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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, 3/19/18, Capt. William Toney

by on Mar.19, 2018, under Ozello to Crystal River

There is much to be said about good fishing. Earlier this week before the cold front most all anglers fishing on the Nature Coast experienced a excellent bite. Oh but what can happen in the time of 24 hours. As to be expected the day or two before a cold front and even during the front fish will turn on. Generally the wind will be from the south west and makes a good tide for our area and after the front it goes north west to north then north east and low low tides.
During the last cold snap I found some trout mid ways in the Little Homosassa River and St. Martins River. What both spots had in common was tall islands that blocked the north wind and the southern sun was shinning against the north side of the rivers, It was the warmest spot I could find for my clients and I , the fish must have felt the same way. It was old school fishing with a popping cork and live shrimp but over the course of a few hours we managed 7 keeper trout and a undersized snook. We dressed for the weather and were comfortable during the warmest part of the day.
Still good action on the nearshore rocks with more spanish mackerel moving in. The redfish bite has picked up on the inside keys at the last hour of incoming tide. Pinfish has been the best bait. Snook are scattered around but when you find then they are in tight bunches. Check around the outside keys with sandy holes to find them. High incoming tide will be in the morning this weekend.

captainwilliamtoney@gmail.com

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FWC approves regional bay scallop seasons for 2018 with some changes from original proposal

by on Feb.09, 2018, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST

 

Bay scallops

At its February meeting near Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved regionally-specific bay scallop open season dates for 2018, including a change to the season for Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties that was proposed in December. The Commission also approved a trial bay scallop season in state waters off Pasco County in 2018.

The following regionally-specific bay scallop open seasons will be created by executive order for 2018 only:

  • Franklin County through northwestern Taylor County (including Carrabelle, Lanark and St. Marks): July 1 through Sept. 24. This region includes all state waters from the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County to Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County.
  • The remaining portion of Taylor County and all of Dixie County (including Keaton Beach and the Steinhatchee area): the third Saturday in June (June 16) through Sept. 10. This region includes all state waters east of Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County and north of Alligator Pass Daybeacon #4 near the mouth of the Suwannee River in Levy County.
  • Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties (including Cedar Key, Crystal River and Homosassa): July 1 through Sept. 24 (previously slated for July 10 through Sept. 10). This region includes all state waters south of Alligator Pass Daybeacon #4 near the mouth of the Suwannee River in Levy County and north of the Hernando – Pasco county line.
  • St. Joseph Bay and Gulf County: Aug. 17 through Sept. 30. This region includes all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County to the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County.
  • Pasco County: Establish a trial 10-day open season to run July 20-29. This region includes all state waters south of the Hernando – Pasco county line and north of the Anclote Key Lighthouse in northern Pinellas County, and includes all waters of the Anclote River.

These changes are for 2018 only. In late 2018 or early 2019, the FWC will consider setting the 2019 seasons for Gulf and Pasco counties, consider continuing the 2018 season structure for the remaining portions of the open scallop harvest area in 2019, and will work toward creating a more permanent season structure starting in 2020.

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 1/14/2018

by on Jan.15, 2018, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had decent action with trout and bluefish in Sarasota Bay on flies, DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails and snook and blues on flies in the ICW at night during the past week. Sunny afternoons and calm winds allowed the water to warm back into the 60’s following last week’s strong front and trout moved into shallow water.

Marshall Dinerman, from Atlanta, GA fished Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday afternoon. With water temperature in the high 50’, action was slow. We caught and released a few trout on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos on deep grass flats. The largest trout was caught on a CAL jig with a shad tail in less than 2’ of water, which was also the warmest water.

Keith McClintock and Victor Feldman, both from IL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday. It was slow to start, but trout turned on in the afternoon as the sun warmed shallow water to as warm as 65 degrees in a couple of spots. Snook also moved onto the edges of bars to warm up.

