2018 "Going Strong / Great Fishing" !


Wow- I've gotten behind on this blog since the end of 2017, but for a good reason.  I've been busy fishing !  2017 was a great year of fishing and meeting new guests and friends.  And, I consider every day on the water a blessing.  2018 started out right, and I look forward to more great Crystal River and Homosassa fishing !

Fishing right now is on fire !  From trout to tarpon, and everything in between, the action has been non-stop.

Inshore, the shallow rock flats and cuts have been holding some big trout.  Nose hooked jerk baits in the glow color is the bait of choice.  This bait is easy to work by any angler no matter their skill level, and has been the top producer of the 20"+ gator trout we've been catching.

Along with the trout,  the red fish, snook, and cobia have been making their presence known, and the reds and snook have been sharing the same space.  Both have been ready to eat both live shrimp and pin fish free-lined or under a cork, as well as your favorite top water or jerk bait.  The islands and points are the areas you should target, preferably on the incoming and the first of the outgoing tides.

While you're working the rock bars for trout, keep an eye out for the roaming cobia.  Especially around the big stingrays and the larger sea turtles that  are all over the flats right now.  These fish are not picky, and are not shy when it comes to attacking your bait.

As far as big fish in shallow waters, this month and next month (May and June)  are prime times for hooking up with a tarpon on the flats.  They have shown up in large numbers from Pine Island to Crystal River, but so have the tarpon fishermen.  From fly fishing to plugs, and line bait presentation, they have all been working.  Also, remember there is a general rule when it comes to tarpon fishing, which is show your fellow angler respect and be courteous to each other.

Offshore, the action is just as good if not better.  Trout are still on the deep grass and shallow rock piles, and are ready to feed on your favorite jig.  I prefer a 1/8 oz to 1/4 oz red "Jim's Jig" head with the Miro Lure "Little John".  A slow presentation is better for the trout.  But when it comes to the Spanish mackerel that are out and about now, and feeding on just about anything,  I use a faster retrieve.  Shrimp, cut bait, artificial- it doesn't seem to matter, just keep it moving.

Grouper season opens soon, and the offshore rocks are loaded right now.  This should be a great season!  While fishing these areas with jigs and shrimp, we've released fish up to 10 Lbs, and lost many larger ones that we weren't able to turn.

So, let's enjoy the great summertime fishing, and be safe on the water.  Hope to see you.

Thanks,  Capt Mark



October brought cooler water temps that made the speckled trout happy and ready to feed !  All along the Nature Coast, the trout action has been great.  Jerk baits, jigs, and jigs under a popping cork were all producing some nice catches.  Many of the fish were over the max size of 20" and one per person, so make sure you handle them carefully to insure survival after release.

Fish were plentiful on the hard bottom in 2-6 feet of water.  You can spot the hard bottom by the yellow patches with rock grass, or kelp coming up near the surface.  You will also see the round sponges in various sizes scattered on the yellow patches.

Staying inshore, the red fish were still around, and fishing has been good, however the large schools we were enjoying in August and September have dispersed, but there are still plenty of nice fish around.  Gold spoons have been working well, and are excellent at covering a lot of area enabling you to locate fish.  Shrimp and cut bait are still a go-to bait.

Offshore, the grouper action in 6-20 feet of water is just about as good as it gets!  Casting plugs to the shallow rocks, trolling, and dead and live bait are all producing some big fish.  With the stained water offshore from all the runoff spotting the rock piles has not been easy.  Use your GPS and throw out a matching jig.  Then back off and work the area thoroughly.  Remember, some of the large grouper roam around the structure, then head for their home after you hook them.  Tight drag and a heavy braid and leader is a must to turn these hard fighting fish.

Back inside, the snook began to show up all over.  Plenty of small snook ware being caught as you work your favorite red fish spot.  In these same areas, the big ones are lurking, and when they hit you know it's not a red as they peel off the line on that first run !

Oct - Dec have offered great fishing out of Crystal River and Homosassa.  A large variety of fish were caught including red fish, speckled trout, grouper, Spanish mackerel, black drum, sheepshead, pompano, mangrove snapper and more !

I hope everyone enjoyed a plentiful Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas in 2017.  I know I'm thankful for my fishing friends and guests this past year, and I look forward to more great fishing in 2018.



The color of August was RED - Red fish that is !!  That was the main target for August into September.  The big schools showed up, and they were hungry!  Live shrimp, pinfish, and fresh cut mullet all did the trick, it didn't seem to matter when they were feeding.  From Yankeetown to Bayport, all the keys and islands were holding fish with many in the oversized range.  In fact, in some schools it was hard to find a keeper.

