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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

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2013 Scallop and Redfish Update and Report from Capt. Rick Burns, Homosassa and Crystal River

by on Jun.28, 2013, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

Last week saw some nice catches of redfish come to the table. Matter of fact, the red fishing has been so good lately that I’m not even concentrating on the trout. The trout as of late have really eluded some anglers. I feel they’ve moved out into deeper depths and are more scattered right now. Best bet for them is to try some near shore rock piles in the 8’ to 12’ range. At the same time you’re liable to catch and hook up with some seabass, mackerel and grouper while trying for the trout.
However, for the reds it’s all about skinny water. We’re going to have some good tides this week so concentrate on a good incoming. Work and troll your mangrove islands and banks. Cut bait works well under a cork, but sometimes you end up barking up the sharks. And there have been a lot of small ones lately. For artificial fun, we’ve been throwing ¼ oz. gold spoons.  Also, what has been tearing them up is the fairly new plastic bait put out by “Saltwater Assassin”. It’s called the “DIE DAPPER”. The color of choice lately has been what’s called “hot chicken”. One thing that’s nice about these is you can rig them with either a jighead or a weedless hook, making them deadly around the rocky areas that reds love to hang in.
Remember to book your scallop trip if you wanna have some real fun. Governor Scott opened it up 2 days early, and we’re already in full swing. The scallops are very plentiful and I know we’re going to have an awesome season!

rick burns <reelburnis2001@yahoo.com>


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Homosassa Fishing Report, 12/11/12, from Capt. William Toney

by on Dec.11, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

Great weather and great fishing is the best way to describe this past weeks charters. One of the most surprising catches has been pompano on most ever trip. On a recent rip we caught 12 before the action slowed down. The best places to find these great eating fish is in deep holes or deep channels that have a sandy bottom with some hard rocky ledge. The way that I’ve been catching them is on a chartreuse jig head tipped with a piece of fresh shrimp.
Trout fishing from the Spoil Banks all the way down to North West Key has been very good. The Spoil Bank trout will bite as long as there is moving water but the the trout in the creeks like the St. Martins River, North Channel, Mason Creek and Milky Pass bite better on an outgoing tide. The best baits have been D.O.A. Deadly Combos and MirrOlure LiL Johns. The best soft plastic colors are glow, root beer, new penny and pink.
With a new moon this week we should have some good tides for red fishing as long as the cold front that’s on it’s way does not blow all the water offshore. High incoming tides this weekend will be in the afternoon.
Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Homosassa Fishing Report, 11/14/12, from Capt. William Toney

by on Nov.14, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

Beautiful weather this weekend led to outstanding catches of trout, redfish, flounder, pompano and other species of the trashy variety. With a moderate east wind the incoming tide allowed for some decent redfish with most redfish being caught by sight casting because of the very clear water. The clear water is due to the drop in the waters temperature and that helps clear it up. Trout fishing around the St. Martins Keys has been good and for larger trout go shallow. Plenty of fish are in the deeper 3 and 4 foot depths but are not as big as the shallow water fish. Out going tide has been the better bite for the trout. On extreme low tides try fishing the backcountry holes and channels. Even the main channels like Mason Creek and St. Martins River will hold fish on extreme low tide. Case in point was on Saturday I had a client catch a 18” trout with in sight of Mason Creek boat ramp. The tides for this weekend will be extremely low especially during the middle of the day.

Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Crystal River Fishing Report, 10/26/12, from Capt. Kyle Messier

by on Oct.26, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

Mixed Bag of the Nature Coast.

Report Date: October 29, 2012

Fall has finally arrived here along the Nature Coast and although we may not have the change in colors that most of our Northern friends have, there are still plenty of signs that cooler weather is well on the way. For instance our wind and tide patterns tend to change drastically this time of year. Northern and Easterly winds are very prevalent this time of year which offers anglers cooler mornings and fantastic afternoons to fish which is a welcome sign of relief from the more humid Southerly winds that are typical during our summer months. This change in wind patterns along with weaker Spring tides is a great recipe for sight fishing a variety of our local species. Redfish, Speckled Trout, Sheepshead, Flounder, Bonita and Giant Black Drum all will be top targets over the next few months and with the added bonus of slightly weaker tides and copious amounts of bait still inundating the area opportunities to catch all of these species within the same day will occur more frequently during these next few months.

