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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: fishing report

Epic Nature Coast Action!! Crystal River Fishing Report, 2/13/12, from Capt. Kyle Messier

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Feb.13, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

Black Drum and Sheepshead Action!!

Well it’s hard to believe that we are almost to the mid point of February and the major story still remains to be the Unbelievable Beautiful weather that has persisted here in Florida. Over the last month my clients and I have been in awe over the mild 70 degree temperatures we have been spoiled with since the New Year. Never in my life have I seen such a consistent weather pattern during the early part of a New Year as to what we are witnessing at the current moment. That being said our unseasonably warm weather pattern has been that basis for an unseasonable warm water temperature. It’s the arrival of upper 60 degree water temperatures that has been the platform by which most native and migratory fish species have seemed to thrive in.

This is what we are looking for!! A tailing Giant Black Drum!!!

Normally, this time of year myself and every other local from the area is anticipating the arrival of Spring weather. Well now that we have seemed to have entered Spring in early January most of us are wondering if this is to good to be true.


- Pelagic species such as Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish and Bonita have already found the warm waters of the Nature Coast. This is 2 months early.
- Grouper have inundated our shallow rocks, wrecks, and reefs. This is 2 month early.
- Speckled Trout have hit our massive system of Grass Flats. This is 1 month early.
- Sheepshead have already spawned and are feeding like crazy. This is 1 month early.
- Huge Schools of Black Drum are lined up on the local flats. This is 1 month early.

Mike White helped get our party started when he landed our first Crystal River Sheepshead on the day.

Two of the major current fishing focuses that are occurring along the Nature Coast as we speak are the Awesome Sheepshead fishing that is scattered along many of our local structures and targeting Huge Black Drum in shallow clear water.

The Sheepshead bite normally kicks off during this time of year but the fact that these fish have already spawned and are hungry for anything that swims, crawls, or flies is a major highlight for Nature Coast Fishermen/women. These tasty crustacean eaters are by far one of the tastiest fish that swims and can be targeted a variety of ways including chumming, sight fishing, or blind casting. The trick when fishing for these Sheepies is to be prepared for a long drawn out nibble fest. A Sheepheads bite can feel like a small baitfish pecking away at your bait before deciding to chow down. Most anglers are surprised at how soft a Sheepheads bite can be before reeling in a 5lbs fish.

As great as the Sheepshead fishing has been the major headline for Nature Coast fishing off of Crystal River and Homosassa has to be the arrival of Huge Schools of Black Drum. Imagine this: 3 ft of Crystal Clear water, a small wake approaching, followed by a deep base sounding noise, a tail flips out of the water in the distance. As exciting as this already sounds it only gets better. As you get within range of the tailing small wake, the deep base sound becomes more prevalent. By the time you are in casting range you now realize that the deep base noise was not from one fish, but from a school of over 500 fish ranging from 20-60lbs, that have now just surrounded our boat.

As gnarly as this scenario sounds, this is what’s going down on our local flats here along the Crystal River and Homosassa area. Sure the Redfish and Speckled Trout will get plenty of publicity over the next few weeks, but it’s the exotic species like the Sheepshead, Spanish Mackerel, and Huge Black Drum that will be the species that will create the long lasting memories.

Capt. Kyle Messier
(352) 634-4002

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Report, 2/12/12, from Capt. William Toney

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Feb.12, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

From winter back to summer in 3 days is how this weeks looking. The extra mild conditions have make the fishing on the Nature Coast very good.
For seatrout, fish the incoming high tide on the outside points of the keys. The rockier the bottom the better, because the big trout will be right up on the rocks as soon as there is enough water for them to swim in there. The reason they do this is to sun on the warm rocks that were exposed on the low tide to the warm air temperatures. Some of the best baits are D.O.A. 5.5 jerk baits and MirrOlure Provokers. I prefer to nose hook my baits with a 3/0 Owner bait hook, because it increases my catch to strike ratio with the exposed hook. The best colors are glow, pink, pumpkin seed and golden bream.
The nearshore waters out to 12′ are holding good numbers of spanish mackerel near rockpiles and other structure. One of the best methods of catching them is to anchor near the rocks and use a chum bag to lure them in. White Marsh fish chum is a good alternative to the messy frozen blocks. A mono leader of 30lb will get more strikes then a wire leader but to prevent cutoffs use a long shank hook if using live bait like shrimp. Give the area about 10 to 15 minutes for the mackerel to show up. High incoming tide will be mid-morning this weekend.

