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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, 12/28/17. Capt. William Toney

by on Dec.27, 2017, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

This weeks report will be short and sweet. Pompano have made they’re way into Nature Coast waters. I’ve been catching them on a 1/8th oz. jig head tipped with a piece of fresh shrimp. The areas to look for are the deep holes just inside most major creeks and passes. Google Earth will help pin point the deep holes and most are on a north/south line. The best tide is a very low outgoing with a hard pulling current visible swirling through the hole. Cast into the current and let the bait sink, then use a slight twitch to get the strike.
The trout and red fish bite is very good. Look for rock grass on the flats near the river mouth’s and rocky points around the passes to the south of the Homosassa River. Glow D.O.A. 5.5 jerk baits have been working the best. The near shore rocks are producing a few keeper gag grouper, grunts and sheepshead. High tide will be in the morning this weekend. Happy New Year!

captainwilliamtoney@gmail.com

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Capt. Ray Markham’s Florida Sportsman Fishing4Cast- West Central- December 22-24, 2017

by on Dec.22, 2017, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

A string of beautiful weather days should allow holiday anglers to get on the water if desired. However, with the first day of winter arriving on this Thursday, the 21st, don’t expect to see anything that feels like winter. Go with what you know according to the water temperature.

OFFSHORE

As we approach the gag grouper closure at the end of the month, anglers are finding these fish in as shallow as 10-feet of water from inside Tampa Bay all along the beaches. A good rule of thumb is to find some hard bottom or structure where you may find stone crab traps. You may do double duty here as tripletails are also being taken on the crab trap floats and lines that mark the traps. Live pinfish with a trimmed tail to slow the baitfish down have been top baits for gags. DOA Shrimp or the live version rigged on a light jig head or under a popping cork with a 2-foot leader will take these tasty fish. While gags are found shallow this time of year, you’ll also find them well out into the Gulf.

Kingfish have slowed with the water temperature drop in the Gulf. The temperature has dropped into the lower 60’s but with this warm weather, it could bring surface temps back up to bring in some Spanish or king mackerel again. Bait schools scattered on the last cold front, but could re-group again by the weekend.

Although the bite has slowed, anglers continue to find some hogfish despite the temperature drop. Anglers say downsizing tackle is the secret. Using small-to-medium size live shrimp on 15-pound class tackle with a long fluorocarbon leader will get it done, but patience is the key. Hogs are somewhat shy and wait to chew as all the other reef fish feed. Be prepared to lose a lot of bait, as everything eats a live shrimp.

INSHORE

The recent warming trend has snook stalled that were moving into the backcountry. Look for them on points and over dark bottom adjacent to channels. Water temperatures back on the rise approaching the 70’s will make topwater lures effective again, but jigs will out-pace them. The 3-inch CAL Shad has been my top producer for catch and release snookin’.

Redfish have been tough lately, but doable. Smaller jerk baits have been deadly. The MirrOlure Lil’ John rigged on a light jig head has been a top producer of reds laid up on shallow backwater flats and in potholes on sandy bottoms. Where I’m still finding pinfish, both the Eppinger Rex Spoon and MirrOlure MirrOdine 37MR49 have been hit. The new MirrOdine is the largest model they make, and I’m replacing the hooks with slightly smaller and lighter hooks to make the lure buoyant so I can work it in 6-inches of water. If pinfish or sardines are present, USE THIS LURE! You won’t be sorry.

Trout fishing has taken a big swing upward. Look for these fish in potholes on the low tides. Coming off this past Monday’s new moon have produced some exceptionally low tides, pushing these fish into the holes and channels.

Flounder are making an appearance again around passes and on sand bottom where it meets shell, grass, rock, or a change in depth. Jigs worked slowly on the bottom are hard to beat.

Pompano have disappeared, but a brief showing near Bunces Pass might reveal that more fish remain in the area. Doc’s Goofy Jigs have been a go-to bait here in yellow with a pink teaser.

