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Tag: homosassa

Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, 12/6/17 from Capt. William Toney

by on Dec.06, 2017, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

Big changes are expected this weekend with a major cool down. The Nature Coast water temperatures are around 74 degrees making inshore and offshore fishing very good. Offshore captains are catching big king fish, gag grouper and catch release fly caught amber jack. Inshore the trout bite has been good. red fish so so and inshore rocks good with keeper gag grouper, spanish mackerels and grunts. This may all change if the cool weather drops the Gulf water temperatures 3 to 6 degrees.
With cooling water temps look for the coastal reef/rock fishing to slow down, to catch gag grouper use live bait, spanish mackerel and grunts use live shrimp during warm midday sun and patience will pay off. Most inshore fish will move back to deeper water in passes, deep water creeks and coastal rivers that will hold the warm water that cold weather can’t change in a couple days. Rivers will probably hold the best action. Try mid ways towards the spring,s and live shrimp wil get the bite. Not to say fish would bite on the outside but with the tides faceing us anglers this weekend my prediction every fish caught will be earned. Look for incoming high tide to be at daylight or dark this weekend,

captainwilliamtoney@gmail.com

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report from Capt. William Toney, 11/17/17

by on Nov.17, 2017, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

With the warm weather not much has changed from last week Look for trout over hard yellow bottom with brown rock grass, Some of the best low tide spots can be found by studying Google Earth. Old channels that were formed long ago can be seen starting westward from known creek and river mouths,  These old channels will hold fish and float your vessel on the very low tides. Learning the deeper water that is surrounded by the flats can help an angler catch more fish and also prevent lower unit damage on the way back to safe water.
Redfish are on the outside keys and biting on the last part of the incoming tide. Live shrimp is very good bait but as of late cut lizard fish A,K,A, snake fish is working well. I save them for bait as a by catch while trout fishing. The near shore rocks are producing keeper gag groupers on casting plugs, sheepshead, spanish mackerel and flounder are being caught on live shrimp. Incoming high tide will be in the afternoon this weekend.

 

Capt. William Toney

captainwilliamtoney@gmail.com

 

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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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November 2017 Crystal River Fishing Report from Capt. Kyle Messier

by on Nov.02, 2017, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

 

 

 

Great Weather and Epic Fishing along the Nature Coast

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With sunrise pushing to almost 7:30AM as November is upon us, it’s clear that shorter days are on their way, and that fall is on our doorstep. Generally speaking, this is good news as a variety of species come into range for the inshore/near shore fisherman during this time of year. For starters, the difficulty of finding good live baits will diminish as our local weather begins to stabilize into its Fall pattern. September and October made finding good live shrimp and pinfish a challenge due to the passing Hurricanes and high winds, but now that we are easing into November, schooling shrimp will once again be prevalent for our bait shrimpers and the pinfish will also congregate making trapping them easier for our every day fishing trips.

The only difficulty created by having an abundance of bait and an increased amount of species in November is deciding what to go fish for. Although most Cobia are long gone by now, there are numerous near shore species available, ranging from Gag Grouper, Spanish Mackerel, Mangrove Snapper and Bonita. Occasional appearances of other species such as Bluefish, Flounder and large Jacks should be expected as well. All of these fish can be caught by anchoring over some of the rocky areas and near shore reefs scattered throughout our coast. The faster species including Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel, and Bonita may also be caught by working the edges of large bait schools that have begun to show up a few miles off our coast. Casting ¼-½ ounce spoons on the edges of a bait school will usually single out hungry predatory fish looking for an easy meal. The most effective approach though is one of patience. Set up in a likely area…. the best being one that is both rocky and holding bait…and chum aggressively. Mackerel will usually show within the first 15 minutes typically and other species will progressively be drawn in by the action. The best part about this type of Nature Coast Fishing is that anglers can find consistent action targeting Snapper and Grouper or even non stop action on Mackerel only to be interrupted all of a sudden by a late season Cobia or even a large Bull or Tiger Shark. The non-stop action and limitless opportunities makes this some of the most exciting fishing of the season.

As great as some of our near shore action will be this month, the Late October into November time frame still boasts some substantial tides on the full and new moons making inshore fishing still reliable. Crystal River/Homosassa fishing for large Redfish and Gator Trout has been fairly consistent over the last 3 weeks and with stabilizing weather on the horizon, should continue to be productive. The best fishing by far has generally been found in and around mullet schools. An excellent approach to locating Huge Redfish and Speckled Trout that associate with these schools, is to spread out numerous baits throughout these large schools of Mullet. Although this process can be a bit time consuming, the rewards can be significant as numerous, large fish can be caught in rapid succession. Jumbo Live Shrimp under a cork, free lined live Pinfish, and even cut mullet with a circle hook are the baits of choice for baiting and waiting this time of year.

