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: 71-80 F Clarity: Gin Clear

Happy April Everyone!  Here along the Nature Coast the Easter Bunny has delivered us a plethora of beautiful Spring weather to go along with our consistently productive fishing days.  As of late our local water and air temperatures have been hovering around the perfect 70-72 degree mark signaling that our Spring Fishing Season is well on its way to hitting its prime.  And if the Redfish, Speckled Trout, Snook and Tripletail fishing action is any indication of where our season is heading, I will be looking forward to the arrival of the rest of our Pelagic Species.

 

Pelagic Species such as Cobia, Spanish Mackerel and a variety of sharks including Hammerheads, Tigers, BlackTips, Bulls and my personal favorite Spinner sharks will soon be arriving on our nearshore waters as our warming air temperatures propel our local water temperatures.  Over the next couple weeks an apparent warming trend will lead to this change in water temperature.  Subsequently anglers hitting the water over the coming weeks will start seeing more and more baitfish and bird activity along the waters surface.  This surface action is a sure sign that Spanish Mackerel are in the area and it will be these large schools of feeding Mackerel that will help to draw more and more Cobia and Sharks into the area.  Targeting these situations is as easy as having a rod and reel prepared with either a light wire leader or 80lb+ mono tied onto a 5/0 thick wire live bait hook.  Some artificials such as large jerkbaits and eels work well in these situations as well.

 

When we are not targeting the varieties of pelagics in Crystal River and Homosassa you will find most guides targeting the Big Three of the Backcountry.  Redfish, Speckled Trout, and large Snook have all been the highlighted species over recent weeks.  Targeting sandy potholes and oyster bars along our grass flats have led to some truly impressive catches.  Most anglers are using a variety of topwater lures and twitch baits but the most consistent and exciting action has come when using soft plastic Jerkbaits.  DOA, BassAssassin, and Berkley Gulp! Jerkbaits in Glow and Golden Brim are the preferred colors for our local waters.  Rigging these baits traditionally using a 3/0 wide gap worm hook will more than suffice but as of late my anglers have found that nose hooking these baits with a 2/0 live bait hook has led to a better hook up ratio.  The nose hook rig works great because the hook is actually placed at the intercept point for most hooked jawed fish (meaning most fish target the head of their prey).  The key when working these soft plastics this time of year is to work these baits as erratic as possible with intermittent pauses in between retrieves.  Often a hungry fish will stalk a jerkbait before the pause triggers the attack.  When pausing wait for the EXPLOSIONS!

 

Speaking of Explosions!  If you have never seen a Snook nail a Topwater lure or blow up on a Gurgler Fly you don’t know what you’re missing.  Over the last decade more and more anglers are finding Snook more and more accessible to target.  Although the Nature Coast is not known for holding a reliable population of whitebait, which is historically what Snook are targeted with in the waters of south Florida we still have a very healthy population that finds it hard to refuse a walk the dog style lure.  Considering that most of our Snook population is fairly new in existence a majority of our Snook are well below the 28”-33” slot but our area still will feature great catches of true “LineSiders!” featuring fish over the 40” size mark.  With most Snook looking to bulk up after the winter season now is a great time to hit the water to start the first leg of your Nature Coast Slam!

 

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: 81-90 F Water Temp: 61-70 F Clarity: Gin Clear

Spring has finally sprung here along the Nature Coast and most visiting anglers have enjoyed some of the most comfortable winter temperatures on record here locally.  Our spring like pattern actually began in early February and this unexpected warming trend has led to some truly incredible catches for this early time of year.  Giant Black Drum, Spanish Mackerel, Gag Grouper and Pompano all of which are more prevalent from late March into early April have been targeted since early February due to this warming trend.  Over the last 4 years our winters have usually stretched well into early May but this year we have experienced so much sunshine and warm weather that our local water temperatures are already hovering around the magical 68 degree mark.  This warmer than usual water temperature means that a variety of pelagic and other exotic species will be showing up early here along the Nature Coast this season.

One of the most highly anticipated arrivals of our Spring fishing season is when pelagics such as Cobia, Sharks, Tripletail, Tarpon, Spanish Mackerel and Permit all show up on our local flats to feed.  This is a special event that local and visiting anglers from all over the world look forward to each year.  As these hungry fish finish their winter migrations and move onto our local flats to feed anglers will notice a variety of changes coming soon.  Large Schools of bait balls are beginning to swell at the mouths of both the Crystal River and Homosassa Rivers.  These bait balls will be met by a variety of diving birds, dolphins and of course hungry fish.  Targeting large areas holding bait balls and diving birds is a sure sign that anglers are fishing a prime area.  Typically Spanish Mackerel will be the first species anglers will notice as they cut and slash through these bait pods.  Having casting spoons and jigs rigged with a small piece of tieable wire will lead to a ton of hook ups and drag screaming runs.

