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Fishing Reports

Port Richey rod bending fishing action!

By Fishing Reports

Thank god for Monday, that is something only a guide would say. But it is true, after the crowds that were at the boat ramps and on the water this weekend, it was a very welcome sight to see an empty boat ramp this morning. And the number of boats on the water was significantly lower than this past weekend. I will say the light pressure and empty parking lot made for much less stress loading and unloading for sure.

Today’s charter was a very good friend and client, he is actually the very first paying charter I ever took fishing, and he is still fishing with me 25 years later, man have we caught some fish together.

I left the ramp at sunup to go and catch bait, since bait was everywhere I went to a close by flat and what a good choice. Bait was extremely plentiful and it came into the chum almost immediately, two throws of the net and I was done. I called my charter and told them I would be there early so we could go when they got there. We loaded up an hour early and left the dock in Port Richey heading down the river to what would be a stellar day on the water. The first spot we went to was in the Cottee river and with the low water I was seeing some small Tarpon rolling. We got set up and threw the first baits in and were met by a Jack attack, every rod was bent and drags were screaming. We got rebaited and I decided to chum to see if we could draw in the small Tarpon, but the jacks were persistent. We did get one Tarpon to eat and do some aerial stunts for us, but he came unhooked and that was it for the Tarpon.

The tide was starting in and flowing hard, with the water temperature at 78 I knew the time was getting right for the Snook to go off. We ran south to a little bayou in New Port Richey that has a deep trough running through it, which funnels water right to the fish. Little did I know at 10 AM this would be the last stop I would make all day. The guys put three baits out and it immediately sounded like drag in stereo, large snook hit all three rods and they were screaming. We landed two of the three and both fish were over 30 inches, this bite went on for 3 ½ hours and only got better as the tide came up. I lost count but I would have to say we landed in the neighborhood of 30 snook, and had a few Jack Cravelle in the mix also. The biggest surprise was the 3 redfish over 30 inches, which were mixed in with the snook frenzy.

After a lot of retying leaders and hooks, the bite finally slowed, but it never did stop. It was time to go and we really left them biting.

With all the craziness going on around us right now it is nice to have a job that allows me and my clientele the ability to escape the world and just enjoy what mother nature has to offer, if you have the ability to get out now is the time, the bite is on FIRE!

Till tomorrow, tight line

Capt. Greg DeVault

 

Great fishing with good friends.

By Fishing Reports

Today was another early start to the day as I knew that today being Sunday would mean another busy day at the boat ramp. You don’t hear people say this very often, but “Thank god it’s Monday” tomorrow. One thing that has not changed is the weather, it has been absolutely gorgeous now for almost two weeks. And the fishing is still going strong, although today was a little slower than the past couple days but I’m sure it was from the number of boats on the water and it is still very good.

We are right on the new moon, so the mornings have very low tides with incoming water starting around 7 or 8am. This is one of my favorite scenarios to fish on, my boat has the ability to run very shallow and get into areas before the tide comes up. We can get set up, and as the water rises the bite typically turns on.

Today’s trip was a fun one, my good friend and client Mike and his brother Chris were on board for the day. They met me at Nicks Park in Port Richey at 6:30 am and went with me to catch bait, it took a few more throws than it had been taking but we still got plenty for the day. We left the bait flat and headed south toward Tarpon Springs to a hole I have been catching a little bit of everything. I knew we were there early but I was hoping for the best, unfortunately, the tide was slack and fish did not have much of an appetite. So we decided to head north to a small bay in New Port Richey that has been holding some nice trout and snook. It took some coaxing but we managed to get some very nice trout and jack cravelle, but could not get the snook to go. The bite again died down so off we went to a creek I was in yesterday to try and get the snook fired up. We were a little ahead of the tide but when it started moving in the snook started popping. Chris started with a nice snook around 26 inches, and then Mike followed with one just a little bigger. The bite stayed strong for about an hour or so, we were able to catch a few more snook, some trout, and jack cravelle, but the big bite came on Chris’s line and we got a very good look at the big snook as it leaped out of the water, unfortunately, that was the only look we would get, like they say, it was the big one that got away.

It was getting close to the end of the day so we hit one more spot in the Cottee River, it is a dock that always holds fish. We set up and chummed, and almost instantly we saw some fish crashing the baits. The guys caught some Jacks right off the bat, then a couple trout, and then the big hit…but yet again the snook managed to elude us while I’m sure laughing at us.

It was a very fun day with great guys and beautiful weather. This week is forecasted to be another gorgeous week and cant wait to get out there again.

