Tag: fishing report
With the warmer weather this week the fishing bite is heating back up. Big trout are being caught in the Crystal River on all kinds of bait, from live shrimp to gulps to plugs. They can be found in the deeper channels of the river from the bay all the way down to the mouth of the river. The trout bite is also on in the Salt river area, on the warmer days they are hitting top water lures. The smaller skitter walk works well in a variety of color patterns. We have been catching lots of reds on shrimp as well as using gulp jerk baits the pearl pattern is my favorite color to use lately. On the pan fish side of things lots of grunts on the inshore rocks along with some sheephead showing up. Grunts will eat anything thrown at them from cut bait to almost any artificial. The sheephead are hitting on a shrimp or some chopped up blue crabs. There are many of these rocks in the 8 to 15 foot range in the area between Crystal river and Homosassa, and many anglers lower units will testify this to be the truth. This week we are supposed to get another cold front in in the middle of the week, the only bright side of this is that is not going to get in the high 20′s like the last one did. After the front and the cooler temps fish closer to the river where the warmer waters from the many springs are the fish will be more active. Give me a call and let me take you fishing!
Capt. Kelly Kofmehl
Cold Gulf water temperatures has pushed most fish into the rivers and backcountry creeks. One fish continues to enjoy the cold waters on the nearshore rocks and that’s the sheepshead.
Trout are pushed up into the deep water creeks, spring fed rivers and even residential canals because of the cold waters of the Gulf. As a trend of warm weather comes this week look for trout to move over into shallow water during the heat of the day to warm themselves in the sun. One thing to look for is deep water nearby because the trout will seek refuge in the deep water at night when the air temperatures drop cooling the shallow waters again. Good areas are in the Homosassa River, Crystal River, St. Martins River, Little Homosassa River and Mason Creek. The best bait’s are MirrOlure Lil’ Johns, D.O.A. 5.5″ Glow Jerk Baits and live shrimp.
Redfish are a little more cold hardy and can be found cruising the backcountry shallows. Sight casting with Eppinger Rex copper spoons, crab patterns on a fly rod or live shrimp with spinning tackle will catch redfish. Some of the best areas to go and sight cast for redfish is in Fish Creek, Pea Pass and the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. Also some redfish will be in the Nature Coast Rivers near rocky points that are on deep parts of the rivers. Live shrimp is the best bait for river redfish.
The sheepshead bite is very good on the rockpiles and reefs from eight feet of water out to twenty feet. On a recent charter my clients caught 21 sheepshead in about 1 hour using shrimp. A few of the fish were 5-6 pounds. The best method is to use a 1/0 Eagle Claw baitholder hook with a 1/4 oz. sliding sinker. I hook the shrimp from the tail forward and cast it right to the edge of the structure. The sheepshead bite will be a slow but steady pull and when you feel the weight of the fish set the hook.
High incoming tide this coming weekend will be very late evening. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com
Happy New Year!! As much as I hate to see the Awesome fishing of 2011 go, I honestly can’t wait for the future fishing adventures that are in store for us during 2012. And if the weather is any indicator at how well our fishing year is going to be, folks we may be in store for another record breaking year. The weather seems to be the major headline thus far going into 2012. With a few cooler days predicted earlier in the week, we still may finish the first week of the New Year with temperatures almost in the 80’s. As you can imagine with weather this good and fish still seeming to be in their fall patters, the sky seems to be the limit as far as our angling opportunities are concerned.
With so many angling options still available it’s been a challenge to decide which species of fish to target. Do we go after tailing Redfish with shrimp or artificials in the morning? Do we cast for hefty Gator Trout on some of our crystal clear flats? Or de we go for the Gusto and load the boat with some of the tastiest fish on the Gulf Coast, the Black Sea Bass? All in all these are some of the great angling opportunities that we will be leaning towards this month. And with plenty of other species available this month including Black Drum, Grouper, Permit, Pompano, and Sheepshead there should be plenty of opportunities to ring in the New Year with a drag screaming run from one of Florida’s Finest.
