Homosassa – Tarpon, Redfish, Cobia & Grouper
The first two weeks of June, have been a GREAT time to be on the water, here in Homosassa, as it’s been a real smorgasbord of CATCHING fish! On Tuesday, 6/2, Captain Charlie H., one of the most veteran and best Tarpon fisherman in the area, reported after a 2 ½ hour battle, one of his clients caught a 200+ pound Silver King, that he believed would have been a World Record if it had been caught on a fly. The next day, Wednesday, (in the middle of the week), I counted at least a dozen flats boats poling the Chassahowitzka Flats, close to the outside edge of the islands in pursuit of the Leaping Giants. All those boats are here for a reason, as Tarpon Season is in full swing. Rumor has it, that it was Captain John B., that took a swan dive off his poling platform, just as his client began casting a fly to a sighted fish. From where I was, all I could see before the Captain splashed the water was his blue shirt and white engine?
I’ve been spending more time scouting locations in my new Freedom Hawk Kayak and the results have been almost immediate. I’ve been running out to the backwater creeks with the kayak down the side of my center consol and then stealthy paddling or poling around looking for new places to catch Redfish. Last Wednesday, after seeing the unknown Captain so elegantly splash down in the water, I caught a 23 inch Redfish in one of those new locations, Circle Cove, on a incoming tide with a piece of cut Pinfish. It’s always a good feeling to catch fish in a new spot! I also managed to catch, 3 Speckled Trout, while drifting the grass flats and throwing Berkley Gulps under Cajun Thunder popping corks. I wound up catching a total of seven different species, as the action was constant.
On a dreary, overcast Saturday morning, June 6th, 200 boats, raced out the Homosassa River, flying American Flags to start the 25th Annual Homosassa Cobia Tournament. Seeing 200 boats fly out the Homosassa River at once is a spectacle to see, we’ve posted pictures in our Photo Gallery. Every size and shape boat you can imagine persevered rain and thunder to catch Cobia, Grouper and Trout, for the large winner’s purse and of course for Sunday’s fish fry. At the end of the first day, the leader board was headed by Mike Muckenfuss’, 38.54 pound Cobia, Ben Mercer’s, 17.08 pound Grouper and Darleen Flynn’s 2.98 pound Trout. Sunday’s weather was more cooperative as it turned out to be a warm, brilliant sunshiny day. All 200 boats were again out trying to improve the leader board, though the only change during the second day was Christopher Rand’s, 4.02 pound Trout.
On Tuesday, 6/9, I fished with Doug Bass from Old Homosassa and his Brother-In-Law, Robert Holder from Du Quoin, Illinois. The weather was beautiful and the ride out was like floating on a mirror, it was flat calm and you could see the reflection of the clouds on the water. We all agreed, starting a day like that, it just can’t be much better! After stopping to check one of my bait traps for live Pinfish, we started the day fishing the outside edges of the spoil islands, hoping to catch a Redfish while we still had some water as the tide was going out. After a short attempt and with the tide rushing towards the Gulf, we changed tactics and began drifting the lush grass flats looking to put some Speckled Trout and Spanish Mackerel in the cooler for dinner that evening. It didn’t take long before we had 6 Trout in the boat and Robert would get to feast on Rosalita’s Trout Tacos, (see our Recipe Page), before returning to Illinois! We also caught 4 Black Tip Sharks, 1 Jack Crevalle and experienced non-stop action with just about every other “trash” fish that swims in the Gulf, totaling a dozen different species caught by the end of the day.
When the tide turned and started heading back in, we decided to ride with the tide into the backwater creeks trying to add a Redfish to our days tally. The first stop was Redfish Point, where I’ve probably caught more Reds then any other one spot but they weren’t there this trip. Though as we moved, we spotted one of the American flags from the weekends tournament floating on the water, as Doug reached to take it out of the water, I asked if this good deed, could be a sign of things to come? So we moved further back, where the tide was now rushing around a little island lined with oyster bars and rocks. It didn’t take long for our excitement level, focus and enthusiasm to rise as Robert’s reel began screaming! We knew immediately this was a big fish as the 20 pound braided line was cutting through the water real fast. Robert could feel the fish was back up in the rocks and became concerned he may get cut off. Just as fast as it swam to the rocks, it turned back around and was now swimming away from that danger. It now became a team effort as the fish walked Robert to the back of the boat and Doug began clearing the other lines out of the way and I raised the prop to remove any possible obstacles. Robert did an excellent job fighting the fish but every time he would get it near the boat or net, it would make another powerful run! When I finally did get it in the net and then measured, the monster was 29 inches and over the 27 inch slot limit, so we took a few quick pictures before Robert revived and released the fish for another angler to enjoy. Robert was pumped as this was the largest Redfish, he’s caught!! After a few more stops we decided to call it a day and cruise through the picturesque backcountry to the marina. The day was full of action and the light breeze made for a comfortable day on the water. Let’s go CATCHING!!!
I’d like to thank everyone for all the positive comments about our new and improved website, www.HomosassaRedfish.com. We’ve recently added another new feature to the bottom of the Home Page, the “Catch of the Month” photo, check it out. If you have any pictures you’d like to submit for the “Catch of the Month”, please forward those to my attention at, RedEd@homosassaredfish.com. Don’t forget about Father’s Day on June 21st, a Gift Certificate for a day on the water, would please any Dad. Also, Scallop Season opens July 1st, book you trip to snorkel for this sweet tasting treasure soon, as July is filling up fast. Come bend a rod with us in one of Florida’s last best kept secrets, the beautiful and productive waters of Homosassa and Chassahowitzka!!! Captain Red ED