Destination Nature Coast
There are so many fantastic destinations to fly fish in the beautiful world that it is difficult to write about just one, so I am going to talk about Florida’s Nature Coast for starters. To begin with, just where is this Nature Coast? The region comprises the inside curve known as the Big Bend area of the western coast and stretches along the Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Dunnellon, Citrus, Hernando and Pasco Counties. Formerly known as “the lonesome leg” of Florida, the area became officially named “The Nature Coast” in 1991. The Nature Coast encompasses to many rivers and parks to name them all here so lets just talk about the fishing wildlife along nine county span of coastline.

The Nature Coast is aptly named as it stands in stark contrast to the highly developed areas to the south. The abundance of wildlife and fish reflect populations reflect the low pressure jewel of coastline. The area is truly an inshore angler’s paradise except for one thing. Rocks and lots of them. Big rocks and I mean real big rocks. They stick out where you can see them but most lurk just below the surface and super clear blue-green water. If you are not familiar with the area I would suggest that you hire a guide that is. A good guide is $400 to $600 a day. Have you checked the price of a lower end unit lately or even a new hull? Hire a guide. I guide the area and I know several other top guides along the coast if you need a suggestion. I fell in love with the area about ten years ago and moved to it. The fishing is fantastic and offers a wide variety of species to target. When a fish species is at its’ extreme edge of it’s’ range there is a tendency for that species to get quite large. Somewhere along the Nature Coast is the extreme edge for snook and they are big. I have heard of snook up in the Big Bend area but they are very few in numbers. Where I fish, they are huge and plentiful. The same holds true for the permit, at least for the inshore permit. Not too many guides fish for them on the flats as it is easier going after them off of a wreck. They are my Holy Grail species and on fly there is no better challenge. Of course the region is well known for its’ large numbers of big tarpon. Just this week a new worlds record tarpon was caught on fly using only 12 lb. Class tippet. May and June are the months for the brutes so now is the time to go after them. Spotted seatrout, bluefish, redfish, cobia, sheepshead, black drum and gulf flounder are abundant at various times of the year in or near shore. This is a great place for kayak anglers and photographers alike. The birding is outstanding along with the fishing so get out there and enjoy.

Over the next few months, I will be going over some of the Nature Coast articles by county or rivers to give you a closer look at this great fishery. Thanks for ready and go tie one on.


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