With the speckled trout action being slow these past few months, the bite turned back on in August.  Your favorite color jig under a popping cork supplied the best action.  Working the hard bottom in 2-4' of water with a slow presentation kept a bend in our rods.  Hard bottom consists of yellow patches with sponges and kelp grass.  The big trout love it !  Watermelon red glitter "Little John" has been my favorite go-to color.

Around the same area as the trout, the red fish like the snook have made that their home.  These fish can be extremely picky, but when the tide is right they are a blast to catch.  Similar baits as for trout work just as well, but also try gold spoons and jigs with no cork.

Offshore, the rocks are still producing some nice grouper action, along with grunts and mangrove snapper.  The best grouper bite has been in the 20' range, but many keepers have been caught in the 8-12' shallow rock piles.  Casting plugs or pinfish on the bottom was all that was needed along with a strong arm to pull them away from the rocks !  Also, the Spanish Mackerel are making their presence known as evidenced by a missing hook as well as bait when you retrieve your line.

Scallop season ended on Sept 24th.  Even with the water being a little dirty from Hurricane Irma, we still managed to get out on the water and do some gathering. 

Again, thanks to all my friends and guests for many awesome days on the water these past couple months.  Now I'm looking forward to some great fall fishing.   Capt Mark



The water temperatures have been on the rise these past couple months, bringing changes to the fishing action.  Red fish can handle the warmer water much better than the speckled trout.

Inshore, the trout bite has slowed considerably, with most of the action occurring early in the morning or late afternoon.  After we've had a couple of cloudy days, it can help cool the surface temp on the shallow flats, and the trout bite seems to pick up a bit.

Off shore, the trout action has also slowed in the 8-15' of water range.  I did receive some reports of good trout fishing in the deeper 20'+ range.

The two sure bets in June and July have been red fish and mangrove snapper.  The red fish bite has been very strong, with many fish in the upper slot size and over.  Live pinfish has been the go-to bait,  however live shrimp are always a good producer too.

The reds have been around the islands and creek mouths all along the coast from Yankeetown to Bayport.  The big schools should start to show up towards the end of August, so you can look forward to even more great action !

Back off shore on the shallow rocks, the mangrove snapper bite has been on fire !  Small pieces of fresh shrimp on a 1/8 oz jig head is all that's needed to get your limit of these great eating fish.  Big grunts, sea bass, flounder, and Spanish Mackerel also supplied plenty of action for all anglers.

Scallop season opened on July 1st, and crowds at the boat ramp, on the river, and on the flats have increased greatly- so try to be patient at the ramp, and keep an eye out for swimmers while you're out enjoying a day on the water.

Limits of scallops are being gathered from Crystal River to Chassahowitzka.  The best depth has been in 6-10' of water at high tide, so be prepared to dive a little deeper.  You will find plenty of scallops in the shallower water, but it will just take you longer to find your limit.

Thanks as always to all my guests and friends.  Stay safe on the water, and be sure to say hello if you see me out there.    Capt Mark



This May, the temperatures were unusually hot, and so was the fishing !  The action has been great, both inshore and off-shore !

Inshore, the red fish have been everywhere.  Back in the creeks and bays, as well as on the outer islands and keys.   Live shrimp is always a go-to bait, but this month the big reds wanted a larger meal. Free lined live pin fish was the ticket to success !  I always like cutting off the tip of the tail giving the pin fish a more erratic action, and also more scent to attract the reds.  Use a circle hook, and when you feel the line moving off, all you have to do is just start reeling !

Along with the reds, more and more snook are showing up in the same area.  They too like a live shrimp or pin fish free-lined back to them.  Your favorite artificial should also produce.  The first of the outgoing tide seems to be the provide the best bite.

Staying inshore, the tarpon are making their migration from the South to the North, with the big push coming in June.  From Pine Island to Crystal River, these "silver kings" are showing themselves as they daisy chain along the flats.  Homosassa is famous for the big tarpon on the fly, but a live blue crab or pin fish will get the job done too.  The DOA "Bait Buster" is also a good artificial to put in front of the rolling schools of tarpon.

Offshore on the deep grass flats in 8-12 feet of water, the trout bite has been steady.  A 1/8 or 1/4 oz jig in bourbon or watermelon colors worked well.  Sea bass, Spanish mackerel, grouper, and shark were also ready and waiting to put a bend in the rod.

