Big seasons and high hopes open for the Nature Coast this coming week. Scallops are what draws the largest number of boaters to our area and our county along with the others north on the Big Bend.
We look forward and appreciate folks who choose to stay and spend their vacation dollars here. Tropical Storm Debbie was a party crasher but here is the scoop on scalloping in Homosassa. The water clarity is very good if not excellent with light floating grass and jellyfish are non-existent at this time. The down side is this week we will have full moon tides that will make for deep waters on the scallop grounds. The scallops are scattered about and we can thank TS Debbie for that with her high waters and heavy rainfall. The good news is this will all come to past and we have two extra weeks to harvest scallops with the season ending September 25th.
The next season opener will be for gag grouper that opens July first. From local reports of anglers fishing out to 50’ it would be hard not to catch a limit ( 2 fish 22'” minimum ) of gags. I can attest that on todays charter in six feet of water there were some nice gag grouper that gave us a good fight and some breaking off our light tackle that were in the keeper size range. With the floating grass not being to bad I would think trolling would be productive, but a live pinfish or frozen sardine fishing on the bottom is the most common method. Inshore I’ve been catching them casting D.O.A. 6” shrimp to structure letting the shrimp sweep by with the current and a few sharp twitches of the rod tip. Yes keeper grouper can be caught in relatively shallow water in Homosassa.
Trout fishing has moved out to the 6’ to 8’ range. Look for clear water with broken bottom. The bottom should have sand patches along with hard reef corals and sponges. Moving water works best and early morning or overcast conditions makes for better fishing. Clacking corks with a chartreuse jig head and a variety of soft plastics will get the bite. Tie the jig about 30” under the cork. I’d be lying if I said one color works because with 4 different anglers with different colors we were all catching trout. Redfish are on the outside keys and the best bite is the last hour of incoming tide. Natural baits have been producing best.
High incoming tide will be mid-day to late afternoon this week. Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July. Capt. William Toney