Horseshoe Beach is a fishermen’s dream. It holds seven formidable spring fed rivers. They spit out directly into the Gulf of Mexico. The estuary they create draws in anglers from all over Florida. You ‘ll also find hidden coves, amazing islands, and unspoiled flats.
The water clarity in the island areas is optimal. They offer excellent fishing for locals and vacationers of Florida. In fact, fishermen come far and wide to catch trophy redfish, grouper, speckled trout, trip tails, tarpon, black drum, flounder, pompano and permit. You’ll find lots of redfish in the shallows, and speckled trout in the flats. You can also sight cast for lunker tarpon, cobia and drum.
This area is also known for its breathtaking scenery. You can see whitetail deer, bald eagles. and pelicans in the sky. It’s not uncommon to see a bald eagle fly directly overhead. Manatees eating on patches of turtle grass can be seen if you look beneath the boat. Two well known wildlife honey holes are Homosassa and Crystal River. They’re renowned for having great fishing hot spots for families on vacation.
Top Fish Species at Horseshoe Beach
Seven spring fed rivers, several lakes, vast shoreline, and backcountry waters make up The Nature Coast. Within these bodies of water you can catch redfish, largemouth bass, snook and tarpon. Some of the best places to catch a variety of fish species is Homosassa River, Crystal River and Withlacoochee River.
Best Places to Fish in Horseshoe Beach Florida
Fresh Water Lakes
Lake Rousseau is a monstrous man made lake spanning three counties. Part of the lake —the south side section— is actually in Crystal River. You’ll see that a four lane boat launch was just built there.
Lake Rousseau is mainly a bass fishing lake. This is due to its large amount of natural cover and vegetation. Lunker largemouth love its many stumps and structures. You can also find catfish, stump knockers and specs in this grassy, stumpy lake. Fishing is good 365 days per year at Horseshoe.
Another great fishing spot at Horseshoe is Lake Tsala Apopka. This vast lake covers nearly 20,000 acres and has densely vegetated marshes and open water pools. You can catch lots of crappie here. The lily pads give them perfect cover. Plus, you can catch big largemouth bass here —10 pounds and heavier.
Henderson Lake is located about 6 miles from Hernando. This lake is a hot spot for water skiers and jet skiers. However, anglers flock from all around to hit this spot. It holds plenty of big bass. Plus, you can catch bream, bluegill, and catfish.
Inshore flats and backcountry
Crystal River and Homosassa are filled with deep channels that help anglers easily navigate its shallow waters. if you’re looking for backcountry fishing spot, hit Ozello or Chassahowitzka. These areas offer amazing fishing opportunities.
If you’re looking to do some offshore fishing on The Nature Coast, then you’ll have lots of opportunities. You can catch amberjack, kingfish, mahi mahi, barracuda, and an array of groupers and snappers.
Best Tackle and Gear for Horseshoe Beach
Make sure to bring medium to fast action rods. They should range from 8 -20 pounds. Also, it’s important that they have good drag that will hold monofilament and braided line of up to 150 yards. If you’re targeting small to medium size species like redfish, baby tarpon, snappers snooks, sea trout, and ladyfish the opt with a 10 pound outfit. For larger fish —like big tarpon and sharks —go with a 20 pound outfit. For lakes, you can downsize to an 8 pound spinning outfit.
if you’re going the fly rod route, then use fast action rods with weight ranging from 6 – 10. Make sure it can hold at least 150 yards of backing. For small to medium size fish species such as redfish, sea trout, false albacore and small sharks go with a standard 8 weight. Generally, 6 – 10 point weights are ideal for these target species. You’ll need a floating line and/or a short to intermediate tip. Use fly patterns and types that are best for tropical weather.
Locals recommend a number of effective types of lures. They say soft plastics work well. This means jerk baits, plastic shrimp. imitation fish, and gulp shrimp. Plugs work great as well —between 3 and 6 inches in length. Use diving and top water lures like spoons and ducktail jigs.
You can find live bait at local bait shops in the Crystal River and Homosassa area. The most effective live baits seem to be live shrimp and pinfish. You can find shiners, worms, and crickets if you’re looking to do some freshwater fishing.
If you’re looking to catch Redfish and trout using a fly rod then go with what works. Flies with patterns such as kwans, Borski shrimp, clousers, gotchas and Merkin grans work well. If you’re targeting tarpons then use toads, Lemay’s Snake, EP Baitfish, and Black Deaths.
For largemouth bass and bluegill go with closer minnow flies. Bait fish imitations ranging from 2 – 5 inches are recommended. Try Gurgles and Seducers as well —they really work.
Be sure to wear fast drying fabrics. Wear long sleeve and pants to protect your skin from the UV rays. Also, bring hats, buffs, and sunglasses. And don’t forget to bring a mosquito head net and mosquito spray.