Fishing in late winter is unpredictable due to weather events. Anglers should return to areas with deep water access, such as creeks and rivers, to catch fish. Studying outside keys with protective coves can also help find warm water. Live shrimp is the best bait, and patience is key in cold water.
This fishing report focuses on Florida arctic fishing, specifically targeting three spring-fed rivers in Citrus County: Crystal River, Homosassa River, and Chassahowitzka River. Live shrimp is the best bait, and bank fishing spots down Ozello Trail, Ft. Island Trail, and the Barge Canal offer a comfortable, outdoor experience. Incoming tides provide opportunities for focusing efforts.
April and October are the best months to fish Florida's Gulf Coast, with ideal water temperatures for both inshore and offshore species. Offshore, mangrove snapper, hogfish, cobia, kingfish, spanish mackerel, and sheepshead can be caught. Inshore, trout and redfishing are good during incoming tides. White bait, mud minnows, and finger mullet are also effective.
Late winter fishing can be challenging, but it's important to remember that spring brings good fishing days and less wind. Jack crevalle in the river can be a good action, but keep an eye out for them and watch birds, especially blue herons, for potential ambush opportunities. Remember to stay outdoors and enjoy the season.
Cool waters this week will shift inshore fish, with trout moving from bays and flats to coastal creeks or rivers. Redfish, blackdrum, and sheepshead are cold-tolerant, so use live shrimp on holes. Snook are now catch and release. Mangrove snapper is a reliable fish in rivers, with live shrimp being the best bait. Offshore gag grouper bite may be slow, but use live bait and patience.
Florida is a popular inshore fishing destination, with areas like Homosassa, located on the Gulf coast, producing outstanding species like grouper, mangrove snapper, sheepshead, flounder, sea bass, and triple tail. The warm, clean waters of the Homosassa River provide shelter for cold-tolerant gamefish, resulting in a robust and diverse snook fishery. The Toney family, watermen and conservationists, have been in Homosassa for generations. Captain William Toney is a knowledgeable guide in Florida inshore fishing.
Florida's new fishing regulations for sea trout will benefit all anglers, with a reduction from 5 fish per angler to 3. The rule will enhance the Big Bend trout fishery, allowing for more big female trout and reducing captains' take. The new rules will help guide clients and protect the trout fishery.
Fishing on the Big Bend is productive for trout, redfish, and snook. Close in flats with rock grass are the most productive, while live shrimp, pinfish, and cut mullet are effective. White bait is also used, and offshore gag grouper and mangrove snapper bites are available.
As the year draws to a close, the author reflects on their accomplishments and failures, often reminiscing about the Christmas tradition of burning leftovers. The last week of grouper for the fish box is underway, with offshore guides working hard to improve conditions.