Making adjustments on the fly leads to great fishing!

By Fishing Reports

So I decided to forgo the weekend crowds and only fish during the week, I really don’t think I could take the boat ramp follies again this week again, especially when I was part of it last week.

The day started off early with my good friend and client Mike and his brother Jim, we left the dock at 6:30 am to head to the bait flat. We arrived just as it started to crack dawn, by the time I got the chum ready and the net out it was light enough to see if the bait had stuck around through the weekend. Within 5 minutes of starting to chum, the water looked like it was raining in front of the boat there was so much bait. I loaded the net to throw and as the net hit the water it began to sparkle, as I pulled the net over the side I could barley lift it, it was so full. I made one more throw to black out the well and then we off to catch fish.

We were fishing by 7:30am, much earlier than I had anticipated. The tide was going out and would be low at 11am, so we went to fish an oyster bar off of Port Richey that always is a good spot with outgoing water. We arrived and saw plenty of mullet on the bar, we put out the baits but they seemed very sluggish, and when I looked in the live well I seen we had a bunch of bait starting to die. The outgoing water was very low in oxygen and we had to get out of there fast. I decided to go to a deep channel that I had been fishing and catching good fish in, and with the deeper water, I felt the water would be safe for the bait. We arrived at the channel and put baits out, the response was almost immediate, the trout bite was on again, and we caught probably a dozen or so before the bite died off. I made a slight adjustment in boat placement and we were able to get on a short snook bite. Jim was able to catch two very nice snook before the fish quit on us again.

The tide had slowed up so I suggested we go to a spot I had been seeing Juvenile tarpon rolling, and we had the perfect tide for them. It took us 15 minutes to get there and get setup, I threw out some chum and right on queue the silver babies started rolling. Jim made a cast close to them and the bite was almost instant, the young Tarpon immediately broke the surface and was gone just that fast. We hooked two more that would also find away to toss the hook, we were getting ready to leave for another location when one rolled. I made a cast and handed the rod to Jim, the line came tight but there was no jump. After a 5-minute fight we were able to see the silver sides of what we were looking for, Jim had his first Tarpon.

After some photos and a nice release, we now had a slack tide, so we decided to go look for Cobia. The Cobia had been thick over the weekend, but they are fish and after looking for almost 45 minutes we did not see the first one. The tide had started to flow in by now, and I suggested we go to a spot off Hudson that I had been catching good Snook at. We got set up in a trough that had good current flow through it and began to feed the baits down tide, for the next hour we caught several very nice snook. Mike definitely had the fish of the day though, after a great cast we saw the tell tale “hole in the water” that only a giant Snook can make. The battle was a tough one with both angler and fish winning some and losing some, but in the end the big girl got into a dock and the line just wouldn’t hold. Mike did get several nice fish but said he will be back for the big girl.

I know things are crazy right now, but if you are able to get on the water or get out with a guide I would do it. The fishing is on FIRE, Snook, Tarpon, Cobia, Trout, Redfish, and several others are all eating good. Bait is easy and the fishing is good!

Till tomorrow, tight line

Capt. Greg DeVault

New Port Richey Snook Fishing

By Fishing Tips

Snook fishing in New Port Richey

The coastal waters off of New Port Richey are teaming with fish, we have several species that live here year round and some that migrate in and out every spring and fall. Without a doubt one of the most sought after is the Snook, and we have them year round.

The Snook off of the Sports coast range in size from 12-inch juveniles to 40+ inch monsters, and believe it or not they live in the same areas and eat pretty much the same things. When it comes to favorite foods for snook it is hard to beat the Pilchards that inhabit our waters from March to November, however they are not the only things the snook eat. Pinfish, Mullet, Ladyfish, Shrimp, and pretty much anything smaller than they are and all are on the menu, and they are very aggressive toward most artificials that imitate small baitfish.

