If you’re not familiar with Florida’s Nature Coast, let me give you a little insight. Offshore fishing requires going a minimum of 50 miles or more, anything closer is considered near shore. Inshore fishing is filled with massive rock bars and oyster bars that have taken the lives of many lower units. There are an insane amount of mangroves islands which create a maze of canals, open flats, deep holes and excellent fisheries! It’s one of the easiest places to get lost and one of the hardest places to conquer as an angler. It would take a lifetime to learn the entire area, and I know many who have spent their lives doing just that! It’s understandable, as it is one of the few places along the coast of Florida that has remained untouched! It’s a place where you can launch next to 50 other anglers, but still find an area where you’re secluded from the world. A place to enjoy nature’s beauty and regain a little bit of peace! It is a true fisherman’s paradise, to say the least.
That being said, I am a kayaker, so mainly fish the inshore waters. Most of my reports will be about inshore and backwater fishing on Florida’s Nature Coast, from Yankeetown, Inglis, Crystal River, Ozello and Homosassa.
February fishing was its usual struggle here on the Nature Coast, with several cold fronts that pushed through and the high winds we received all month, there were fewer opportunities to get out and catch fish! The strong winds have had the water pushed out leaving water levels lower than most of us have ever seen, and making it difficult, if not impossible, for many to even launch. March is here, though, and Spring is just around the corner!
Although we are looking at warmer temperatures, we’re also going to be seeing more rain showers! It’s a good time to look into your rain gear situation and make sure you keep an eye on the weather forecast! Hopefully you’ve got your gear in tip top shape, as the spring bite is going to be real hot, real soon! This is also a good time to raise that leader line up in strength! Anything below a 30lb test leader is a risk when hooked up with the big redfish and snook that have already started making their way in! If you’re like me and like a good challenge, you might get away with that 20lb test, but chances of that line breaking or being cut are much higher and you have to be ok with losing a possible fish of a lifetime to risk it!! I’ve lost numerous large snook because I didn’t up my leader!!
One of the first signs of springtime fishing is when the bait fish start appearing inshore again, and we’ve seen them coming in droves. Pinfish are the most prominent bait fish in the area, making them a favorite delicacy for most any predator fish. And, of course, with the bait fish comes the big fish.
We’re seeing the snook and redfish coming in schools along the outside islands and oyster bars, with some pushing up further into the creeks and canals inshore. They’re finding deeper pockets to hang out in until the sun warms things up and then the shallow, grassy flats come alive. The water is still super clear in most areas, so keep your leader line long and be as stealthy as possible, as the fish are easily spooked in these conditions. Most of our larger trout have moved back to the deeper gulf waters, but we’re still finding some big ones, and plenty of keepers. Other mentionable fish you might find right now are black drum, mackerel and jacks. We’ve even had some pompano showing up to the party.
The bite is only going to get better from here, so be sure to get out there and wet a line!! I’m looking forward to some awesome catching in the next few weeks!! Until next month, Tight Lines & Good Times, Y’all! Catch em Up!!
Jacinda Rose Inshore Kayak Fishing Guide
Jacinda’s Kayak Fishing Adventures
Hey y’all! My name is Jacinda. I live in Citrus County, and am a Kayak Fishing guide out of Ozello, Florida.
I began saltwater fishing in 2006, on a freezing cold, 5 layer of clothing, night time bank fishing trip, where I caught not the first thing. However, that didn’t stop me from loving the experience and wanting to go again. Eventually graduating from shore fishing to canoe fishing, and finally Kayak fishing. I fell in love with being out on a kayak and got out as often as I could.
A few years ago, I gave up life at my corporate job and joined the Kaku Kayak team in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and began my kayak fishing chartering service. There is nowhere I’d rather be than on my kayak reeling in bull redfish and monster snook!