Cold Gulf water temperatures has pushed most fish into the rivers and backcountry creeks. One fish continues to enjoy the cold waters on the nearshore rocks and that's the sheepshead.
Trout are pushed up into the deep water creeks, spring fed rivers and even residential canals because of the cold waters of the Gulf. As a trend of warm weather comes this week look for trout to move over into shallow water during the heat of the day to warm themselves in the sun. One thing to look for is deep water nearby because the trout will seek refuge in the deep water at night when the air temperatures drop cooling the shallow waters again. Good areas are in the Homosassa River, Crystal River, St. Martins River, Little Homosassa River and Mason Creek. The best bait's are MirrOlure Lil' Johns, D.O.A. 5.5" Glow Jerk Baits and live shrimp.
Redfish are a little more cold hardy and can be found cruising the backcountry shallows. Sight casting with Eppinger Rex copper spoons, crab patterns on a fly rod or live shrimp with spinning tackle will catch redfish. Some of the best areas to go and sight cast for redfish is in Fish Creek, Pea Pass and the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. Also some redfish will be in the Nature Coast Rivers near rocky points that are on deep parts of the rivers. Live shrimp is the best bait for river redfish.
The sheepshead bite is very good on the rockpiles and reefs from eight feet of water out to twenty feet. On a recent charter my clients caught 21 sheepshead in about 1 hour using shrimp. A few of the fish were 5-6 pounds. The best method is to use a 1/0 Eagle Claw baitholder hook with a 1/4 oz. sliding sinker. I hook the shrimp from the tail forward and cast it right to the edge of the structure. The sheepshead bite will be a slow but steady pull and when you feel the weight of the fish set the hook.
High incoming tide this coming weekend will be very late evening. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com