Homosassa – July Fishing Report

            Hello Citrus County anglers, and I hope you all are keeping cool from the summer heat. Scalloping is still the main attraction off our area, and as the season progresses, the scallops will be getting larger. With schools going back in session, the crowds will not be as large, and especially weekdays; you may just see a handful of boats. Many of the shallow locations have been picked over, so don’t hesitate to try out a bit deeper, if the pickings are slim.

  On the inshore fishing scene, the consistent trout action is still deep, out on the grass patches in the 10 to 12-foot range. However, the red fishing really excels, and large schools can be targeted around the major moon phases. Concentrate your efforts on the outer mangrove keys and spoil islands, that are to the North. The last couple hours of the incoming tide are hard to beat, and remember a stealthy approach helps with success. Push pole or trolling motor up to a likely spot, anchor down and position yourself up tide. Locate points with a hard lime stone bottom, and plenty of mullet activity. Free line a live pinfish, or for a sure hook up, try a fresh piece of cut mullet, or my favorite, cut lizard fish. (Yes, try it; it works great). For those who prefer artificials, a 1/4oz gold spoon or a DOA C.A.L. jerk bait in the glow or new penny color rigged weedless is ideal for casting along the rocky structure. On the same points as the red fish, you’re very likely to encounter some snook as well. I always encourage you to use 30 or 40 lb. leader, so you stand a chance of landing a whopper snook when it takes your bait by surprise.

Take advantage of the full moon this month and target some fine tasting mangrove snapper. Shallow rocks in 8 feet of water on out, to your favorite offshore locations, will be covered over with mangrove snapper. Anchor up, begin chumming and free line some live shrimp. I’ve caught mixed bags of snapper, sea bass, grunts, mackerel, grouper, cobia, flounder, pompano etc., all on one rock. You never know what that next cast will bring.
The gag grouper action has been very good and live pin fish has been the go-to bait. This year, the water has been exceptionally clear, so sizing down your leader to 80 lb., or even 60 lb. will get you an extra bite. Also, some red grouper are coming back to the dock, so while offshore, check your old red grouper haunts to see if a couple are there.