August 11th Killer Offshore Trip

From left to right; Martha, Sky, Jamie, Mike, Jackie, and Pat. These guys hammered the grouper on today with 36 keepers caught by 1:40 and a nice cobia to add to the mix. We kept our 24 keeper fish and headed back to the dock. Looking forward to fishing with guys again.

Posted on 2013 Aug 20 by clay
August 10th Shark city

Today I had an offshore trip with Jeff Kinard, Westin Kinard, Travis Flaherty, Neil Euliano Jr. and Sr. Rich Wagner and his grandson. We headed out to 50ft of water to target grouper and cobia but here is a picture of our highlight of the day. A 240 pound, 7ft long tiger shark that we landed after a 30 minute battle. Neil Jr. got his wish and had the opportunity to pull on a true beast. This great Go Pro shot was taken by Travis Flaherty.

 

Posted on 2013 Aug 20 by clay
August 4th Split Trip Teamwork

Today I had a great crew made up of 3 different groups. Rich Wagner and his grandson Wes, Donald Saunders and his son DJ, and Travis Flaherty and his buddy Mikey. We fished 49-58 ft of water with live pinfish and frozen threadfin herring on fishfinder rigs. Our best bites came on the incoming tide between 11am and 2pm. Teamwork paid off today with a full limit of solid Red and Gag grouper.

Posted on 2013 Aug 09 by clay
July 31st Stellar Stighfishing and a Good Variety

Today Dave Wilson and his good buddy mike joined me for a bit of sight fishing in the morning and rock pounding on the afternoon outgoing tide. Here are some the awesome redfish that they landed in the mangroves. Today was a great showing of how having patience under the hot summer sun can pay off with some awesome fishing. 

Posted on 2013 Aug 01 by clay
Sight Fishing Skinny Water Reds July 30 2013

This is William with his nice 26inch Redfish he landed in 10 inches of water on the crystal clear flats of St. Martins Keys. The bite is on with multiple tailing shots coming on every tide. This fish crushed a Holographic Watermelon shrimp rigged weedless.

Posted on 2013 Jul 31 by clay
July 10th Stocker Crew Grouper Digging Trip

Today's trip has been a long time coming so I was excited to see that we would have good weather to go out and have a great day on the water. The day started out great with loaded up bait traps and headed west to 40 ft of water where we found 6 big gags on the 1st spot. That first spot set the president for the day as we finished with a great haul and these guys are a great set of clients.  

Posted on 2013 Jul 16 by clay
July 9th Christie Family Half

This photo shows Gene, Lynda, and their grandson with some great fish including Lynda's 27inch redfish. This is her biggest redfish to date and she had a great time catching this beast. We also landed 5 nice trout and some black drum. It is always a pleasure fishing with the Christie family.

Posted on 2013 Jul 16 by clay
July 8th Tough Fishermen and Big Fish

Today I had Clayton Jeck and his buddies for a full day of fishing for gags and nice reds. These guys may be up there in age but they gave me 100% effort and it all paid off. We fished in 40-60ft of water with most of the bites coming on the outgoing tide. We finished up with a 19.5 pound big fish and a great looking limit of bruisers, these guys had a great time on the water.

Photo

Posted on 2013 Jul 16 by clay
July 7th Successfull Offshore Split Trip

Today Dori Jenkinson and her family came out to catch some grouper and they split the trip with Travis Flaherty and his buddy Matt. We were greeted with less than optimal weather but this crew of newly found friends held tough and we ended up hammering the fish and enjoying a smooth afternoon ride home. Collin's birthday present was a huge success and everyone caught lots of fish with Dori catching the big dog at 18 pounds.

Posted on 2013 Jul 16 by clay
Dean Family Grouper trip

Here is Mike Dean and his family and friends with a great haul of 12 Red Grouper and 12 Gag grouper. These guys had a great time catching lots of big grouper and took home a pile of tasty fillets for the table. These guys had an awesome experience with Hang' Em High Sportfishing.

Posted on 2013 Jul 16 by clay
July 4th Epic Inshore Variety

Today I was given the opportunity to do something different with Jackson, Eric and Mike Dean. We started out the day casting jigs and plugs for snook, trout, and redfish in the creeks to the north of the channel. The tide was going early in the morning so we fished the outer points that had current pushing around them. We landed 5 great looking snook and a 22inch redfish. At 9am we headed down to some rocks to spearfish for grouper and snapper in about 3ft of water. At the first spot we went to we speared 7 nice snapper and 2 grouper which is amazing considering we were only 200ft away from St Martins keys. We got back in the boat and headed to the next spot to shoot a couple more snapper before heading in for a 4th of July lunch.

 

Posted on 2013 Jul 06 by clay
July 2nd. Hot grouper bite
All year we have waited in anticipation of the opening of Gag grouper season. Unfortunately the first few days of July have been some of the nastiest weather of the summer. Today all of the other offshore captains in the county cancelled their trips but after talking to Travis and Donald I decided that we would continue with trip and I'm sure glad I did. We left Pete's Pier Marina at 7:30 headed for 40ft of water off of crystal River. Once we arrived at the first spot the bite was a little slow but we caught plenty of bait and headed to the next spot. We stopped in about 40ft of water on a rock pile and the bite was on!!! The guys and Kelly dropped a variety of baits including live pinfish, threadfin hearing, mullet chunks, and grunt heads; all of these baits were inhaled within seconds of hitting the bottom. in 45 minutes of fishing we landed 40 gag grouper with 30 of them being 22 inches or larger. We picked the 8 largest gags and headed for the house with a large thunderstorm at our heels. Our day was a great success and the grouper bite is on fire for sure.
Posted on 2013 Jul 06 by clay
June 27th Hang' Em High goes to to venice