Speaking of Sheepshead, as one of the tastiest and hardest fighting fish that swims in the shallow waters of the Nature Coast, the months of January and February are prime time to target these toothy critters. Normally, Sheepshead can be quite docile throughout the year, but the few months before and after these fish spawn leads to a Sheepshead feeding frenzy where these fish will eat any Crustacean placed in front of their face. There are plenty ways to target these fish whether fishing from land or by boat, in fresh water or salt. However, my favorite way to target these fish is by sight casting pieces of crab, shrimp or flies, to these fish while they are staging along many of the shallow water structures located along the Crystal River or Homosassa. Throwing pieces of crab and shrimp will definitely yield the most strikes but for something a little more challenging we like to throw shrimp and crab patterns to these fish which has proven successful.
As interesting as catching a Sheepshead on fly sounds, the exotic species that are still roaming the waters off the Nature Coast is the most surprising aspect of fishing at the moment. Most pelagic species should have already migrated by the Nature Coast and should be taking up residency at their warm water destinations. However, with warmer weather prevailing over the last month many species are still felling right at home in our warmer than usual waters. With water temps still remaining in the mid 60’s many Spanish Mackerel, Grouper, Bluefish, Sharks, and even a few Cobia are still calling our warmer water home at the moment. Now this rare occurrence could change at any moment with the weather, but this still makes for exciting fishing especially when you’re fishing for Sea Bass and a 10lb Grouper comes out from a rock to eat it or even better a 40lb Cobia.
Historically January fishing can be a challenge both in fishing and in weather, but with an unseasonably warm weather pattern leading towards unseasonably great fishing, the start of the New Year could be one to remember. **Keep in mind: In 2009 the best fishing month of the entire year was late January into February.**
Capt. Kyle Messier
The last week of December the weather was warm and the fishing was hot!My clients were able to catch there limits of reds when the tides got right to fish for them. I took my son (Kelly jr.) fishing on the Friday before Christmas break was over. He caught several reds before coming in. He caught the 30in red in the photo on a 5in gulp jerk bait, nosed hooked with a smell live bait hook, with an Okuma C3x rod and an Okuma trio reel spooled with 10lb power pro line, and 15lb leader. Now that we are in the new year the weather is in for a cold change. Cold North winds are being predicted for the first part of the week, with temperatures as low as the high 20′s for the first of the week. I will be fishing around the river and in the back bays neear the warmer spring waters. Small shallow running plugs will work on trout as well as live shrimp. Fish the deeper channels and around the rocky points in the river. Mangrove snapper will be close to the warm water of the springs. When I target the mangos I use a small jig head with a live shrimp.
Welcome to the New Year and our first real blast of very cold weather. This cold front will change the fishing scene.
I believe there will be more fish pushed up towards the head of the Crystal, Homosassa and Chassahowitzka Rivers. Deep hole’s near the river channels and the warm springs are good places to start. Work artificial baits very slow and near the bottom. Live bait like shrimp is best freelined and let in fall naturally thru the water column. Live shrimp may be hard to find because of the cold weather, but a D.O.A. shrimp is a very good replacement and works great on cold water trout in the rivers.
On the nearshore rocks the sheepshead bite has been very good. Rocks, ledges and sinkholes from 3′ to 15′ are holding plenty of big fish. When the water is clear it is no problem to drift by the structure and see the sheepshead but before you do this I suggest anchoring a long cast away from the rock. I like to make a couple of cast to see if any are biting and usually I will catch a few right away. Once you make your presence known then the sheepshead will be a little wary and may shy away from biting altogether. The best bait is live shrimp on a knocker rig with a 1/0 Eagle Claw BaitHolder hook. Incoming high tide is the best bite. Incoming high tide this weekend will be midday with a full moon. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com
Happy New Year Nature Coast anglers and here’s the latest from the Homosassa and Crystal River area. Over the last two weeks I’ve spent several days fishing out of both locations and have had great success both deep in the backcountry and offshore to the 20ft depth range. Continuing our luck with a mild winter, has kept the fishing exceptional compared to the last two years, when we had to endure frigid cold temperatures (I have a feeling the weathers going to change though).
I’ll start with the inshore flavors and work my way offshore. The river continues to produce some steady action as long as you don’t mind the crowds of manatee onlookers and boat traffic. Mangrove snapper, red fish, trout, lady fish and snook are the main species that have called the rivers home this time of year. Slowly presented jigs and free lined live shrimp continue to be the most successful methods for constant hook ups.