For those savvy anglers that are looking forward to catching some of the largest Nature Coast Snook of the year, the upcoming Fall months are what you have been waiting for. Although the Nature Coast still features an abundance of Snook our fishing techniques have changed a bit from a few months ago. Snook are no longer stacked up near the mouths of our Spring fed rivers and canals, these fish have spread out and can be found anywhere from the spoil islands to the backwater bayous and creeks. Docks that use to hold dozens of fish will hold far fewer now. Fall fishing requires heavier leaders as hungry Snook now prefer the Mangrove laden shorelines, Oyster bars, and even Deep Rocky Potholes where many Snook will congregate. Casting lures such as Zara Spooks Top waters and Mirrolure Twitch baits will mimic actual baits that these Snook key on. The retrieve of choice consists of erratic movements followed by long pauses. The second the lure begins to move after a pause is usually when the strike occurs.

CHEERS! Too beautiful fall weather, great college football and awesome Nature Coast Fishing Action. Life is Good!

Capt. Kyle Messier
(352) 634-4002
WWW.FLORIDAFISHINGADVENTURES.COM
WWW.CRYSTALRIVER-FLYFISHING.COM

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report From Capt. William Toney, 11/1/17

by on Nov.01, 2017, under Ozello to Crystal River, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

With the first part of the week with snotty conditions and cold air, the last half is looking great for anglers. The shallow water grouper bite has been very good with the exception of the water looking more like coffee. The line from Homosassa marker #2 north and south is dirty and hard to visually see the rocks or structure for casting to. What I have done is get within range of a long cast according to my GPS then anchor down and fan cast sometimes it may take 10 or 15 minute for the grouper to turn on but if it doe not happen within the time frame I’m off to the next spot. Further out in the thirty foot range offshore anglers are doing very good with gag grouper trolling and bottom fishing. Capt. Cris Wilkins claimed his all time fastest limit in less then ten minutes!
Back inshore the red fish bite is holding strong on the incoming tide. The clear waters has opened up good sight casting opportunity’s. The Ozello Keys are the best starting spot. Live shrimp is the best bait. For sea trout try the larger creek mouth’s and passes on a moving tide. I’ve had best luck with a glow or watermelon red flake MirrOlure LIL John under a popping cork. Some days either color with out fish the other. High incoming tide will be late afternoon this weekend.

captainwilliamtoney@gmail.com

Capt. William Toney

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Relay For Life 3rd Annual Fall Family* Fishing Tournament, October 4, 2014

by on Aug.23, 2014, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

Relay For Life 3rd Annual Fall Family* Fishing Tournament

3 Divisions- Men’s/Ladies/Kids Division

MANDATORY- Captain’s Meeting, Fri Oct 3rd - 6:30pm-8pm-Homosassa Riverside Resort – —  No Entrants after 8:00pm CALCUTTA- Avail At CAPT MTG $$$$$$

Tournament Begins @ Safe Daylight Sat 10/4- No required location to ck out

Tournament Fee: $100 per boat-  Register day of event $125 per boat- cash only

_____ $10.00 **Most Spots Pot On Redfish   _______ $10.00 **Ladies Entry _____$10.00**Children 12 & under

**Winners in above **categories- receive $$ in collected category- Prize awarded Highest Total Weight of One Fish- (No Shark or Stingray- please)

Deadline to Weigh In @ 3pm – must be in line at Homosassa Riverside Resort –  No Exceptions!

A Great Day Of Fun Filled With  – Chance Raffles & 50/50 Drawing

Prize $ Based 100 Boats – 3 categories below: 1st Place $2000,  2nd $300, 3rd $100

Overall Combined Weight Per Boat- Heaviest/Legal (2) Redfish- Prize 1st,  2nd 3rd

Heaviest Trout- Prize 1st, 2nd 3rd

Heaviest Grouper- Prize 1st, 2nd, 3rd

SPONSORSHIP LEVELS: BRONZE $250, GOLD $500, PLATINUM $1000.

