November 2015 - Living the life !

It's great to live in Florida !  This time of year we're blessed with perfect weather and the fishing and catching could not be better.  What more could an angler ask for ?

Inshore; trout, reds, snapper, mackerel, and even triple tail are all over.    The trout are in the kelp patches and yellow bottom.  The every trusty popping cork and jig is working well, and so is the 5" jerk bait in the white or glow colors.  The bourbon "Little John" under a popping cork has been my go to color, but water melon and red glitter or white have all been producing well this month.

With the water still warm, the red fishing has been hot.  Live shrimp has been the bait of choice, but fresh cut bait has also worked when the shrimp have been hard to get.  The reds are still hanging out in the rocky points, oyster bars and grassy pockets, but that will change as the water starts to cool off next month.
Nice Homosassa Red Fish

Keeper snapper have moved into the rivers and for the young anglers they are hard to beat for dependable fun action.  Live or fresh dead shrimp on a light 1/16 oz jig head is all that's needed to keep a kid smiling.

The triple tail have showed up this month in droves.  Almost all the crab floats and channel markers held a few fish at any given time.  The best bait is a shrimp under a cork.  Let the bait drift down to them, and they can't resist a live shrimp.

Offshore; the grouper bite has been off the hook.  Casting plugs over the shallow rock piles or trolling over your favorite structure has been producing some monster gags.  The two fish per person has been an easy catch.  All colors have been working well, but the old standards, green, black or blue-back on the white or silver side are hard to beat.
Homosassa Gag Grouper

And as always, I'm grateful to my guests and friends for another great month on the waters of Crystal River and  Homosassa.  See you in December !

October 2015 Great Fishing !

It's almost not possible, but fishing this month has been better than last.  The trout action has been great !  The beautiful weather and good tides offered up some awesome catching.  We got limits of trout on just about every trip with fish ranging from 16" to 23" in length.  The bite has been all over, from Chaz to Yankeetown.  A 1/8 oz jig under a popping cork, or a live pin fish or shrimp have all proven very productive.  We worked the yellow bottom on the thick kelp beds on either the incoming or outgoing tides.  It didn't seem to matter as long as the water is moving and a breeze blowing, the trout were there.

The red fish bite is still active and shows no sign of slowing down.  Just like last month, all the normal spots are producing plenty of action.  Live shrimp or fresh cut bait, either under a cork or free-lined is all that was needed to put a bend in the rod and a scream in the drag.

Offshore the grouper action is king !  Giant fish landed in 8' of water were common with boats getting their two fish per person limit in no time.  Casting plugs on the shallow rocks makes for some arm-aching action.  Trolling the structures in 10-25' of water is also producing.  Many times, a double hook-up on just about every pass.    Don't forget to drop a shrimp or a jig head on these rocks for big grunts and hog fish too.  And speaking of great action, we can't forget the Spanish mackerel.  They are all over the inshore and offshore rocks and provide fun catching and good eating.

So get out on the water and do some catching !   The weather is great and the fishing is good.

Until next time, many thanks to my fishing guests and partners.   Capt Mark


September 2015 - Beginning of great fall fishing !

With scallop season coming to an end this month the pressure is down, and cooler water temps have made conditions perfect for fishing and catching !!

Red Fishing is just about as good as it can get, with big schools of fish up to the 30" size range. The action has been on fire, as the reds are hitting just the plain jig head with no bait on it !   However, with that said, live shrimp on fresh cut pin fish or a mullet have been working the best. The schools have been moving, so where you catch fish one day isn't necessarily where they will be found the next day.  Fish all the usual spots from Crystal River to Chassahowitzka . Look for the schools of mullet, and you'll usually find the reds mixed in with them.

The Speckled Trout bite is in full swing, with fish showing up all over.  The big ones like to hang out in the kelp beds and yellow bottom in 2-4 feet of water.  White jerk baits worked slow have produced some big fish.  The cork rigs in 3-6 feet of water with a Mirro Lure "Little John" in the bourbon color have been doing very well.   Limits of trout have been the norm, and this is a nice change for what was otherwise a slow summer as far as trout action.

Spanish Mackerel are all over both inshore and offshore.  They are hitting just about everything; jigs, shrimp, and cut bait- it doesn't seem to matter !

The Grouper bite has been off the hook, with fish in the 20 lb range being landed.  Trolling the rock piles and ledges in 10-20 feet of water has been very productive.  Casting plugs or dead baiting on the shallow rocks have also produced some awesome and rod bending battles.  Big grunts and snapper are are also sharing the same areas, so when you need a break from the big ones, switch over to your light tackle and drop a shrimp on a 1/8 oz jig head and hold on !

Once again, many thanks to all my guests for another great month of Citrus County Fishing out of Crystal River and Homosassa.


