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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
July 9, 2001
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report

July is hot! And so is the fishing on the forgotten coast. Just remember to bring plenty of water, sunblock and your lucky fishing hat.

Grouper, snapper and amberjacks are turned on and lit up. Captain Tony Thompson, fishing out of Apalachicola, reports big catches of amberjack on his new secret weapon, the turtlejig. Jumping the turtlejig with a big sweeping motion, simulates a squid and really fires up the AJs. Tony says the cobia are plentiful. He hooked up and ultimately lost a massive 6ft. cobe last week.

Gag grouper have been the most reliable offshore bet and should continue through the summer. All the recent rains will push them a little farther offshore looking for the right salinity. The absolutely best black grouper bait is a hand sized frisky pinfish. Try using a red wire pinfish trap and very oily bait like ly's, mullet or ladyfish. You can also catch them at the Apalachicola city fishing pier.

Red Snapper can not resist a live cigar minnow. Frozen cigars are the second best bet. Captain Tony says try drifting over a wreck, not anchoring. The big sow red snapper will come up and eat an isolated bait, while anchoring sometimes just congregates smaller fish to your bottom baits.

On your way across the Apalachicola Bay in the early morning, stop on the channel markers or crab traps. Pitch a big live shrimp on a stout spinner and hang on. The tripletail will be there and will continue all summer. This prehistoric pelagic is near the top of the best eating list, right up there with snook and pompano.

The summer Tarpon migration is just beginning. A few have been sighted and a few have been caught. Try drifting a mullet on a 6 foot, 60 pound fluorocarbon leader in West Pass between Cape Saint George and Saint Vincent. Circle hooks that are 4X strong and small enough to allow your livey to swim naturally off the bottom work best. A 30# class spinning outfit will give you a fast cast in front of air-gulping fish and don't forget to bow to the jumps. Give your prize Tarpon a photo op and some R&R, resuscitation and release.

Captain Alex Crawford is a full-time, professional charter fishing guide based in Apalachicola.

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Captain Alex Crawford is a full time guide who has fished the Florida Panhandle offshore for 26 years. He specializes in grouper and snapper trips with light tackle on live bait. Custom trips for companies with multiple boats will be arranged. Inshore trips targeting specific species and custom eco trips are available for birding, gator watching, shelling, picnics and barrier islands. Contact Captain Alex for a fun and productive trip on Florida's Forgotten Coast.

Contact Info:

Topknots Charters
P. O. Box 1029
Carrabelle, FL 32322
Phone: 850-697-8946
Alt. Phone: same
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