Make checks payable to:  Team Hope- mail to: c/o 5260 W Angus Dr, Beverly Hills,Fl 34465

Contact Michele Snellings (352) 697-2220 or shellsnellings@gmail.com or  Pre- Register at: Moore Bait & Tackle, Preferred Auto Service in Crystal River or Blue Water Bait & Tackle, or Homosassa Riverside Resort in Homosassa.

Captain & Boat Name ____________________________       Contact # _______________

Team Hope assumes no responsibility for liability or loss during this Tournament.

Weather permitting- Tournament continues unless resched by Team committee.

Homosassa Riverside Resort located at 5297 S. Cherokee Way, Homosassa, (352) 628-2474 Has discounted rooms available for this Tournament. 2 DBLS or 1 KING $65 per night, go to www.riversideresorts.com Be sure mention-Team Hope Relay 4 Life Fishing Tournament.

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Citrus and Taylor County Scalloping Guide Available, Summer 2014

by on Jun.25, 2014, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Ozello to Crystal River, Steinhatchee

The new Citrus County guide features completely updated boat ramp and marina locator that Florida Sea Grant has published for the last several years.


And don’t forget about the companion, the Taylor County scalloping guide and marina locator map.

Both guides feature historically abundant scalloping areas, boat ramp and marina locations, rules and regulations, and recipes!

Readers can order one free copy of each brochure by emailing us at info@flseagrant.org, or calling us at (352) 392-2801, or downloading the whole thing at  https://www.flseagrant.org/fisheries/scalloping/

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March 2014 Fishing Outlook, Crystal River and Homosassa, from Capt. Kyle Messier

by on Mar.06, 2014, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

March Fishing Action!!!

March has always been a month Nature Coast anglers look forward to as it symbolizes the beginning of our Spring Season. Spring is highlighted as a time of year when many migratory birds start making their trips back north but it’s also a time to look to the water as many fish species begin returning to the bountiful feeding grounds found along the inshore waters of Crystal River and Homosassa. Local anglers will start to notice that most of the flats and mangrove shorelines that have been deprived of life during the winter will now find a plethora of jumping mullet along with schools of Pinfish, Pigfish, Crabs, Mudd Minnows, and Shrimp. All of these species make great prey for a variety of game fish including Redfish, Speckled Trout, Black Drum, Spanish Mackerel, Cobia, Tripletail, Pompano, and Flounder. The best aspect of this month is that all of these species tend show up at once. One day it will be a few Mackerel and a Cobia sighting and then the next day dozens of Macks will be skyrocketing at a time along with dozens of Cobia ready to chomp on what ever swims by. Nature Coast Anglers just need to gear up and be ready for everything.

At the moment most Nature Coast anglers are looking ahead to the stabilizing weekly weather patterns that will finally stabilize over the next few weeks. With stabilizing weather comes pattern changes and no pattern will change more over the next few weeks than the Sheepshead fishing. With the recent warming trend driving in many Grouper, Snapper, Spanish Mackerel and Sea Bass to the many structures that were holding Sheepshead anglers will now find that the competition along many of these same structures will be fierce. Although this doesn’t bode well for Sheepshead or anglers interested in pursuing them, this will however be very favorable for all anglers looking for bites. The same rocky structures that we have been targeting for the last few months will now have to be approached differently in anticipation of the added species. Larger rods for Grouper and Cobia and rods rigged with wire are a must for the Spanish Mackerel. With many of these rocks becoming inundated with a variety of baitfish including sardines, pilchards, and glass minnow’s, lures and baits that resemble these baitfish will provide anglers with the greatest chances for success.

For anglers looking for a little more of a challenge targeting Pompano this time of year is a sure fire way to make your drag scream. Pompano are one of the more commercially sought after game fish and make some of the best Ceviche on the planet. They key when targeting Pompano this time of year is to run your boat along any form of sandy areas or light shell beds and look for these fish to skip along the side of the boat wake. If there are Pompano any where around these structures you will visually see these fish shoot out of the water almost like a scared mullet. Once you have found an area holding Pompano all it takes is an 1/8 oz jig and a shrimp tail and it’s game on. Keep in mind that many of these same areas that hold Pompano this time of year could also hold a Permit or two.

So with great weather and fishing right on our door step why not think of adding a Florida Fishing Adventure to your next vacation game plan? Remember our 2014 SCALLOP SEASON is right around the corner!!!!