July and August 2015: Scalloping, Redfishing and More !

With scallop season in full swing, the boat traffic on the water is at it's peak.  The boat ramps are crowded and the grass flats off of Crystal River and Homosassa look like a floating city.  Slow down and keep an eye out for people in the water, and remember "patience".

With all this activity the Red Fish bite is remarkably "Red Hot".  Limits on just about every trip with many fish over the maximum 27" limit, and many over the 30" range.

Along with the redfish, snapper and black drum are also being boated.  Live shrimp and live or cut pin fish is usually a good bait of choice.  The drum are in the 2-5 Lb range, and are perfect eating size.  The fillets look and taste very similar to their cousins, the "red drum", and they fight just about as hard too.

The Speckled Trout has still been a bit slow, but I've been finding some nice ones in grass beds ranging 6-10 foot deep.  Berkley "Gulp" in the New Penny color and the Miro-lure "Little John" in Watermelon Red Glitter are both very productive baits.

Same as last month, around the same areas as the trout, but on the scattered rock piles, grunts, snapper, flounder, Spanish Mackerel, and grouper are usually waiting to attack a live shrimp on a 1/8 oz jig head.  The Spanish  Mackerel are thick on these areas, and can be taken on just about anything; shrimp, cut bait, jigs, spoons.  For some great action, break out your fly rod and give it a try.  Be sure to bring plenty of flies, because you will loose a few hooking up with the "toothy" macs.

Scalloping has been great this year, even considering all the pressure from so many people eager to get out their and gather their limit.  The scallops are also larger and more plentiful this year.  It's still best to go on an outgoing tide and work the flats in the 4-7 foot water range.  When that tide slows down on the low tide the scallops come up out of the mud and lay in the grass for easy picking.

July and August will go down in the books as two fantastic months of fishing and making great memories on the waters of Crystal River and Homosassa.      Thanks,    Capt Mark

June 2015: Warm Weather Fishing

Warm weather makes for warm water and the Speckled Trout react positively to the temperature change.  The trout bite was good in the deeper grass beds.  Many of my trips produced limits of Speckled Trout in the 17" to 20" range.  Mirror Lure "Little john" or a red 1/8 oz jig head was my bait of choice.  Bourbon or Watermelon red flake seemed to be the best colors.  The smaller patches of grass seemed to hold more fish, so I targeted those areas first.

The shallow water rocks offered plenty of action; snapper, grunts, sea bass, gag grouper, and flounder joined in on the action.  Live shrimp on a jig head was the key.  Try a free-lined shrimp with no weight and the Spanish mackerel and Shark will put a bend in your rod and a scream in your drag every time !  There is great fun to be had.

Back inshore, the Red fish bite is still in full swing.  Rocky points and flats, mangrove edges and holes are all holding some nice fish.  Live shrimp and fresh cut bait on the bottom or under a float will produce the strikes.  Remember, in the warm water the Reds will stress after you catch them, so be sure to take the time to revive them before releasing them back into the Gulf.

The Tarpon are everywhere on the flats and edges of the channels.  A Tarpon will go for just about anything; crabs, pin fish, cut bait, flies, and plugs.  I always keep a DOA bait buster on a heavy spinning outfit ready to go when I see them pass by.

Scallop season opens at the end of this month, so be prepared for madness both at the boat ramps and on the water.  Be patient, and keep an extra eye out for increased boat traffic and people in the water.

Many thanks as always to my great guests.  Looking forward to next month and more great fishing in Crystal River and Homosassa.       Capt Mark


May 2015: Redfishing

May started off with great RED FISHING !  The bite was strong with all the inside spots holding many fish.  Rocky points, oyster bars, mangroves, and the shore line all provided safe haven for the spot tail drum.

All size fish were plentiful, from 12" cobbs to 30" big dogs.  The big schools haven't moved in yet, but there are plenty of fish to keep the rods bent.  Live shrimp and fresh cut bait worked the best, but artificials are also producing.  Top water plugs, gold spoons, jerk baits and jigs will all produce when fished around the same areas.

The trout bite inshore has been very slow, finding many short trout and not many keepers.  I try to stay away from the undersized ones because they are so easy to hurt even when avoiding touching them upon release.  The place to be for the larger trout is out in the deeper grass in 8' to 12' of water.  Work your favorite color lure slow near the bottom for the best results.  You will also catch sea bass, Spanish mackerel, blue fish, lady fish, blue runners and shark.  There is plenty of action to satisfy the young anglers, and also the young at heart.

Also, out in the deeper water, the shallow rock piles are still producing snapper, grunts, flounder, sea bass and more.  Live shrimp is all that's needed to keep the action going.

Back inside, the tarpon have shown up and will be here thru July.  Watch for rolling fish and position yourself in front of them in order to present your fly, plug or live bait.

