Sight fishing for tailing redfish offers an interesting challenge for the angler. Redfish are abundant in the clear shallow water here all year and remain on the flats except for the rare times we have freezing weather. Redfish make perfect fly targets. They are very obvious as they “push” water. They are not spooky. And you don’t need to cast a mile to catch one. The largest schools of redfish are found in July through late September. The biggest refish are found in late October and November.
Seatrout are here year-round. During the fall and early winter and again in the spring it is not unusual to find large concentrations of fish. From late March to May you will find “muds” on the flats where trout, bluefish, mackeral, and who knows what else will be grubing around in a feeding frenzy.
Late March and early April is usually blustery but prime time for cobia. One of the best places to catch cobia is to find stingrays. Cobia love to follow along behind a feeding ray as it grubs along the bottom. Anything that is flushed out usually gets eaten by the cobia. Just toss your fly on the ray’s back and hold on.
May is normaly very calm and warm. The migratory tarpon start arriving. Your Greatest chance to hook a huge tarpon is here. If you really want to catch a tarpon you need a guide. Make your plans early as all the good guides are booked well in advance. There are tarpon in the rivers year-round.
We all enjoy a fun day fishing and there is probably nothing as exciting as catching a tarpon on light tackle. The giant tarpon that frequent the flats of Homosassa in May and June are the breeding stock that replenish this fishery. It takes fifty to sixty years to produce a big tarpon, but only an hour to kill one. All the big tarpon are females. With a few simple rules you can get the fish in fast and release it to spawn and maintain this wonderful tarpon fishery. The most important factor in fly fishing for tarpon is adequate tackle. You need a good sturdy 12 wt. or 13 wt. flyrod and a reel capable of holding at least 300 yards of 30# backing. Your drag should be set at 20% of your line strength. So, if your are using a 20 lb. class tippet, you drag setting should be set at 4 lbs straight off the reel. With some knowledge about tackle and fighting fish you can keep the trauma to the fish at a minimum. Your guide will help.
Jacks, mangrove snappers, and lady fish are thick in the rivers when the weather is cold. There have been many fishing days saved by these denizens of the winter river. The jacks are powerful fish and are fun anytime you catch one. You can catch a snapper on a “Crazy Charlie”. Lady fish are a blast on ultra light tackle. When hooked, they jump all over the place. All the main spring fed rivers here maintain a 72 degree temperature year-round. That’s why the fish swarm in the rivers in the winter.
|LEGEND: E = Excellent | G = Good | F = Fair – can be windy|