Location

FL
United States
28° 54' 55.6956" N, 82° 39' 56.7648" W
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Weather: Sunny Air Temperature: 71-80 F Water Temp: 61-70 F Clarity: Gin Clear

As we stroll into the second week of February (at least I think its February) all indications are that the above average temperatures of the New Year will continue to be the norm well into spring.  This warming trend will only accelerate the arrival of the increased fishing activity that marks every Nature Coast spring season.  In years past, consistent air and water temperatures in the mid to upper 70’s were a March event...however the forecast for the next few weeks shows mid 70’s for daytime highs on most days with mild evening temperatures to boot.  Whatever the case may be it's a safe bet that most Nature Coast Anglers will continue to reap the fishing rewards of all this unseasonably warm weather. 

 

Savvy Nature Coast anglers are finding an abundance of large Speckled Trout, Tripletail, Pompano and even Permit congregating along the flats off both Homosassa and Crystal River.  Large Speckled Trout in the upper 20-30” range have been frequent visitors on many of the shallow oysterbars and crystal clear sand flats that make our area so famous this time of year.  Live Select Shrimp continue to remain the baits of choice for most local anglers.  In years past the month of February typically has been one of the more difficult months of the year to find large select shrimp considering that when water temperatures drop most shrimp bury themselves in mud or sand to stay warm.  Since our area really hasn’t experienced many cold days this season, most shrimpers are still finding plenty of live shrimp to satisfy local anglers.  The abundance of shrimp this time of year is also what’s keeping anglers constantly hooked up with late season Tripletail, Pompano, and Permit. 

 

Historically the month of February is usually considered a transition month for Redfish.  Typically, large schools of Redfish begin to congregate as the warmer days of March approach.  Potholes on sun drenched flats as well as oyster bars are prime areas to target Redfish this month and most Nature Coast guides will target these fish with large live shrimp, Berkley Gulp! Shrimp and DOA Shrimp as winter redfish tend to be more "crustacean oriented” this time of year.  For those anglers looking for the best opportunity to put a bend in a fly rod now is a great time to target Tailing Redfish, as water temperatures remain high (for the time of year) and low tides remain extremely low.  Shrimp flies such as Borski Sliders, Craft fur Shrimp, and even tan and yellow Clousers are all Primo flies this month.   

 

For a little variety Nature Coast anglers are finding that the near shore rock piles and reefs are loaded with tasty Sheepshead.  Sheepshead have returned in abundance this season and all indications are that this healthy population is feeding tirelessly during periods of great weather.  Although impending cold fronts tend to chase Sheepshead further offshore towards more consistent water temperatures, our unseasonably warm weather may well have kept them closer to shore than normal this year. 

 

Sheepshead provide great sport for a variety of reasons.  First, they are usually very cautious and constant nibblers.  Most Nature Coast Fishing Guides know that a multitude of tactics will be needed to trick these wary fish.  Free-lining both live and dead shrimp and crabs to the bottom at varying depths are all part of this equation.  On "good" days, fish will be careless and respond to any and all baits that hit the water.  Other days these fish just seem to swim and sample your baits making for a frustrating day.  Aggressive chumming is a standard requirement for getting these fish in a biting mood.  The second reason that these fish are great sport is that they pull like crazy and seek structure.  Using medium action spinning rods, a 4lb Sheepshead will give most anglers all they want.

 

With all of this great weather and even better fishing now is a great time to hit the waters of the Nature Coast for a fantastic fishing day.  Please feel free to contact Florida Fishing Adventures at any time to reserve your next great Fishing Adventure. 

 

Capt. Kyle Messier

(352) 634-4002

kylemessier@yahoo.com

WWW.FLORIDAFISHINGADVENTURES.COM

WWW.CRYSTALRIVER-FLYFISHING.COM

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Weather: Sunny Air Temperature: 61-70 F Water Temp: 51-60 F Clarity: Gin Clear

Welcome to sunny and warm Florida!  Who am I kidding?  As I write this report on this balmy 50° winter day I can’t help but think of all the folks that spend their entire winters wishing for a 50° day.  Here along the Nature Coast we are very fortunate in the fact that we actually have seasonal weather changes throughout the year. Although our seasons change very quickly its our rapid warm ups that help most visitors forget about our change of seasons.  Just like most Floridians I am going to complain about this cold winter day, but soon enough (2 days) the warmer 70° weather days that most Floridians and visitor alike are accustom to will be back and life will be once again be Fantastic here in sunny and warm Florida.

 

The rapid changes in our weather patterns this month will be the catalyst that triggers some of the best inshore light tackle fishing found anywhere in Florida.  Anglers will find that temperature sensitive fish such as Speckled Trout, Snook, and Pompano will continue to feed heavily before any major weather changes occur.  Targeting deep potholes along shallow grass flats will be the perfect spots for many of these fish to congregate. Speckled Trout and Snook especially seek out these deeper potholes mainly because deeper water usually holds a more consistent water temperature when negative tides related to passing cold fronts linger.  Both baitfish as well as predator fish will seek out these deeper impressions in order to stay warm and hide from apex predators such as Osprey, Bald Eagles and in some shallow enough cases Raccoons.  Hungry fish that become trapped in these holes are often suckers for a well placed free lined live shrimp.  Often I will have my anglers cast past the hole and slowly retrieve their baits back into the hole so that weary fish are not spooked from the splash.  Once your bait finds the strike zone be patient and hold on!!