Capt. Kyle Messier
(352) 634-4002
kylemessier@yahoo.com
WWW.FLORIDAFISHINGADVENTURES.COM

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Homosassa Fishing Report, March 3, 2014, Capt. Don Chancey

by on Mar.04, 2014, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

February has brought a lot of great trout fishing along Florida’s nature coast.  As the weather warms up during the transition period from winter to spring, fishing shallow rocks on bright sunshiny days will continue to produce trout measuring more than 20 inches.   The best bait has been white DOA jerk bait and the best feeding time is on an incoming tide.   On recent trip with clients we were able to sight cast for trout, as conditions were perfect, clear water, no wind and bright sunshine allowed us to work the shallow water rocks in less than two feet of water.

The redfish action has been continuously getting better as the water warms up fish are lingering around the outside rocky points off of the mangrove islands.   A great tactic for reds that are finicky feeders is to try free lining a live shrimp or a piece of cut bait and let it lay on the bottom; the scent will catch the attention of a curious Red.   My last trip out of Homosassa, I came across a school of more than 75 redfish, most of them over the slot limit of 27 inches.

In a little deeper water, small rock piles in six to eight feet of water are producing some Spanish mackerel action.   Try free lining a shrimp on a number two extra longshank hook with a 30-pound leader while chumming. Occasionally a hungry gag grouper will hit your bait, but remember its catch and release this time of year as the season for gags on the Nature Coast opens July 1.

Capt. Don
352 303 9399

www.flatschance.com

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Scalloping 101

by on Feb.13, 2014, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, Recipes and Food

Anna Patterson, Chiefland Watermelon Queen, with a fresh-caught bag of scallops.

Recently, someone asked me if I could “teach him how to catch scallops”.   A more understandable request would have been asking me how to safely operate a boat in crowded waters, review with them the FWC’s rules and regulations regarding scalloping—or even show them how to clean and cook the tasty critters.  In a nutshell (or a scallop shell, for that matter), scalloping isn’t difficult, but there are a few basic things to know before you head out searching for them this summer.

Florida’s 2014 recreational scallop season begins on June 28 and lasts until September 24.  You may scallop in waters from the Hernando/Pasco County line, at the southern end of the Big Bend, to the Mexico Beach Canal, west of Cape San Blas.  Your catch must be landed, cleaned or intact, at ports within these boundaries.  Simply put, don’t run north from Hudson, in Pasco County, to the waters off Hernando Beach, catch a limit of scallops, and then land them back in Hudson.  The FWC knows all the tricks!  There are no size limits that apply to scallops, but there are bag limits.  Anglers may keep two gallons of unshucked scallops each (1 pint shucked), up to a boat limit of ten gallons (1/2-gallon shucked).  A shucked two-gallon limit works out to about a pint of those small white morsels which are actually the muscles that allow the scallop to open and close its shell.  Other rules that apply include the need for a recreational saltwater fishing license for everyone participating who would normally need a license, and a dive flag requirement for letting other boaters know you’ve got divers in the water.  It’s probably a good idea, even for scalloping veterans, to carefully review the rules and regulations, found online at: www.myfwc.com/RULESANDREGS/Saltwater_Regulations_bayscallops.htm

Bay scallops can be found all along the Gulf coast of Florida, including some areas that are well outside the harvest boundaries.  In fact, there have even been sightings of scallops in Tampa Bay in recent summers.  While scallops are likely to be found Gulf-wide at depths that are not practical for harvest by hand or with a dip net, it’s certain that what attracts them towards shore in certain areas, to spawn, is a combination of water salinity and clarity.  In some areas where darker water is the norm, particularly Yankeetown, Cedar Key, Suwannee and much of Apalachicola Bay, scalloping isn’t considered a worthwhile effort.   On the other hand, at Hernando Beach, Bayport, Homosassa, Steinhatchee, Keaton Beach, St. Marks, Lanark Village, Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach, coastal economies rely on visiting scallopers to make up for slow times and cold winters.  And to confuse matters, any of the places within the boundaries might have ‘off-and-on’ scallop harvests, depending upon rainfall, tropical storms or even abnormal river flows.

If you’re new to scalloping you might skip the first week of July—for a couple of good reasons.  First, despite attempts by many marinas and editorial outlets to have their spies (usually local fishing guides) pinpoint the largest concentration of scallops, the best information normally follows a week or two of the actual harvest.  You’ll find that you’ll do a lot less running around once the best area is found.    Word travels fast and a simple visual scan of the horizon will quickly spot the ‘fleet’ anchored over the best areas.  And second, the first weekend of scallop season is usually the 4th of July weekend and a time when partying (on and off the water) sometimes trumps safety and good common sense.