This past week we loaded up the World Cat and headed to Venice Louisiana to fish with Capt. Woody Woods of Paradise Outfitters in search of Yellowfin Tuna and Blue Marlin. After a nearly 24 hour drive riddled with problems we arrived in Venice at 1am on Friday morning. We met up with Woody and prepared to embark on 160 mile trip to the fabled Green Canyon rigs. We pulled off the dock and headed southwest for a 5 hour ride. We arrived at green canyon at sunrise and began to troll for Yellowfin tuna and it only took ten minutes for us too hook up on a 70lb Yellow. After landing one nice fish on the troll Capt. Woods decided to change gears and slow troll live bait to get the tuna chewing. Using sabiki rigs we quickly loaded the livewell full of disco's and it didn't take long for Woody to have us on a double header of 60-70lb fish. We continued to stay on a hot bite until we had 7 nice tunas in box before we turned back towards Cyprus Cove Marina. Woody's local knowledge and fishing expertise kept us on the bite from the time we arrived to the time we left.  If you are interested in big game fishing the waters off Venice, La contact Capt. Woody Woods at Paradise Outfitters. He will fish with you in your boat or take you in his; whichever you decide, Woody has the knowledge and tackle to make your trip a success.

Posted on 2013 Jul 03 by clay
June 21st Fishing With Sport Fishing Magazine

Several months ago Sport Fishing Magazine and The Plantation Resort in Crystal River decided to team up and do a 5 day fishing experience for the editors of SFM to showcase all of the great saltwater opportunities that Crystal River has to offer. The inshore trips for this great event was provided by the best of the best including William Toney, Dan Clymer, and Don Chancey. I was given the chance to be the offshore specialist for this group and I took full advantage of this opportunity. Zach Hoffman and I loaded up the 33 Worldcat and headed over to The Plantation for an 8am pick up. We loaded up our party and all the needed gear for day and began to discuss our plans for the day as we idled out of the canal. Doug Olander explained to me that he would like to try and troll some lures for kingfish and do some jigging for grouper with light tackle if that was possible. With our goals for the day laid out I spooled up our ride and we headed out to fish the 50-60ft depths west of Crystal River. After a 45 minute ride I pulled the throttles back to a speed of 5kts and we dropped back two trolling lures for kingfish as we approached the red grouper area I wanted to fish. Within 15 minutes of having the baits in the water we hooked into an aggressive kingfish in the 15 pound range. After we iced down the king we continued to troll for another half mile before I stopped the boat to jig for Red Grouper. I passed out Spinning rods rigged with Spro bucktails and DOA Jerkbait trailers and these artificial jigs did not last long, the grouper hammered these jigs nearly as fast as they hit the bottom. We continued to drift and jig with light tackle as we hammered out a fine box of fish with the average fish being in the 7-11 pound range. The highlight of the day was Doug's 14 pound red grouper landed on 8lb test power pro and trout tackle. He landed this fish after a spirited 20 minute battle. Our trip was a great success with 16 nice red grouper, 1 kingfish, and a dozen or so grunts all on artificial lures. I really appreciate the opportunity to do this trip and look forward to the opportunity to fish with the SFM crew again.

Posted on 2013 Jul 01 by clay
June 16th Amedeo family Inshore Roundup
This morning I had the pleasure of fishing with Lisa and Tommy Amedeo and their two young boys Garrett and Wyatt. My game plan for today was to work the shallow water rocks for Snappper, Grunts, Seabass, Flounder and Mackerel. I picked up Lisa, Tommy, and the boys at Pete's Pier Marina and we headed west down the river. My goal for today was to provide quality entertainment for the boys with fast action while filling the box with good eating fish, and we accomplished this goal for sure. We ran out of Salt River and headed south to some small rocks in 6ft of water. I dropped the anchor at the first spot and the boys immediately began to catch snappers and grunts using live shrimp on jig heads. Garrett and Wyatt landed several nice keepers at the first spot and then we moved on to the next pile of rocks. We fished 7 different spots and caught plenty of fish at each spot before heading back towards the river around noon. On the way in we stopped at a little trout spot and Wyatt landed a beautiful 18 inch Trout on a DOA shrimp. We had a spectacular day on the water and special thanks to the Amedeo family for making today a memorable experience.
Posted on 2013 Jul 01 by clay
May 27th. Big Catches and Big Smiles

This weekend I fished in tandem with Captain Zachary Hoffman out of Crystal River with Dwaan and Jason and their young boys. We planned to inshore fish both Saturday and Sunday but with windy conditions being called for Saturday, I knew the fishing wouldn't be easy. Saturday morning me and Zach picked up Dwaan, Jason, and the boys, we pulled away form the dock at the Best Western we were met with 20 knot east winds. These unseasonable conditions had the fish biting slow with Zach and I picking up sporadic fish but we had trouble finding consistent fishing in the cloudy and windy conditions. We fished several areas north of Crystal River before heading back to Mullet Key for our shore lunch. After eating a great meal of fried fish, hushpuppies, homemade beans, and cole slaw we all loaded up and headed down south to finish the day trout fishing off of St. Martins keys using DOA shrimp under popping corks. All though the bite was slow we managed to land a few nice trout before we headed back to the dock with high hopes for Sunday. We finished up a tough day of fishing with several trout per boat and a good mess of snapper and seabass. We headed back to the dock with anticipation for what the next day had in store for us.

Sunrise on Sunday morning brought clear skies and calm winds and calm winds as we headed out to the foul area for some good inshore fishing. We began our day casting DOA jigs in about 7 ft of water off of Homosassa  and both Zach's boat and mine both began to bring in trout and small seabass. We continued to jig up nice speckled until the outgoing tide began to slow down. We knocked down 13 nice trout and then we moved over to some rocks and fished with live shrimp. The young boys had a great time catching nice snapper, red mouth grunts and dozens of undersize grouper and Dwaan landed two keeper gags on 10lb test. Once the tide turned and began coming in headed to the northern end of the foul grounds and we finished out our limit of 20 speckled trout. As our spectacular day of fishing came to the end we turned for the dock with a box full of fish and two tired young boys. Our catch for the day totaled 20 trout, 12 big grunts, 6 snapper, 8 seabass, 3 mackerel and 1 nice flounder. Thank you Dwaan and Jason for bringing your boys down and it was our pleasure to put you on the fish.

