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Tell Me About Navigating Homosassa

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Was talking to a guy recently about fishing locally (St.Pete) and he told me he had started going to Homosassa instead because the fishing (especially fly fishing) was much better, and that he hadn't fished here for awhile since he started going. But then came the topic of navigating the area which is much more difficult, he ended up spending over $3k on a Simrad and FMT and said it was a huge help trying to navigate around there. He didn't get into specific spots but mentioned Oyster Creek and Porpoise Bay as good starting points for exploring around and finding fish.

I was wondering if I'd be able to navigate the area without spending a ton of money on a chart plotter and FMT. Like are there any good phone apps I could use and just take things really slow? Or maybe get an older chart plotter used for cheap? If so which ones are dependable? My skiff is a cheap Rabco so i'm not worried about hitting rocks or oyster beds or anything and messing up the hull it's already beat up. I figured if we take our time we should be ok for the most part, but I could be horribly wrong lol. Would appreciate any input on this, part of us wanting to go is the adventure of a new place to explore but I want to be as prepared as possible so i know what to expect.
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If you go to Yankeetown I would ramp off at Yankeetown marina. There is another ramp by the Coast Guard station and one in the barge canal by FWC. The ramp at the end is a chit show. It is parallel to the river and incoming tide can make it a tough time. I have not used that ramp for over 25 years because of the crowd (not all) that hangs out there. I have had friends that had their vehicles broken into and also backed into there.
 

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If you go to Yankeetown I would ramp off at Yankeetown marina. There is another ramp by the Coast Guard station and one in the barge canal by FWC. The ramp at the end is a chit show. It is parallel to the river and incoming tide can make it a tough time. I have not used that ramp for over 25 years because of the crowd (not all) that hangs out there. I have had friends that had their vehicles broken into and also backed into there.
B’s camp ground has a ramp
U can pay to launch there
 

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I used to guide for Tarpon there back in the 1980s when Billy Pate was chasing fish around with a boat that had snow fence on the front platform to hold his fly line and four Great White trolling motors on the back. The rest of us just had two trolling motors on the back operated by air switches with buttons on our poling platforms. This was back before people started spotting fish with a BellJet Ranger for friends below on the water in the 1990s or using drones for that purpose more recently. When you hit limestone over there it's like running into a condominium. You can easily lose a lower unit, if you don't know the area. Either buy FMT or go with a guide.
 

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I was down there 2 years ago. We launched in the Homasassa rive, went out in the channel followed markers, straight out to the Ocean past the wildlife preserve then down the poles to Hollywood and Black rock. There are no tarpon there. I mean there are no tarpon there for 5 days
 

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When I bought my Young Gulfshore20 I was lucky enough to befriend their "staff" guide on our test ride, and when we later went over there to scallop he offered me the opportunity to follow him through the backcountry and lay down a bunch of tracks (before FMT).
I still have those tracks saved to my PC and have transferred them to several depth/gps machines....
Had he not done this for me I would have NEVER left the main channels of Crystal River or Homossasa...EVER
I remember my wife on several occasions peeking over the side of the boat while on a plane and she was not happy...scuffed a few times but never hit anything solid...thank goodness
Think TOP GUN and jockeying those fighter jets through those canyons @ mach sumthin, 500 ft off the floor...
THAT AREA IS NO JOKE, A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN HURT running over there without a clue
 

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Sounds like a Scandy White tunnel hull with jackplate and a kick up motor with a steel rock guard would be the boat down there!
The Scandy is a great rig for this area! I see a few starting to go with tunnel hull Texas scooters also but neither are poling skiffs. I’d take the Scandy over the scooter for here but I’ll take a properly built and rigged poling skiff with tunnel and jackplate over either.
 
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I had to bring this up again!🤣 This is Crystal River which generally is a deep water river. If you have IG, here you can see just how shallow and how fast it happens here! I ain’t been telling tall tails folks!🤣
 

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Mind you^^^, this guys was well inside a NWZ so got what he had comin!
 

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Is it relatively easy to get into the little creeks with a paddle board? We might just go up with the paddle boards a few times first to scout around before I take the skiff.
Plenty of paddle board/ yak territory! I’d steer clear of the main river and hit Mason Creek or Ozello though. Bit folks hit the main river too on them so up to you.
 

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I had to bring this up again!🤣 This is Crystal River which generally is a deep water river. If you have IG, here you can see just how shallow and how fast it happens here! I ain’t been telling tall tails folks!🤣
Ouch. That hurts me right in the wallet
 

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I've been blessed to spend quite a bit of time on the water in past years South / SouthWest Florida. Have no problem running most anywhere there, and if that means pumping mud through motor to get where I need to go and then let let the motor sit and cool off, no problem, blow a sand bar to get to the other side no problem,.....up here, ......scares the hell out of me every time I go out because I realize I'm not the exception , lol. Just a matter of whens(?) my turn, absolutely beautiful water, but is one BIG friggin rock!
 
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