On a couple days when the tide allowed, I had some great success sight fishing redfish deep in the backcountry of Ozello. Using MirrOlure Lil’ Johns on a light 1/16thoz DOA cal jig head, actually out fished live shrimp and the numbers of fish were quite impressive. If we have an approaching front, west wind and an incoming tide, these are prime winter time conditions to go red fishing. To the south, working deeper holes in the Little Homosassa area, we caught some beautiful trout, but the fish specifically wanted a free lined live shrimp. There is an abundance of under slot trout in these locations as well, please take care while handling them to keep our future stock healthy.
For my personal favorite report, the fantastic black sea bass, sheepshead, large grunts, grouper and other mixed variety of species, on the hard bottom areas; is making for some steady action and tasty rewards for those looking for a meal. Structures ranging from 3ft of water on out to 20ft, have produced all the mentioned above species, along with some bonus pompano and Spanish mackerel. The large breeder sized Sheepshead are making their presence known more and more, and some fish I’ve recently caught are just under the 10lb mark. Live shrimp on a 1/8th oz Hank Brown jig head has been my staple go to bait for the offshore locations. Good Fishing…
Action continued in the coastal gulf early last week due to the unseasonable warm weather we’ve had during December. However a front pushed through on Tuesday, dropping water temperatures by several degrees. Action slowed for a couple of days, but by Thursday the water warmed back up a couple of degrees and fish responded favorably. Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released false albacore (little tunny), Spanish mackerel, tripletail, snook, trout, pompano, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and a small shark during the past week.
Denis Clohisy, from WI, and Vic Heckler, from IL, fished the coastal gulf with me on Monday. I had to cover a lot of water to locate the false albacore, but once I found them we stayed on them for several hours. They caught and released 7 or 8 “albies” to 8-pounds and Spanish mackerel to 1 ½-pounds on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. We ran some crab trap lines on the way back, had numerous shots at a couple of tripletail and Denis caught a 5 ½-pounder on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly. A great fish!
Chris Shuff, his 14-year old son, Devin and friend, John, all from OH, stopped off in Sarasota to fish with me on Tuesday on their way to the Keys. They caught and released a few trout and ladyfish on the west side of Sarasota Bay from the Middleground flat to Whale Key on CAL jigs with shad tails. We had an approaching front, so we got off the water just ahead of it. Dave Wahl, from IL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday. Since it was cool that morning, we started at 9 AM and fished into the middle of the afternoon. He caught and released a few trout on a Clouser fly, but the action was slow.
Sarasota winter resident, Phil Rever, and Eric Dobkin, from NY, fished the ICW near Venice with me on Thursday evening. The tide wasn’t great, but action was steady with most spots giving up several fish. They caught and released more than 15 snook and a trout on my Snook Minnow fly. The last fish of the night was a 30”, 7 ½-pound snook that Eric caught and released. It got wrapped in the trolling motor shaft twice, but due to using a heavy tippet we successfully got the fish out each time. A nice fish!
Kent Boulware and son-in-law, Eric Notestine, from IN, and son, Jon Boulware, from NC, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday afternoon. They had steady action catching and releasing trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, a couple of pompano and a small shark on CAL jigs with shad and grub tails at Stephens Point and near Whale Key.
Nest week’s tides will improve towards the end of the week as we approach a full moon. Look for reds and trout in potholes on negative low tides. Fish deep grass flats for trout, blues, Spanish mackerel and pompano or the ICW at night for catch and release snook. I use tackle heavy enough to land snook quickly and avoid catching them at all during cold snaps. It’s worth checking the coastal gulf for false albacore (little tunny), Spanish mackerel, tripletail and cobia when conditions are good.
Happy New Year and a special thanks to all of my customers that fished with me during the past year! After almost 22 years in business, many of you have become good friends and I’ve gotten to know your families as well. I appreciate your business and look forward to fishing with you again soon.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com
Weather and fishing are great down here in Venice and Boca Grande, Florida.
I can not remember this good of weather from the Christmas Holidays and I’ve been guiding along this Gulf Coast for more than thirty-five years now. Our fishing is good too. On trips just before and since Christmas we caught snook, redfish, trout, pompano, mackerel, sheepshead, flounder and a variety of fun fish. While the winds have backed off several days fishing inside is so good we haven’t even traveled outside into the Gulf recently. I did hear about a few tripletails but some ridding to locate them. It’s time to begin to think about setting up our Summer snook and tarpon trips if you want to get in on the action for May and June? I’m sure we’ll get some cooler weather soon but we things to cool down some because eighties everyday was hot! I am excited about the New Year and all the opportunities it brings. I am thankful for all the blessings and good catching I enjoyed with many of you last year. It’s great to live here and be able to share this amazing area with visitors.
