Citrus county. This is a good opportunity to study and memorize the high spots that appear to look like a brown area in the water. The deeper water will have a dark blue color and this would be a trough. Most of the trout we caught today were at the end of the trough right where the water begins to shallow again. Be aware of your boats draft to make sure you can float over to the next trough, because if you can’t then this wind will pin your boat to the bottom like it grew there.
The Foul Area also produced some trout this week along with some spanish mackerel and blue fish. The best baits have been MirrOlure Lil’ Johns and D.O.A. Cal Shads on a chartreuse jig head. The best colors are glow, rootbeer and newpenny. High incoming tide this weekend will be in the afternoon. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com
Hey there folks hope y’all had a safe week. With all the wind we’ve had it’s been hard to get out. We were able to get out on Friday and had a good mess of trout. All the trout were caught on Saltwater Assassins Green Moon color.
There have been a good number of reds caught in the Waccasassa river on Shrimp. Hope everyone has a good week and we’ll see ya on the water.
Anglers fishing Sarasota Bay and Gasparilla Sound with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released snook, redfish, trout, bluefish and pompano on flies and jigs during the past week.
Longboat Key winter resident, Pat Decastro, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. We fished skinny water on the east side of the bay hunting reds and trout where Pat caught and released a 24”, 5-pound trout on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly! He also caught few other trout to 19” over deep grass near Buttonwood Harbor. Big trout have been plentiful in shallow water. Since these big fish are usually females that are full of roe this time of year, it is important to handle then gently and release them quickly.
Joe Stevens and his friend, Rob, from MI, fished Gasparilla Sound in Charlotte Harbor with me on Tuesday. I poled a couple of sand bars where we had shots at numerous big trout, reds and snook but they were very spooky and hard to get a fly or jig in front of. However they did well fishing deep grass near Sandfly and Three Sisters Keys where they caught numerous trout to 19” on CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Deadly Combos and Ultra Hair Clouser flies.
Martin Marlowe, from NY, fished the ICW near Venice with me on Wednesday evening. He caught and released 6 or 7 snook to 26”, several trout and a bluefish. Blues will sometimes invade bridge fender lights at night in the winter months. Snook were being finicky that night, so I downsized the fly to an EP Micro Minnow fly, which did the trick. Downsizing the fly or leader is often the solution for picky fish.
Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, FL, and Sarasota winter resident, Mike Perez, waded a couple of flats on both sides of Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. The action wasn’t fast but we caught and released a 4-pound trout on a Deceiver fly and a nice red and a pompano on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly.
Next week’s tides are favorable for reds, trout and more on both shallow and deep grass flats as we approach a full moon. Reds and trout should move over shallow grass at the top of the tide, especially on sunny afternoons. Catch and release night snook fishing in the ICW should also be a good option. Check the coastal gulf for Spanish mackerel, false albacore (little tunny), tripletail and more when conditions are good.
Anglers fishing with me this past week caught several species of fish, including Spotted Seatrout, Redfish and Snook.
Jerry Roth and Robert Worman from Orlando fished with me on 2/26. With the forecast calling for windy conditions, we fished the shallow flats on the east side of Sarasota Bay from Stephens Pt. to Long Bar and managed to catch Spotted Seatrout up to 18″ using DOA Cal jigs in Gold/Glow color.
Josh Hund from Sarasota joined me for a late afternoon flats, night Snook combo trip on 2/28. Josh caught and released several Spotted Seatrout and Ladyfish while fishing the flats near Stephens Pt. in Sarasota Bay using DOA Cal jigs Glow in color. Moving off the flats after dark we started looking for Snook around the lighted docks and bridge fenders near Siesta Key. We caught and released Redfish up to 20″ and Snook up to 26″ using Grassett’s Snook Minnow fly pattern.
Finding the Fish and Feeling Spring Fever
While the snowflakes are falling up North, in our little piece of Nature Coast paradise in Florida the blooms are busting open and spring is in the air.
With the mild winter, shifting into a full blown early spring the Trout have gotten the message that it’s time to eat, and the Sea trout bite in on.
Locating trout during a transitional season takes some planning and switching bait tactics. Most of the “big boys” have been found in less than two feet of water, on an incoming tide using artificial jerk baits to grab their attention.
The shallow hard bottom off of Ozello to Chassahowitzka point is holding the most fish. My clients have been landing the biggest fish using white and bubble gum colored jerk baits.
Redfish and trout are using the same general area to feed this time of year. It’s best to work the outside points on the mangrove fringe between Homosassa and Ozello. Positioning the boat and your bait quietly on last two hours of an incoming tide will produce the best results. The water temperature is still a bit chilly for reds to start biting using artificial bait, the scent and a shallow water presentation of a live shrimp under a popping cork is an anglers best tactic to land a Red.
For some hot on the spot action in 6-10 feet of water Spanish Mackerel have been hanging around small rock piles hunting small bait fish. The best tactic to use to catch these quick to the bite fish is to anchor up tide from a rock pile and lower down a chum bag to get the dinner bell ringing. . Free lining shrimp into the chum line will produce an action packed fishing experience.
Captain Don is a shallow water Flats Fishing Guide and Homosassa Guides Association Member based out of Homosassa, Florida. More information about fishing with Captain Don can be found at his website www.flatschancecharters.com or by calling the captain at (32) 302-8997.
As I write this report the weather outside stinks and not much fishing the last few days because of it. I do believe though as the weather turns more favorable later in the week, so should the fishing.
Trout might be back up in the mouths of the deeper creeks and rivers like Mason Creek, Little Homosassa River and St. Martins River. Good moving water is a plus and if you do get some incoming tide, enough to cover the shallow rocks on the flats there will be larger fish near them.
I’ve found a few redfish and one of the best areas was between Chassahowitzka Point and Blue Bay. There were plenty of slot size fish and some overslot reds. The topwater action was great. The nearshore rocks are attracting plenty of spanish mackerel and I’ve also caught a few around the spoil banks along with trout and a 14lb. snook.
This coming Saturday, March 3rd I’m a guest speaker at the Tampa Tribune Outdoors Expo and Boat Show at the Florida State Fairgrounds. My seminar will begin at 12:30p.m. at the AAA Casting Pond and the subject is Nature Coast Fishing 101. I will talk about how to be more successful while fishing and boating in the Homosassa area and beyond. Please bring your questions because I’m going to do my best to explain the best areas, time of year for certain species, best baits and the very important part of staying of the rocks. I hope to see ya there!! Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com