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Winter along the Nature Coast (Homosassa, Chassahowitzka, Crystal River) is a great time of year to fish, maybe my favorite for our shallow water species like Reds, Snooks, Trout, Black Drum and Sheepshead. During the winter months the water clarity is at its best, the tides are at their lowest and the sight fishing doesn’t get better. This is the best time of year to target big Trout and Reds in shallow. During the winter the tides get extremely low so tailing Reds, Sheephead and Black Drum is a common occurrence. For fly fishing we will be presenting a small sub-surface crab, shrimp or my favorite a topwater gurgler, as these fish get keyed in on crustaceans this time of year. Some of the best days to fish are the cold ones, so bring an extra jacket to stay warm on the run out.
Spring is a magical time. All of our local fish are still around but the warmth ushers in countless numbers of species. This includes, Tarpon, Cobia, Jacks, Sharks, Blue Fish, Sting Rays, Mackerel, Turtles and many others including lots of bait fish. You never know what you might see on any given day. With all of the additional fish swimming around it creates more competition between game fish. This is good news for us anglers. The warmth means the Snook that have been holed up in the rivers make there way to the flats and seem to be additionally hungry. The big Trout are still inshore and this is the best time of year to sight fish for them. In the same water depth(less than 20″) you can target Reds, Trout and Snook. This can happen anytime of year but it is most common in Fall. I don’t now why but to see these 3 species, on the same flat, all hanging out together, well it makes me smile just thing about.
Summer time means lots of things. The Tarpon fishing slows down sometime in July or August. You can have good days this time of year or can be dead slow(please ask me what numbers I’m seeing if you want to try for Tarpon). Gag Grouper season opens which means i will be venturing just offshore to play tug of war with those powerful fish. Scallop season opens up. The Trout move further offshore. Some of the Reds and Snook head to their breeding grounds. There is a ton of bait around. The deeper flats are littered with turtles. This is the time of year we have the most species around. You really never know what you might see. It could be a school of tailing Jacks ripping through the shallows, a Hammerhead shark slashing his hammer on the surface, Pompano jumping from the boat as we run from spot to spot, a big School of Permit sifting floating grass on the surface, or a school of breeder Reds ripping across a point eating anything in there path. What is certain is there is a ton of life, lots to see and something to be caught. This is the time of year i will have rods to tackle something big like Tarpon or Cobia and smaller rods for Trout and Reds. You have to be prepared for anything.
Fall fishing is a mixture of summer and winter fishing coming together. In fall we start to see lower tides, the water gets even more clear and sight fishing starts to improve. The Reds are always around but they start to tail more as they shift there diet from fish to crustaceans. The big Trout start to move into the back country where they will meander around from slough to slough inching there way closing to the muddy bays and estuaries, opposed to them being offshore. The Snook start to move into the warmer rivers or their favorite back country spring to ride out the imminent cold. The drop in water temperature also brings more Sheepshead into the shallows which are always fun to cast at and the Black Drum fishing gets better as well. As a sight fisherman you gotta love blue bird days and negative tides and you get the first taste of it this time of year.