The coastline of Pasco County offers the Snook just about every type of cover they need, from deep canals and spring fed rivers for the cool winters to shallow Mangrove edges and deep rocky channels for the snook to ambush prey. Pasco County also has Anclote Island, a barrier island that provides a beautiful spawning area for the snook in the summer time. All of these types of structure are utilized by the snook at different times of year for different reasons.

Winter time (Nov, Dec, Jan) is a time when the snook will head into the deepest and warmest areas to survive the cold winter water, Snook must have water that maintains 60 degrees or above to survive. We have two rivers the Cottee and Anclote Rivers, both are spring fed and stay warm enough for the snook to survive, there are also plenty of deep water canals that offer the same sanctuary to the snook. The fishing for snook this time of year is good but there are better times.

Springtime is the time when the bite really turns on (Feb, March, April, May) the pilchards show up along with several other baitfish and the snook begin to move out of their winter homes and are hungry. As the water steadily warms the bite will increase until the water temps reach the upper 80s, Just about any mangrove edge or point with some current will attract the snook, they will also begin to show up on the grass flats preparing to move to the beaches of Anclote island for the summer spawn.

Summer time is a great time to catch snook on the beaches of Anclote Island, as they will move out there to spawn. There favorite food this time of year is the grunt, but they will still eat just about anything that gets in front of them. The snook will congregate on the points in the beach especially on the ends of the island where the current is the strongest. Summer time is the time of year that more 40+ inch Snook are caught than any other season.

Fall is almost as good as springtime but the Snook aren’t quite as aggressive as they are in Spring, and the whole scenario is basically Springtime in reverse, instead of coming out of the rivers and canals to feed, they are feeding to go back into the rivers and canals for the cool winter waters. The areas that we will catch them on is the same as it was in the spring, the main bait will be Pilchards.  Structure and good current flow are the main factors needed for a good bite.

New Port Richey is one of the northernmost areas on the west coast of Florida for Snook,  we have a very large and healthy population of them and the local regulations have helped keep there numbers in good shape. If you get a chance to come to our beautiful part of the state make sure you book a charter to get out and catch some Snook, you will be hooked!

Capt. Greg DeVault

West Coast Spring Slam

By Fishing Reports

Today was the day everything came together. There will be more days like today but this was the first one of this year that my clients were able to put together my version of the West coast spring slam. The slam consists of a Tarpon, Snook, Trout, Redfish, and Cobia. 

I had a feeling it was going to be a good day when I left the dock, the ramp was empty and it was slick calm. As I arrived at the bait flat I could hear bait flipping all over the place, I started chumming and it took 2 throws to fill the live wells. I met my charter at the dock in New Port Richey at 8:30 am and we eased out the river to a little cove that I saw tarpon rolling in the past few days, we still had about an hour of outgoing tide so I was hoping for a flurry on the last of the tide. I threw some chummers out and the tarpon began to roll and get active, the first bait in the water was hit instantaneously, after three very energetic jumps he was gone. It didn’t take long for the next hookup, this one stayed attached and I was able to leader the fish but he jumped off right at the boat. Technically it was a catch, we just didn’t get the photo. 

We jumped a couple more little tarpon before the tide died out and so did the bite. I decided to run south to a deep channel off of Tarpon Springs that I have been catching some nice trout out of. As we pulled in the water was already moving in so I was sure the bite would be on immediately. We put three baits in the water and it took about three seconds to hook three very nice trout. The bite stayed strong for the next 30 minutes, and every bait that hit the water was eaten very quickly, we caught several nice Trout, a couple Redfish and some jack Cravelle. As the tide filled up the channel the bite slowed, so we decided to run back north to the area that I crushed the snook at yesterday. As I was running north over the grass flats of New Port Richey I noticed several nice big Southern Stingrays swimming around, a sure sign the Cobia were near. We arrived at the bay off Hudson and the water was just starting to flow in, we gave it a few minutes to settle down and then put baits into the drift. It took a couple minutes but the bite exploded again, every bait that drifted down to the spot was hit upon arrival. We caught several snook from 25 to 32 inches, and lost a few that could not be stopped. 