With water temperatures back in the 60’s after several days of warming, Martin Marlowe, from NY, fished the ICW with me on Thursday night. He had good action catching and releasing snook and several blues around dock lights on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. Fish were actively feeding and swimming away strong. Afternoons and evenings will usually have the warmest water of the day, as the sun warms shallow water that flushes out of bays with outgoing tides.

 

MartinMarloweVeniceGrassettSnookMinnowflynightsnook

Another front pushed through on Friday, beginning a few days of below average temperatures. Steve Kost, from Lakewood Ranch, FL and his son Nick Kost, from NY, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Saturday. It was very windy, rough and tough to find any protected water to fish. Despite the tough conditions, they had some action with bluefish, trout and ladyfish on flies. I worked with Nick on his fly casting and he scored his first fish on a fly, a ladyfish, in 25-mph wind!

The toughest fishing this time of year is usually the day of a front or the day after, when the wind blows from the northwest and cold air comes rushing in causing water temperatures to fall. Water temperatures may drop back into the 50’s next week, so temperature sensitive fish should be avoided at that time. Fish the windows of stable weather between fronts for the best action. Sunny afternoons with some protection from the wind should fish better this time of year due to warmer water. There should be good action with trout, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for larger trout and reds should also be a good option.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFI Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Legendary Guide Steve Huff Headlines Florida Fly Fishing Expo, Crystal River, Feb. 9 & 10, 2018

by on Jan.04, 2018, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST

The 2018 Florida Fly Fishing Expo in Crystal River on February 9-10 has scheduled legendary Florida Keys guide Steve Huff to show and tell some of his secrets for catching giant permit, tarpon, snook and other trophy gamefish on a fly rod.

Steve Huff

Huff, who has been described as “the top fly fishing guide on the planet,” tops a schedule of more than 20 expert-led seminars and new fly fishing product displays at Plantation on Crystal River on Florida’s west coast. Admission to the two-day expo is $25 but free for those 12 and younger when accompanied by an adult.

The Florida Fly Fishing Expo is put on annually by the Florida Council of Fly Fishers International. President Tom Gadacz said, “We are so pleased to have Steve Huff coming to the Expo. This guy has a bank-vault of knowledge about catching big fish on the fly and he’ll share some hard-earned insights.”

After earning a marine biology degree at the University of Miami in 1968 Huff started guiding in the Florida Keys. He pioneered fly fishing for tarpon, permit and snook in the Keys and also led clients to IGFA record tarpon near Crystal River and Homosassa. Sandy Moret, his good friend and a fellow fly fisher, once described Huff as “without question, the top fly fishing guide on the planet.”

On Friday, Feb. 9, Huff will present a tutorial about how to locate and catch permit on the fly. On Saturday he will discuss the importance of and how to make quick fly casts in all directions. As the featured speaker at the Expo’s closing banquet on Saturday Huff will share insights he has learned from 50-years of guiding fly fishers to saltwater trophy gamefish.

More than 20 other sessions about how-to fly fish, fly cast and tie flies are scheduled indoors and outdoors at the spacious, waterfront resort of Plantation on Crystal River. They include:

Fly Fishing for snook at night by Capt. Rick Grassett

Paddleboard fly-fishing by David Olson.

Fly casting tutorial for women by Mona Brewer, youth fly casting by David Lambert, emergency casting clinic by Pat Damico, and casting games led by John Hand and Jim Patchet.

Beginner and intermediate fly casting demonstrations by Capt. Pete Greenan.

Fly fishing for warm water fishes in North Florida by Tom Logan

Wading the flats by Leigh West.

History of women in fly fishing by Jen Ripple.

DIY bonefishing in the Keys and Bahamas by Capt. Bryon Chamberlin.

Fishing Mosquito Lagoon secrets by Capt. Frank Catino.

Fly fishing for baby tarpon in the Indian River Lagoon by Capt. Eric Davis.

Effortless fly casting by Joe Mahler.

Fly fishing the Everglades by Ed Tamson.

Fly tying with synthetics by Dave Schmezer.