The illusive Cobia bite has also picked up with many fish in the 30 Lb+ range. Chumming for these guys is always a good way to better your odds of success. Present a dead bait free lined or under a cork in your chum slick and hold on !  Heavier tackle is a must for these hard fighting fish.  Be ready for shark, Spanish mackerel and others to join the party as you wait on your cobia.

As always, thanks to all my fishing guests and friends for another wonderful month of fishing memories.


April 2015 - Catching !

There was no fooling around this month, just catching !  With fantastic weather, good tides and great anglers, April 2015 will go down in the books as one to remember.

Inshore the Red fish action was on fire.  On the incoming tide all the spots had fish on them.  The trick was locating the area that held the larger fish.  Sometimes the small details make all the difference, so keep that in mind as you move from spot to spot.  Fresh live shrimp and pin fish free lined was all we used to entice the Reds to feed.  Fresh cut bait works well when you don't have any live shrimp.  Lady fish, pin fish, and even the misunderstood "lizard fish" all work well.
Homosassa Red Fish

The trout action is still slow inshore, but it was happening out in the deep grass areas in 8-12 feet of water.  Mirror Lure "Little John" is still my go-to bait in any of the darker colors' bourbon, root beer or watermelon are all good choices.  Use a 1/16 oz - 1/4 oz jig head, depending on the depth and tide conditions, and work it real slow for the best results.
Good days catch - Trout and Reds (Crystal River )

The action on the shallow rocks was still in full swing.  Snapper, grunts, sea bass, flounder and Spanish mackerel were all waiting to provide rod bending action.  Live shrimp free lined on a 1/8 oz jib worked the best here.
Spanish Mackerel

You can fill your cooler pretty fast, so remember to keep just what you need for the table, and release the rest.  As always, thank you to all my guests for another awesome month on the waters of Crystal River and Homosassa.


March 2015: Good times, good friends, and good fishing !

The month started out with a few very foggy mornings.  This made navigating a bit difficult, however we still managed to find the fish.  Offshore the Sheepshead bite was still solid, but we had to hit the rocks and ledges in deeper water to find them.  15 to 20 feet of water was the range, and when the tide got right it was non stop action.  Shrimp on a 1/2 oz knocker rig worked the best at this depth.

Inshore, the Spanish Mackerel showed up and made their presence known by the sound of screaming drags. Anyone who knows me, knows I like to chum up the fish whenever possible, and it really gets them going.   Fish up to 28" were common.      Fresh shrimp free lined in the current worked the best, but remember to keep the bait moving to entice these fast moving eating machines.    Pompano, Cobia, and Blue Fish also joined in on the party in the chum slick.

Trout fishing this month has been outstanding.  Using 1/16 oz jigs in 7-10 feet of water drifting over the spotted bottom produced limits on almost every trip, with many over the 20" max of 1-fish per person.  The Bourbon color "Little John" shrimp seemed to be the best color for me, but any shrimp color should do the job.  Almost every fish caught coughed up shrimp that they had been previously feeding on.      The "glow" jerk bait in 1-4 feet of water was still my go-to bait for the big trout.  The incoming tide seemed to be the best for both of these techniques.  When fishing the jerk bait, work it as slow as possible without getting hung up in the grass.  And, don't hesitate to set the hook on any tap you feel because the strike is soft in most cases.

All sizes of Redfish are biting.  Fish up to 28" have been landed, but many were in the slot at 18-24".  Live shrimp on the bottom or under a cork both produced fish.  Many undersized Reds were also landed and released in March.  It's important to handle them carefully and release them quickly to give them best chance to fight again.  The usual spots; points, rock bottom, and oyster bars are all holding fish.  The incoming tide up to the change has been the best time for catching.

As always, much appreciation to all my fishing friends this month.   Capt Mark


February 2015: Cold Fronts, Rain, Wind, Low Tides and "Catching"

Not unlike past years, this February was an interesting month for fishing.  And although there were some nice days scattered throughout the month, my guests and I "fished on" thru cold fronts, rain, wind and very low tides.  And fortunately these conditions didn't seem to bother my guests or the fish much at all.

When the wind did lay down, the sheepshead bite was great !  Rock piles in 8-20' of water have been covered up with fish.  Depending on the tide, either a 1/8 oz jig head or a 1/2 oz knocker rig was all we needed to bring the "striped bandits" into the boat.  Live shrimp was the best bet, but fresh dead shrimp worked as well.  Many sheepshead were good sized ranging from 3-6 1/2 lbs and provided great action as they raced to get back into the rocks.  Other inhabitants of the rock piles also joined in including Grouper, sea bass and grunts.

 Take a look at our "2015 Photo Gallery"
for many great pics of this month's catch

Back inshore, where I love to fish and consider my specialty, the trout action was hot, even when the temps were low.  The only problem if you can call it that, was that many of the fish were too large to keep.  Trout in the 20" range were the norm, with many right at the 20" maximum keeper size.

