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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
April 22, 2004
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report


Even though sand fleas are small and hard to come by, a few small pompano are biting on the Forgotten Coast of Florida. Try the small sand spit southwest of the West pass or in the surf on the southwest end of Cape Saint George Island. Small live shrimp are the best substitute for fleas when fished slowly. Donít curse the whiting, croakers, ladyfish and catfish when they steal your bait. The purpose of these critters is to keep you at the ready when the pomps show up.

Speaking of cats, would you spend a few bucks to keep from being stuck by toxin-filled catfish spines? Go ahead and invest in a quality stainless steel dehooker tool. The pain inflicted by cats turns a fun fishing trip into an extremely uncomfortable one. When you get stuck, alleviate the pain by puting the injured body part under the warm water discharge from your outboard motor. The other option involving warm liquid to reduce pain is not the first choice.

Reports of giant cobia are coming in everyday. A Captain friend brought a 72 pounder to my dock recently. Divers are seeing cobes on the offshore wrecks. I had a 50 pounder perform a Palm Beach release this past week, got on, got off. Drop a pinfish on the alphabet towers or your favorite sunken shrimp boat. Have a big white squid jig at the ready to throw when cobia show up around your boat.

The first king mackerel of the season are way offshore now. The cigar minnows are here and the kings are never far away. Catch your cigars at the 28 buoy on sabikis. Always keep a flat line out with wire when anchored on groups and snaps. As the water nears 70 degrees, look for kings on near shore live bottoms. Yesterday at my dock, the first pinfish of the spring miraculously showed up in my traps. Slow troll pins on a downrigger with a wire king rig. Mark the spot on the first bite and go back and fish the area thoroughly to pick up a few more snake kings.

Late April and the entire month of May is arguably the very best fishing time on the Forgotten Coast, inshore and off. Where are you?

Till next tide, tight lines and solid hookups,

Captain Alex Crawford


Proud Member Florida Outdoor Writers Association

Proud Member Florida Guides Association

Proud Member Coastal Conservation Association

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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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