Posted on 2013 Jun 19 by clay
Mothers Day inshore trip 5-12-13
There is no better way to spend a mothers day then on the water, especially if your mother likes to fish as much as Jenifer Dodrill. Eric, Melissa, and Jenifer met me at the dock just before 8am and we headed south to the St Martins keys to drift for trout and pompano. With the wind whipping hard out of the northwest we fished cork rigs with a mix of DOA shrimp and Mirrolure lil John jigs on 1/8 ounce jigs heads. We quickly tallied up multiple species of fish including Sea Bass, Spinner Sharks, Lizard fish, Lady fish, and our main target Speckled Trout. The Trout bite was solid today with bite coming on nearly every cast but the recent influx of smaller fish on to the grass flats made it difficult for us to find the keepers. We worked through the shorts and began to ice down some solid trout with most of our keepers being in the 18-20inch range. As the tide turned and began to come in we switched gears and headed back towards Crystal River to spend our last 30 minutes chasing redfish. I had spotted a nice school of fish the previous day and as we eased into the spot I could tell that those fish were there. We soaked live shrimp and pinfish but could not coax one of those fat redfish into eating.
Posted on 2013 May 13 by clay
Young Boat Owners Tournament May 4th
I have grown up in Crystal River and I have had the pleasure of watching Young Boats grow from the beginning. This high quality custom boat building company had their annual owners fishing tournament today and I had the pleasure of fishing with Chris Durkenson on his Young 20. We would be competing against about 20 other young boats fishing for Trout, Redfish, Cobia, and Mackerel. At 6:45 me and Chris led the procession of Young Boats out of the Plantation canal in one of the friendliest tournament atmospheres I have ever been able to take part in. We throttled up and headed down the river to begin our day fishing up north and we would work our way south as the tide came in. As we began to fish in the windy and overcast conditions we quickly hooked up on some nice snook, but snook where not a target species so we moved further down the bar where Chris hooked and landed a nice trout on a Mullet imitation plug. As the tide continued to roll in strong we headed south where we caught some more keeper trout and had some missed opportunities at nice redfish. As we approached the end of our day together I took us to one last trout spot where we enjoyed some fast action on school size trout to finish out our day on the water. We weighed in a 2.8 pound trout that was good enough to take 3rd place. I am proud to say that I took part in this great event and I want to thank Chris Durkenson and Rob Young for putting on a great event.
Posted on 2013 May 08 by clay
Inshore Full Day May 3rd
Today I had the pleasure of taking Gary Miller and Jeff read on a full day trout fishing trip and we had a great day. We started our morning deep in Salt River on a series of oyster bars looking for trout and snook. I had Jeff casting a nose hooked jerkbait and Gary casting a Mirrodine XL; Jeff struck paydirt first by hooking up on a beautiful 21inch trout on his 3rd cast. After icing down that great looking fish we continued to work the oyster bars for another 30 minutes without getting another bite. The inshore bars proved to be a quality over quantity game this morning and we loaded up and headed southwest to find more trout in the Greymer Pass area. We fished cork rigs with DOA shrimp and for the next 2 hours or so we had a steady bite of solid trout on the sand and grass patches in about 3 ft of water. By 12 O clock noon we 10 nice trout on ice and we headed back toward Crystal River to catch a few more fish and finish off our day. It was a spectacular day on the water and it was great to hear how these two guys have had such an impact their communities through giving their time and money back to local children. These two guys are a true inspiration and are just great people to be around. We finished our day with 12 nice trout and some great memories. Thank you Jeff and Gary for making it a great one.
Posted on 2013 May 08 by clay
Inshore Trout day. April 27th

Today I picked up Andrea Baird and her two friends Kate and Dennis at Pete’s Pier Marina at 8am and we headed out for a full day of fishing for Trout and Redfish. Although we are fishing during a nearly full moon I had high hopes for the day as we pushed off the dock. We headed towards a set of oyster bars where we drifted live shrimp under corks through the cuts in the bars with the falling tide.  We caught a good mix of trout, ladyfish, seabass and even a small shark before we headed west to the deeper flats to jig for trout. After a quick 6 mile ride to the southwest we arrived at an area of mixed sand and grass bottom and began to cast 1/8 ounce jigs for speckled trout and seabass. The bite was pretty good as we quickly iced down a few solid trout and a couple nice seabass. After catching some good fish on the deeper flats we headed back to the islands to work the shallow flats on the incoming tide for larger trout and we were not disappointed. Fishing with cork rigs in about 4ft of water we quickly iced down some more keeper trout before heading in to finish our day searching for redfish. Unfortunately we were not able to find any cooperative redfish due to the full moon but we did finish our day with 13 nice trout and 2 seabass. A special thanks to Andrea, Kate, and Dennis for making this a great day on the water and I look forward to fishing with them again.

