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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: forecast

West Central Florida Fishing Report, Gulf of Mexico/Tampa Bay–3/2/18 Capt. Ray Markham

by on Mar.01, 2018, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Weather changes are ahead of us for the weekend. The change will include some much cooler and needed temperatures. We just came off one of the warmest Februarys in recorded history. Our weather patterns have been more like late spring weather, but an incoming cold front could put us back on a normal track for this time of year.


Anglers are catching kingfish and Spanish mackerel, typical of springtime weather patterns, but we haven’t hit spring yet! Air temperatures in the upper 80’s and Gulf water temperature in the low 70’s has bait schools moving closer to shore and pelagics close behind. Most kings, however have been caught offshore on wrecks. But if you are looking for these fish, the incoming front will shift winds to the south and then around to the west and northwest after that passage. By the weekend, we will likely see northeast winds.

Thursday’s full moon may make the catching a little tougher, but improved tides will likely shake things up. Strong currents for anglers doing some bottom fishing will demand some heaver sinkers to pin baits down when currents are running at their peak. During the tide changes, currents will slow, making lighter sinkers the way to go. Just keep enough weight on to keep baits where you want them.

Trolling will be your best bet for locating fish on the move, and with this front on the way down, you can bet they’re going to move. Capt. Dylan Hubbard reported some excellent action aboard one of their 10-hour trips this week with 18 keeper kings being landed. The kingfishing for the next several day s will depend on how stirred up things get in the Gulf. Kingfish do not like turbid water and will run offshore to where the water clears. While bottom fishing, anglers out of Hubbard’s Marina caught some nice red grouper, good numbers of mangrove snapper, vermilion snapper, yellowtail, hogfish, and porgies. Some scamp were also in the catch this week along with blackfin tuna. For more information go to www.hubbardsmarina.com.

Triggerfish season reopens March 1 in the Gulf state and federal waters with some changes. The bag limit is decreased to one fish per person, and the minimum size limit is now 15-inches. Before fishing for triggerfish from a recreational vessel now you must sign up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey at the GoOutdoorsFlorida.com website.


Some excellent fishing with stronger tides associated with the full moon will be on tap for the weekend. All week long fish have been chewing, and plenty of snook were moving out of backwaters on to open flats to meet anglers for opening day of snook season on Thursday, March 1. With water temperatures in some areas hitting over 79-degrees it’s been game on with top water lures for some of the most exciting fishing going. Rapala Skitter V lures, Zara Super Spook Jr. and MirrOlure Top Dogs are getting blasted. I’ve been fishing the new DOA PT-7 and these big fish are taking the entire bait into their mouths. If not for the big single worm hook on the lure, it could just disappear. But this hook also allows for quick, easy release with little harm to the fish.

Redfish have been scattered, but some areas in the north Tampa Bay area and around Weedon Island have steady action with good reports. Spoons like the Eppinger Rex have been slamming reds wherever there are pinfish flashing on the flats. Some of these areas, like those in lower Tampa Bay around Tarpon and Indian Keys, and Weedon Island are no internal combustion engine zones and outboard motors are not permitted to be in the water. You must raise your lower unit out of the water and either drift, pole, or use a trolling motor to enter and traverse these areas. The areas are clearly posted, so there is no excuse when you are stopped and ticketed by the FWC.

Trout fishing has been on a steady rise along with better catches of larger speckled trout. Many anglers are reporting limits of trout but some of the best recorded catches have come from St. Joseph’s Sound and north to Hernando. Jigs and slow sinking or suspending plugs and hard baits have been working very well with several models of MirrOlures and Rapalas leading the way for big fish. Soft plastic lures like the Saltwater Assassin Sea Shad, CAL Shad and DOA Shrimp have been taking the lion’s share of take home fish.

Look for a cool down by the week’s end. The initial change could affect the fishing on a positive note but after a day after the front passes, things could moderate, so as conditions allow, get out and fish!


Bass fishing has been good, but with this incoming front moving south into the area by this weekend, the fishing along with the full moon might be even better. Look for the cooler days with a drop in water temperature to turn bass and crappie back on in area lakes and ponds. Topwater lures will make for the most exciting action. Poppers and sliders for fly anglers using fly rods in the 5 to 8-weight sizes will be a blast. Crappie fishing with jigs or Missouri minnows could be the ticket for an excellent home fish fry for the weekend.’ Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham

(941) 723-2655



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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report. 1/2/18, Capt. William Toney

by on Jan.02, 2018, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Ozello to Crystal River

