Homosassa Fish Feeding Frenzy
September on Florida’s Nature Coast is a month of transition, due to a combination of factors, including the fall migration of bait fish, a decrease in water temperature and less daylight. The Gulf’s water temperature has now cooled down to a chilly 83 degrees. These changing conditions trigger an explosion of action on the water. Redfish stay active longer in shallow cooler water; Speckled Sea Trout also feed longer turning their attention towards the surface, and Spanish Mackerel chase bait further inshore. Look for huge flocks of birds working the surface as evidence of large bait pods on the flats. Where there is bait, there will be predators. Within the large schools of bait fish you can find a smorgasbord of drag screaming fun including Speckled Sea Trout, Spanish Mackerel, Grouper, Bluefish, Sharks, Jack Crevalle, Ladyfish and maybe even a Cobia. All of these species are feeding aggressively and attack your baits with a vengeance.
On a recent charter with Phil Wilson from Pinellas Park, Jack Grose and Kern Bryan from St. Petersburg we found as Jack called it “Trout Town”, as we drifted across the shallow flat south of Chassahowitzka Point with the wind and current, we managed to catch at least 20 Sea Trout, including 7 keepers. We were catching and releasing them so fast we actually lost count. But as soon as we drifted outside of “Trout Town”, we started to catch (what we refer to as trash fish), Lizardfish, small Sea Bass, Pinfish and Ladyfish. So we would reposition the boat back inside for another drift and start catching Trout again. It really didn’t matter what color, flavor or shape of Berkley Gulp we threw as these fish were eating as soon as the bait hit the water. At times they would hit the Cajun Thunder float and with just a slight twitch of the rod tip they would turn and inhale the lure. It’s always exciting to watch the bite and the water on the shallow pristine flats of Citrus County just adds to the day’s enjoyment. We also managed to catch a 3 foot Bull Shark on a piece of cut bait we had floating behind the boat.
Large schools of Bull Redfish continue to roam the outside edges from the Spoil Banks in Crystal River to Grey Mares Pass to South Point off of the St. Martins Keys. Watch for the “push” on an incoming tide for best results. Bait of choice has been either cut pinfish, mullet or ladyfish. The schools of Redfish should continue to concentrate as the water temperature cools.
For all of our friends in or near the Tampa, Florida area, please stop by and visit with us this weekend at the Florida Sportsman Fishing & Boat Show, at the Florida State Fairgrounds, Expo Hall, Booth # 717, Saturday, 9/26/09, from 10 AM to 6 PM, and Sunday, 9/27/09, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Please click on this link, www.floridasportsman.com/shows/coupon/index.html, for a $2.00 off admission coupon. Stop by and meet the “Redettes” and register for your chance to win a FREE charter! If Radio City Music Hall can have the “Rockettes”, Captain “Red ED” can have the “Redettes”!!!
September 26 & 27 – Florida Sportsman Fishing & Boat Show at the Florida State Fairgrounds, Expo Hall, Booth # 717, Tampa, Florida
October 4 – Full Moon
October 8 – Gainesville Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), www.ccaflorida.org, Banquet
October 15 – Stone Crab Season Opens
October 15 – Orlando Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), www.ccaflorida.org, Banquet
October 29 thru November 2 – Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show