Posted on 2013 Apr 29 by clay
Inshore Pile Up April 25th

Today the winds were calm and expectations high as I tied up at Pete’s Pier Marina to pick up Jason, John and Luke for a full day inshore trip. I loaded up the essentials (bait and ice) and we headed down the river to see what inshore gamefish were chewing. We started near some oyster bars at the mouth of saltriver with no success so we headed west. We made our way our out to 8ft of water to jig for Speckled Trout and a mixed bag of other tasty species and the bite was on. I had the guys rigged up with 1/8 ounce jig heads and DOA jig tails and Mirrolure jig bodies, they worked these lures near the bottom with a reel and jerk retrieve. We started our drift with the incoming tide and pulled in 8 nice keeper trout on the first drift over a mix of sand and grass. We continued to work the deep water with jigs and the trout and sea bass coming over the side on nearly every other cast. At noon we took a quick lunch break as we headed inshore to the mangrove islands to search for redfish. The bite was a little slow but we managed to land 2 beautiful redfish with one of them being a solid 22 incher. We finished up our day catching the last few trout we needed for a limit and headed back to the marina with a great variety in the box and a day full of memories. The final fish tally for the day was 20 nice trout up to 4.5 pounds, 1 nice redfish, 15 big seabass and bluefish. Jason, John, and Luke had a great time today and lm glad these guys got to take home a pile of fillets and I look forward to taking these guys out again soon.

Posted on 2013 Apr 25 by clay
Crystal River Cobia!! April 21, 2013

With reports of Cobia moving north and the hot tripletail bite that has being going on out of Crystal River me and my brother headed out in search of some near shore pelagics. We started our search at the scallop rack where we promptly caught a well full of live pinfish and a few small Spanish mackerel. After loading up on live bait we headed west under cloudy skies in search of brown bombers on a series of small limestone ledges in 12 ft of water and we were not disappointed. As we pulled up on the first spot my younger brother threw a 2 ounce Spro jig towards the spot and his jigged was immediately crushed by a spunky 25 pound Cobia. As he landed his fish I pinned a live bait on a 5/0 circle hook and dropped it over the side and before I could put the rod in the holder my pinfish was eaten. I reeled down tight and the fish took off like a rocket towards the south and the fight was on. As 30lb mono peeled off my reel I knew I was hooked into a bruiser but I had no idea how much of a beast this fish was. After a 30 minute fight the fish came boat side and Blake expertly gaffed my Cobia. At nearly 60 pounds this proved to be one of my biggest Cobia to date, after a few good pictures we iced that fish down and headed to the next spot. As I anchored the boat over the next spot Blake again began to cast his Spro jig and on his second cast at this new spot he got nailed again. Line poured off of his Spheros 10,000 and his 35 pound cobia took to the air with an impressive display of aerobatics. I quickly gaffed his second fish and we headed to the next spot. The rest of the day was peppered with short Cobia and Gag Grouper but we had a great time. The two of us finished the day with 3 solid Cobia in the box and memories that will last forever.

Posted on 2013 Apr 22 by clay
Offshore Crystal River April 14th 2013

Early on Sunday morning I loaded the boat and headed over to Pete's Pier marina to pick Odie and his 5 buddies and head offshore for some grunt and seabass fishing with a by catch of red grouper. Rarely do I get calls for people wanting to catch smaller grunts and seabass but this trip would be an exception. We loaded up and pulled off the dock at 7 am bound for 40-60 ft of water, as we left marker 1-A in the prop wash it was clear that we were going to have a good day. The first spot that I stopped at in 33 Ft of water produced 30 nice black seabass, 25 big grunts, and a few short grouper. Our live shrimp and mullet strips didn't last long as the fish kept coming up left and right. After 30 minutes of fishing I pulled the anchor and we continued heading west out to about 50 ft of water and the good fishing continued. At each patch of live bottom we would catch roughly 40 big grunts and 10+ big seabass. We made our way out to 65ft and then turned and started working our way southeast back to 55 ft of water and that is where we found the grouper. We managed to catch 3 nice red grouper in 55 ft of water due west of Crystal River and we also landed a kingfish in the 10 pound range. At 3pm we turned east and headed back to Crystal River with 200+ big grunts in the box, 60+ nice seabass, 3 keeper red grouper and a 10 pound kingfish. We had a great day and after 2 hours of filleting fish the guys walked away with a pile of tasty fish for the dinner table.

Posted on 2013 Apr 16 by clay
Mel Tillis Victory April 13 2013

This fantastic weekend started with my client and I meeting up Friday night at the captains meeting for the Mel Tillis fishing tournament held out of Riverside Resort on the Homosassa river. We got registered and headed home to get some sleep and prepare for the big day of fishing that was to follow. We met up at 6:30 am at the marina and eagerly loaded bait and ice; we left the dock and checked in on our way to the first spot. The first live shrimp of the day produced a gorgeous 25 inch redfish but I knew that this fish would not put Mike Hoogsteden on the podium at days end. We continued to fish hard, catching several short redfish and about a dozen trout in 16-19inch range on jerkbaits and Catch 2000 Mirrolures. As the tide continued to fall we began to work our way out to the foul are in search of Spanish Mackerel to help complete our slam but it was not to be. In two hours of jigging the deep flats we only managed to catch a few short sea bass. As the tide turned and began to roar in we headed back to the mangrove creeks to try and track down a big redfish and that we did. Mike and I set up on a school of fish and began to cast live shrimp and DOA jigs to the hungry fish. The first live shrimp sank about 6inches below the surface before a bronze bruiser inhaled it. After a solid battle I lipped the 26 11/12inch redfish, I measured the fish nearly a dozen times before I decided that it was in fact a legal fish. I iced the beauty and we quickly hooked another fish that came in at 26 inches. We landed 4 redfish between 24-27 inches and we then headed for the weigh in. We knew we had a good fish but with 80 boats fishing including many of the best fishermen in county I was sure it would be a close competition. Our fish was deemed a legal redfish at just under 27 inches in length and weight of 8.10 pounds and after all the fish were weighed in we had the only redfish over 8 pounds. This tournament was a great experience for both me and my client, Mike Hoogsteden, and we were very blessed with a great day on the water and big tournament victory.

