It's time to dust off that snorkeling gear, put on a bathing
suit and cool off from the summer heat. The opening of scallop season starts
here in the Crystal River/Homosassa area July 1st and ends September
10th. Scalloping is a big attraction to the Nature Coast, and a
great way to spend the day on the water with friends and family. Our vast area
of crystal-clear grass flats between the two rivers is a haven for these tasty
bivalves. Some of the more productive areas in recent years have been the Gomez
Rocks area off Crystal River and the flats just West of St. Martins Keys off
Homosassa. Simple snorkeling gear, a dive flag and a saltwater fishing license
(for those 16 and older) is all that's needed to harvest them. Before the
season opens, it's always best to check the current regulations and bag limits
to ensure a fun day on the water.
the water heating up, so is the redfishing. The large redfish schools are just
weeks away, and there are plenty of fish on the outer keys. The last couple
hours of the incoming tide are hard to beat, and remember, a stealthy approach
helps ensure success. Push pole or ease up with your trolling motor to a likely
spot, anchor down and position yourself up tide. Locate points with a hard
limestone bottom. Freeline a live pinfish, or for a sure hook up, try a fresh
piece of cut mullet or ladyfish. For those who prefer artificials, a 1/4-ounce
gold spoon or a DOA C.A.L. jerkbait in the glow or new penny color rigged
weedless is ideal for casting along the rocky structure.
cast after cast action, and a variety of species, the deep grass patches west
of the "Foul Area" in 8 to 12 feet of water are always a summertime hot spot.
To locate these deeper grass beds, let the sun get up a little and run with the
sun at your back. Look for the dark and light spots on the bottom. This
"spotty" bottom (which is approximately 5 to 8 miles offshore) is the most
productive area to target trout during these hot summer months. A DOA glow
shrimp or glow C.A.L. shad rigged on a 1/8-ounce chartreuse jig head are
deadly. However, if the bite slows, scented bait like a camo or new penny Gulp!
shrimp will help get an extra bite or two. Flounder, black sea bass, Spanish
mackerel, cobia, and the list goes on... are all possibilities on any given day.
grouper bite will still be going strong in the 50 to 70 foot range. Initiate
the bite with some cut sardines or threadfin herring. Once the action gets
going, drop down a live pinfish or a grass porgy and hold on. If you're not
using some of the grunts you're catching while targeting grouper for bait, you
may be missing the biggest grouper under the boat. A fresh-cut grunt head will
usually produce a keeper-and a hefty one at that. Mangrove snapper will be on
the same structure as the grouper and they help add some groceries to the
cooler. Place a chum bag overboard, freeline some pieces of cut bait or smaller
live baits (pinfish or greenbacks) to get that mondo mango.
a final note, let's hope the best for the oil situation in the gulf. Also, if
you have any questions about the area, feel free to contact me.
Capt. Dan Clymer
Great Job Capt. Dan!!!!