Gainesville Offshore Fishing Club

Fishing Waccasassa

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The Wacasassa River is a beautiful, natural area full of wildlife and unspoiled settings. This area is also very dangerous. The Wacasassa River is full of alligators, rocks and floating debris. Navigate slowly and use extreme caution. Once you are near the river mouth where the channel is marked stay in the channel all the way out. At low water, even the channel is shallow and full of oyster bars, so proceed with caution. Once you get out away from the end of the channel you can go either south towards Crystal River or north towards Cedar Key. Both directions offer good grass flats for trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and once in a while, cobia.

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The boater who decides to go south should stay to the west until just past Turtle Creek Bay; you can find this bay on any chart. The water is shallow and full of bars between the channel and the bay so until you know the area it's best to avoid the shallows. Once past the bay you can start looking for the grass flats to the east, these are mostly sand and grass, but I would go slowly. Most of the grass flats south of the river are 2-5 feet with some being 6 feet at high tide. Summer temperatures runs most fish out of this area except early and late in the day.

Looking to the north at the channel end you can see Cedar Key. It's about 15 miles and the south end area of Snake Key is another productive grass flat. There are also some cuts in this area that are as deep as 15 feet, fishing the edge of these cuts can produce good trout catches even in the heat of summer. Spanish and cobia are also caught next to these cuts.

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Those desiring to redfish can start almost at the river mouth as oyster bars are everywhere. Those with metal boats and small motors (or jet boats) can fish either to the north or south of the river close to the grass and find many oyster bars that hold red fish. Cut bait, shrimp and gold spoons work well on redfish. These areas are like a lunar landscape so be cautious. I have seen fiberglass boats on the bars at high tide, but I would not recommend it.


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Here are some starting points for the new angler fishing Wacasassa River area. The river mouth is located at 29º 06.199 and 82º 50.594. For those who don't know the area it is suggested that a return waypoint be marked at the end of the channel, the river mouth is covered with underwater obstacles and a return at any angle could be a disaster.

Good trout water is found both south and north of the river. The area is shallow to the south so a trip of 2 or 3 miles out will often be required. Some good places to start are 29º 05.199 and 82º 50.317 & 29º 04.033 and 82º 52.089. There is a large rock formation to the south west of the river that extends above the water line most of the time. It's often called Indian Rock for some reason and it's located at 29º 06.199 and 82º 50.594. Use caution when approaching this location, as the rocks may be submerged. This area is 3-5 feet when the water is in and can be very productive for trout and the rocks hold redfish.

Enjoy the trip, as the Wacasassa river area is a splendid place to spend the day sight seeing or fishing. It's easy to feel like you are the only person on the planet at times. This is an excellent small boat area, however, be very careful, as it can also be very dangerous due to the oyster bars, rocks and shallow water.


Author: Bernie Fowler