Hernando County By: Capt. Joel Gant

Exciting Futures

Ok Fishheads, I’ve got some exciting news. Recently I had the opportunity to talk with the aquatics service manager Keith Kolasa and chairman of the county Port Authority Paul Pelletier about the new reef program here in Hernando county.

After five years of planning, last August they added three new reefs to the Bendickson reef. As most of you know, in 1995 ten M60 army tanks were submerged in an 11 acre area there. The new reefs consist of culverts, pipes and reef modules. Two of the sites received the bulk of the surplus pipes, 400 tons at one location, 200 tons at the other and at the third the modules. This month they are putting out over 130 reef balls in 3 different areas in between North Rack and Middle Rock in about 10 feet of water.

These reefs will be more accessible to boaters with smaller boats. With usually good water clarity, these sites will be great for snorkeling and fishing. These new reefs should attract organisms like sponges, algae and corals that will attach themselves and begin to grow there. This will attract more fish, creating a larger, more sustainable habitat for sea life.

Kolasa also said that about 2 million of the county’s BP oil spill settlement dollars will be spent on artificial reef projects in the next six to seven years. After five years of planning, with the spearheading from the Port Authority and help from the FWC and  County Commissioner Wayne Dukes, the future looks very bright for Hernando Beach.

Now that were past hurricane Irma and the water temps are lower, both inshore and offshore fishing is great. Now is the time to get the shallow water grouper before the season closes at the end of December. Gag grouper can be caught in as shallow as six to ten feet. Try using diving plugs or bait. Other species you can target are: trout, cobia and Spanish mackerel.

I’m always looking for reports and pictures. You can email me or stop by my website and become a “FISHHEAD”.

Get out there on the water and make some memories with friends and family!

Capt. Joel Gant operates Fishdaddy Charters out of Hernando Beach; he knows the local waters like the back of his hand, family friendly and works both inshore and offshore trips. Check him out on face book or you can reach him at (352) 279-1615. Visit his website, www.fishdaddycharter.com