FRESHWATER

Bass fishing has been taking off. Anglers fishing spinnerbaits at Lakes Tarpon and Seminole report good action with white or white and chartreuse colors. Crappie fishing should improve as the weather cools again. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

FWC APP

The new FWC Fish/Hunt FL app for your phone is an amazing resource. Download it and you’ll have all the up to date information on rules, regulations, and some very good information on how, when, and where to hunt and fish.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Capt. Ray Markham

(941) 723-2655

Ray.markham@gmail.com

www.CaptainRayMarkham.com

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report for 4/26/2015

by on Apr.26, 2015, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing with Rick Grassett on his Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout and Spanish mackerel in Sarasota Bay during the past couple of weeks.

Not much to report this time since I was away for a week and off the water a few more days while having some work done to my boat. I took my 1720 Action Craft to the factory in Cape Coral for some upgrades, repairs and detailing.  After that a new 90-HP Evinrude E-TEC was rigged on the boat while the Ameratrail trailer was being rebuilt. Ready to go tarpon fish!

Fly anglers fished deep grass flats on both sides of Sarasota Bay with me a couple of days and caught and released trout and Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on sink tip fly lines. Mark Nichols, owner of DOA Fishing Lures, his wife Jenny and I fished the 20th annual Sarasota CCA “All Release Challenge” fishing tournament with Capt. Andy Cotton on Saturday, 4/25. Fly and spin fishing anglers fished with identical boxes of flies or lures donated by fishing tackle manufacturers, tackle shops and local fly tiers for reds, trout and snook in a catch, photo and release format. We fished the Terra Ceia area and caught and released trout, snook and flounder (not an eligible species) on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Shrimp. Eligible fish were immediately released with minimal handling after photographing. Thanks to Mark Nichols, owner of DOA Fishing Lures, and numerous other manufacturers and fly tiers for donating lures and flies to the event and to Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers as a sponsor of the fly fishing division.

I think it’s a shame that I’m seeing numerous inshore “kill” fishing tournaments lately. I see no reason to kill a fish, especially large breeders, just to see who caught the biggest when a catch, photo and release format can be used to verify catches. Our fishery (and tourism) is as good as it is because of many battles that were fought in the 80’s and 90’s by CCA members (FCA at the time) to protect reds, snook, trout and more and to eliminate gill nets from our waters. In my opinion, fishing tournaments for inshore species that kill fish are a thing of the past, hopefully we don’t go back in that direction.

Look for tarpon in the coastal gulf and reds, snook, flounder and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars in Sarasota Bay. You may find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, flounder or pompano on deep grass flats, particularly close to passes.

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

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota & Tampa Bay, FL Fishing Report for 4/5/2015

by on Apr.05, 2015, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Fly and spin anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and cobia in Sarasota Bay on flies, CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Deadly Combos and top water plugs and trout and redfish on flies in Tampa Bay during the past week.

Bill Moore and grandson Kevin Reilly, from Libertyville, IL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. Mike and Mickey Reilly, also from Libertyville, IL, fished with Capt. Andy Cotton on the family trip. We fished deep grass flats on the east side of the bay and caught and released trout to 21”, Spanish mackerel and a bluefish on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos.

Longboat Key and Sarasota winter residents, Nick Reding and Mike Perez, fished the south shore of Tampa Bay with me on Tuesday. We waded and fly fished, catching and releasing several trout to 4-pounds, redfish and flounder on my Grassett Flats Minnow and Clouser flies.

Anna Maria Island and Sarasota winter residents, Bill Morrison and Gary Marple fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday. We fished deep grass flats on the east side of the bay and near Long Bar. The trip started slow but turned on towards the end. They had great action with trout to 18” and Spanish mackerel on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on sink tip fly lines. On the last couple of drifts of the day, Gary caught and released a cobia and Bill caught and released a 10-lb jack that had him well into his backing!

