Homosassa is home to one of the healthiest inshore fisheries in Florida. It’s also home to other unique Florida experiences such as the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, the world famous Monkey Island at the Homosassa Riverside Resort , Yulee Sugarmill Ruins, and scalloping in the summertime. For beginner boaters and saltwater anglers, it’s also home to a shallow area along Florida’s Gulf coast that can rip the lip off your lower unit quicker than one could think humanly possible. So that’s why it’s important to take you time to know the waters well, or use a professional fishing guide that can take you to the best fishing spots in Homosassa.
Best Fishing Spots in Homosassa
Shallow, Southern Rocky Bottom Fishing-Chassahowits
In the wintertime, the cold weather in Florida is not continuous, but does follow a distinctive pattern in Citrus County. Beginning in late November the water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico drop to 68 degrees Fahrenheit with the coldest water temperatures arriving in January and February. Target recreational fish species, like seatrout and redfish are perceptive and sensitive to temperature change. The bigger fish find their way closer to the shoreline where the shallow water is warmed daily by Florida’s famous sunshine.
Similar to the millions of tourists that visit our great state, sea trout love to bask in the Florida sunshine. Chassahowitska (aka “The Chass”) just south of Homosassa is a perfect place for fish to find their place in the sun. Chassahowitska has a distinctive hard structural bottom of flat topped lime rock outcroppings edged by sargassum meadows that create some of the best fishing spots in Homosassa. As the rock heats up from the sunshine in the shallow water, fish are able to lay along the nooks and crannies along the rocks edges to thermoregulate (increase or decrease body temperature). Like humans, once the fish warm up they get more active and begin to seek areas to feed. In Chassahowitska the surrounding sargassum seagrass meadows are perfect shelter or hiding spots for baitfish to hide. Your experienced fishing guides take advantage of this perfect combination and know that to “match the hatch” fishing with artificial lures that mimic baitfish behavior in these areas will produce the largest fish.
Rookeries and Mangrove Points – St. Martin’s Islands
Water birds and wading birds can be spotted in abundance throughout the mangrove treetops of the St. Martin’s. Located just north of the main Homosassa River Channel, these colonies of brown pelicans, frigate birds, cormorants and anhinga’s have hundreds of established nesting sites.
Contrary to popular belief, birds are not dumb. Water birds choose nesting areas based upon their stability and location to a food source. The St. Martin’s islands, as one of the northernmost areas of mangroves along Florida’s west coast, provide the perfect location to protect the birds from the winds and the waves of the Gulf of Mexico. Plus, it’s really close to their primary food source, fish. The best fishing spots in Homosassa for wintertime and summertime Redfish occur in this area as it hosts a tremendous amount of baitfish, barnacles, and small crustaceans that make up their majority of the diet of Redfish.
River Fishing-When to Fish for Saltwater Species
There are seven rivers located along Citrus County’s Gulfcoast. With so many choices, the best fishing spots in Homosassa aren’t necessarily easy to find.
Winter, is the best time to find both salt water and fresh water species mingling together in the rivers. As a rule of thumb, the colder the Gulf of Mexico gets saltwater fish that are able to acclimate to a higher concentration of brackish and fresh water will find their way closer to warm water refuges. The Chassahowitska, Homosassa and Crystal River are spring fed, or spring influenced river systems. That means, the closer you get to the springs, the more likely the tides and the temperature of the water will be influenced by the millions of gallons of 72 degree fresh spring water pumping daily from the headwaters.
Mangrove snapper, black drum, snook, redfish, and trout will venture into the river systems during the cold winter months. Fishing guides with thousands of hours of experience know where the river turns, the bait hover and you’re likely to catch your limit of fish.
To find the best fishing spots in Homosassa it’s easier to hire a professional fishing guide than to try it on your own, especially if you have a limited amout of time to get out doors and enjoy fishing. Being a fishing guide is a career of passion, it takes a lot of work to get the boat ready, maintain the boat, clean the boat, find the fish and make sure clients always leave with a bag full of fish and smile. So next time you’re considering finding the best fishing spots in Homosassa, start by finding the best Homosassa fishing guide, Captain Don Chancey.