Working jerk baits in shallow water is my favorite way to trout fish, and this technique produced the most action.  5" glow DOA jerk shad hooked thru the nose was most productive.  There's just something about the "thump" you feel when a gator trout initially hits the bait !  Braided line is a must to detect the strike, where mono would not allow the feel of the subtle tick in the line when the fish sucks at the bait.

With temperatures in the 20's on more than one morning this month, you have to posses a love of fishing!   Thankfully I do and so did my guests.   Many thanks as always to my angling allies for fishing with me this month as the cold winds blew, but the trout fishing was hot.  Capt Mark


January 2015

With cold front after cold front, picking your days to hit the shallow rocks for sheepshead was a hit or miss opportunity.  On the days we could get out, the big "sheepies" were there.   Live shrimp on a jig head or knocker rig, (weight size depending on the tide) was the ticket to these striped bait stealer's. 

On the inside the snapper were in the river and bays, and the reds are right there with them.

On warmer days try the outside islands and points.  Live shrimp as always is my go-to bait, but soft plastics and top water will work in the shallow water.

The trout bite has been scattered this month, but we did find some nice ones. 

On the sunny days they are on the hard bottom and on the cloudy and cold days we found them in the holes and river channels.  Free-lined live shrimp or jigs worked slow in these areas provided the best results.  The strike will be light, so pay attention and be ready to set the hook.

I want to wish everyone a "Happy New Year", and  I'm looking forward to another great year of "catch'n" in 2015.      Capt Mark

Snapper- Homosassa
Red fish

Crystal River Trout and Sheepshead

Nov - Dec 2014: End of another year of great fishing

With 2014 coming to a close, and another memorable year of Crystal River and Homosassa Fishing in the books, I look forward to what lies ahead in the new year.  This year the fishing was great, and I enjoyed days on the water with many old and new fishing friends.  I'd like to extend my appreciation to all.

Fishing in Nov and Dec was fantastic!  On the outside; sheepshead, flounder, black drum and grouper kept the drags screaming.  The shallow rocks in 8-14 feet of water held plenty of rod bending action.  Live shrimp, as always was the most productive bait.  Either a knocker rig or a jig head  with the shrimp was all we needed to entice the fish hiding in and around the rock piles.

Inside, the speckled trout action picked up with fish on the flats on the warm days and in the holes on the colder days.

On the flats the popping cork rig with a 1/16 oz jig and 5" white Zoom bait worked slowly seemed to work the best.  The Glow jerk bait worked well on the yellow bottom and in the holes around the creek mouths.  Again, a slow presentation was the key.

Red fish also moved with the changing water temps.  They stayed outside on the warm days were found  up in the creeks and back country on the cold mornings.

Up in the river the snapper bite was on fire.  Keeper size fish were plentiful, however you had to get past the small ones to get hold of the big ones.  Fresh shrimp was again the key to catching.  Stay away from the frozen shrimp, as they get soft and are easily stolen off the hook.  You may find yourself doing a little "wish fishin".

Speckled Trout

Bill shows off a big bull red fish before releasing it back into the gulf.


October 2014

October was a great month for catching, and catching is what we did!  Offshore on the shallow rocks the action was awesome.  Big grunts, flounder, sea bass, grouper, and even hog fish.  Live shrimp on a jig head or a knocker rig was all that was necessary to get them in the boat, but when the big grouper moved in, we had to step it up.

Gag Grouper
The Spanish mackerel bite has been spotty.  One day they are everywhere and the next day they're no where to be found.  There's been plenty of bait offshore, so I'm not sure why the Macs don't stay around.  Jigs, free-lined shrimp, and cut bait all worked well when they were around and feeding.
Inshore the redfish bite has still been great.  Rocky points, keys, creek mouths, and rock flats have all been holding fish.  Live shrimp or fresh cut pinfish kept the drags singing all month.  All size fish have been caught, which is a good sign for the future population.  Mixed with the slot size fish were plenty of oversized ones as well, as well as the puppy drum ( 17" and smaller)
Bull Red Fish- released
The only negative this month has been the trout fishing.  This time of year the trout action should be on fire, but it's been fairly slow.  We'd find one or two at a spot, then we would have to keep moving to pick up one here and there.  No real concentration of fish besides the small ones 12" and under, that I try to avoid because of their poor survival rate after being hooked.  Lets hope November will bring in a new wave of fish from offshore.
Thanks as always to all my guests and "Tight Lines" until next time.  Check out my photo gallery for more great memories.

AUGUST 2018 - Summer of Redfish !

August has been hot and so has the Redfishing !  The red fish bite has been the best on the incoming tide around the islands and rocky point...