Posted on 2013 Apr 16 by clay
Hot Redfish Bite 4/3/13

Today I met Doug, Layton and Nathan at the dock a bit earlier than usual. With a looming weather front scheduled to hammer the Crystal River area in the afternoon this seemed like the best plan of attack for our half day, inshore trip. With the winds already blowing 15mph by 7:30 a.m. I knew this morning of fishing would be tough, but we had a good incoming tide so redfish was on my mind. We started out looking for trout and redfish on the north side of St. Martins keys with no luck, the change in barometric pressure had the fish shut down in this area so we decided to head north. We worked around Tin Pan Gap area and caught a few more short trout and that was all I needed to see. I decided to switch up our strategy and head for some narrow creeks that provided shelter from the wind and lots of mullet and pinfish for the redfish to eat. As we power poled down at the first point we could immediately see that the bite was on as every cast yielded a redfish. Nate and Layton had the hot hand today; they both landed beautiful keeper redfish with the big fish being a solid 27 incher. Everyone enjoyed their morning on the water that is water really matters at the end of the day. I look forward to having these guys back on the water in the future.

Posted on 2013 Apr 04 by clay
Shallow Water Studs 3/29/13

Today was a great day to be on the water. Nearly every boat I talked to echoed that the bite was on! I started in Salt River with my clients and we fished our way out to St. Martin’s keys as the tide gradually went out and we found good numbers of average size trout but average size trout was not going to be the highlight of our day. Around 10 am I spotted a small school of jumbo redfish working across a shallow flat, we eased into range and it only took one well aimed cast. The beast engulfed the D.O.A jig and that was the beginning of a 35 minute battle, when the 40 plus inch monster came boat side I couldn’t believe how big it really was. We snapped a few pictures and released it to fight another day. We managed to track down the school of bruisers again and this time we scored a double hookup. After a lot of dancing to keep the lines from getting crossed we landed the pair of beasts, a few more pictures and we revived those two reds in great condition. We continued to work our way into deeper water and I spotted a nice tripletail but he would not be fooled by our jigs. At the next grass flat the bites kept on coming, Rich hooked into a fish that hit like a trout but did not fight like one. After a spirited battle I slid the net under a beautiful 19 inch permit, this rare but awesome catch caught me off guard. We finished our day with 8 nice trout, a pompano, and a nice mackerel. This weekend will be a great time to get out on the water and score big on an explosive springtime bite.

Posted on 2013 Mar 30 by clay
March 16 Great Evening Trout Bite

With the warming weather conditions, today seemed like a great day to target large Trout and Redfish on the dark bottom creeks of Salt River and Ozello. This time of year the best times to fish revolve around the high tides so today I met Mike, Eric, and Jackson at the Ft. Island Tr. Boat ramp at 2pm which is when the tide began to come in. We headed south from Crystal River to some small creeks to start our search throwing nose hooked jerkbaits and DOA shrimp on lightweight jig heads. As we worked into the shallow creeks we found that each pothole and trough had a mix of Trout and Redfish but the fish weren’t the size class that we were looking for.  We headed deeper into Ozello and that’s where we found the big Trout we were looking for. Eric and Jackson began to strike spotted gold with their nose hooked jerkbaits, a double hookup on trout over 20 inches started the party and action continued to stay solid with some nice trout. As the sun dropped below the mangroves we turned the boat towards the ramp after a great evening of fishing.  The Dean's and I enjoyed a great evening with quality fish.

Posted on 2013 Mar 20 by clay
Fishing in the Cold Front March 1st and 2nd

The conditions over the past 3 days have been less than desirable for catching shallow water trout and redfish but the bite didn’t seem to slow down as the weather picked up. Friday saw the beginning of the cold and the north wind, the hard wind out of the north has also been the cause of severe low tides which only makes the fishing harder. Although the conditions have not been in our favor we have still managed to have some great catches with some quality fish out of Crystal River. Friday morning started with low water so I decided that we would try and sight fish a school of redfish that I have been tracking for several weeks. The water was cool but we still managed to catch several sluggish reds on top water plugs and weedless jerkbaits. As the tide turned we headed south into some creeks to continue our hunt for more big redfish and maybe find a few flounder on the dark bottom of the ozello creeks. The flounder proved to be elusive but the redfish were chewing well in the windy conditions and we tallied up an awesome catch in the last 3 hours of daylight with several fish over the 27inch slot limit. The fishing Saturday was even better but the weather was so much worse, we started the day in the predawn hours chasing monster snook near the mouth of the river where the warm river water dumps into the cold gulf. This temperature change creates a prime feeding area for large snook and redfish and the fish were biting well as we landed two monster snook over 40inches and jumped a tarpon in the 100 pound range in the hour before the sun came up. After the sun came up we headed to some nearby oyster bars and started looking for redfish. With temperatures in the high 30's at daybreak we knew the redfish would be moving very slow in the shallows so we switched from the topwater plugs and began throwing gulp shrimp on 1/16 ounce jig heads and for the second morning in a row the redfish were cooperative as we landed several nice fish between 23 and 26 inches. The cold weather did slow down the bite a little bit, we still had two successful days of fishing in the outer creeks of ozello and the flats around Crystal River. The past few days did not give us ideal fishing conditions but patience paid off with a quality catch of trout, redfish, and a couple big snook.

Posted on 2013 Mar 03 by clay
February 23 2013 Trout and Reds

With unseasonal winds out of the south today the conditions were perfect for sighfishing Redfish in some creeks north of Crystal River and thats exactly what I decided we would do. At 8am we headed down the river to target big redfish and hopefully catch some good trout. With calm winds and crystal clear water conditions, a natural lure presentation would be vital to our success today. I rigged the rods with light flourocarbon leaders, 1/16 ounce jig heads, and natural colored DOA shrimp and we strated our search around some oyster bars and rocky areas. We immediatly we caught a few nice trout and our day started off well but trout were not our intended species today. We moved back into the creeks and started to find what we were looking for, Redfish. The further we went into the creek the more fish we found, the reds seemed to be schooled up in groups of 8-12 fish and we caught an average of 2 fish per school. We fished for several hours until the tide got too low to fish the area so we headed to some to flats to finish our half day catching trout. We had a great day and finished with 7 redfish and a good catch  of trout.