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Port Richey Florida Fishing Report

By Fishing Reports

Without a doubt today was Saturday, I had a feeling it might just get a little crowded today so I arrived at the boat ramp around 6 AM, way earlier than I needed to be there for bait. But it worked out good as there was only one other boat there and I was able to launch and be on my way to catch bait well before the sun came up. It always amazes me as to what a different world it is on the water when it is pitch black, it is quiet and just a little eerie, as you don’t readily see all your points of reference. But most of the time you are the only one out there, as was the case this morning, at least for now.

Today’s charter was a friend of one of my regular client who was referred to me, he said his grandson would be with him and they wanted action. With the tides we have this week and the water temperature in the mid 70s, I told them we would be very busy.

I met them at Nicks Park in Port Richey after I returned from my favorite bait flat, I had a full live well and off we went. I decided to start at one of the trout spots I have been fishing this week to get the action going, it is always good on a hard incoming tide like we had this morning. We got set up and Evan launched a bait into the water, it was eaten almost instantaneously and he was pulling on a large gator trout. Just like the past week or so the bite was fast and furious for almost an hour, we had a few jack Cravelle mixed in and Evans dad caught a very respectable 28-inch snook.

Once the bite slowed a little and the water had come up we decided to see if we could get Evan his very first inshore slam. We moved to a small bay that was lined with mangroves, I threw out some chummers to see if I could locate what we were after. There were several explosions and as we moved in our anticipation was high. All three of them launched baits into the area where the fish had showed themselves, and like they were playing centerfield all three floats were gone immediately. Evans started pulling hard and kind of rolling and bobbing, I thought to myself…Redfish. And it was a beautiful 28-inch redfish, Evans first redfish and 2/3rds of his slam. His father had a nice red and the third fish was another Jack Cravelle. We stayed in there and caught a dozen more fish, a mix of Jacks and reds. But not the snook Evan needed for his slam, so off we went to a sweet little honey hole I have been going to in the Hudson area all week. I picked the biggest bait I could find in the live well and hooked it up for him, he launched it out and I told him to hold on. It took a few minutes but his bait started going nuts and all of a sudden he was crushed, Evan was pulling and holding on, and when it got boat side he had completed his slam with a 29 inch snook! But his dad couldn’t let Evan have all the fun and while we were taking photos of Evans fish we could here the drag singing on his reel. Once at the boat, we measured him to be 31 inches.

It was amazing to see how many boats were out today, but having a boat with the ability to run extremely shallow usually gets me to the fish first and that makes a big difference when the water is crowded. I have no doubt that Sunday will be similar to today, and I have one of my very best friends and clients. It will be a great day.

Till tomorrow, tight lines

New Port Richey and Tarpon Springs bite is hot!

By Fishing Reports

I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record but, wow, what a spring bite we are having. I keep thinking to myself that the bubble is going to burst, but each day the fishing just gets better than the day before, and the weather only gets better and even more beautiful. Daytime temperatures in the mid 80s and nighttime temperatures in the mid 60s are keeping the water temperatures at the optimal 75 to 78 degrees.

Just like the past several days I cruised out to the bait flat by cover of darkness and again I had the area all to myself, bait once again was very easy, three throws and I was on my way to pick up my charter for the day.

I once again met my charter at the docks at Anclote River Park in New Port Richey, these were new clients and I wanted to start them off right. I decided to start at a hole I had been crushing the big trout at on the high incoming tide, today I had the exact opposite tide, low outgoing, so I wasn’t sure how the bite was going to be. We got there and set up and just like the other day, and again the bite was fast and furious and non-stop for the hour we stayed there.

After catching 75 or so big trout, the guys decided they wanted to go try for some of the snook I had told them about. I headed north to a little spot off of Port Richey that I had not been to in a while. This spot is a long undercut Mangrove edge that the incoming tide runs straight down, we got the boat in position and I had the guys go two at a time as room on the edge we were fishing was limited. The first couple baits drifted by unmolested, so I took a net full of chummers and sent them out to try and inspire a bite. It took a minute or two but the freebies started to get popped, and the snook gave away their location. We adjusted the boat and the next baits were smashed, we got one 30 inch fish and one that was unstoppable, however, she did give us a look at her when she jumped and she was large!

After we got done with that mangrove edge we slid back into a small bay to see what was in there, what we found was a huge surprise. One of the lines came tight and the drag started singing, and then it broke the surface doing cartwheels like only a Tarpon can do. We wound up jumping a couple and landing a couple. To say it was a surprise is an understatement, but the way this spring has been going, not much surprises me at this point. We finished the day off with a small school of redfish I have been playing with, and while they weren’t fired up we did get a few to eat and stretch our lines.