Register online

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 12/16/2017

by on Dec.17, 2017, under Bradenton and Sarasota, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

With water temperatures in the low to mid 60’s, we are in a winter fishing pattern now. Deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay have been producing the best action and variety. Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action catching and releasing trout on flies, CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos during the past week. In addition, fly anglers also caught and released several blues and Spanish mackerel.

John, from Longboat Key, and Drew fished Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday and Thursday. They had good action catching and releasing numerous trout to 18” on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos.

JohnSBCALShadtrout
Fly anglers, Jerry and Peggy Brenner from NH, fished deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday. They had some action catching and releasing trout, bluefish and a Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on sink tip fly lines. Holmes Beach and Sarasota winter residents, Bill Morrison and Gary Marple, also had some fly fishing action with trout in Sarasota Bay with me on Friday.

There should be good action with trout, blues and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for larger trout and reds should be improving due to cooler water. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for catch and release snook with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFI Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 12/9/2017

by on Dec.09, 2017, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action catching and releasing false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail in the coastal gulf on flies and trout and pompano in Sarasota Bay on CAL jigs with shad tails during the past week.

MichaelRobbSarasotaflyalbie3
Michael Robb, from Buffalo, fished the coastal gulf with me on Monday and had good action catching and releasing several albies on a fly. In addition he also caught and released his first tripletail on a fly. Michael’s dad, Larry, joined him on Wednesday but despite a stable weather pattern, the action with albies in the coastal gulf ended as baitfish moved on.

Walter Poxon, from MN, and Bill Poxon, from Sarasota, celebrated Bill’s birthday with their annual fishing trip with me on Tuesday in Sarasota Bay. They had steady action catching and releasing numerous trout and a nice pompano on the west side of the bay on CAL jigs with shad tails.

With the passing of this weekend’s front, water temperatures will plummet and fish will move. Migratory species could reappear following the front depending on conditions. After the weather stabilizes, there should also be good action with trout, blues and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for snook, trout and reds is improving due to cooler water. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for catch and release snook with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFI Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Florida Sportsman Online West Central Fishing4Cast, 12/8/17, from Capt. Ray Markham

by on Dec.08, 2017, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Finally, the weekend ahead will see some cooler temperatures. These temperatures will be quite a bit cooler than the near record highs we’ve been seeing recently. Look for falling water temperature to slow down metabolisms of fish, making the necessity of slowing your presentations with artificial lures and smaller baits, both natural and artificial, more important.

OFFSHORE/ NEARSHORE

The clock is ticking down on the closure of gag grouper at the end of the month. Now’s the time to get out and take advantage of the nearshore action with some big rod benders. Anglers are reporting taking the minimum 24-inch and larger gags in as shallow as 15-feet of water. Gags can be caught in lower Tampa Bay exiting the bay in the Egmont Key Ship’s Channel on the sloping rocky channel. Trolling has been a deadly effective method for these fish. An assortment of big jigs with soft plastic curly tails and plugs like some of those from MirrOlure, Rapala, Mann’s are the norm. Lures that have small lips are best trolled behind planers or on downriggers. Controlled depth fishing with downriggers is the most effective method. Vance Tice of St. Petersburg has these methods down to a science. While he ventures out into the Gulf for some big gags, his forte is Tampa Bay trolling. For information on these trolling techniques, Tice may be reached at (813) 787-8712.

Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina at John’s Pass in Madeira Beach reported his Extreme 12-hour trips landing gag grouper approaching 40-pounds! These monster gags have been caught on the 39-hour trips, but with gags moving shallower, the 12-hour Extreme trip has been exceptionally productive for bottom fishers. The gag action has been so hot, that Hubbard’s has added two more 39-hour trips, on December 15 and December 19. Hubbard commented, “The gag bite has been off the charts to say the least the Dec 1st 39 hour had nearly 60 fat keeper gags along with scamp, red grouper, mangroves, yellow tail and more! Tuna are being caught on the trollers and flat lines too.” If you want to get in on the action, book your trip now with Hubbard’s at www.hubbardsmarina.com.

