Travel Blog: Following the Drum Beat in Crystal River, Florida

News & Tips: Travel Blog: Following the Drum Beat in Crystal River, Florida...


FollowingDrumBeatCrystalRiver blog

Capt. Kyle Messier shows off his freshwater drum catch.


My friend Alan Williams and I left Miami for Crystal River tingling with that special prospect of outdoor excitement that Bass Pro Shop readers know all too well. Captain Kyle Messier had recently told us that the fishing for redfish and giant black drumfish was on fire along Florida's Nature Coast. We were lucky enough to book a couple days of fishing with Kyle and Captain Jeremiah Carlucci. And when the angling action has your blood up, nothing addresses that condition like bent rods and screaming drags.

Our trip across Florida and up I-75 went smoothly and in about 4 1/2 hours, we were checking into the Best Western Crystal River Resort. After we settled into our room and unpacked, we went next door to Charlie's Fish House Restaurant and had a fine dinner of sauteed fresh scallops and fried grouper sandwiches. After dinner, I called Kyle regarding the rendezvous time and the weather. He told me that since the morning forecast called for showers that tapered as the day went on, we'd meet at 10 a.m.

After a satisfying complementary breakfast at the resort, we met Captain Kyle Messier in the lobby. While it was raining fairly solidly, both radar displays in the lobby showed us we'd have some good windows of fishing. The boat launching ramp was only 10 minutes from the resort and we were soon underway.

In our first spot, we anchored near some oyster bars and baited up with blue crabs hung on jig heads. In the next hour, Alan and I caught black drumfish of about 30 pounds each. Our second spot was way to the south. I caught a nice snook on a topwater plug. We then moved outside and really hit some redfish action in a small creek using weedless spoons. After a couple hours, we saw a big squall forming and decided run back to the dock — better safe than sorry.

The next day dawned sunny, calm, and beautiful. After breakfast, we saw Jeremiah pull up and we followed him to the same boat ramp as the day before. He happily agreed to focus on giant black drum that morning. We arrived to the sight of the drum tailing on the oyster bars. I had a great morning catching and releasing a gold-colored drum about 35 pounds and a gray-colored monster pushing 50 pounds.

As we lingered over dinner, Alan and I promised ourselves we'd listen for the drumbeat with rods at the ready.