However, if your Type-A personality requires that you be the first on the water on the first day of the season, keep in mind that scallops are likely to be found near the grassy edges of sandy potholes, and that they tend to come to the top of the grass when the sun’s shining brightly.  Early risers should consider using the rosy dawn to catch a close-to-shore gator trout or redfish, and then wait for the sun to get high into the sky before undertaking the search for scallops.  Start your scallop hunt by running your boat at idle speed in water that’s three to four feet deep, using polarized sunglasses or a 5-gallon bucket fitted with a clear bottom to carefully scan the bottom.  Once you see reasonable numbers of scallops nestled in the grass, anchor up, hoist your mandatory dive flag, and get your crew overboard.

Safety is always a consideration for boaters and fishermen, and scallop season demands special attention and awareness.  It’s important to recognize that you, or others around you, may not be regular boaters or snorkelers, and may not be accustomed to motoring a boat or diving in what are likely to be crowded waters.  Accidents, sometimes tragic, during scalloping season can be avoided by motoring at idle speed within 300-feet of boats flying dive flags or of swimmers and snorkelers.  In recent years, many local marinas have been selling and making recommendations that individual snorkelers tow dive-flagged buoys.  This is not a requirement, but certainly a great idea.   Make sure, too, that your boat’s operator remains alert and tuned-in to his or her task.  Even the slightest distraction, including casual conversation, can be disastrous, so let them concentrate on getting everyone out and back safely.  And while some in your party may wish to partake of an adult beverage while scalloping, boat operators should UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES participate, remembering that the FWC and local authorities frown heavily on boating under the influence.  Scallop season also coincides with Florida’s thunderstorm season, and maintaining a visual ‘weather watch’ (or an ear tuned to the WX channel on your VHF radio) is a good practice.  Also, avoid making a decision to run home too late, as some narrow channels and boat ramps get pretty crowded as storms force boats back to port.

In-the-water ‘essentials’ for recreational scallopers are snorkels, masks, swim fins, plus mesh bags for gathering your harvest.  Most folks simply swim along the surface in the clear summer water and dive down only when a scallop is spotted.  Depending on the bottom, you’ll likely see some scallops ‘face up’, looking at you with a row of brilliant blue eyes around the slightly opened shell.  Others will be lying flat, with either the light or dark side of their shell facing upwards.  It doesn’t take much practice to learn to spot them like a pro, and even the kids will become experts after just a few minutes.  If the water’s not in its usual gin-clear state, you may have to dive down and skim the grass tops, swimming into the current, to get a better view of the scallops.   Most scallopers simply pick up their catch bare-handed, but many prefer scooping with small bait nets.  Scallops don’t bite, but will sometimes try to flutter away from an incoming human hand and a net sometimes makes the gathering easier.  Once caught and measured in a bucket, put your catch under ice immediately.  This not only keeps them fresh but also makes the scallops open up for easier cleaning later.

Cleaning a catch of scallops is not nearly as much fun as gathering them.  The ‘goodie’ in a scallop is the white adductor muscle, and the rest of the bivalve critter is discarded.  Scallops, even those iced on board, should be cleaned quickly to ensure freshness.   Some scallopers clean the catch on their boat, but care needs to be taken to not throw the offal (guts and shells) into the water while snorkelers are about, as there have been instances of sharks being attracted to a ‘scallop chum line’.  Cleaning scallops isn’t difficult and simple tools like oyster knives, sharpened tablespoons and garden gloves speed the messy job.  Ashore, most marinas have good stand-up cleaning tables, and some even have professional scallop cleaners standing by who will, for a more-than-reasonable fee, clean, rinse and bag your catch.

So, what’s the big deal about scallops and scalloping on Florida’s Gulf coast?  First, and foremost, if you’ve never eaten a Florida bay scallop, you’ve never really eaten a scallop.  Those bagged, frozen imports from South America that are regularly found in fish markets can’t compare in terms of taste, and store-bought ‘sea scallops’, though bigger, are often textured much like overcooked pork chops.  Our bay scallops are small, tender and best eaten the day they’re caught.  Preparation can range from sautéing in butter and garlic (served over pasta) to deep frying–just be sure not to overcook them.  Actually, they’re pretty darned good right out of the shell, raw, or as the basis for a simple lime and hot-pepper ceviche.   And second, eating your scallops is only half the fun.  A summertime scalloping trip to Florida’s Big Bend coast is an excellent opportunity to get family and friends—even the ‘Moms’– together for a fun day on the water!

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