Florida’s Emerald Coast is home to premier Backwater Fishing. Backwater anglers cast into glass-like waters from atop a shallow draft boat often referred to as a poling skiff. Homosassa, pronounced home-uh-SASS-uh, is Florida’s most sought-after Backwater Fishing destination. The region’s skinny waters will surprise the angler with fat fish. Moreover, the region is renowned for the West Indian Manatee, scalloping, and even the rare American Crocodile.
Many say “deep waters make for a big catch,” however, this is a misconception. The big catch often hides among shallow inshore waters. Backwaters, shallow and rocky shorelines, are well endowed with 100-pound Tarpon: “there are plenty of hard-fighting game fish to be found inshore as long as you do your research, have the right gear and know a few saltwater fishing tips (Takemefishing.org).” Unlike other types of inshore fishing, Backwater anglers reel-in Fish exclusively from a shallow draft watercraft. The angler merely requires “no-nonsense equipment” to reel in fish from Homosassa’s backwaters, states Riskypassage.com. No-nonsense equipment isn’t junky equipment, nor is it expensive. It’s a rugged and affordable high-quality rod setup. With little more than a skiff and a rod, the angler will pull-in a myriad of fish from Homosassa’s ecologically diverse waters.
Homosassa is known for ecological diversity. According to Visitflorida.com, Homosassa Bay averages 3-4 foot in depth. These “Flats” yield an uncanny harvest of sea life – oyster bars, reefs and lush sea grasses conceal schooling Redfish and Trout. Chassahowitzka Bay, just South of the aforementioned waters, is a shallow tidal pool, lined with mangroves and fed from clear springs. A technical poling skiff allows access to this untouched bay. Anglers have reported reeling-in hefty Trout from Chassahoitzka. According to Homosassaflorida.com, the region’s backwaters are divided into three biomes: Salt Marsh, Hardbottom Shoreline, and Mangrove.
Salt Marshes are a dense coastal grassland. Saltwater ebbs and flows from this watery vista. These glass-like waters act as a hatchery, Juvenile Tarpon are reeled-in with ease from the Salt Marsh.
Hardbottom coastline is known for rocky nooks where numerous species of coral thrive. Juvenile fish live among the sponges and Macroalgae. Aside from countless species of fish, trappers will harvest crab and oyster.
Mangroves are shoreline with a dense population of knobby-kneed trees. These trees provide nutrients and cover for many of the region’s fish. Like Salt Marsh and Hardbottom Shoreline, these waters are a hatchery, expect to reel-in young Trout.
Anglers often debate over “the best fishing spot,” however, debates typically end in an agreement: Salt Marsh, Hardbottom Shoreline and Mangroves easily yield a prized catch. Differences may be boiled down to preferences in flora. Moreover, it’s said that Redfish and Speckled Trout leap from Homosassa’s waters without the use of an expensive rig. A simple watercraft and rod are all that’s required to reel in the day’s catch. However, for a really spectacular fishing trip into Homosassa, especially for first time or occasional visitors, a great fishing guide can go a long way into making your next Homosassa fishing trip – an epic one.