Homosassa is a town
of unhurried wonder. It is “The Nature Coast” of
Florida, located north of Tampa, about 70 miles away
from the bustle of the city, in Citrus County. Like
most of Florida’s oldest towns, native Americans
first established homes in Homosassa. The Seminole
and Calusa Indians were the first.
The first known white man’s settlement occurred
in 1846, by David Yulee, a former United States Senator.
His plantation was home to a sugarcane mill that supplied
the Confederate Army at one point in time. The sugar
mill, with most of its machinery, still stands, and
can be visited as a State Park Historic Site in Homosassa.
The finalization of the Civil
War forced families to settle on several of the islands
near Homosassa. This
was the start of a genuine community in the area.
The families became self-sufficient as they built a
schools, began commercial fishing, and established
mail service to their area.
Over the years, the Homosassa
region attracted well-educated and wealthy individuals
in search of real estate opportunities.
They brought their families, former slaves, and great
business ideas. In the 1920’s the transportation
system of the region matured, and investors began to
pour in. Shortly thereafter, the vicinity remained
dormant for thirty years, following the end of the
Ecology & Environment
Citrus County is proud to be home to seven rivers.
Some of these rivers are spring-fed, the warm waters
of which make a nice winter home to West Indian Manatees,
and numerous species of fish, including redfish, Spanish
mackerel, bluefish, and speckled trout. The gulf waters
breed sea bass, grunts and grouper. In addition to
fish, there are playful dolphins and hundreds of bird
species. Bald eagles and ospreys are seen often as
The flora is healthy, with
Spanish oak trees and marsh grasses, not to mention
the palms living abundantly.
Since the early 1900’s tourists have taken time
out to visit Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
First, people found the park via a train rest stop.
This train picked up spring water, crabs, cedar, and
fish from the locale. Thousands of saltwater and freshwater
fish congregate at the spring and headwaters of the
Homosassa River. This is the only known place in the
world where this happens.
Visitors to the park have
many options for recreation and activity. Strolling
along the nature trails will
reveal the park’s dynamic flora and special wildlife,
including cougars, otters, bear, and bobcats, and even
the elusive cougar. Among the thousands of bird species,
there’s a solid chance that trekkers will spot
herons, flamingoes, and even an osprey, hawk, or bald
After changing hands several
times of the years, the park has settled into the care
of the State of Florida.
It is managed by Department of Environmental Protection,
to save the lands’ precious resources.
The park is much more than
just undeveloped land. Injured and/or orphaned West
Indian manatees find refuge within
the park, as do manatees that are born in captivity.
The mammals use the springs to re-acclimate themselves
to an environment much like their real environment
before they return to the open waters. In addition,
there are daily programs educating visitors on flora
and fauna of the park. The Children’s Education
Center offers the young ones a place to learn hands
The park is reputable. Over
the years, there have been many articles written about
the park and its happenings,
from notes regarding the park’s improvements
in 2001, to actor, John Lithgow’s visit where
he signed his book on manatees.
Adventures & Activities
Homosassa Fishing, an outfitter run by Captain Mike
Locklear, is a sure-fire way to get your fill of adventure
and activity. He promises to provide fishermen with
the best fishing guides in Homosassa. He proclaims, “Over
the years my regular clients have landed hundreds of
redfish, trout and tarpon.”
Captain Mike will ensure
an adventurous excursion, any time of the year, aboard
one of his two flats boats,
18' Hell's Bay Whipray Marquesa or the 23' Tremblay.
The Captain proudly descries his boats by saying, “My
Hells Bay Marquesas is a special use flats skiff. Its
design is made with the serious fisherman in mind.
The cost is very pricey, but it’s my office so
I spare no expense. I can catch many more fish using
a boat of this class. The reason why is, that the boat
is stealth, light and controllable with minimum effort.”
Mike serves all types of
fisherman, casual or competitive, children and families
included. “Tanner Commons
landed his first fish and many more there after and
he did not want to quit fishing. It is very important
that a child catches some kind of fish even if it small
and not edible. It is important that the captain spends
time with the child and teaches him good angling practices,” says
Although Captain Mike’s specialty is reeling
in tarpon, redfish, trout, and grouper, there are many
other types of fish to pursue in the waters of Homosassa.
Spotted seatrout is a species that can be found year-round.
Spanish mackeral and bluefish are the kings in the
spring and fall. Gag grouper and sea bass are abundant
on the floor of the gulf, and make for fabulous eats
afterward. Captain Mike states, “There are two
types of specialty fishing I like to concentrate on
during the early spring and summer months. They are
the challenge of the hard-pulling redfish and the acrobatically
jumping silver king tarpon. It's a welcome challenge
to catch both redfish and trout on the fly rod, or
for catching mass numbers of "catch & release" fish,
conventional or spinning tackle is provided.”
