Fishing and Diving in the Big Bend and Nature Coast

One of my favorite places in the world to fish is the entire Nature Coast and Big Bend area. I’ve written about these places before in a number of blogs such as Waccasassa redfish and trout, Scalloping in Steinhatchee and Chassahowitzka Redfish Smackdown, this is a recap of my latest trip to old Florida.

The Big Bend and Nature Coast are a throw back to what Florida looks like if humans never existed. These are extremely rural areas that have more wildlife than people. The fishing and diving is unbelievable.

Fishing

There are so many redfish in these areas that it’s almost impossible to not catch one. Tons of oysters and limestone bars with mangrove lined shorelines make this great habitat for reds. However, black drum, trout, sheepshead and flounder also abound. In recent years, more and more snook have been making their way up this way as well.

We were fishing in Waccasassa looking offshore for tripletail on structure, but to no avail. Inshore was the play, we fished the mangroves with weedless lures. We caught a number of reds and I was able to stick a solid snook (see below).

Big Bend Snook

The above snook gave me a few drag screaming runs and some incredible jumps. He tried to take me into the mangroves, but thankfully even with my 2500 size reel I was able to turn him. He was safely released.

Diving

Waccasassa has some shallow reefs in the 10 foot depths that are easy to dive and hold groupers, cobia and snappers. If that isn’t your speed, scalloping is tons of fun and super easy!

Two days after fishing, we took a trip to Steinhatchee to go scalloping. It didn’t disappoint. We limited out in short order catching two gallons each and leaving plenty behind. We saw a wealth of fish in super clear water and had an absolute blast.

Find the boats and you’ll find the scallops, the entire fleet of weekend scallopers congregate on the shallow grass flats in the 4-7 foot depths a short run from Sea Hag Marina.

Big Bend Scallops

Fresh scallops are absolutely delicious. Despite having to put in the work shucking, it’s worth it. They’re sweet, not fishy at all and are simple to cook in a variety of ways. Give it a try!

I can’t wait to get back and fish and dive this amazing area again!

Until next time, Tight Lines.

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