You can probably tell from the title, this report is not about fishing Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island but about a recent road trip to Homosassa for the Florida Outdoor Writers Annual Convention. If you are like me you like to get away from home once in a while and fish some other areas. Homosassa provides the perfect spot to do so.
It is a beautiful area for fishing and sightseeing as well. Homosassa is home to the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, a wonder in itself. A 1.1 mile trail of paving and boardwalks puts you in touch with Hippo’s, Alligators, Bobcats, Cougar, Manatees, and more. The underwater observatory gives you excellent views of snook, redfish, sheepshead, snappers, and other fishes in their natural environment. With all the educational programs they offer you could spend a day in the park learning about nature and wildlife. You can even dine at the Wildlife Café located in the park.
There are plenty of other things to do in the area but we better get to the fishing. I went a day before the conference so I could do a little extra fishing. I hooked up with Capt. Don Chancey for some redfish action. Don operates Grouper Hunter/ Flats Chance Charters and specializes in Grouper, Trout, Redfish, and Cobia. You can reach him at 352-303-9399. I called him and ask about a morning charter. He said fine, lets start about noon. You guessed it, the tides are all important in that area and since we were going after redfish he wanted to fish the incoming tide and a 12:00 noon departure would give us the needed conditions.
We ran out towards the Gulf of Mexico in the little Homosassa River. Capt. Don mentioned what many others had told me in the past. When running these waters be very careful to stay in the marked channels. There are lots of rocks and many lower units have been damaged by unsuspecting boaters. It wasn’t long until the characteristics of the river faded and the environment turned into rocky mangrove islands all of which looked fishy to me.
Capt. Don explained that as the tide comes up over the rocks and fills the voids under the mangroves the redfish follow the rising water to feed. We fished rocky points and edges of mangroves using shrimp and cut mullet. Light tackle spinning rods were rigged with about 18 inches of leader and a 3/0 circle hook. A small split shot was added just above the hook for added casting distance.
By the end of the day we had wrestled about 8 feisty redfish to the boat, the largest measured in at 26.5 inches. The color of the redfish were something to behold. The last red I caught in the Banana River was nearly silver but these Homosassa reds were a bright beautiful bronze, as if they had been working on their tan all summer.
Well, I gotta’ go for now but my next report will be about the fishing tournament held at the writers conference. The tournament was scheduled in the morning and the tides would not be the ones the guides wanted. Tune in next time to read about the results.
As always, you can visit my website at www.inshorefishingadventures.com to view pictures of the fish we catch in the Cocoa Beach area. That's what it's all about. Good fishin'.