Well this weeks New Years weather will remind us thin blood Floridians that in can be down right cold here. I will have to say that it will be tough fishing for the time being but if you have to go this is what I would do. Getting on the water early will not do anyone no good so stop and eat some breakfast first. Live shrimp is the next stop if they can be found. ( call ahead ) River fishing will lend the best action, start at the mid point of the Crystal River or Homosassa and work towards the east until you find biting fish. This may not happen until an angler meets the warm fresh waters flowing from the springs. Warm water means life and survival during extreme cold conditions. Shrimp on the bottom might get the bite and possible suspending plugs in deeper water as well as jigs. Offshore I would believe the sheepshead bite should be starting although I would recommend waiting until better weather.
One other option is bank fish. Citrus County has many options on the west side to cast a line without launching a boat. Homosassa has a few spots and down Mason Creek. Going north is Ozello Trail, Ft. Island Trail, the Barge Canal and on the other side try the Follow That Dream road way. Good thing about bank fishing is a warm vehicle is not to far away. Incoming high tide will be early morning or late evening this weekend.

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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.


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.


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.


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



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November 2017 Steinhatchee Fishing Report, from Capt. Rick Davidson and Sea Hag Marina

by on Nov.15, 2017, under Steinhatchee


Capt. Rick Davidson, Editor, Sea Hag Fishing Reports

Steinhatchee Fishing Forecast for November 2017, Sea Hag Marina

Fishing this month will be weather dependent, but will almost certainly be excellent. The water is clear and we’ll see how the temps respond to a cold snap, but the flats will still be producing a lot of fish. Slow down your presentation with chillier temperatures. Jigs and Gulp baits will do well. Look for schools of large redfish this month. And one of our more seasonal species, silver trout (called sand trout by some) have arrived in force. Personally I think they fight harder than spotted seatrout and they are better eating. And there are no limits on catches. They are usually caught in deeper water from 4 to 8 feet, and frequently over sand with less grass than on the flats. They are caught with spotted trout, usually smaller fish. Target them with the same techniques as spotted trout…jigs with soft tails or Gulp baits do well. Hot spots included areas west and northwest of the Birdrack and inside of Little Bank in 5 to 7 feet of water. Look for humps on your depth finder, and re-drift over areas of fish when you find them. We’ll be waiting for real cold weather to see if it drives trout into the river but that will be more likely in the next few months.

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Bottom Fishing For Grouper? Read the September 23-25 Florida Sportsman Big Bend Fishing4Cast!

by on Sep.24, 2011, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST

Crystal River Capt. Dan Clymer made an interesting comment in his latest fishing report. He thinks that with the water temperatures still in the ‘80s that it’s still too high to troll for grouper. That was last week, of course, and with the downward trend in water temps, his opinion that the ‘70s are best for trolling might just be true. In any case, Dan’s had a great first week of fall gag grouper fishing, with some really nice fish coming boat-side. And they’ve all been taken bottom fishing with hand-size pinfish.

Bottom fishing is fun and more democratic than trolling in that everyone can have his or her own rod, and there’s no mad scramble to get the rod that’s been struck. And, if the weather’s calm and the boat’s not bobbing around too much, it’s easier to socialize, tell lies, sunbathe, and interact with your boat mates. However, bottom fishing does have its downside—the main distraction to me is the smell of stinky cut bait on my hands! Me, I’ll take exhaust fumes over day-old thawed sardines any day!


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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, January 2, 2011, from Capt. William Toney

by on Jan.03, 2011, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

For the New Year us folks in Citrus County have a new or maybe an old gift given back to us. The Fisherman’s Cut has been reopened though the spoil banks north of Crystal River. I have run my boat though it a few times last week and my clients were happy about shaving an extra 20 minute off their very cold boat ride. When I passed through, I slowed my boat to an idle because the dredging process was still going on. When the rock breakwater is in place that should hold back any erosion and may have future fishing possibilities.

Now for the fishing report, these are the places where I caught fish last week. The hot water discharge, Kings Bay, Crystal River and Blue Waters in Homosassa. Trout were up in the springs and were hitting D.O.A. glow shrimp, Gulp! shrimp and MirrOlure Catch 2000’s. At the mid-point of both rivers I did catch some redfish near the rocky banks close to the channels. Live shrimp was the best bait and incoming tide was the best bite.

For this coming week I believe with this warm spell the trout and reds will move towards the bigger creeks like Mason, Little Homosassa, St. Martins and Salt Rivers. Try the deeper stretches of the creeks that have a shallow dark bottom flat near by. The fish will warm and sun themselves during the warmest part of the day. The bait that will be on my poles are going to be a D.O.A.  1/8 oz. jighead with a glow CAL Shad, chartreuse MirrOlure MirrOdine and a 2/0 Owner hook with a live shrimp. High incoming tide this weekend will be late afternoon. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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