Inshore Trout, Snapper and Sheephead
Red fishing in Homosassa along the Nature coast is still lively from the Ozello keys to Chassahowitska point fishing along the rocky points adjacent to the mangrove islands.
Recently, the best bait for landing the bigger fish has been cut mullet. I use a four alt hook and float the bait about twelve inches behind the cork allowing the tide to move it along the shorelines. Don’t be afraid to change tactics for fishing, switching back and forth between cut bait, soft plastics or casting a gold spoon. Fishing is all about having the best bait presentation at the right time, in the right place to get the best results.
Trout have started to hole up in the deeper sandy dips or “holes” alongside the shallow rocky bottoms and can be found along the edges of the kelp grass beds in Chassahowitska. I’ve also had some luck along the south side of the Homosassa channel.
The east winds and a powerful moon have made for some super high and super low tides this month. Where the tide meets the land through cuts and passes the fast moving water tends to funnel a significant amount of bait fish. Those areas will produce keeper Trout, Redfish, Grey Snapper (most commonly referred to as mangrove snapper) and an occasional Sheephead. Yesterday with clients we landed twenty keeper trout. Fish anticipate a cold front and often will increase a feeding prior to temperatures dropping.
Offshore Grouper: Recently I’ve purchased an additional boat to get back offshore and target Grouper. I went out several times this month to get familiar with my new Grady White (weather conditions permitting). I’ve consistently been fishing in the 20-40 foot depth range and the fish have been hungry, but the bite has been sporadic. Trolling big-lipped plugs like the Rapala Magnum 30’s or Mann’s stretch 30’s has produced the biggest fish this month.
Thousands of stone crab traps are now lining the offshore grouper grounds. That addition to the area turns on the bottom bite for Grouper. Stone crab traps are baited with organic material such as fish carcasses or pigs feet. The additional scent of bait in the water gets the attention of Gag and Red grouper.
Bottom fishing action has been productive but is not producing the larger fish. When the bottom bite is on grouper can’t resist live pinfish supplemented by frozen sardines for their breakfast lunch or afternoon meal.
During the holidays, may your family time and your fishing time be full of fun and adventure.