Homosassa Lodging

Best bets for a place to stay...

Homosassa, about 60 miles north of Tampa and 80 miles west of Orlando, lies just west of state highway 19. MacRae's, which hosted me for the trip, offers 10 efficiencies and 12 standard rooms, a conference room that seats 50, a full marina with gas, boat and canoe rentals, slips, bait and tackle, and three seafood restaurants within walking distance. Those arriving by boat and staying at the hotel receive slips at no charge.

Established in the early 1950s as a family business, the operation now is run by Gator MacRae. "We've seen lots of world records on this dock throughout the years, that's for sure," says MacRae. Indeed, the dock's been center stage for fishing action around Homosassa for generations.

When news comes in via VHF to MacRae's from anglers tangling with big fish, the story instantly spreads throughout the area and people anxiously tune in to hear updates. If the battle's a success, anglers flow into MacRae's by car, truck or boat to watch the weigh in of another potential world record and to congratulate the angler. For information on MacRae's hotel and boat rental rates, call 352-628-2602.

Capt. Mike Locklear charters out of MacRae's and can be reached at 352-628-4207; e-mail: captmike@hitter.net. In addition to an 18-foot skiff, Locklear also runs a 23-footer for those who'd like to venture offshore for kingfish and big grouper. If he's booked, Locklear or MacRae's can refer other guides who know the area well.