Nearshore action with tripletail has been very good. Most any kind of floating object, piling, channel marker, or stone crab trap float can hold these fish. Approach the structure quietly with a light to medium power rod with a live shrimp, jig, or artificial shrimp, like those from DOA Lures, rigged on a popping cork and about two feet of leader and cast to it. If there is a fish there, and you don’t see it, it will generally rise to the occasion.

INSHORE

Water temperatures that have been in the low 70’s for several weeks will see a dip in the mercury this weekend as a cold front moves south through the Suncoast. Adjust your retrieve, slowing it down. Work the lower third of the water column for the majority of the species you target. Snook season closed last week, but catch and release action will continue as these fish move into the backcountry, into residential canals, and up rivers and creeks. Look for slow moving baits like the DOA Shrimp to get some top action from these fish.

Coming off last Sunday’s big moon, tides have been lower than the norm, but with northerly winds expected for part of the weekend, you will continue to see some low water and can also expect fish to move into the potholes that this low water creates. Trout fishing will be like shooting fish in the barrel. Jigs, like the CAL Shad and MirrOlure Marsh Minnow will take flounder, trout, redfish, snook, bluefish, and many others. Just work them slowly. Curly tail jigs provide more action than most any other with just a little bit of current. Light jig heads that fall slowly will trigger strikes from lethargic fish.

Good numbers of bluefish have been chomping at trout in lower Tampa Bay. These vicious fish can chomp a keeper trout right up to the gills in one bite. Be prepared to lose some jigs when you get on the water and bring plenty of replacement tails.

Redfish action seems to have slowed lately. With lower than average low tides, look in channels where a flat dumps water off areas with oyster bars to find a few reds.

Sheepshead continue to show themselves in greater numbers as they prepare for the late winter spawn in February and March. Most area seawalls, docks and anywhere where barnacles grow and crabs gather will hold sheepshead. Rock piles along the coast and in Tampa Bay, and the Gandy and Howard Franklin Bridges are known big sheepshead attractors. Live fiddler crabs, oysters, blanched sand fleas, clams, and most any mollusks make good bait for these fish.

FRESHWATER

Capt. Angie Douthit, guiding on Lake Okeechobee, reports the water level is still higher than normal, but some great action from spawning bass and crappie has been taking place. A variety of lures is working for both, but bass have been hitting slow rolled spinnerbaits and topwater lures worked very slowly. Some of Capt. Douthit’s anglers have been catching some monster tropy bass.

Crappies are hitting minnows slow trolled around edges of grass beds. The action will increase as cold fronts move south. To book your exciting and productive day of fishing for bass and crappie call 863-228- 7263. Be sure to check out Capt. Douthit’s website for all the latest client photos, fishing reports, accommodations, what to bring, etc. at www.southfloridabassfishing.com. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham

(941) 723-2655

Ray.markham@gmail.com

www.CaptainRayMarkham.com

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Sportfishing Industry Supports Florida’s Invasive Lionfish Removal Incentive Program

by on Dec.06, 2017, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Sportfishing Industry Supports Florida’s Invasive Lionfish Removal Incentive Program

Funding will reward harvesters who find and remove tagged lionfish

December 6, 2017 – Alexandria, VA – The American Sportfishing Association (ASA), along with other fishing and boating industry leaders and organizations, presented the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) with funding to support the 2018 tagged-lionfish removal incentive program. The program rewards harvesters who find and remove previously tagged lionfish from waters around the state of Florida. ASA’s contribution is part of an overall $25,000 donation presented at the start of the three-day meeting being held in Gainesville, Fla.

“The American Sportfishing Association is proud to help fund the FWC’s 2018 tagged-lionfish removal incentive program,” said Glenn Hughes, ASA’s vice president for Industry Relations. “We are thankful for FWC’s dedication to lionfish control efforts and their development of innovative approaches to combat this invasive species and to protect Florida’s native ecosystems.”

“It’s important for Florida’s recreational industry to be involved in the fight against invasive lionfish that threaten our fisheries, which is why ASA and Keep Florida Fishing® continue to strongly support the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission through programs like these,” said Kellie Ralston, ASA’s Florida Fishery Policy director.