Don DeCessna and sons Brad and Jack plus grandson John joined me for their annual Christmas fishing trip. The ladies always send tasty cookies so we try to get a mess of fish to treat them. This year it was easy, they had redfish, pompano, and sheepshead to enjoy. Jack caught a nice trout we released but remember that trout opens on New Years and will not be closed in the future! I’m not seeing the larger reds now but several from about eighteen to twenty-two inches.
Reds and trout have been cooperating most of the time. These low tides help concentrate fish because the flats are bare most mornings this week. Warmer waters are providing more snook than we usually catch now. We are catching few mackerel and most days several pompano if we target them.
Spring and Summer fishing will be here before we know it so think about your catch and release snook and tarpon fishing because it’s time to set up your dates and reserve em. Who knows how soon they could come if it stays mild?
I am looking forward to New Years and keeping speckled trout next week! I hope you can find time to get down here and enjoy some of our weather and fishing soon. Captain Van Hubbard
I had the best action ever in my life today on pompano with fishing tackle. My best day as a guide was 7, but that all changed today. My two clients kept me busy as a one legged tap dancer when we hit the spot and limited out in twenty minutes. Our boat limit was 18 pompano and we had them flapping on the deck, bouncing of the gunwale and netting them two at a time.
As with other area guides the pompano bite has been similar at certain locations. The setup to look for is a spot near a opening of a creek or river mouth with a deep swash or hole that is sandy. The hole should be at least 7′ to 8′ of depth with a fast current flowing through it in either a easterly or westerly direction.
Anchor the boat so that you can cast a free lined shrimp into the fast part of the current. To keep the action fast chum with small pieces of shrimp, but don’t over feed them. I use one shrimp every four to six minutes. The best hook is a 1/0 Eagle Claw baitholder hook.
The trout bite has been excellent on the outside edge of the Gulf. D.O.A. Deadly Combos with the new penny shrimp. Sheephead are on the rockpiles in 8′ to 10′. High outgoing tide will be early morning this weekend. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com
Catch and release night snook fishing was on fire early last week! Anglers fishing 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, reds, trout and bluefish during the past week. The best action was fly fishing for snook at night in the ICW near Venice. Snook gorged themselves on glass minnows around lighted docks and ate my Snook Minnow fly just as well. In addition, we also caught trout and reds around docks on the same fly.
Bruce McLean, from Sarasota and his son, Gray McLean, from Charlottesville, VA, fished the ICW near Venice with me on Monday evening. They caught and released more than 15 snook to 23”, 6 trout to 18” and 4 reds to 22” on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. Not only did Gray catch his first snook on a fly, he also caught and released several slams!
The action got even better on Wednesday evening when Bill Rhodes from Hernando Beach, FL, fished the same area with me. The bite was so good at quitting time that we decided to turn it into a 6-hour trip. Bill also had a fly rod slam catching and releasing more than 40 snook to 23”, 6 trout to 19” and a 22” red on my Snook Minnow fly! Exercise caution when snook fishing this time of year. I always use tackle and leaders heavy enough to land them quickly with minimal handling. If water temperatures plummet following a strong front, I won’t fish for them at all until conditions stabilize.
Bill fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday morning. The action was slow, but he managed to catch and release a couple of trout and a bluefish on a Hansen Glass Minnow fly near Whale Key. He fished a tandem fly rig with a smaller fly about 24” ahead of a larger fly on an intermediate shooting head fly line creating the illusion of schooling bait fish.
Jerry Roth, from Longwood, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday morning. Despite beautiful conditions it was slow to start. We had a negative low tide with good sunlight and mullet so thick you could walk on them, but we covered a lot of water before we scored. Jerry finished the day with 4 reds to 24” caught and released on a CAL jig with a shad tail near Buttonwood Harbor.
Negative low tides early next week as we head away from a new moon should concentrate reds and trout in potholes. Fish deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay for trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, pompano and flounder. As long as it stays mild, we should also have action with false albacore, Spanish mackerel and tripletail in the coastal gulf when conditions are good. Have a Merry Christmas!
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com