Hopefully, in a couple more weeks, we can say goodbye to the
summer heat and hello to the first signs of fall. The days will be getting
shorter and if you still haven't hooked up with a tarpon, the time is perfect
to do so. Trolling the big rivers in our area (Homosassa, Crystal, and
Withlacoochee) in the early evening just after sundown can put that silver king
in the air. The temperature is much more pleasant, light boat traffic (if any),
and it's an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours on the water. Try to
schedule your trip on an outgoing tide and use some of the shallow-running
plugs like Bomber Long A's, Rapala F18's, and Yo-Zuri Mag Minnows in the mullet
and red head/white color combinations.
The big breeder-sized redfish are here and the
much-anticipated redfish run on the spoil islands off Crystal River is in full
swing. The majority of these fish are over slot and many exceed the 30-inch
mark. It's best to beef up your tackle to at least the 20-pound-test class, so
the fish can be brought in quickly and safely released. Live pinfish, cut
mullet or ladyfish are the go-to baits in this area. Also, it can get crowded
out on these points with other anglers, so please remember to be courteous when
anchoring up. There are also plenty of these breeder-sized fish on the outside
keys between Crystal River and Homosassa giving an alternate location for this
exciting experience. Locate the points with hard limestone bottom, position
yourself up tide, and use the live and cut baits previously mentioned. However,
if it's possible to leave the dock a little early, then try the early morning
top water bite, too. I prefer the Yo-Zuri hydro pencil or Rapala Skitter Walk.
The color of the plug isn't important, just a steady "walk the dog" action
should get your heart pumping with a redfish explosion.
As we progress into October, the grouper will be migrating
to shallow water. The 30- to 40-foot range will start holding more keeper-sized
gags and they will become more aggressive with the cooling water temperatures.
Spend the time needed to catch some quality live baits-pinfish, sand perch,
porgys and grunts are grouper candy. It is usually said with grouper: "The
bigger the bait, the bigger the fish." Over the last couple of weeks the
biggest gags have definitely preferred big live baits. Trolling plugs over the
rocky structure will be more productive toward the end of the month and even
better over the next coming months.
If you've never caught a snook in Citrus County, now is a prime
time to do it. The snook will start congregating in the rivers and during this
transition time they will feed heavily. Target the shorelines of the rivers
with a shallow-running plug or jerk bait. I prefer the Yo-Zuri Mag Darter or a
DOA jerk bait in the baby bass color and I concentrate on areas with breaks in
the current. Also, focus on rocky points, docks, and oyster bars for different
As always, if you have any additional questions about the
area, feel free to contact me.
Capt. Dan Clymer