Lionfish are a nonnative invasive species that can reduce native fish populations and negatively affect the overall reef habitat. This program will run May 19, through Sept. 3, 2018, and will coincide with the annual summer-long Lionfish Challenge, which rewards recreational and commercial lionfish harvesters with prizes for submitting their lionfish removal efforts.

About the 2018 Tagged-Lionfish Removal Program

The goal of the 2018 tagged-lionfish removal program is to increase statewide removal efforts by giving divers a greater incentive to harvest lionfish more often while in search of the valuable tagged fish. Additional non-cash prizes are also available for those that harvest and submit a tagged lionfish.  The program will also provide FWC with valuable data on the movement of lionfish.

Approximately six to eight lionfish will be tagged at each of the 50 randomly-selected public artificial reef sites throughout the Atlantic and Gulf between the depths of 80 and 120 feet. Participants will have access to the reef locations at ReefRangers.com. Additional information about the rules and requirements of the tagged-lionfish removal program will be announced in early 2018.

About Keep Florida Fishing®

Keep Florida Fishing® is an advocacy arm of the American Sportfishing Association with the goal of ensuring Florida anglers have clean waters, abundant fisheries and access to both. Learn more at www.KeepFloridaFishing.org. Find Keep Florida Fishing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing®, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for more than 828,000 people.

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 11/26/17

by on Nov.26, 2017, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing with me, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail in the coastal gulf on flies during the past week. Conditions and water temperature have been ideal, most of the time, for migratory species in the coastal gulf and action has been great!

PeterRyan1stflyalbiejpg

Lynn Skipper, from Apollo Beach, fished with me on Tuesday. We had wind and clouds that day so conditions were tough in the gulf. However, despite poor visibility we found several tripletail and Lynn caught and released his first tripletail on a fly. Great job!

Jim Collins, from Bradenton, and Peter Ryan, from CO, fished the coastal gulf with me on Wednesday. Conditions were great and fish responded accordingly. They had non-stop action catching and releasing albies to more than 10-lbs and Peter also caught and released a tripletail on a shrimp fly pattern!

PeterRyan1stflytripletail

The action continued on Saturday when Mike Perez, from Sarasota, fished the coastal gulf with me. He also had great action catching and releasing numerous albies and a couple of tripletail on a variety of glass minnow fly patterns. Rod bending, drag screaming action, love this time of year!

With the water temperature in the low 70’s, action with Spanish mackerel, albies, tripletail and cobia in the coastal gulf should continue. There should also be good action with trout and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Shallow water action for snook, trout and reds is improving due to cooler water. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFI Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Nature Coast Fishing Report, Capt. William Toney, 11/8/17–Homosassa/Crystal River/Yankeetown/Waccasassa

by on Nov.08, 2017, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

Some of the hardest hitting and drag pulling fish that pass through the Nature Coast heading south are biting now. Spanish mackerel are abundant on the near shore rocks and coastal flats. The flats mackerel are mixed in with trout over hard bottom in 3 to 5 feet of water. Just like the trout they will hit most jigs but the bad luck about mackerel are they’re sharp teeth. Luck has allot to do with landing spanish mackerel while trout fishing and one way to have more luck is to set the hook quickly with every strike. This will help prevent the bait from getting to close to those sharp teeth. Sometimes an angler will get cut off but it happens. On the near shore rocks a chum bag will help concentrate the fish. Use live shrimp on a 2/0 long shank Eagle Claw hook free lined with the tide and chum for the best bite. The long shank hook acts like a leader without having to use wire that mackerel will sometimes shy away from. On the bottom around the near shore rocks there are grunts and a few sheepshead biting also.
The waters are starting to clear up some. We have experienced some coffee colored water from the north west wind pushing the tannin stained fresh waters from the Waccasassa and Withlacochee River toward the south. Look for incoming tide this weekend to be in the morning.

 

Capt. William Toney

captainwilliamtoney@gmail.com

 

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