The weaker tides of October and November are historically the best bets when trying to sight fish Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Large Sheepshead in shallow water. The weaker tides allow these fish to forage freely without the added challenge of a strong tide moving their prey throughout the water column. When targeting these bottom feeding species in shallow water I prefer to target structure where a wide variety of opportunities are present. Oyster bars, shallow clear grass flats with potholes, and rocky mangrove laden shore lines are normally sure bets for encountering these great sight fishing species. The fact that these areas hold plenty of prey year round and offer these species a number of different ambush points and escape routes make sight fishing these areas a real challenge.

Todd is pictured here with one of over 7 Sheepshead we sight fished during the early morning low tide along the Nature Coast.

Sight fishing is by far the most challenging yet rewarding way to target inshore fish species along the Nature Coast. However, it’s not the only way to target these inshore game fish. The crystal clear waters of Crystal River and Homosassa provide anglers with many different opportunities to target large inshore game fish. The most popular technique along the area is to use Popping bobbers with Live Shrimp, Gulp! Shrimp or DOA Shrimp. This rig allows anglers to target many different species while covering vast amounts areas. The fact that the bait is constantly in the water is a huge benefit and the added bonus of the popping cork working as a surface lure presents many different opportunities for a variety of species. The most important aspect to consider when working this technique is to make sure the cork splashes rather than drags. If you’re able to work a cork all day without a fish putting any teeth marks on it, you didn’t work it hard enough.

Fall is the time of year that all anglers and guides look forward to the most. Cooler weather, a plethora of fishing opportunities, and the arrival of many migratory species both in the water and out make every day during the fall a special day. With the holiday season right around the corner the gift that keeps on giving are the great days spent with families and friends in the great outdoors. So if you are interested in checking out the best fishing and scenery in the state of Florida look no further than the Crystal River and Homosassa areas otherwise known as the “Nature Coast of Florida.”

Capt. Kyle Messier
(352) 634-4002
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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, Capt. William Toney, 10/23/12

by on Oct.23, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

Cooler weather has brought the trout bite to full swing in the Chassahowitzka  National Wildlife Refuge. Yellow bottom with thick patches of kelp is the most productive areas to start fishing. Outgoing tide is the best bite and some of the most popular soft plastic bait colors are baby bass, fire tiger, golden bream and glow. A popping cork above the jig at about 18” works best. Other hot areas have been Homosassa Point and Mangrove Point.
Spanish mackerel are abundant near the Spoil Banks and a chum bag with free lined shrimp is what it take to fill the box. The near shore rocks are producing some keeper sized gaga grouper but the 20’ range is a better starting point. The shallower rocks are producing mangrove snapper, grunts, flounder and small sharks. Look for incoming high tide in the afternoon. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Crystal River Fishing Report from Capt. Kelly Kofmehl, 10/12/12

by on Oct.13, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

As Summer rolls out and Fall rolls in, the cooler Temperatures are most welcome after a long, hot, wet summer. The cooler temps have the fish of the Nature Coast on the move once again. November is a great month to fish for the fact that you may see schools of fish moving around the flats that you might not see any other time of the year. And if you can see them then you will have the opportunity to catch them. There are many species that move South for the warmer waters such as Pompano, Permit, Cobia, and Mackeral just to name a few… Mullet are in large schools fatening themselves for their journey offshore for their spawn, otherwise known as the Mullet Run.
Trout are back on the shore line and the shallow flats, feeding on shrimp and small fish. My favorite way to rig for Trout this time of  year, is to use a popping cork with about 2 feet of 20 pound leader tied to a jig, and baited with a gulp or a live shrimp. Sometimes the Pinfish are still to aggressive for these baits,  I will switch to a bait without as much sent such as a D.O.A. shrimp or a Zoom jerk bait. On the other end of the line I like a Okuma Citrix 7 foot rod and a Cedros 30 spinning reel. My Cedros reel is loaded with 10 pound test Vicious braided line. Fall Trout seem to feed the best on the young flood, or the beginning of the incoming tide to about half way in.
Redfish are also on top of the list of fall fish to target. On some of the low tides due to the Northeast winds this time of the year, they can be a little more difficult to find, but there are still plenty of them around and they will be hungry. I like to use the time proven Gold Spoon to cover a lot of ground while in search of the Red Drum with the spot on his tail. With the cooler weather it is a great time to get on the water and experience a Sunrise or a Sunset on the crystal clear waters of the Nature Coast.
Capt. Kelly Kofmehl
Inshore and Back country fishing

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When Everything goes Right in Fishing!! Crystal RIver Fishing Report, Capt. Kyle Messier, 10/8/12

by on Oct.08, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

When Everything goes Right in Fishing!!