 

For those anglers that have been craving some extreme shallow water action now is the time to hit the skinniest of waters in hopes of finding those huge Schools of Tailing Redfish that our local waters are known for this time of year.  Shallow poling skiffs are the key to getting way back into our remote backcountry waters.  My chosen vessel for this situation is a Carbon Kevlar Maverick HPX poling skiff.  With a 4” draft this is the optimal vessel for poling to tailing Nature Coast Redfish.  When targeting Redfish in such extreme shallow waters there are only a handful of baits that could be deemed as successful baits.  Live shrimp will continue to be prime baits for those anglers that interested in landing a ton of fish on light spinning tackle but for those anglers that are interested in upping the challenge level throwing a fly will surely yield great results. 

 

The months of January and February in my opinion are the best two months of the year for targeting Redfish on fly.  The shallow and often calm waters around Ozello and Crystal River are ideal for spotting these camouflaged fish and once you have a bead on a fish’s direction one false cast will have you in the game.  The key when choosing fly patterns this time of year is to find a pattern that has materials that move in the water when the fly is not being stripped.  Craft fur, Deer hair and Marabou are commonly used materials that appear life like when wet.  The top flies for targeting Nature Coast Redfish such as Redfish Sliders, Craft Fur Shrimp, Clousers, Spoon flies and even top water Gurglers all contain these popular materials.  Just remember sometimes the best strip is NO strip at all.  In other words let the fly work for you.

 

CRYSTAL RIVER AND HOMOSASSA BEST BET:

 

Anglers that are looking for something tasty to put on the plate this month will be targeting large Sheepshead up to 10lbs around many of the bridge pilings, channel markers, oyster bars and rock piles that are scattered through out the Nature Coast. Successful anglers will find these structures loaded with pre spawn Sheepshead that will be feeding like crazy before heading offshore to spawn. Live shrimp, blue crabs, fiddler crabs, oysters and even barnacles are all select baits for targeting these constant nibblers.  When fishing for Sheepshead the key is to be patient as every nibble has the opportunity to become a 10lber.

 

Capt. Kyle Messier

(352) 634-4002

kylemessier@yahoo.com

WWW.FLORIDAFISHINGADVENTURES.COM

WWW.CRYSTALRIVER-FLYFISHING.COM

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Weather: Sunny Air Temperature: 71-80 F Water Temp: 61-70 F Clarity: Gin Clear

Where has the time gone?  Its hard to fathom but December is already upon us and the start of a new year is only weeks away. With incredibly beautiful weather and fantastic fishing going on at the moment here in Crystal River and Homosassa I hope that time slows down a little bit so we all can continue to enjoy the best of the Nature Coast. 

 

With the so-called start to our “winter season” scheduled to begin on December 21st, most Nature Coast anglers are continuing to hit the water early and often to take advantage of some of the best fishing action of the year.  Our backcountry waters continue to be the talk of the town with great catches of Redfish, Snook, and Speckled Trout occurring daily.  As cooler AM temperatures give way to 70’s & 80’s in the afternoons many anglers are finding all three of these targetable species staging in many of the deep holes and potholes scattered through out the Salt River system.  The trick when targeting all three of these species in one area is to look for mornings with extremely low tides and aim for those days.  The lower the tide the more fish will rely on the safety of the deeper water for food and protection.  Once afternoon air temperatures and tides begin to rise these fish will begin branching out to find their own territories to feed.  Free lined shrimp are the bait’s of choice this time of year in the backcountry but a hungry Redfish, Snook or Speckled Trout will find it hard to resist a perfectly placed Berkley Gulp! Shrimp, DOA Shrimp, Mirrolure Lil Jon, or Mirrodine. 

 

Anglers looking for a tasty alternative to the awesome inshore fishing have found that the Gag Grouper Action has really come alive during the last month of their open season.  Gag Grouper have always been considered one of the tastiest fish in Florida and here along the Nature Coast we are fortunate enough to have an extremely healthy population found in less than 15ft of water.  Many of the structures we target here locally include coral outcroppings, hidden ledges, rock piles, and wrecks.  The exciting part of targeting Grouper is that you never know what other large fish you may encounter.  Kingfish, Cobia, and Bonita are just a few of the other species that frequent the same structures as the Gag’s.  Casting and Trolling lipped plugs is by far the most effective method but there are plenty of times where a live Pinfish, Pigfish, or even small Lizardfish will entice bites.  

 

LOOKING AHEAD

Looking ahead to the rest of our winter season the Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Black Drum Action will continue to please many anglers.  Although Gag Grouper season will be coming to a close on January 1st the same structures in which we target these Grouper will become inundated with prespawn Sheepshead.  Florida’s Sheepshead unlike their namesakes to the north are one of the more sought after fish during the winter months.  The shrimp, crabs, and oysters that these fish feed on help to make this one of the tastiest fish in Florida.  If you are into a ton of bites and a good strong pull Sheepshead are a tough fish to beat.

 

GIVE THE GIFT OF A FLORIDA FISHING ADVENTURE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!!

 

Capt. Kyle Messier

(352) 634-4002

kylemessier@yahoo.com

WWW.FLORIDAFISHINGADVENTURES.COM

WWW.CRYSTALRIVER-FLYFISHING.COM

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