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Fishing Report for Homosassa, Florida

Capt. Mike Locklear
February 10, 2000
Homosassa - Saltwater Fishing Report

Last week Steve Michaelson of Iowa brought his Dad along for a Homosassa fishing adventure. The two have fished in many places together including Canada and cherish those memories. The weather for the first day of their trip turned out to be kind of cloudy for a Florida fishing outing, but the seas were calm.

Our quarry was Sheepshead, a lesser respected saltwater species that frequent gulf rock piles and spawn during this time of year. Previous to our attempts of fishing for sheepshead we tried with no success to catch some gag grouper, a very hard pulling and good eating gulf fish. The water was just too cold for ole Mr. Grouper to come out of the rocks. 55 degrees is pretty cold for our gulf waters.

After anchoring the boat near an outcropping of rocks perhaps 150 feet long and 5 feet wide, I chummed the area with pieces of fresh shrimp. Using a #1 Eagle Claw Style 89 plain shank hook and a small 1/4 ounce egg sinker riding freely above the hook, I inserted a small gulf shrimp onto the hook. The Senior Michaelson landed the first 3 pound sheepshead with a few runs slipping the drag of Diawa SS 1300 series reel and 8 pound test line. The light G Loomis rod was the key to feeling the sheepshead bite as many folks do not realize how easy these fish take the bait.

That day Mr. Michaelson out-fished his son. Steve did not seem to mind and was happy that some fish were being fought. We kept 7 sheepies that day and throwing back a couple of undersized ones. These toothy critters have to be a minimum of 12 inches in length.

The next day we had plenty of Florida sunshine. Our plan for the day was to go for sheepshead first and then try for grouper later in the day. Hopefully the water would warm up a few degrees and Mr. grouper would come out from under the rocks and grab the bait.

The water was gin clear as it is most of the time around Homosassa. We were in about 7 feet of water when I drove past a rock that came all the way to the surface. We spotted about 4 dozens big sheepshead. I anchored the boat and this time we were able to see the fish take the bait. We were actually sight fishing for the sheepies. This is when you can understand how efficient they are at stealing the bait. The just nibble at the bait and very seldom run unless they are hooked.

The water was like glass and the fish were hard to catch. On this day Steve equaled his father in the catching category. What was really neat was watching a few of the sheepies doing their spawning thing. What we saw were a pair of fish that circled each other constantly. I am guessing this is some sort of spawning thing they do.

We moved out to deeper water and tried to catch some grouper. The fish were there and they would follow our baits but would stop just short of striking within inches in one case. It was a frustrating experience for me knowing that some days we catch up to 100 of these gluttons. We were being humbled as the water was still too cold for the fish to get into a feeding frenzy.

I have mostly been working on my boats getting them ready for the upcoming Spring season that will offer multitudes of pelagics such as Spanish mackerel and bluefish. In March. the spotted seatrout season will re-open and their should be plenty of fish around.

Remember if you are too busy to go fishing, well you are just to darn busy!

Good fishing,

Capt. Mike Locklear

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