Florida Fishing Report for:
Crystal River and The Nature Coast
February's Best Bets
Catchin' Report February 2003 Captain
Due to the lower water temperatures,
our Homosassa/Crystal River flats are crystal clear Add this
to days of warm sunny afternoons hitting 70 degrees and calm
winds has made for great fishing conditions. The trout and
redfish have cooperated nicely, On nights when we have
temperatures plummeting down in the low 40's fishing has
been best in the afternoons. If you have no other choice but
to fish first thing in the morning check out deep holes in
creeks and rivers. Besides holding sheephead, black drum and
trout, they can be very productive for reds. The deep water
is affected less from the plummeting nighttime temperatures.
Reds and other fish will hold up there until the first rays
of sunlight warm the surrounding waters.
In the afternoons look for reds on the
backcountry mud/shallow flats. They are seeking the warmth
provided by the sun and will scavenge across the shallow
flats, sometimes head down rooting up small crabs and
shrimp. In the wintertime when reds are tailing in the
shallows it may be best to fish a tail hooked live shrimp on
a light 1/8-1/4 oz or even free line.I prefer free lining.
Because of native shrimp sometime being scares this time of
year, I seldom see a red pass up this easy meal. With the
clear water, it is possible sometimes to see the reds
tailing on the flats. When you see this, just present your
shrimp just in front of the red and let it lie. Then as the
red approaches wiggle the rod just a little.
As the tide receds, I have good
success fishing oyster bars and rocky points with a light
jig head and Saltwater Assassin split tail grub. Reds, and
trout have been nailing the Saltwater Assassins fished on a
lighter than normal 1/8 oz Jig head. The lighter weight
allows it to flutter slower to the bottom thus allowing more
time for the fish to strike. Don't forget with the chilly
water temperature fish movements have slow down considerably
and you will need to give them a three count before setting
Sheepshead, and black drum can be
found around the channel markers, offshore rocks and deep
holes in creeks and rivers. Most of the larger sheepshead
and drum have come from deeper holes and rocky channels.
This is the time of year the big sheepshead spawn on the
reefs and inshore rocks. Best bait is a live fiddler crab if
you can find them or small piece of shrimp. Trout season is
closed for February in our area. However, If March is like
previous years, trout season will open like gangbusters. Of
course, you can still catch 'em, just be very gentle and
careful on your release.Some folks like to bend the barb
down on their hook so as not to harm the fish.
Most Grouper Getters will have to find
50 foot water or better this time of year to catch their
limit. Baits should be fished slow as the fish aren't nearly
as agressive as during warm months. So be patient. However,
spring is not far away.
Fly anglers weapon of choice this time
of year is a chartreuse Clouser. Instead of working deep
15-ft water, flyfishers should present their fly to water
that is 1-4 ft deep. Just make sure it has deep water near
by. A pink shrimp imitation works well also.
This month is a good one to get out
all your reels and spool with new line. Also, clean 'em up
and grease them. It won't be long before they will be
tested, so, make sure you're ready when ol' Bubba is on the
other end stretching that new line.
If you haven't already done so, now is
the time to book your Tarpon and Redfish trips with your
favorite guide. These slots fill up fast for the months of
May, June and July.
For those of you who like to sleep
in...then go fishin', this is your time of year. So get on
out there and go catchin'.
Cause a child's smile and a good day
fishin' is the best medicine for what ails ya.
Until next time......
Captain Ed Lewis