Greg Baumeyer and his son, Wyatt, from IL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. We also worked deep grass flats and caught and released trout on Ultra Hair Clouser flies, DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails.

You may find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano or flounder on deep grass flats, particularly close to passes. Look for reds, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars.

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

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Steinhatchee/Taylor County Scallop Report, July 23, 2014

by on Jul.23, 2014, under Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Steinhatchee

The first month of Florida’s 2014 recreational scallop season has been a busy one at Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach.  Scallop season is always the busiest time of the year for these Gulf ports, with record sales at marinas, busy motels, waits for tables at restaurants, and busy boat ramps.  Rental boats are sometimes available on short notice, but for the most part, they’ve been reserved for months.  The same goes for lodging.

kroll-4

rentalboat-5

scalliops-6

Scalloping isn’t hard work.  About all you need to be able to do is snorkel in 3 to 6-feet of water and to scoop them up by hand.  This year, you’ll spend a bit more time catching your 2-gallon (in the shell) limit, but the scallops ARE there.  Scallopers leaving from the Sea Hag, River Haven and Good Times marinas seem to be having the best luck to the north, off Clay Creek, Fishermans Rest, Big Grass Island and Piney Point.  And unlike last year, the scallops are close to shore in very clear water.

The best time to scallop is during the lower phase of the tide, and while the sun is overhead.  The sunlight draws the scallops to the top of the grass, making them easy to spot and the low tide makes reaching down for them from a swimming position easier.

For a general look at scalloping, take a look at “Bay Scallops, The Gulf of Mexico’s Tastiest Treat“.

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Scalloping and Fishing Report, Steinhatchee, FL, July 8, 2013

by on Jul.08, 2013, under Horseshoe Beach, Steinhatchee

Anglers and scallopers hoping to be on the water at Steinhatchee during the 2013 July 4 holiday weekend were met by rain squalls on both Thursday and Friday.  However, by Saturday the humidity fell,  the skies (and the water) cleared, and limits of bay scallops, sea trout and redfish were seen at the cleaning table at the Sea Hag Marina as early as 11AM.

Don't want to clean your catch? See the "scallop cleaning crew" at the Sea Hag Marina in Steinhatchee.

As is usually the case during the early days of the recreational bay scallop season, snorkelers find that they often have to move around to find concentrations of the tasty bivalves.  Several areas within easy reach from the mouth of the river are considered “trustworthy” and those were the sites of huge gatherings of boats flying dive flags.

To the north, the grass flats near the Big Grass Island bird rack were busy.  This area is about 9 miles northwest of the Steinhatchee #1 marker.  Here, reports for the past weekend  were of better catches in the deeper cuts, with the scallops on the small size, with smaller muscles.  Water clarity was good, depending on the tidal flow.  The weekend’s pre-new moon tides were strong, and did affect water clarity.  The upcoming weekend’s neap tides will be slower, making sighting your prey easier.

To the south of Steinhatchee, there were three areas that attracted scallopers this past weekend.  Most popular was the area of grassy flats north of the Pepperfish Keys.  The run to Pepperfish is about 9 miles from either Steinhatchee or Horseshoe Beach.  This past weekend, snorkelers reported “hundreds” of boats in this area.  Other options for Steinhatchee scallopers are the areas off Rocky Creek or Hardy Point, just south of the river mouth.  At the southern spots, scallops seemed to be larger and more mature, with a higher yield of meat. The waters to the south were more clear and than those to the north.

For a detailed story on scalloping, please see:  Bay Scallops–The Gulf of Mexico’s Tastiest Treat.

Scallopers don’t usually get very close to shore, so anglers targeting reds and seatrout have lots of shoreline all to themselves.  Capt. Rick Davidson and I fished the weekend, and found the fish hungry and eager to eat topwater lures.  Floating grass was an issue in some areas, but the best bite seemed to be in  shallow water (1 to 2- feet), right along the grass, at the bottom of the tide, after the grass had washed away from shore.

