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Crystal River Fishing Charters

We Love This Time Of Year: Fall Grouper, Wintertime Skinnies

By October 6, 2021No Comments
a fisherman with a grouper

Last Updated on October 6, 2021 by Eric Bonneman

Fall weather in Crystal River brings in overcast days, cooler temps, and epic inshore battles. Targeting Gag Grouper in waters as shallow as 8 feet during the Fall is where most of our focus will be. As things begin to cool as winter arrives, we’ll switch gears to chasing inshore species in the backwaters. We’ll go over both in this article.

Fall Starts Off With Shallow Water Grouper Fishing

Crystal River is known in fishing circles as the place where excellent fishing exists, during any time of the year. But, of these, inshore grouper fishing has some of the most notoriety. In depths of 8 to 25 feet, the various rock formations located inside of this zone of the inshore fishery are home to Gag Grouper.

Gag Grouper fishing in Crystal River is a year-round opportunity. However, in the Fall is when this species really lights up and fishermen from all around the globe come in to see what this form of grouper fishing is all about.

It is not very common to find waters this shallow where an inshore angler can cast out an artificial lure and tick it back while expecting a grouper to hit – Crystal River is one of the very few, anywhere. Arguably home to the best Grouper fishing in Florida, October through December is the primetime window to get your shot at this unique inshore fishing experience.

But what happens after December?

a picture of a fisherman holding a large blackdrum they caught on a inshore fishing charter in crystal river.

As The Temps Get Cooler, We’ll Get Skinnier – Skinny Water That Is

As winter sets in and temps cool way down, a couple of things happen.

One is that Crystal River, much like any coastal fishery, is exposed to extreme winter tidal swings. When this tide heads out, some areas get so shallow – they can resemble nothing more than a mud field. Or, at least, somewhere in between extremely shallow and mud.

The next occurrence is that the resident inshore species along this part of the Gulf coast head for warmer waters. Since Crystal River is a river-fed coastal estuary, these resident species know that heading for the areas where springs feed these river systems will provide them the best warmth during this time.

Combined, these two events intersect to create both a problem and an opportunity. The problem is getting a boat back in these areas when the water is all but gone en route. The opportunity exists in these spring-fed areas where redfish, black drum, sheepshead, and seatrout crowd together in these pockets.

a picture of an extremely shallow drafting inshore fishing boat

Florida Fishing Adventures bridged the gap between problem and opportunity by utilizing a boat designed to get across these extremely shallow locations and get you into the areas where these fish are held up. We call this our Extreme Shallow Fishing Charters. It is during this time of year, Winter, when that kicks off.

In conclusion, when we say Crystal River is a year-round fishery, we truly mean it. As Fall rolls in and Winter is on the horizon we still look forward to every day on the water down here and invite you to join us.

Eric Bonneman

Just a guy who fishes and writes about his experiences.