I love having new clients as it usually means a lot of firsts will happen and today was no different, three first were completed, first Tarpon, first Snook, and first Redfish. As they departed the boat they assured me they would be back.

Back at it tomorrow hopefully the weekend traffic will be light, HAHAHA.

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault

Great weather, Awesome fishing!

By Fishing Reports

We are having one of the most beautiful Marchs I can remember in recent history. The weather has been absolutely amazing with light winds, and temperatures in the mid 80s. The water temperatures have reached 75 degrees and the fishing has gone absolutely haywire. We are experiencing one of the best bites I have ever seen for giant gator Trout, Snook, and I am seeing great numbers of redfish. The only thing that have not shown up in good numbers yet are our Cobia, but I am seeing a lot of big southern stingrays so they are not far away.

Now that the Bait and weather have stabilized my morning routine at the ramp has become pretty repetitive, the one good thing is the flat I have found bait on is still a secret, and I’m thankful for that as I drive by the flat I was using early in March and see 10 to 15 boats crowded and throwing nets. Bait is getting easier and easier, today it took about 20 minutes start to finish and it is big pilchards, which is what the Snook and big Trout want.

I met my charter for the day at Anclote River Park in New Port Richey, we had about 2 hours of incoming tide so we headed north to and area that had some rocks and a lot of current. The first bait in the water lasted about 2 seconds before and big trout devoured it, from that point on it was all I could do to keep up with baiting hooks and taking off fish. After 50 or so trout we decided to go and see if the snook would bite, so I headed north to another creek in the Hudson area that I have been fishing. We still had a good incoming tide and once we got set up the bite was fast and furious until the tide slowed and finally stopped. The size of the snook is defiantly increasing we had a few in the 30 inch range and one that we could not stop.

With the slack tide we decided to go and look for cobia until the water started to fall. We ran back south toward New Port Richey to the flat I had seen some big rays on and started our search, we came across 5 large stingrays but none of them had any followers. After 20 minutes or so we decided to go back to what was working. I had a little hole on the way back to the boat ramp that usually produced on the outgoing tide. We pulled in and again it was almost instant hook ups, the big trout were fired up and popping baits as soon as they hit the water. We emptied the well there and the jack cravelle showed up and even a snook or two.

At the end of the trip we caught at least 75 trout over 18 inches and a dozen or so snook to 31 inches. With the weather getting better and better and the water warming up, the bite is only going to get better and better.

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault

Just another day in Paradise!

By Fishing Reports

Just another day in Paradise, that is what it has been for the last week here on the waters off of New Port Richey. We have had very light winds, crystal clear water, and air temperatures in the low 80s, for getting out and catching fish it just doesn’t get much better.

Today I was fishing a good client that was lucky enough to snag a day that had to be rescheduled by another client. I left the dock to go catch bait around 6:30 AM and the crowds were still very light, but it is springtime and I knew that would not last. So I opted to go to my quiet flat that I was at yesterday to get bait, which turned out to be a good idea as I had bait in three throws of the net. I was again done early so I did some more scouting to see if fish had moved around, I am starting to see a lot of big Snook moving to the outside and getting hungry.

I met my clients at the dock in Tarpon Springs at 8:30 am and we headed north to fish some creek mouths as we had about an hour of incoming tide left. We got set up and I had them drift some baits back with the current to the first points on the creek, we immediately hooked two snook, one 24 incher and the other we’re not sure as she could not be stopped! Unfortunately, the big snook ripped through the mouth of the creek and disrupted the whole thing. We stayed till the tide quit but the bite never got going again, we picked up and moved father north off of Hudson to try and get ahead of the tide again. We pulled into a flat with a few big oyster bars that were covered with mullet, I knew this would be good as soon as the tide got moving. I was not wrong, for almost an hour every bait that hit the water was consumed by something bigger. We caught Big Trout, Redfish, Jack Cravelle, and Snook all off the same bar. That is one of the best things about spring is all three species live together and eat at the same place.

After the bite finally died off in Hudson we headed back south toward New Port Richey to finish up the day. I have a little honey hole that has developed this spring on every incoming tide, is a deep channel with some submerged rock that for some reason is holding a bunch of BIG gator trout. Once we got set up I instructed them to cast into what seemed to be the middle of nowhere, however as soon as the pilchard made a move he was gone. The great thing about this spot is that after the trout get going they attract other fish like jack cravelle and redfish. We literally used every bait in the well today between chumming and catching, and on the last bait we caught a monster trout.

I haven’t been looking hard but it is just about time to start seeing some Brown Bombers (Cobia) on the flats, so in the next few days we will be looking in the shallow flats for sting rays with very long tails. Cobia fishing is about to begin!