Capt. Rick Davidson with a nice mid-summer redfish.

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Week Three, Steinhatchee Scallop Report, July 15, 2012

by on Jul.16, 2012, under Steinhatchee

The main event here is still the recreational bay scallop harvest, with the best reports coming from the Pepperfish Keys area, south of the river.  Late reports from the Keaton Beach area are that the scallops are also plentiful near the bird rack off Big Grass Island, a favorite place for snorkelers leaving that port.  In either case, folks need to prepare for a long run from Steinhatchee and should also plan to take advantage of the moderate mid-day low tides this coming weekend.  It’s much easier to find scallops in 3 feet rather than 6 or 7!

The scallop "fleet" near Pepperfish Keys, 7/14/12

With vast numbers of boats on the water and concentrated on the “scallop grounds”, boat captains should pay special attention to matters of safety.  ALWAYS keep a lookout posted on your boat while running near anchored boats and snorkelers and ALWAYS keep a lookout posted while your crew is in the water.  You should never leave your boat unattended and your lookout can easily warn your divers of impending danger from less-careful boaters.  And remember the rules and keep well away from other boats–300 feet is a good number to remember!

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Week Three Scalloping Report from Crystal RIver, 7/16/12

by on Jul.15, 2012, under Ozello to Crystal River

From Michael Mancke,  Director of Marketing & Sales at The Plantation Inn & Captain Paul Cross, Manger of the Adventure Center:

Scalloping season is in full swing at the Plantation Inn on Crystal River.  All our charter captains as well as our guest are finding the limits of scallops close to Crystal River still in 4 to 6 feet of water.  The water is clear and the pickings are good.  Gomez Rocks is still the place to go.  Chef can hardly keep with the “cook your catch” he is offering in the West 82⁰ Bar & Grill, he and his team served over 70 dishes last weekend.

As for the rod & reel fishing, no complaints there either, the gag’s are cooperating well in shallow rocks, live pinfish are the bait of choice.  And the redfish are gathering on the grass flats along with the sea trout…  Live shrimp is always good for bait, but don’t underestimate a Gulp or DOA shrimp under a cork.  A few snook are being reported in the Shallows around Dixie bay, spoons and jigs are a great search bait and a live pinfish is hard of them the resist.

If you can’t get here yourself you can watch some the action, such as the boats coming and going from the Plantation by watching the new weather cam by going online to: http://www2.tbo.com/weather/tbo-webcams-plantation

We also had Virginia Johnson of Bay News 9 out last week to do her “On The Town” segment that aired last Friday: http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/on-the-town/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2012/7/12/scalloping_a_shellfi.html

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Steinhatchee Scalloping Report, July 14, 2011 from Capt. Tommy

by on Jul.14, 2011, under Steinhatchee

My trusty assistant Paige and I spent the day scalloping and have a few suggestions.  First…watch out for thunder and rain!  We had to dodge a few rainstorms in the morning and a big thunder-boomer shut us down at about 2PM.    Second, plan your trip so your diving in the deeper waters (where the majority of scallops seem to be) occurs on the lower tides.  And finally, take some sunscreen and plenty of good old water to drink!

The two best spots seem to be just south of the bird rack off Big Grass Island and the flats off Rocky Creek.  Just look for the fleet once you get in the general area and you’ll likely find scallops.  The flats to the north, near the bird rack, are deep.  We were there on probably the highest tide of the month, and it was some tough snorkeling.  However, there were lots of scallops there.  To the south, head due south from marker #9 and look for the ‘fleet’.  There, you’ll be in 3 to 5 feet of water and will have easier snorkeling.  However, I don’t think there are as many scallops in this area.

We also made a few other stops on our trip.  The flats off Rock Point, north of the river, yielded a few scallops, as did the flats off Pine Log Island to the south.

And my knees got sunburned, but that’s my own damned fault!

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