Kyle Messier

Finally, the Redfish and SeaTrout bite has come into full swing this New Year along the Nature Coast. It only took 4 weeks, but most of the Reds and Trout in the area have finally found their winter hideouts. In recent weeks both the Red and Trout populations have been on the move in search of more consistent water temperatures and an abundant source of food. This major push of fish towards more habitable locations usually occurs in late November or December, however due to summer like weather patterns and an overabundance of bait in the area most fish have remained in the particular hotspots since May.

As you can imagine I am in just as much disbelief as are most captains along the Nature Coast that the major fish push inshore has taken this long. However, as the old saying goes, "better late than never." Although it has taken a while on recent charters my clients and I have been recording record catches of Seatrout and Redfish all fishing similar small areas of the Crystal and Homosassa rivers.

When I fish these river systems I try to break them up into three sections in order to target fish where ever they maybe hiding. There are deep holes along most of the channels of these rivers and I typically use a Berkley Gulp jig tipped with a shrimp to get the deep dwelling reds and trout. The trick when fishing deep water during the winter is to make sure you work your lure slow, almost to a crawl. If I can't get the fish to bite in deep water then I will typically try and fish the drop offs using live shrimp free lined with the current. Most of the times while free lining a live shrimp you will get a ton of interested ladyfish or mangrove snapper to come to the bait. If I start getting a ton of trash bites than I will try use cut mullet of ladyfish to limit the amount of small fish.

And finally most of my best fishing has been done along the shallow flats that are scattered throughout these river systems. When fishing these shallow flats I always make sure that there is plenty of structure, bait and moving water. All three of these aspects are important as was evident on many of my most recent charters. By targeting these three aspects I rewarded my clients with amazing catches of Reds and Trout lately. On a recent charter with Greg, Bert and Ben Jackson we spent the early part of the morning chasing Speckled Trout with Berkley Gulp jigs. The Speckled Trout ranged from 15-22" and were caught targeting many of the potholes scattered throughout the local flats. After catching a mess of trout, we then target Redfish along some of the rocky points and oyster bars scattered along the river bank. To my amazement many of the oyster bars and rocky points that I had been fishing for Redfish, now contained huge schools of Speckled Trout. After setting up up current I took a few minutes to chum the bars with shrimp. It was amazing to see the oyster bar come to life with just a few hand fulls of chum. For over an hour we caught Redfish up to 27inches and Trout up 22 inches every other cast. Talk about a great day. Not to mention the weather was top notch also.

As you can see the inshore fishing has finally caught up with the New Year. If January has an indication on what the fishing is going to be like this year, then folks you better hold on to your hats, it looks as if we are going to have another wild and crazy fishing year.

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Fish Species: Redfish and Seatrout
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Kyle Messier

About The Author: Captain Kyle Messier

Company: Reel Florida Fishing Charters

Area Reporting: Crystal River and Homosassa

Bio: Capt. Kyle Messier is a full-time professional fishing guide with over 15 years experience fishing the inshore and offshore waters of Florida. Capt. Kyle\'s home waters off the world famous Crystal River and Homosassa area produce a number of speices including Redfish, Speckled Trout, Tripltail, Shark, Black Drum, and Largemouth Bass. Inshore light tackle fishing is his specialty, but as long as an area is wet he can figure out a way to catch fish in it.

Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Kyle Messier