Posted on 2013 Feb 27 by clay
February 16 2013 Backcountry Redfish and Flounder
The weather finally cleared today and I decided to head out and do a little scouting for an upcoming charter. Although the cold front had past there was still a chill in the air so I headed back into some deeper creeks to find some fish that had weathered the storm in the deep holes. Fishing with jigs and spoons I only managed a few short trout and one small redfish in saltriver but as I moved south the fishing got better and the fish got bigger. It was apperant that the fish were lathargic and sluggish but as the sun warmed the shallow water so did the bite. I finished my short yet successful day with several nice Redfish and one fat Flounder.
Posted on 2013 Feb 27 by clay
Windy fishing, Solid trout bite. February 12, 2013

The weather conditions today called for building winds and falling tides as I pulled in to Pete's Pier Marina to pick up Dick Reddick and his good friend Case, we laoded up some live shrimp and headed down the foggy river to chase trout and redfish in Salt River. We started our search fishing DOA jigs in the back country of Ozello and we were not dissapointed. The bite started off a little bit slow but as we worked the deeper holes in the area we began to develope a pattern as the trout started coming over the side of the boat. As the wind began to blow increasingly hader and the tide raced out even more we stuck to the plan and worked the pot holes and oyster bars and continued to have success with the trout but today the redfish eluded us. Although the conditions were terrible by the end of the day we still managed to have a great time on the water. Mr. Dick and Mr. Case where both great guys and I look forward to having them on the boat again in the near future.

 

Posted on 2013 Feb 13 by clay
Solid trout bite in the January heat. January 12, 2013

With all the warm weather we have been having in the sunshine state, it made sense that today we would try and target trout that are in transition between the springfed river and the summertime grass flats. Although the calendar says that it is still winter, with temperature in the 80's the fish are already very active in their spring patterns. Today Daniel, Brittany, and I headed to a series of small flats near the mouth of Crystal River where I decided that we would fish cork rigs with DOA shrimp and jerkbaits for trout. As we started fishing it was apperant that their was no shortage of speckled trout in the area with trout of all sizes coming to the boat on nearly every cast. We quickly wrapped up a nice limit of 15 trout with our average keeper being about 17inches long and our big fish being a 3lb beauty, we headed for the dock as the sun began to set with smiles on our faces and fish in the box. We had a great afternoon and caught some nice fish, special thanks to Daniel and Brittany.

Posted on 2013 Jan 16 by clay
Winter mixed bag with Capt. Zach Hoffman January 5,2013
Today I had the pleasere of having Capt. Zach Hoffman on the boat and we planned to head out to some rocks in 6-8 feet of water looking to catch sheephead and some seabass. With flat calm conditions in was a great out as we made our way down the river with light fog and hard outgoing tide. I decided that we would start on the north end of the foul area and fish our way down to the south, the water was crystal clear and we had no problems catching a pile of sheephead, seabass, and large grunts. As an added bonus Zach and I were able to land several nice gag grouper on light tackle. We had a great half day on the water and we headed in with a nice foul area mixed bag.
Posted on 2013 Jan 16 by clay
October 13, 2012 Relay For Life Tournament and Charter

Today I had the pleasure of fishing in the 1st Annual Relay For Life Fishing Tournament out of Riverside Resort in Homossassa Fl. My charter for the day was Benjamin Shaffer and Mike Keane and these guys were very excited to go target a variety of inshore game fish that we needed to be a contender for the tournament. This tournament was structured on a points system so it made sense to target multiple species and not spend too much time on one species, time management was key to success today. The day started out with unfavorable conditions, the tide was very low and the wind was already starting to blow out of the east with forecasts for 15-20 knot winds in the afternoon. We headed north from crystal river to start our search for redfish, flounder, sheephead, and snapper. We were fishing with shrimp on jigheads at our first spot and it really paid off early, on Ben's second cast he hooked into a good fish that seemed to be a large black drum. As the fish neared the boat and I could see that it was not a black drum but a monster redfish. After several great pictures we released the 21 pound beast of a redfish and caught several more short redfish. Then we moved on in search of sheephead and snapper and we were able to catch several keepers of each species and then we moved a short distance and caught several nice trout. The final piece of our puzzle was to catch a black seabass on our way to the wiegh in at Riverside Resort. We stopped at several shallow water rocks and Mike was able to catch a great seabass to help us in the standings. We headed for the wiegh in and after a short wait we finished in 4th place with a 12 point stringer. We had a fantastic day on the water with a great box of fish and Ben's trophy redfish was just the icing on the cake. Great job guys!

 

Posted on 2012 Oct 16 by clay
October 6, 2012 Great half day of Trout fishing
Today I had Dave, George, Kyle and Jeff on the boat and we planned to fish cork rigs on the shallow flats off of Homossassa. The weather forecast looked great as we left Pete's Pier at 7:30 am with a high outgoing tide. We started our search for trout in salt river but the tide had already gotten too low for us to effectivly fish that area. I decided to head out to the flats off Ozello and Homossassa and as soon as we started fishing George started to show his skill as a trout fishermen by catching a beautiful 22incher. The guys caught a pile of short trout with some nice keepers mixed in. Rootbeer jigs were the lure of choice today and the action was solid throughout our morning on the water. Around 11:30 we called it a day and headed back to Pete's with 12 nice trout in the box with our average fish being about 18 inches. Special thanks to Dave for setting up the trip, and look forward to having these guys on the boat again in the future.
Posted on 2012 Oct 08 by clay
Awesome evening trout fishing. October 1, 2012

This evening we headed out for some late evening trout fishing in the shallow grass flats down south of Homossassa. The trout have began to leave the deeper flats where they spent the summer and  move into the shallow creeks and flats of Ozello and Homossassa. We fished primarily with DOA shrimp and CAL jigs on 1/8 ounce jig heads and this proved to be more then the schooling trout could handle. The action was fast and furious with a healthy mix of smaller and larger fish. We landed nearly 50 trout in about an hour of fishing with 16 nice keeper fish and two trout over 20 inches. Our fishing window was short this evening but we deffinantly made the best of our time on the water.

