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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: homosassa

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


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

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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


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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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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, December 9, 2013, Capt. William Toney

by on Dec.09, 2013, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

Fall like conditions make fish bite, well like in the Fall or Spring. On the St. Martins Keys I’ve been catching big sea trout on the yellow patchy bottom with spring time D.O.A. glow 5.5 jerk baits. I don’t know how long this will last but the trout are hanging around the rock grass on hard yellow bottom. The best drifts have been around the Rock Island channel near Bird Key. In-between the turtle grass on a clear day the reef patches are very visible and cast the jerk bait across it and twitch to you see the trout slurp it up. Another bait that has been getting the big trout near Sugar Bowl in Homosassa is the MirrOlure LiL’ John under a popping cork. The best color is bourbon.
Red fishing has been excellent on the high tides around Little Homosassa River and Ozello keys. There are lots of short fish but stay with them to boat a few keepers. Shrimp has been the best bait and use a circle hook or with a j hook keep a tight line to avoid throat hooking these short fish. These are our future keeper redfish, be nice to them! Spanish mackerel are on the near shore rocks and the Crystal River Spoil Banks. Use a long shank hook and live shrimp to catch them. Look for high tide around mid day this week end.

Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Homosassa Fishing Report, 12/1/13, from Capt. William Toney

by on Dec.02, 2013, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

Fish are scattered all the way from the near shore flats to the holes deep in the backcountry. Depending on the tide phase and wind conditions, these will dictate what fish are accessible and where you can possibly catch fish. I’ve always preached that this is the time of year if an angler would like to learn how to fish Homosassa, our waters have exposed themselves for you to see. Anglers will have to think small this time of year in the sense that deep water may be only 20 yards long compared to a 200 yard long flat in September. A slower and more thorough presentation with each cast can be the ticket to catching fish compared with the run and gun technique of warmer weather.
Trout fishing in the channel edges and holes in Mason Creek, Salt River, Little Homosassa River and St. Martins River has been good. There are many short fish but the action can be fun and work hard enough you will put some fish in the box. The top bait has been a D.O.A. near clear 3” shrimp underneath a popping cork. If the wind is calm I’ve had good luck using the shrimp with no cork and working it very slowly. The Homosassa River has plenty of undersized redfish that are biting live shrimp near the bottom. Most places along the river where the channel comes close to the bank is a good spot. Look for incoming tide this weekend very late evening.

Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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by on Nov.16, 2013, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

Oh where Oh where did all the water go? Why did you leave me all high and dry? That was my song that I sang earlier in the week when strong north east winds blew the water from the Nature Coast to the Mexican coast. With the extreme low tide earlier in the week fishing was tough. My clients and I did manage to catch 8 keeper trout and this is what we did. Three trout came from the Homosassa River fishing the rock grass  near the mouth of the river with live shrimp under a cork. Not my preferred method but it produced. The other five trout came from Mason creek using a golden bream 3” D.O.A. shrimp. Patience and working the bait very slowly around the edge of the channel helped us produce fish that day. Normally I do not use just the D.O. A. shrimp without a cork but fishing on the east coast in the Indian River it is the preferred method and learning this help put fish in the box.
With this front behind us look for fishing to improve with warm weather. Spanish mackerel are near the Spoil Banks in Crystal River, use a chum bag to lure them in and then free line live shrimp to catch them. A few redfish are around the St. Matins Keys. On the first part of the incoming tide use a soft plastic or live shrimp to sight cast to them before the reds move into the mangroves and become inaccessible. Look for high incoming tide late afternoon this weekend with the low tide bottoming out midday. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Crystal River Fishing Report, 11/5/13, from Capt. Kyle Messier

by on Nov.05, 2013, under Ozello to Crystal River

Fall Weather. The Key to Great Fishing

Report Date: November 6, 2014

The Nature Coast welcomes the fall. With its refreshing air temperatures and great fishing opportunities now is a great time to enjoy the gifts of the Nature Coast. With 70 degree temperatures becoming the norm and feeding fish on the prowl Nature Coast Anglers will find a variety of opportunities at their door step this month. Of course the Speckled Trout and Redfish will get all of the positive publicity this month but it’s the exotic species such as Flounder, Snapper, Pompano, Bluefish, Jacks, Bonito and other Pelagic species that will have everyone talking this month.

Targeting Pelagic species such as Jacks, Mackerel, Bluefish, and Bonita is often overlooked this time of year due to the abundance of Speckled Trout possibilities found up and down the Gulf Coast. With the next up coming weeks ushering in cooler weather along the Nature Coast now is a great time to make a last ditch effort to get on some of the most exciting action found anywhere along the water. Targeting these drag screaming fish is as simple as looking for diving birds, dolphins and sky rocketing fish. When most of these fish coral a school of tasty baitfish the mayhem begins as bait comes flying out of the water and the fish boil the water with feeding activity. Talk about FUN!!!

This time of year with fluctuating water temperatures most Speckled Trout use a move in or move out pattern, meaning that when the weather is good Speckled Trout will move in close to shore to feed on the abundant food sources scattered along the shallows. When the weather deteriorates most Trout tend to look for deeper areas of water in hopes of finding a more consistent water temperature, food source and water depth. Targeting grassy areas loaded with deeper potholes is a key this time of year and using artificial lures that can be casted and retrieved to imitate most food sources will work best. DOA Glow shrimp and Berkley Gulp! Molting shrimp have worked well jigged by themselves but if these fish are being a little finicky adding a Cajun Thunder Popping Cork to your rig will surely provide results.

Last but not least the Redfish Action up and down the Nature Coast is as good as it has been all year. Targeting these bruisers is as easy as finding the Big Schools of Mullet. During the fall months most Redfish tend to follow schools of mullet in hopes of them stirring up the bottom as they feed. As the mullet stir up the bottom tiny shrimp and crabs reveal themselves making easy pray for a hungry Redfish. When Targeting Redfish this time of year successful anglers do not leave the dock with less than 100 Live Shrimp. With so many Redfish under or over the slot patrolling the same areas a plethora of bait is needed to round out a day. This time of year it is not uncommon to land over 30 Redfish with only a handful making the 18″-27″ slot.

Capt. Kyle Messier
(352) 634-4002
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Homosassa Fishing Report, 11/1/13, from Capt. William Toney

by on Nov.02, 2013, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

More trout are moving inshore to traditional fall fishing areas. Although I’m not catching as many as in years past for this time of year, trout fishing has improved during this past week. I am finding trout in the kelp grass on the edge of a high “hump” on the near shore flats. High incoming tide seems to be the best bite, but as long as I have moving water the fish will bite. Some of the best area’s are near the pole line in Chassahowitzka, Long Point and Bird Key. The best lure has been the D.O.A. Deadly Combo with a glow gold rush belly. Along with the trout I have caught some very nice flounder in these same areas.
The redfish are mainly in the backcountry now with a few hanging around the St. Martins Keys. South of Mason Creek is where I have had the best luck. Don’t be surprised if you hook a snook while fishing for red’s because there are a lot of them in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. The near shore rocks are holding good numbers of spanish mackerel and some gag grouper. On calm days it’s worth the gas to run out there. Look for high outgoing tide this weekend in the early morning.

Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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