Speaking of drag screaming runs, for those anglers that are looking for an incredible fight think about Snook fishing the Nature Coast this time of year.  Snook are the true wild card species of the Nature Coast.  10 years ago catching a Snook in Crystal River or Homosassa would have got your picture in our local newspaper.  These days Snook are not as much of a rarity as they once were.  Local anglers love targeting Snook using a variety of lures including Twitchbaits, Jerkbaits, and Topwater Lures.  Targeting rocky shorelines with current, deeper holes in our rivers and of course lighted docks are a sure fire way to land some of the largest “Linesiders” north of Tampa Bay.

With so much great action going on along our nearshore waters and backcountry flats many anglers overlook our 7 river systems along the Nature Coast.  Of the 7 rivers that are scattered across the Nature coast the Crystal River, Homosassa, Salt River, Halls River are all excellent areas to target a variety of both fresh and salt water species.  The recent warming trend has led to many snook, redfish, and tarpon intermingling with more freshwater prevalent species such as largemouth bass, bluegill, brown bullhead catfish, and a variety of gars.  Having so many available species in a small area has made this the go to place for fly anglers.  Casting size 1 Clouser Minnows, EP Baitfish, and Gurglers has been a fun way to get the attention of all of these desirable species.  When fishing our rivers this month keep an eye out for rolling Gars.  This is the time of year when Longnose Gar seek out areas to spawn.  Targeting Gar on fly is fast becoming a popular adventure and considering that these fish are available year round and can reach lengths of up to 5ft long, this makes for a great challenge on a 9wt.

With so much great weather and fantastic fishing opportunities available right now this is a perfect time to plan a future fishing adventure with Florida Fishing Adventures.

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: 61-70 F Clarity: Gin Clear

WOW!!  What a special New Year 2016 has been.  Spotty beautiful weather has led to some interesting fishing days but the true headline for 2016 has to be that the Inshore fishing along the Nature Coast is the best I have ever seen to start a New Year.  Great catches of Speckled Trout, Sheepshead, Black Drum and Huge Redfish are just the start.  With the Nature Coast experiencing warmer than normal temperatures to start the year many anglers are finding great Gag Grouper catch and release action along many of our shallow rocks, wrecks, and reefs as well as good schools of Permit sunning themselves along many of our shallow oyster flats.  All in all it appears that 2016 is going to be one of those Epic fishing years that anglers are not going to want to miss.

Nature Coast Permit are rare to say the least but Permit in general outside of the Caribbean and Central America are the true needle in the haystack fish.  Widely known for their keen eyesight and sense of smell Permit are one of the most challenging fish in the world to target on both spin and fly.  During the winter months ranging from December through early March Permit can be targeted while sight fishing for other species along many of our oyster flats that we have scattered along our coast from Homosassa to Yankeetown.  Targeting areas of current with sharp drop offs are great areas to target and normally once you find one Permit in an area chances are there will be many more along the same flat.  Chumming with small shrimp and crushed crabs is ideal for drawing these challenging fish in closer for fly casters.  Considering that most of these fish are smaller in size compared to their Caribbean counterparts casting bonefish flies like the Bonefish Slider and even Crazy Charlie’s will put anglers in the game.

As unusual as targeting Permit in our shallows seems for this time of year, the true gem of our shallow water fishing will be the large schools of giant Redfish roaming around our flats.  Some of the largest schools of Bull Redfish have inundated our local waters early this year.  Normally the months of August and September are widely known as our big Redfish months but January and February have already yielded a number 12-15lb fish and a true whopper weighing in at close to 18lbs.  As Awesome as our Redfish Action has been, to step up the excitement level a notch we have actually been targeting these fish in gin clear waters less than 8” deep while sight fishing with small live shrimp and crabs.  The key to targeting fish in this shallow water is the presentation.  Long casts with little to no weight is the key.  A 1/0 live bait hook with a 15lb Fluorocarbon leader has been the rig of choice.

With so much great skinny water action it has been an after thought to venture out along our near shore waters as of late.  But as good as the skinnies have been, the fishing that anglers are finding in that 5-7ft of water range has been equally as impressive.  Speckled Trout normally head way offshore or way inshore this time of year.  However, with our water temperatures taking their time to reach that drastic 58 degree mark, Speckled Trout have been found and targeted along some of the deeper grassy areas as well as on many of the same sand flats that are widely known for Pompano and Flounder in the fall.  Its these deeper sandy areas that will hold an abundance of shrimp and bait fishing this time of year due to the fact that sandy areas with limited amounts of current tend to warm faster than areas of deeper water with lots of current.  The beauty of targeting Speckled Trout in clear water with sandy bottom this time of year is that normally you can watch a school of fish fight for your Shrimp, Gulp or fly.  This is truly a rush to watch!!

With some of the best winter fishing that I have ever experienced going on right now I really can’t wait to see what the spring will have in store for us this year.  Could Sharks, Tarpon and Cobia arrive early this year?  Could the Tripletail come in a few months earlier?  I for one cannot wait to see where this great Action takes us as the New Year Progresses.

Capt. Kyle Messier

(352) 634-4002

kylemessier@yahoo.com

WWW.FLORIDAFISHINGADVENTURES.COM

WWW.CRYSTALRIVER-FLYFISHING.COM

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