Weather is something that’s completely out of our control, but has a tremendous impact on any outdoor activity. Sports like football will want to know about the air temperature, wind and any storms since all of those things can affect the playing field and how the ball travels through the air. Farmers and gardeners watch rain patterns and temperatures closely to determine the right times to plant or water existing crops.
Fishing in the bay and inlet waters around Homosassa, Florida is no different – weather patterns play a significant role in how fish move and where they feed, especially in the Sunshine State where conditions can change quickly.
Understanding how weather patterns affect the catch in a place like Homosassa Bay requires a lot of trial and error and years of experience fishing the area.
Despite any variations from place to place though, there are a few general observations anglers should keep in mind when fishing inshore areas near Homosassa, Crystal River and the Nature Coast region. Charter boat captains will have a solid understanding of how the weather will affect fishing in their area and plan your trip accordingly.
We invite you to continue reading to learn more about specific weather conditions and how they can affect the number of trout, redfish or snapper you reel in on a charter fishing trip in Homosassa and Crystal River.
While barometric pressure sounds like a fancy term, it’s fairly simple. Also known as “atmospheric” pressure, the barometric pressure is defined as “…the force per unit area exerted against a surface by the weight of the air above that surface.” This pressure is expressed in millibars among meteorologists and inches of mercury in TV weather reports.
Higher pressure is characterized by calmer, clearer weather while falling and lower pressure signifies stormy weather. If there’s a hurricane out in the Gulf off Homosassa, the air pressure will be extremely low (i.e. below 1000 millibars).
While changes in barometric pressure may seem subtle to most of us, fish have an uncanny ability to detect any changes and react accordingly. One of the most commonly cited reasons is the effect pressure changes have on a fish’s bladder. Species with larger bladders like the speckled sea trout will be affected more.
If a cold front is approaching, the pressure will begin dropping precipitously ahead of the storm. Charter captains and other anglers around Homosassa report the best fishing during these times. As fish sense a change in pressure, they begin feeding frantically with the knowledge that a storm is approaching. Once pressure has dropped below a certain level, many fish become dormant for at least a couple of days while their bladders adjust.
This is also true to an extent in the summer months when Homosassa and other spots along the Nature Coast experience Florida’s famous afternoon thunderstorms.
Of course, charter captains and private vessels must exercise extreme caution so they’re not caught out in a bad storm.
Immediately following a storm or front is considered the worst time for fishing, but things generally bounce back to normal within 24-48 hours.
While the hours preceding a storm are considered the best since many fish are frantically feeding as the pressure drops, a strong high pressure that’s been in place for several days also offers a consistent bite.
If a low pressure hangs around for several days though, not all is lost. Most fish will adjust to any conditions within 2-3 days and begin feeding again. In the end, we’ve all got to eat!
Light rainy weather
Light storms can also provide good opportunities to land a nice trout, snapper or redfish for two primary reasons besides the change in barometric pressure.
One, when fishing in the shallow flats around Homosassa, fish have the ability to see when a boat is coming near. However, rain splatter on the water obstructs their view, allowing anglers to ease in much closer and present their bait without drawing suspicion of the fish below.
Another reason inshore anglers and charter captains cite for improved bite is the availability of bait. In a rain storm, crabs, bugs and other baits that cling to seagrasses or live on the shore will be washed out into the water, creating a seemingly endless gravy train for any fish lying in wait. If you’re able to be near the shore or grassy areas during a light storm, it’s probable you will find a large number of fish looking for their next meal.
While it can be exciting to rough it and fish in a light storm, it’s imperative you and your charter captain keep close watch on surrounding conditions. If the weather deteriorates further, you could be caught in an unpleasant, possibly dangerous situation.
Besides, if the rains turn heavy, the water becomes muddier, making it difficult for fish to find food, or your bait.
In the end, experienced saltwater anglers and charter captains advise that the best fishing times are during weather transitions. For example, a high pressure situation just before a low pressure starts moving in is one of the best times according to our experience.
Ideally, we would only fish during these peak times, but it can be incredibly difficult for most to plan a trip on such short notice. However, if it’s possible for you to jump on a fishing charter in Homosassa during these times, it’s quite possible you will have an exceptional trip.
To learn more about the ideal time for fishing Homosassa and the Nature Coast, contact Capt. Carey Gibson of Southern Slam Outfitters with any questions or to schedule your charter fishing adventure today.