Posted on 2012 Oct 03 by clay
Awesome Redfishing and sightfishing cobia on September 30, 2012

On todays trip we decided to get out early and go search for some fall run cobia that are still hanging around the Crystal River area. This past spring we had a fantastic run of small to medium sized cobia and as fall is approaching the cobia are migrating south along our coast. As Kyle and I headed north from Crystal River we soon found several cobia in the 20-30 inch range cruising on the surface and we sight fished these great fighters on light tackle. As we approached a small oyster bar bordered by a deep hole we looked for cobia but we stumbled upon another species of hard fighting gamefish, large schooling redfish. Kyle and I both hooked up on large reds with both fish pushing the 35inch mark. We continued to work the school of bruisers with DOA shrimp on jig heads and the double hookups just kept on coming, in about an hours time we caught and released over 30 large redfish. We experienced some amazing action with some gorgeous fish and look forward to continued action with these fun fighters.

Posted on 2012 Oct 03 by clay
September 1st 2012. Crystal River Bonefish!!! Simply Awesome

Today started out as every charter does for me; fuel the boat, rig the rods, and load all the other essential items for a successful fishing trip. But this trip would prove to be anything but another ordinary half day charter. I picked up 8 year old Belle, 9 year old Kaitlyn, 12 year old James and there father at Petes Pier Marina and we headed out to target snapper and black drum in an area a little bit north of Crystal River. We started catching lots of smaller snapper and drum and the kids were having a great time with the fast action even though the fish werent huge. After about an hour of fishing Belle, the youngest of the kids, hooked into what i thought was a nice redfish and the fish immediatly took 60 yards of 8lb test braid but it never surfaced and shook its head like most redfish do. Belle did a fantastic job fighting this mystery fish and as it neared the boat it dove deep and made a second long run. Belle was getting tired but she fought the fish back to the boat I could not believe my eyes when it materialized out of the murky water, it was a beautiful 7lb bonefish! I carefully pulled it out of the water and snapped some quick pictures of Belle holding her once in a lifetime catch. Today will be a day that I will never forget.

Posted on 2012 Sep 07 by clay
3/04/2012 full day of jigging trout

Today it was apperant that spring is coming fast. I decided that we would head offshore in search of trout, spanish mackerel, and cobia that should be pushing out on to the deeper flats about 6 miles west of Crystal River. We fished with DOA C.A.L series jigs on jig heads in about 7ft of water in an area of mixed seagrass and limestone bottom. We found a good sized group of trout and the guys caught several nice trout and a few early season makerel. We finished the day with 15 keeper trout and 6 makerel in the box. We had a very successful day and we had a nice box of tasty fish to take back to the dock.

Posted on 2012 Apr 12 by clay
2/20/2012 Half day on the inshore bite

Today we had cool weather and low water to deal with but we headed north in search of redfish along the famed spoil banks. We really wanted to focus on catching redfish and flounder among the rocks. DOA jigs were the bait of choice and we spent 3 hours catching redfish on the incoming tide. the bite was on and we easily landed 16 nice redfish in 4 hours of fishing.

 

Posted on 2012 Apr 12 by clay
Trout and Reds, February 5, 2012
Today we headed out for an afternoon of jigging for Speckled Trout and Reds. With calm, warm weather and plenty of time to go find the fish we decided to make a pretty good run up to the north and we were not dissapointed. We decided to cast DOA rootbeer shrimp on 1/8 ounce chartruese jig heads around oyster bars and small rock piles. The bite started out a little bit slow but picked up as the tide turned and began to flow out of the creeks and canals in the area. We caught a great mixed bag of Jack Crevalle and Makeral but but the stars of the show were the 12 nice Redfish including and 29inch red that weighed over 12 pounds, 6 Trout, and a beautiful 32inch Snook that we caught. Rootbeer and watermelon shrimp was the baits of chioce. We couldnt have asked for a better day on the water.
Posted on 2012 Feb 08 by clay
Beautiful Weather and Great Fishing: 11-26-11
Today I had Greg and Denver Reilly and their friend Conrad on the boat. All three of these guys are natives of southern Ontario but they all adapted to saltwater fishing very quickly. We started the day fishing for trout on the crystal clear flats inside Ozello for trout with corks and DOA shrimp. The guys caught several nice trout but they were not the bigger fish that I was looking for so I decided to make a move to some deeper flats were I exspected the bigger trout to be and we were not dissapointed. All three guys caught some great looking trout and Denver had a blast catching trout and ladyfish. Once the tide came in high enough we moved back into a creek were Denver landed his biggest fish to date which was a 23 inch Redfish. Our trip was blessed with perfect weather and the bite was on. All 3 guys had a great trip and I look forward to having them back on the boat soon. Thanks guys.
Posted on 2011 Nov 29 by clay
Fierce Competition and Great Fishing: Friday 11-25-11

Today I had the Mr. Rairick, Micheal, and Dave on the boat with me and we decided to fish a half day inshore in the afternoon. The guys wanted me to help them work off some of that thanksgiving dinner and we sure did that. I decided that we would start off fishing a small rockpile in the main river where we encountered several short redfish and trout and Mr. Rairick hooked a beast that managed to break off in the rocks. The guys had decide that they would have their own fishing tournament on the boat so everyfish that came over the gunnel was counted and thier was no shortage of taunting and teasing between the three guys as they all fished as hard as they could to try and take the top prize. After fishing the river we moved out to some shallow kelp flats to fish popping corks and DOA shrimp for speckled trout on the incoming tide. the action was fast and furious and I could hardly keep up with unhooking and measuring the trout that the guys were catching. We fished a steady trout bite for about two and a half hours and the guys landed several fine trout, then I decide that we would go back in a small creek and try for a nice redfish. We caught 7 beautiful reds but the keepers eluded us and we headed back to the dock with the sun setting at our backs. Everyone had a great time on the water and Dave pulled off the victory with a beautiful 21 inch, 3lb trout at the last minute. Great fishing guys.