We had a couple hours left to fish so I decided it was time to go check out the flat I had seen the Stingrays on. Cobia is a sight casting deal, you idle around looking for the Stingrays and the Cobia will be following. It took about five minutes to find the first one, and after several great casts, he just would not eat. I decided to leave him and look for another Ray, it took another five minutes or so to come across another one, only this time there were two Cobia on the Ray. Mason put the bait right in front of them and the bigger of the two fish peeled off and ate it, that never happens, but it did this time. We were able to land a 37-inch Cobia, Masons first.

The spring bite is in full swing and the month of April is going to be awesome, so if you have not booked your days don’t wait they will fill up fast with the great weather and fantastic bite!

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault

Conditions that make a great bite happen!

By Fishing Reports

There are many things that I have learned from my 40 plus years on the water off Pasco county, one of the biggest is to notice the condition that make for a great bite. Things like water temperature, length of days, tide pattern and bait patterns all figure into a mental picture I paint every morning. At the start of this week I knew we were close, very close to a fantastic bite, this past Tuesday was the start, we found a pocket of snook and they ate like no tomorrow. Fast forward to today. I felt like with a low tide at 9am we would have enough sun to warm the shallows and get the snook in prime form to eat anything on the incoming tide. 

I set my client up to meet me at Anclote River park in Tarpon Spring at 8:30am so we would arrive at the hot spot just in time for the incoming tide, we got set up and waited on the water to start flowing. And as the tide started pouring in I began to throw out some chummers, and oh my god, there were snook blowing up everywhere. I almost got whiplash from jerking my head around so much, we put baits in the water and the bites were instant. We had two and three snook on at a time and the other snook were hitting the floats as the guys were reeling them in. We caught around 30 snook from 24 inches to 36 inches, and the bite was insane I don’t often get over excited about a fishing hole but the whole time we were there, we were all giggling and laughing as the snook would blow up any bait that was swimming in their sight. My guys could not believe how good the bite was, and I honestly haven’t seen it this good for several years either. We stayed until the tide started to slow and the bite eventually did to, so we decided to eat lunch and move to a new area to finish out the day.

We headed back toward New Port Richey to fish a small oyster bar that always has a few fish on it, as I pulled up I could see it was covered with mullet. This time of year if you get mullet on an oyster bar it is going to be game on, we trolled in and got set up, the first two baits were hit as soon as they hit the water. Big headshakes and short runs meant we had a couple nice trout on, we landed those two and several more just like them before the guys decided they had, had enough. I had one more stop I wanted to stop at just to see if any one was home, it is a hole near the Anclote River that will get Jack Cravelle and Trout in it. I loaded the chum slinger and launched them into the hole, the surface started foam from all the activity. After 10 or 11 Jacks the guys were done for good this time. 

I had a feeling that today would be a good one but oh man, it was an absolutely fantastic day, and on top of it all we had beautiful weather and fantastic scenery. Today is what springtime fishing is all about, if you can get out give me a call and lets go.

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault  

 

 

The water is heating up and the bite is on fire

By Fishing Reports

Mother nature just keeps making them prettier and prettier, although I would not mind if she would turn the wind down just a little bit. It’s hard to believe that less than a month ago the water was in the low 60s and the air temperatures were struggling to get to 70. But now we have had almost 3 straight weeks in the upper 80s and our water temps should get to 80 by this weekend, and that combined with the full moon the first week of April will mean some of the best fishing we have seen all year.

Today’s charter was a local client that scooped up one of the cancelations I had from all this craziness going on. It is rare that I get any canceled trips this time of year, but it happened and Steve took full advantage of it. I had them meet me at Anclote River Park in Tarpon Springs at 8:30, after I had gone out and caught bait. I was back early, as the bait is still very easy, I took the spare time to retie some of the rods for the days charter.