When all Hell Breaks Loose in Crystal River. Thousands of fish and only one rod!!!!

Have you ever found yourself daydreaming about being on a desolate crystal clear flat where for miles you have the entire flat to yourself? On one side of the flat you can see acres of tailing Redfish, Sheepshead, Permit, and Giant Black Drum. On the other side of the same flat you can hear the sound of pounding birds, feeding fish, and baitfish running for cover as schools of thousands of Jack Crevalle, Bonita, Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, and King Mackerel slice and dice through the acres worth of bait. Although this may sound too good to be true this is just one of the many possibilities that Nature Coast Anglers are experiencing at the moment while fishing the waters surrounding the Crystal River and Homosassa areas.

At 33″ this was a heck of a Crystal River Redfish to start the day off with for Todd!

Some of the best inshore fishing that the Nature Coast of Florida has to offer will be on display over the next few months. And with waters clearing and temperatures dropping the fishing action that the Crystal River and Homosassa areas are known for will be on center stage until the start of the New Year. Redfish, Black Drum, Sheepshead, Speckled Trout, and Flounder will be the top inshore targets over the next few months and with most of these species sharing the same habitat chances of doing battle with all of these species will occur on a regular basis.

Checkout Colby’s Crystal River Permit!!!

A variety of successful techniques will help keep most Nature Coast Anglers hooked up throughout the fall but by far the technique of choice will be the “Spotting and Stalking” technique. When spotting and stalking the most important aspect to consider is visibility. Clear, calm waters are ideal for working this technique and great baits to start with are Berkley Gulp! Shrimp, Live Shrimp, and Weedless Jerkbaits. The idea behind this technique is to work an area that is known for fish, spot the fish species that you are interested in and then modify your baits, approach, and presentation to the intended target. The baits listed above are all great baits for a the variety of species that you will encounter and considering that most of these fish will be tailing or showing themselves in the shallow waters a subtle approach works best. Keep in mind when working this technique MOST of the time it is better to cast way beyond the fish and then retrieve the bait into your intended targets strike zone. When implemented correctly anglers will be surprised at how effective this technique can be for catching most anything that swims in shallow water.

As exciting as the “Spotting and Stalking” technique can be on many of our inshore flats, the true highlight is occurring along many of the deeper drop offs adjacent to the same flats. In recent weeks drop offs in the 7-10ft depth range have become inundated with speedy Pelagics that are looking to munch on anything moving within their line of sight. Spotting and Stalking is not necessary when the boat at times can be surrounded by acres worth of fish. Jigs, Spoons, and small lures that can be casted a mile are a must to keep up with these fast moving schools, and the only retrieve that is needed is to reel as fast as you can to create a bubble trail behind your bait. Jacks, Bonita, and Spanish Mackerel are normally the fish of choice within these schools but over the weeks Large Sharks and even a few Monster Cobia have been lurking throughout these feeding schools. Long story short just be ready for the unexpected.

So whether you’re interested in a relaxing day of sight fishing for Redfish, Black Drum, and Sheepshead or if running and gunning for those speedy Pelagics is more your style, the beautiful weather and great fishing of the Nature Coast is only a short drive away. Feel free to call or email Florida Fishing Adventures to set up your next inshore fishing adventure today.

Capt. Kyle Messier
(352) 634-4002

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, 8/27/12, from Capt. William Toney

by on Aug.27, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

Wet and windy weather will help usher in great September fishing. I know our water temperature has dropped because on Saturdays scallop charter after I had gotten overboard I had to change my name from Capt. William to Capt. Wilma! The scallops are still there and believe it or not I haven’t moved from the same spot that I started going to back in July. At the end of Rock Island channel and to the west is the best area. On low tide it can be as shallow as 3 feet. I’ve heard of report of scallops to the south of the Homosassa River and they are good except that the water could be up to 7 feet deep.
Trout fishing has picked up and I believe it to be because of the cooler water. Kelp is appearing on just about any inshore patch of hard bottom. The kelp is key to finding the trout. Some of the most productive areas have been south of Chassahowitzka Point on the boundary pole line, North west Key, Homosassa Point and Trout Key Bay. The best bait are D.O.A. Deadly Combos with a 3” fire tiger shrimp, MirrOlure LiL’ Johns in root beer or watermelon red flake and MirrOlure MirrOdines.
Redfish has not kicked off yet but has gotten better. I have yet to find a legitimate school of reds and what I’ve been catching are scattered. I believe after the full moon ( Friday 31st ) we should start to find them. High tide for the Labor Day weekend will be in the afternoon. Stay safe,

Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, August 7, 2012, from Capt. Willliam Toney

by on Aug.07, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

Although the number of scallops around the Gomez Rocks area have been hit very hard during the month of July, boat limits are still being taken from this area. The water is nice and shallow during the low tide phase and this makes it easier to find the scallops. I’ve had to move two or three times during my recent scallop trips but most of the time we have gotten our limit within 3 hours. Another area that’s starting to really shine is south of Homosassa Marker 6. The water is deeper there but from the accounts that I’ve heard there is allot of scallops off of Chassahowithzka Point. I recommend planning your trip on the low tide if you plan on heading south of the river.
The inshore rock piles are starting to come alive with mangrove snapper. A few that I’ve snorkeled over this past week had some nice keeper sized mangrove snapper up to about 15”.  Chumming with glass minnow or pieces of shrimp  is a good way to to get them fired up to bite. Free lined shrimp is good bait but you can also catch them on a chartreuse jig head with a plastic shrimp or scented soft plastics like the MirrOlure LiL Johns. The shrimp won’t last as long as an artificial bait and the artificial will also catch some of the other reef fish like sea bass, flounder, spanish mackerel, and gag grouper.
Near shore the trout bite has been good on the north side of the Chassahowitzka channel as long as there is cloud cover or some chop from the wind. If it is calm the trout fishing is very tough. The best bait for me has been the D.O.A. Deadly combo with a electric chicken CAL Shad underneath it. Red fishing has been O.K. I can catch a few but I’ve had to work for them. Some of my better days we’ve caught 8 or 10 reds but most of the time it’s been around six. Live shrimp or cut mullet works the best and make sure to have both because some days they prefer to have one over the other. High incoming tide this weekend will be in the morning.

Capt. William Toney

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Report, 6/30/12, from Capt. William Toney

by on Jun.30, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

Big seasons and high hopes open for the Nature Coast this coming week. Scallops are what draws the largest number of boaters to our area and our county along with the others north on the Big Bend. We look forward and appreciate folks who choose to stay and spend their vacation dollars here. Tropical Storm Debbie was a party crasher but here is the scoop on scalloping in Homosassa. The water clarity is very good if not excellent with light floating grass and jellyfish are non-existent at this time. The down side is this week we will have full moon tides that will make for deep waters on the scallop grounds. The scallops are scattered about and we can thank TS Debbie for that with her high waters and heavy rainfall. The good news is this will all come to past and we have two extra weeks to harvest scallops with the season ending September 25th.
The next season opener will be for gag grouper that opens July first. From local reports of anglers fishing out to 50’ it would be hard not to catch a limit ( 2 fish 22’” minimum ) of gags. I can attest that on todays charter in six feet of water there were some nice gag grouper that gave us a good fight and some breaking off our light tackle that were in the keeper size range. With the floating grass not being to bad I would think trolling would be productive, but a live pinfish or frozen sardine fishing on the bottom is the most common method. Inshore I’ve been catching them casting D.O.A. 6” shrimp to structure letting the shrimp sweep by with the current and a few sharp twitches of the rod tip. Yes keeper grouper can be caught in relatively shallow water in Homosassa.
Trout fishing has moved out to the 6’ to 8’ range. Look for clear water with broken bottom. The bottom should have sand patches along with hard reef corals and sponges. Moving water works best and early morning or overcast conditions makes for better fishing. Clacking corks with a chartreuse jig head and a variety of soft plastics will get the bite. Tie the jig about 30” under the cork. I’d be lying if I said one color works because with 4 different anglers with different colors we were all catching trout.  Redfish are on the outside keys and the best bite is the last hour of incoming tide. Natural baits have been producing best. High incoming tide will be mid-day to late afternoon this week. Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July.

Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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