Capt. William Toney


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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota & Gasparilla Sound, FL Fishing Report for 2/11/2012

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Feb.11, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Siesta Key to Boca Grande

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 trout, reds and snook on flies and jigs during the past week.
Keith McClintock and Barry Slee, both from Lake Forest, IL, fished Gasparilla Sound in Charlotte Harbor with me on Monday. They had a good day catching and releasing 5 reds to 5-pounds and numerous trout to 3 ½-pounds on CAL jigs with shad tails. Action was best in the afternoon when they caught most of their reds in shallow backcountry areas. Dick Striano, from MA, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday. Action was slow to start but I found some fish on the windy side of the bay near Whale Key where Dick caught and released about a dozen trout and a sharpnose shark on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly.
It was breezy on Wednesday when Parrish winter resident, Dave Wahl, fished Sarasota Bay with me. Dave caught and released a few trout and a couple of jacks on my Grassett Deep Flats Bunny and Ultra Hair Clouser flies. I poled some very skinny water at the top of the tide where he got some shots at trout in potholes and connected with a nice red on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly.
Sarasota winter resident, Phil Rever, and his brother, Jack Rever, from VA, fished the ICW near Venice with me on Thursday night. They caught and released 8 or 10 snook to 28” and about a dozen trout on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. With the forecast of a front with windy conditions for Saturday, I was able to rearrange my schedule to take advantage of favorable conditions ahead of the front. It paid off when Terry Antoniuk, from Calgary, Alberta, and his brother, David Antoniuk from Sarasota, fished north Sarasota Bay with me on Friday afternoon. Terry caught and released 2 reds on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly and he and David caught 8 or 10 trout to 3 ½-pounds, with most fish in the slot or above, on the same fly and a weedless rigged CAL shad tail. We found the fish in skinny water in potholes and over shallow grass at the top of the tide.
Fishing should be better in the afternoon next week due to better tides and warmer water. Fishing protected, shallow grass flats for reds and trout on sunny afternoons and deep grass flats for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues and pompano should be good options. Catch and release night snook fishing in the ICW should also be good.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com

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Cedar Key Fishing Report, 2/6/12, from Capt. Jimbo Keith

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Feb.07, 2012, under Cedar Key

Hey there folks, I hope all is well. My report this week is about the same, except we are catching more keeper trout. The same Green Moon color is working good on the trout.
The Reds are showing up on more of the points and oyster bars because of the warm weather.
The sheepshead should be thick as fleas for the next few days. As long as the weather allows you to get to them they should be pretty easy to catch.
Until next week see ya on the water.
Capt.Jimbo Keith

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February 4, 2012 Fishing Report, Crystal River, from Capt. Dan Clymer

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Feb.06, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

A taste of early spring! This week brought a new variety of species including some spring arrivals, such as Spanish mackerel, bluefish and bonito. I encountered these species primarily while sheepshead fishing over the deeper ledges in the 17ft range. While anchored up, the mackerel would follow the shrimp on bait checks on the knocker rig or jig head; so we started free lining live shrimp on a long shank #2 hook and fish on.The sheepshead bite is still quite good, but the dreaded algae bloom is taking place and it’s covering the baits, along with the structure the sheepshead have been located on. Not really sure what this is going to do… Trout fishing has improved as well and the gulf water temperature has been hovering around the 67 degree mark. MirrOLure Lil’ Johns, DOA cal shad tails and gulp shrimp, have all been producing throughout the week on a 1/8th oz jig head. Try targeting hard bottom areas and keep in mind trout prefer hard structures over grass this time of year. Rock flats, oyster bars and near shore rock piles are all good choices… Good Fishing

Capt. Dan Clymer
(352) 418-2160

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for Feb. 4, 2012

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Feb.04, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota

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 trout, reds, sheepshead, bluefish and Spanish mackerel on flies during the past week. Martin Marlowe, from NY, fished with me on Monday and Friday and it was windy on both trips. Monday was the windiest day, so we fished Little Sarasota Bay to get some protection from it. The action wasn’t fast, but Martin caught and released a few trout and ladyfish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. We fished the east side of Sarasota Bay on Friday and he caught and released trout, ladyfish and a sharpnose shark on the same flies.
Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday and Thursday. Nick often invites me to fish along with him, which is a real treat.  We waded several bars on both sides of the bay and caught and released a pair of reds and an over slot trout on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly on Tuesday. We caught and released a couple of sheepshead to 5-pounds and several trout, including a 6-pound, 27” trout, on Thursday. The big trout was caught and released on my Flats Minnow fly with a 6-weight rod.
Parrish, FL winter resident, Dave Wahl, fished with me on Wednesday. We spent a couple of hours in the coastal gulf hunting for false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail. Despite great conditions, we didn’t find anything so we spent the rest of our trip fishing Sarasota Bay. Dave caught and released several trout, blues and Spanish mackerel on Grassett Deep Flats Bunny flies.
Next week’s negative low tides in the morning should concentrate reds and trout in potholes of Sarasota Bay. Fishing shallow grass flats for reds and trout and deep grass flats for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues and pompano should be good options. Catch and release night snook fishing in the ICW should also be a good option.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com

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Fishing Report from Capt. William Toney—2/3/12—Lake Rousseau, Homosassa and Jensen Beach

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Feb.03, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

From coast to coast and around the world is how my week has been while filming 3 new episodes of Nature Coast Outdoors T.V. show. The week started over on the Indian River in Jenson Beach on the east coast in waist deep water wade fishing with Mark Nichols and Jerry McBride casting D.O.A. Lures. They caught a ton of fish ( me just a 1/2 ton ) using the D.O.A. 3″ shrimp and CAL tails near the Sailfish Flats area. The extreme wind did not hamper the bite like I imagined it would have. Fishing deep troughs that are scattered throughout the flat we caught over nine different species in the short time we were out. Some of the top species were snook, redfish, big trout and pompano. Mark also introduce me to his new tandem jig that I believe will be a top lure in our area on the Nature Coast because on our deep flats this spring it will catch two fish at a time.
On Tuesday I fished with big bass master Capt. Keith Austin on Lake Rousseau. His technique was to use large wild shiners around select area of the lake to catch big bass. With his instruction we slow trolled the shiners with the electric motor or pitched them toward the submerged stumps. The bite would be a hard thump and then we would feed the fish some line before you set the hook. The smallest fish was 4 pounds and a couple were over six pounds. Capt. Keith told me that these bass were in pre-spawn stage and we did see a few beds in some sheltered areas of the lake. We had a great time and caught some very nice bass.
Mid week I got to take out Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis. We had a good time fishing together on the shallow points of Homosassa Bay for trout. Mel was the first to catch a nice keeper trout on a D.O.A. 5.5 jerk bait. As the morning went on we caught a few big trout on the 5.5 jerk bait and MirrOlure MirrOdines. Mel’s stories about his life were very cool and sometime’s pretty darned funny. The Homosassa Riverside Resort will be hosting Mel Tillis annual fishing tournament on April 13 ( capt. meeting and free concert ) and April 14 ( tournament day). For more info go to meltillis.com
Capt. William Toney homosassainshorefishing.com

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Homosassa Fishing Report, 2/1/12, from Capt. William Toney

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Feb.02, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