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Things are really heating up!

By Fishing Reports

This has been the week we have been waiting for, the warm air, light winds and warm water have made for the best fishing of the year so far. The only drawback this week is we have slow tides, but that will change this upcoming week. I left the house early knowing it was going to be a beautiful weekend day, and the ramps would get busy fast. As I got to the ramp at Anclote River Park in Tarpon Springs I could see my thoughts were correct. It wasn’t real busy yet but for 6 am it was busier than usual. I got the boat in the water and decided to go to a different area for bait, as the flat I have been getting it at, I was sure would be covered up within the hour. I went to a small out of the way flat behind Anclote island and had it all to myself, and it took about 30 minutes to fill my well and that gave me time to do a little scouting before I had to meet my charter at the dock in New Port Richey.

Today’s trip was one I had to reschedule from January, Jessie has two daughters (8 and 10) so today’s weather was much better than the cold windy day a couple of months ago. As I pulled into the dock we got the charter started by taking a short run south to Gulf Harbors to fish some deep channel edges on the last of the outgoing tide. The girls started out catching some Mangrove Snapper and then a few Jacks came through and woke them up. It didn’t take long for the boat traffic of the weekend to push the fish down, so we decided to run to a hole I usually catch some nice trout out of. As we pulled up I could see mullet in the hole and new it would be good, this time of year whenever you get a school of mullet in the area your fishing there are going to be fish. The girls started out catching trout on just about every bait for 30 minutes, then Jess got in on the action and it was all I could do to keep the bait on the hooks.

The tide finally died off and we had a little while before we would feel the incoming so it was lunchtime, the girls had prepared a full picnic and even had a sandwich for me! After lunch we took a short ride north to a creek in Hudson that I had seen some snook in, the water was now moving in and I could see snook in front of the boat. I threw a few chummers in and they were immediately eaten, I love springtime. I told the girls the snook would pull harder than the trout, so be ready, they handled the fish like pros. Both girls caught 3 or 4 snook in the 20 to 25 inch and then it happened, the water parted and the drag started singing. I’m not sure what was louder the drag screaming or Cassidy, either way, the snook fought hard but was at boat side and posed for a picture before being released. It wasn’t the largest snook but it was the biggest one of the day and one I’m sure Cassidy will never forget.

After that we caught several more and called it a day, on the ride back I was amazed at how many boats were on the water, and after we got to ramp the parking lot was completely full, thank God it’s Monday tomorrow!!

Boom, It’s Spring again!

By Fishing Reports

Boom, and just like that it was spring again. It is always amazing to me just how fast the conditions change on our water. On Saturday the water temps were struggling to get above 52 degrees, and 5 days later we are sitting at 70. I had to work my tail off on Saturday to catch a handful of fish for my clients, today it was just stupid, every bait was devoured, and every spot was loaded with fish. It is just crazy how tough the fishing can be and how fast it bounces back. This is the main reason I always tell my clients if you’re going to be here for a week or so book more than one day, you won’t be sorry. 

I had a good feeling about today but man, I didn’t realize how good it was going to be. I had my clients meet me at the ramp this morning and go with me to catch bait. We arrived at the bait flat just as the dawn was starting to break, I started chumming and after 5 minutes or so decided to throw the net and see what we had. I was pretty confident after yesterday that bait would be easy today. My first throw yielded absolutely no sardines, not the start I was looking for. But I could see I was parked over a sand hole, so I moved about 20 yards and reset, the next throw was much better as I had 100 or so pilchards. I made 2 more throws and off we went to catch fish.

 We had about an hour left of a fairly low outgoing tide so I decided to start on some rock piles that have been holding trout, we caught a few but the tide stopped and so did the bite. I moved into a deep canal that I had seen some fish at yesterday and as soon as the tide started in the bite went insane, Snook, Trout, Jacks, and redfish all started feeding like they had never seen bait before. We sat on those fish until the bite finally died down, we then moved north to a small cut that I knew would have good current flow through it. We arrived just as the water started moving and again the bite was crazy, it was mostly snook here but we did get a few trout and several jacks. The Tide was ripping through the cut and as we free-lined the baits in, the fish seemed to be lined up and waiting for them. We had snook on three at a time for most of the time we were in this spot, nothing huge, but several in the 24 to 28 inch range. I’m sure once the water temperature rises another 3 or 4 degrees the big girls will be ready to play.

 We were getting close to the end of the trip so I told the group we would hit one more spot in the river that is notoriously full of jacks. As we set up I dropped in a few freebies and they were crushed almost immediately, we baited up and had a jack party with the rest of the bait.