As we move away from the new moon our tides are starting to get weaker and have less range, but we overcome this by fishing areas that are pinched down and force water threw them. The first spot we hit was loaded with big gator trout, almost every bait that swam down the cut was crushed. The bite stayed strong until we decided to leave to go try and get some snook to bite. I wanted to try a little bay up in Hudson that I have not been in for a few days, when we got there the water was moving but not very fast. There are two docks on the bay that the current runs under and usually always hold fish. We got set up and could see fish under the docks, we put baits in front of the docks but the snook would not eat at all. We decided to eat a sandwich and let the tide get flowing better, rather than keep bombing the fish. This plan was a good one as once we finished eating, the tide had picked up and the first bait that passed the dock was inhaled by a large snook that bolted right back under the dock and broke us off. We would get several shots at fish but only get one of them to the boat, but sometimes just seeing the hit and feel the sheer power of these fish is enough.

We left the little bay and headed back south toward New Port Richey, as Steve wanted to see if he could get a tarpon to go with his snook. I wasn’t sure it was going to work as the little Tarpon prefer a swift current and we just didn’t have it. I loaded up the chum slinger to see if I could wake them up, well it seemed like everything but the little Tarpon showed up. We caught Jack Cravelle, Trout, Snook, Ladyfish, and even a flounder but no Tarpon. Oh well, not every plan works out, but it was a fun day on the water and we had absolutely gorgeous weather.

Hopefully tomorrow we get a little less wind and more hungry fish, the second is a given as we are in spring and they are feeding!

Till tomorrow, tight lines

Capt. Greg DeVault

Fishing keeps getting better and better.

By Fishing Reports

Fishing report 3-24-20

As we move farther into spring the weather just keeps on getting better, and this is making the fishing get better and better. We are just passing the new moon so we have had strong tides for the last 4 days, and the next 3 will be good ones to. The great thing about the fishing being so good, is even with the slower tides we will get next week I don’t foresee a drop off in the bite we are experiencing. With all that being said it is still fishing and we see the bite turn on and off throughout the day, but it has been on a lot more than off.

My Charter for today is a longtime client and friend,  myself, David and Shane all went to high school together here in New Port Richey. I had them meet me at Nicks Park in Port Richey at 6:30 am so they could go with me to catch bait. We made a short run south to the same flat I caught it at so easily yesterday, we were all alone and the bait came in fast and thick, just a few throws of the net and we were on our way to catch some fish. The tide was again very low so I decided to run south to a big hole off of Tarpon Springs, we pulled in and I noticed that the tide was very flat. We were right on tide change so I told the guys we would give it a few minutes to see if the fish would fire up, as I had a spot I wanted to hit on the incoming water. We had one good strike and decided to run north to my little honey hole, as we pulled in to get set up I noticed the water just starting to move in. I told them once the tide started moving good the bite would be on, and right on queue we saw the tide flow in and the bite turned on. It was mostly trout but we caught two very respectable snook in the hole.

After the water came up we decided to run back north New Port Richey to a hole I have been catching some very nice snook in, we got into the area and I quickly realized that we did not have enough water to get back to where I wanted to go. I made a slight course adjustment and slide into a bay I have not fished for awhile, I set us up so we could cover a long stretch of Mangrove shoreline, with the tide flowing right down the shore we were able to let our baits drift right down the edge. And this turned out to be a very good stop, we pulled on snook for the next 2 hours, we even mixed in a few redfish to complete both Dave and Shane’s inshore slams.

We had about an hour or so left in the trip so I decided to hit a spot in the Cottee river that fills up with fish this time of year, I threw out a hand full of chum and the surface erupted, mostly jacks but there were some Snook pops and then we saw it, the unmistakable chrome shine of a Tarpon. Dave quickly threw a bait in the area and just as he engaged the reel the water boiled and the line came tight. It was 5 seconds of chaos, the young Tarpon leaped twice before he threw the hook right back at us. What a great way to end the day, and for sure from now until I leave for Boca Grande in a month, these little guys will be high on the list to catch.

Tomorrow will start early as I want to fish some of the outgoing tide in the morning, so I’ve had my charter get to the ramp at 8am tomorrow and hopefully, the bait will be easy again

Till tomorrow, tight lines

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