Great fishing with great weather is the best way to describe the nearshore waters of the Nature Coast.  The cold front that just passed though this week will give way to warm days ahead.
The seatrout bite has been outstanding with fish being caught during the low tide phase in the local rivers and creeks and on the high tide on the shallow rockpiles and rocky points near the edge of the Gulf. The best baits are D.O.A. Deadly combos, jerk baits, MirrOlure Lil’ Johns , MirrOdines and Gulp!
Redfishing has been O.K. with most of the reds that my clients have caught have been on the high tide that allows access to some backcountry creeks. On the low tide phase the sight casting has been good with mid-day offering the best visibility. Good baits have been Eppinger Rex gold or copper spoons, D.O.A. shrimp, MirrOlure LiL’ Johns and live shrimp. For sight casting with a flyrod a light sinking crab pattern works best.
Sheepshead fishing is still strong but most of the bigger fish have been caught in deeper water, up to 15′ and 20′. Some decent fish still remain in the shallow rocks but not as many as last month. The warm winter defiantly has helped fishing and I’ve even saw small bonnet head sharks cruzing the flats and experienced some of the best pompano fishing ever in my life. Look for high incoming tide mid-morning this weekend.

Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Cedar Key Fishing Report, 1/30/12, from Capt. Jimbo Keith

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Jan.30, 2012, under Cedar Key

Hey there fishing folks. We had another warm week in Cedar Key and the water temp was in the upper 60′s. The trout seem to be liking it as they can still be caught on the flats. The key to this is finding the flats that still have some grass on them. The best action I had this week was on a new color by Saltwater Assassin called Green Moon. I think it’s going to be a real good one. So if you see them in your local tackle shop you better grab a bag.
As for the redfish, they are still in the creeks on low water. On high water they move to the mouths of those creeks and also on a few points as well.
The sheepshead should continue to bite if you can get to them. The past week’s wind kept me on the flats. Good luck out there and see you on the water.

Capt.Jimbo Keith

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Captain Van Hubbard’s fishing report for Venice to Boca Grande, Fl. 2012-1-27

by Capt. Tommy Thompson on Jan.28, 2012, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

2012-1-27 Another beautiful week in Venice, Fl. paradise.

The weather has been awesome and fishing continues to get better each week.  We caught pompano, trout, redfish, sheepshead and snook this past week. Each day was a little different but all were good. Of course we have some ladyfish and other species to help add action in between the gamefish. Fishing has not been fast and furious like spring time yet but we are usually catching at least twenty fish and some days many more. We had two on at a time, “double headers” of trout, snook, and ladyfish several times this past week. With the fair weather more folks seem to be deciding to go fish this year. Maybe our economy is improving finally because I am defiantly doing more trips this season.  I’m sure the warm sunny days help too.
I was presently surprised to find minnows abundant on both Wednesday and Thursday’s trips. Finding whitebait and threadfins in January is most unusual, go figure? We did manage to catch some bigger trout, up to twenty-four inches, and nice reds plus several snook on Thursday with the minnows. Shrimp under rattle corks has been the ticket most days. The trick seams to be to make noise with the corks with short, sharp jerks every minute or so. The bubbles and noise seems to really help call fish in;  if it’s not slick calm. Very calm days are more challenging so take it easy. I am using the electric motor frequently to move along shorelines and edges quietly. We pick up a few fish and move downwind a little every twenty minutes or so.
The few delicious pompano we did get were just mixed in while we were trout fishing deeper edges. Sheepshead are not thick yet but improving and should get much better if things cool off. They can be tricky to catch but eat great. We did get a windy front with some rain this AM which will bring temps back to normal; like lows in the fifties and highs into the mid and upper seventies.
Water temps ranged from low sixties early in the week to over seventy degrees in protected waters yesterday. My guess is this is why some snook bit once in a while.
I did see a few very small mackerel and little tunny striking in the minnows early mornings in the near shore Gulf, but the winds picked up so we did not get to try them outside last week. If the weather does not run those minnows south we could enjoy some unusual but wonderful action next month. We didn’t get any flounder last week because we were not jigging any. The corks kept our presentations above the grass in front of trout but away from flat bottom fish.
If warmer weather continues expect to see migratory action early this spring and summer. Please set up your snook, kingfish, and tarpon trips as soon as you can to insure your preferred dates. Life is great from Boca Grande to my south, up thru Englewood and north to Venice right now; and I’m smiling right here in the middle! Stump Pass and Lemon Bay waters have been clear and fishy so far this year.
Thank you and Let’s Go Fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard  <www.captvan.com>

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