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Fishing Report for Homosassa, Florida

Capt. Mike Locklear
January 15, 2007
Homosassa - Saltwater Fishing Report

Warmer Than Normal January Makes Fish Feed

On January 9, Ed Luttrell of Missouri loaded up his brother Tim and son Brad and made the 15-hour drive straight through. Ed came down to check on his Uncle Jim. The Uncle was fine and he called me to book a trip. We left the dock at MacRae’s at 8:00 a.m. Jim did not go, so I guess he was getting rid of the worried children letting them know he was fine.

A cold front went through the night before and high winds made the bay rough and muddy. The chill factor was near freezing and the wind was cutting me pretty hard as we traveled at maximum speed. I knew I would end the trip in the river but first I wanted them to see the Gulf of Mexico. When you drive that far and you go out on the west coast of Florida you want to be able to tell your friends and relatives that you were in the gulf.

The Missouri crew was dressed for the weather and had on several layers of clothing. They made fun of me for only having one layer and a jacket on and one pair of pants. Heck, just the day before a record high of 83 degrees, so I was fairly prepared with my Columbia heavy jacket. One of my New Year resolutions is to be fully prepared for any and all situations. I was missing my face gear consisting of goggles and a face wrap or ski mask.

Eyes watering we stopped about 6 miles as the crow flies at the mouth of the St. Martins River. There we drifted using Cotee 1/8 oz. jigs tipped with shrimp. Tried a little Power Bait too but nothing bit our offerings right away. That is why they call it fishing and not catching.

Lizardfish became the first species to bite. Ed caught it and declared first fish! In case you don’t know inshore lizardfish got their names because their face looks like a lizard with a pointed beak and sharp teeth. They don’t get more than a foot long and this one would fit well into a hotdog bun. Tim caught two more and I decided to take them on a boat ride. Enough trash fishing.

The bay waters were too stirred up to drift the flats and white caps were slapping the side of the boat. We were in my Hells Bay and it kept us protected from the salt spray. We entered into the Homosassa River from the outside and I stopped about half way up at Hells Gate. Ed landed a small bream sized sheepshead and the first of many ladyfish. Ladyfish are very fun to catch but not good eating. They jump out of the water a lot and look like a small tarpon. Ladyfish are savior to a charter when the fishing is tough.

I kept moving hoping to find some redfish and at the next stop Ed landed a rat red about 12-inches long. Tim reeled in an oyster shell. We got the camera out. No! Just kidding! Ed landed a small pre-school nursery spotted sea trout about 8-inches long. We enjoyed looking at the beauty of the fish and released it quickly.

The last spot on the river we finally got into them at Marker 70 near the log cabin I lived at more than 30-years ago. All three Luttrells’ were into the ladyfish up to about 16-18 inches in size. They caught plenty. Tim landed another small trout. Brad caught his share of ladyfish. I reeled in a blue crab and of course tried to release it on Brad!

We were back by noon and the trip ended with a trip around Monkey Island and an escort to Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. We got some pretty good belly laughs from those monkeys. A little banana does get their attention. I only show it to them. It really ticks them off and they start scratching themselves and hooting. We are not supposed to feed them anyway, but it is real funny to watch.

On January 3rd Zach Middlebrook and party came in from Atlanta to fish. The weather was nice, sunny and warm with a high in the mid 70’s. You remember the warmer weather then.

There were six fishermen and three guide boats. Captains Jim Long and Charlie Harris were present with me. Without going into a lot detail we murdered the trout. Everyone had their limit of 5 nice sized trout between 16-19 inches. Also in the mix were pompano and bluefish. Location was outside the mouth of the Homosassa River on the grass flats in about 4 feet of water.

Sheepshead and redfish will be target species for the next couple of months.

Now is the time to plan your spring trips for trout, reds and tarpon.

Remember if you are too busy to plan a fishing trip, you are just too busy!

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year

Capt. Mike

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