Anglers get competitive at
certain times of the year. The months of May and June
are the dates that international
hopefuls come to Homosassa to catch the ultimate tarpon.
There goal: to catch a fish that weighs in over 202
pounds! Captain Mike gets involved. He says, “For
the ultimate challenge, I do prefer using fly tackle
exclusively during tarpon season.”
Captain Mike also takes responsibility
for the well being of his beaches and environment.
He says, “I
planned one of the first organized clean-ups on the
Homosassa River back in 1990. There is not a floating
can, bag or bottle that I will pass up on my daily
charters. I don't see much trash on a regular basis,
but there are windy days when stuff blows out of everyone's
boat if they don't have a secured trashcan. That when
I get busy with my dip net. Customers love to help
When travelers have completed their day of adventure
on board Captain Mike’s boats, they can conveniently
retreat to a lodge that will carry through their nature
theme. The rockers on the front porch are reminiscent
of historic Homosassa. Its personality on the outside
is charming, but its quarters are modern and comforting.
The lodge is located on the Homosassa River, only 4
1/2 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, and 1-1/2 miles
from the springs.
McRae’s has a Bait & Tackle Shop on site,
offering fishing tackle, baits and lures, maps, boat
rentals, conference room, Tiki bar, and a boat ramp
and dock available at no charge. Dining
Homosassa has a plethora of local casual restaurants
to choose from, most are fantastic family places. Riverside
Crab House is located on the water. The 2-story building
overlooks Homosassa River and Monkey Island. Diners
can eat inside or outside. The restaurant offers live
blue crabs, among a great deal of other types of seafood,
and for those who aren’t seafood eaters, steak
and pasta. Riverside Crab Houe is open for both lunch
and dinner. Prices are reasonable, ranging from $5.59
For a more casual affair
turn to Yulee Café,
serving breakfast and lunch only. One guest of Yulee’s
gave this review, “I've been having breakfast
at this quaint cafe whenever in town for several years.
The food is homestyle, the atmosphere very local for
a fishing village, and the prices can't be beat. Holly,
the owner and cook makes everything right in your view,
the waitstaff are polite and hardworking. I highly
recommend it.” Yulee’s is located on W.
Yulee Drive in Homosassa.
Arranging Your Trip
Capt Mike’s web site is a handy resource. Visitors
can buy a gift certificate, view fishing reports, weather
conditions for surrounding areas, photos of notable
catches, and valuable links to other fishing related
Captain Mike gets involved
in the booking process. He will tell interested parties
the most promising
days to fish, using future tide charts. He has experience
with, and enjoys, hosting big parties, including
Captain Mike prefers to book
with a decent amount of notice, so that he can build
the most memorable experience
possible. He conveys via his web site an important
piece of information: that different types of fish
require a certain lead time or particular month of
booking. For instance, tarpon fishing requires about
four months notice to grab a spot within the last of
April through August. Captain Mike will also assist
clients with hotel reservations.
Although I’m sure Captain Mike would prefer to
take everyone as his excursions, he knows he can’t.
Demand is high and he wants everyone to have a chance
to fish near Homosassa. The proof is in his effort
to help anyone connect with a guide. Captain Mike offers
his help by stating, “The trouble is that most
of these expert guides I know stay fully booked, so
it is very hard to get in with them unless you are
directly referred. That's where I come in. Waiting
lists are common with some of the veteran guides, but
sometimes you can get in by giving me your phone number.
I network with other captains. When one of them gets
a cancellation, I will call you, and hopefully you
can fish on short notice.”
When it comes to pricing,
give Captain Mike a call. He’s trips are custom built, and so are his prices.
Packages are also available and include fishing, lunch,
and sometimes lodging. Mike’s specialty is his
3-hour fishing seminar he conducts every year, for
Adventure.com Destinations search page to
see other activities in Central West Florida.
LOCATION: Homosassa, Citrus Central
ACTIVITIES: Boat Charters, Fishing,
Fishing - Fresh Water, Fishing - Salt Water,
Groups 10+ Water
DESCRIPTION: My goal is to give you
the information you need to arrange your fishing
trip or charter using the best fishing guides
in Homosassa. Homosassafishing.com is a web
site dedicated to helping you make the most
out of your fishing vacation to Florida.
Phone: (352) 628-4207
Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park
4150 S Suncoast Blvd
Scott Faulkenberg's Manatee
425 North Citrus Ave
Crystal River State Archaeological
3400 N Museum Point
MacRae's of Homosassa
5300 S Cherokee Way
P.O. Box 318
Homosassa, FL 344487
Riverside Crab House
5297 S. Cherokee Way
Homosassa, FL, 34448
Good Breakfast and Lunch
10605 W. Yulee Dr
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