Grouper season opens on June 1st, so plan on hitting your favorite number.  There have been keeper size grouper on the shallow rocks, but the best bite will be in the 20-40' range.

Again, Thanks for another fun and productive month of fishing Crystal River and Homosassa.  Hope to see you in June !    Capt Mark



March winds did not stop the fish from biting !  The trout bite has been going strong around both Homosassa and Crystal River.  Glow 5" jerk baits have been the go-to lure for most of the action. In depths from 1-5 feet of water, this presentation has been producing some nice limits of trout.

Staying with the trout bite, the off-shore deep grass spots are also producing great.  Depending on the depth, 1/8 oz to 1/4 oz jigs in red or chartreuse colors,with your favorite Miro Lure "Little John"  has been the ticket to success.

Along with the trout, offshore Spanish mackerel are showing up in good numbers.  They have no problem stealing your jig without you even knowing it, until you reel in an empty line.  But, fun to catch and good eating.

Can't forget the Reds.  Catching has been excellent out of both Crystal River and Homosassa.  The pics tell the "tale" !

The triple tail have been showing up in nice numbers, and good sized too.   They like to hang out around off-shore structures, so keep your eye out for these floating prehistoric fish around any structure you may come by.

The sheepshead action is pretty much over until next year, but there are still a few resident fish around the rock piles hanging out with the grouper.  The grouper seem to be everywhere, and looks promising for a great grouper season opening on June 1st.  There have also been plenty of grunts on the shallow rocks that can offer non-stop action and great eating.

In April, the cobia started to show up off-shore, so while you're hitting your favorite rock or ledge, look for these dark shadows to show up on the surface.  Just about any offering will not be refused by these hard fighting bruisers.

We are very blessed here in Citrus County with a great fishery, and every year more and more people are enjoying this great bounty.  And with this comes more and more boats on the water.  Remember to show the angler the same respect and courtesy you would like to receive.

Thanks as always to all of my friends and guests for the great days of fishing.  


JAN - FEB 2017: Great start to winter fishing !

What a great way to start the new year !  With mild temperatures and light winds, the fishing could not have been better for this time of year.

Inshore, the speckled trout fishing remains outstanding, with fish being caught on all types of artificials.  Nose hooked jerk baits, 1/16 oz jig head under a popping cork, or an 1/8 oz jig head by itself in your favorite color have all been producing limits of fish.  With many in the  over 20" range.
Working the shallow flats in 1-4 feet of water with  jerk baits and cork rigs performed the best for me.  I switched to the 1/8 oz jig in the deeper holes and ledges with Miro Lure "Little John" scent bait to keep the action going strong.
In addition to the speckled trout, pompano, bluefish, flounder and Spanish Mackerel have been providing plenty of rod bending action.  The deeper holes in the creek mouth and back country have been holding some nice pompano.  A small shrimp on a light jig head worked well.  Don't let these little fish fool you, the legal size for pompano is 12", and they give a good fight on light tackle.  They are also tasty table fare.   The maximum keeper size is 18" in length.

The Spanish mackerel have been both inside on the flats, and offshore on the scattered structures.  Live shrimp or cut bait is always the best.  Be sure to chum them up, and keep the bait moving to produce plenty of hard hitting strikes.  Just recently on an inshore trip, we got the macks going in the river using this same tactic.
Offshore, the sheepshead action has been at it's best.  All the offshore structure, holes, ledges, and rock piles are all holding large numbers of these striped bandits.  Fish in the 5-10 pound range have been common.    Remember these large females are our future population, so keep a few and release the rest.  A Small shrimp on a knocker rig or a jig head was the trick to catch these light-striking fish.  The strike is very subtle, so be patient and feel for that slight movement of your bait before you set the hook. Big grunts, mangrove snapper, and grouper have also been sharing the same area, so there was plenty of action to keep the catching going.
Back inside around the keys, the redfish have been going strong.  Live shrimp and fresh cut pin fish on a 1/16 oz jig head was the perfect combination to catch these fish.  The larges schools haven't shown up yet, but there were plenty of fish scattered on the points and rocky flats.
As always, I want to "Thank" all my guests for a great start to the new year, and I look forward to more great Homosassa and Crystal River fishing in 2017.     Capt Mark

2018 "Going Strong / Great Fishing" !

05/14/18 Wow- I've gotten behind on this blog since the end of 2017, but for a good reason.  I've been busy fishing !  2017 was a ...