It was a great day with great client who I know had a great time, the weather is set to only get better and with everyday for the next few weeks booked I am ready for some great fishing!!

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Be careful what you wish for

By Fishing Reports

I’ve always heard “Be careful what you wish for”,  well I have been wishing for some warm weather and light winds. And today I got it, slick flat water and 68-degree air temperature. When I dropped the boat in the water it was 65 degrees, today was looking up for sure. My plan was to go and see if our supply of pilchards had returned, as I left the ramp I was the only boat there, I was optimistically hopeful about the crowds.

I put the boat on top and cruised to the bait flat, it was literally like a mirror. As I slowed down I was again the only one in sight, could it really be happening like this, time would tell. Now the only thing I had to hope for was to see the flash of silver in the chum, and to my delight, it only took about 5 minutes before that happened. The first throw had about 50 of the magical crickets in it and I was happy I would not spend my morning throwing the net over and over. As I was cleaning the boat up to get ready to meet my charter, the first boat finally showed up, but it would not be the last!

I left the flat and worked back to the dock to meet my charter for the day, Eric Is a great client and friend and I was looking forward to today’s trip. We were set up to meet at 9am and they were right on time. We loaded up and left the dock, the group was very excited to see that I had filled the well with shiny pilchards. Our first stop was a springtime spot that always loaded up with big gator trout when the conditions are right. Unfortunately, everything was right except for the water temperatures, we are still fighting cold water in a lot of places, and this was one of them. We gave it 20 minutes or so and decided to move back inland to find some warm water, as we were running across the flat I saw a very large school of very large fish. As we spun around and dropped the trolling motor I could see it was a bunch of BIG black drum, about 200 of them. Luckily I still had some shrimp in the live well, and while its not their favorite food, we were able to get 10 year old Hoog hooked up to about a 45 pounder that wore him out. We chased the school of drum around for about an hour and could not stay attached to another one. But it was very cool to see them roaming around the flat. We left the Drum to go get some Snook and Trout, we were able to get set up on a rock pile that was loaded with trout, but only a few of them were hungry. I was able to get everyone a few trout and off we went to find some snook. We decided to fish a dock with a lot of current and got set up and caught them two at a time until they decided enough was enough. We ended the day in a small creek where we could see Snook and Redfish swimming around, we set up and drifted some pilchards to them. The bites were almost immediately and after 4 or 5 of both species we decided to call it a day.

One thing is for sure, the empty boat ramps of the beginning of the week are only a memory. I do not want the cold and wind back, but maybe just enough to keep the boat traffic low. One thing to remember, we do have loads of bait but if the fish aren’t ready to eat it they wont, so you better have what they want. Time to load the boat and get it ready for tomorrow’s trip.

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Let’s hit the docks.

By Fishing Reports

Finally, I arrived at the ramp this morning to see slick flat water and air temperatures in the 60’s. As I backed the boat in I had some time to look around as I was picking my clients up at their house on the water at 9AM. So off I went to see if any of our miracle bait (sardines) had started to show back up yet. The water temperature was still 60 degrees so I wasn’t very optimistic, but I had an hour to burn. I checked two very popular spots and there was not a sign of them, still too cold. So I used the rest of the time to find some new fish as I new with nicer weather the water would be packed soon, and the community holes would all be overloaded. I was able to locate some good numbers of Redfish, Black Drum, and plenty of Snook, which I new would not eat.

As I pulled up to the dock my clients were right on time and off we went. We had another very low negative tide, so I decided that we would do some dock fishing, as they wanted to catch some fish for dinner.  We worked our way deep into the canal system of Gulf Harbors to a dock that always holds drum, and sheephead. The bite started very slow, pretty much like every day this week but when the tide started back in the bite picked up enough to make a few of them eat. After we got dinner we decided to see if any of the Snook I had seen would like a big shrimp, I was not very confident but it was worth a try. Once we got set up I could see the snook laying in the current, but we still had 60 degree water, we drifted shrimp to them but the result was same every drift. The Snook would just move to the side and a smaller redfish or Mangrove snapper would inhale the shrimp. This was good action but we decided to move on to other chances.

By now the sun was up and the air temperature was closing in on 80, it was turning into a beautiful day and I knew what this meant, it would be very crowded from here on out. I started going to check on some of my out of the way spots, but we only had an hour or so before we were done. So we went out a drifted some deep cuts and caught some ladyfish to stretch the line and get some cut bait for tomorrow. 

Tomorrow I will be starting a little later and I am hoping the water will warm up enough to find some sardines but I will have shrimp until they show up. Time to wash the boat and prep the rods for tomorrow.

 

Till tomorrow, tight lines