Posted on 2011 Nov 29 by clay
October 22, 2011 Offshore Grouper fishing in the Yellowfin

Today we decided to go offshore in the big boat to target gag grouper. Me, Jamel, Chris, Ron, Jack, Ryan, and Scott left my house at 7 am with a mariginal weather forecast ahead of us. The ride out wasnt bad at all as my 34' Yellowfin center console cut through the crisp 4 foot chop that we encoutered on the 32 mile ride to the first spot. The first spot was a bust but we quickly changed course and began to work our way south.. At the next rock we all hooked up on our first drop to the bottom with an assortment of sort red grouper and gag grouper. Very soon the big fish started to bite and we quickly iced down several nice gag and red grouper. The next 3 spots produced more keepers and we kept fishing rocks in the 40 to 48 ft water depths. The baits of choice today were live pinfish and the larger fish ate ladyfish chunks and frozen threadfin herring. I saved the best rock for the last stop of the day and with 9 nice gags in the box we needed 5 more fish to finish out our limit and call it a day. I had the rest of the crew stay with natural bait and i decided to try some light tackle action and dropped down a DOA swimming mullet and was immediatly hooked up with a keeper gag the action was hot and heavy and several fish over ten pounds were landed as we wrapped up our fishing day. The day went great and we finished with 14 keeper gags with big fish at just over 15 pounds and two nice red grouper.

Posted on 2011 Oct 25 by clay
October 15, 2011 Trout Everywhere!
Today I had Blake David and Derik on the boat and I decided that we would spend the day targeting trout and we wanted to catch some big gator trout.We departed at 10:00am just in time to catch the last part of the outgoing tide. We fished deep holes in ozello and St. Martins Keys area with D.O.A. shrimp and C.A.L jerkbaits rigged on jigheads and under popping corks. the four of us caught trout hand over fist for 5 hours and landed a nearly 200 trout with 43 keeper fish. We released most of the fish we caught but kept 8 nice fish for Derik to take home to his family. Today had to be one of the best days of trout fishing that I can remember. We caught several trout over 3 pounds and our big fish of the day was a 23 inch beauty. We were back at the dock by 4:30, thanks guys for making today a great one.
Posted on 2011 Oct 17 by clay
October 14, 2011 Low water and great fishing

With cold fronts on there way the fish are now in a transistion period between there summer huants and the deep holes and springs of the Crystal River. This time of year offers some of the best fishing because most species of gamefish are eating alot and fattening up for the winter We had a great time today catching both trout and redfish around oyster bars and creek mouths in and around saltriver and ozello. The fish were very eager to eat our DOA jigs and jerk baits as well as topwater plugs and mirrolures. We caught nearly 30 keeper trout and kept 10 nice fish for the fryer. It was a spectacular day on the on the water and we ended the day with a nice box of fish and many more healthy trout and redfish released.

Posted on 2011 Oct 17 by clay
October 9th. terrible weather but great fishing!
With rain in the forecast David Case and i geared up for a very wet and windy day in the Gulf of Mexico. The weather may have been cold and wet but the fishing was red hot. We fished jerk baits and jigs and had a great time catching a nice limit of both trout and redfish. We fished a long creek with both rocks and kelp grass and landed both trout and redfish one after another. We finished the day with 2 nice redfish and 10 nice trout in about 5 hours of fishing. It was a great day to just relax and catch a lot fish. But I do wish that the weather would have been more cooperative
Posted on 2011 Oct 09 by clay
October 8th. inshore fishing with Russ and Victoria

 Today I had Russ Jones and Victoria on the boat. Unfortunately we had marginal weather but we decided to give it a shot anyway and I’m sure glad that we did. The wind was blowing a solid 20 knots out of  the east but that didn’t seem to bother the trout and redfish one bit. We left Pete’s pier at 12:30 with a good incoming tide and we decided that we would fish saltriver and Ozello. We found the trout very eager to eat both top water plugs and jigs. We fished some shallow flats in saltriver and landed several nice tout and missed a few monsters so after catching a few trout we fished pinfish around some rock piles and landed a nice redfish. The fishing wasn’t easy at all but we managed to land six nice tout including an awesome 22 inch beauty and a fine redfish to cap the afternoon off. Everyone had a great time and I look forward to fishing with fine folks again. Thanks guys!

Posted on 2011 Oct 09 by clay
Sunday Sept. 18, 2011 Great mixed bag inshore trip!
Today we were blessed with beautiful weather, but we were also challenged with tough conditions and we still managed to end the day witha nice box of fish. David Case and Blake Shidler fished with me today, we fished all day with an extremely low falling tide which made our plans of catching redfish a diffecult prospect. So we changed plans and i decided that we would target trout and mackerel on the shallow flats and oyster beds of Crystal River. With a hard outgoing tide pushing us across the flats at a perfect speed we fished live pinfish and jigs in 3-5 ft under corks. The trout are beginning school up on the flats in preparation for the cooling weather so we took advantage of this and caught dozens of trout out the sandy pot holes and grass patches surrounding gomez rocks. We ended the day with 9 keeper trout up to 20 inches, 3 nice mackerel, and a nice flounder.
Posted on 2011 Sep 22 by clay
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