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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
May 24, 2004
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report


This week was a time for catching and cooking the very best eating species that exist. Two special trips, one offshore and one inshore, gave me an opportunity to share in some of the best eating on the planet. Having been around the block a few times has afforded me a chance to sample many gourmet piscatorial delights. On the priority list some of the very best would include yellowtail snapper, hogfish snapper, snook, pompano, blackfin tuna, salmon, mahi mahi, blue channel catfish and bluegills. As absolutely, incredibly delicious as these fish are to eat, this week’s catch and obligatory dinner celebration has to rank near the very top of my list.

Yesterday, on an inshore trip to Bird Island, we fell upon a perfect flounder bite. Fishing with ultralight spinners, fluoro leaders, #4 live bait hooks, one quarter ounce sinkers and small live shrimp proved to be the ticket for a nice catch of flounder to four pounds and several respectable whiting. It was a wide open bite for the duration of the flood tide. When the flounder slowed, the ladyfish moved in for some aerial acrobatics. Later, we bumped into the terns working on a huge school of pogies, with an acre of two pound smackeral cutting up everything in sight. Fast action equals fast fun!

This is one very fortunate Captain to have acquired a pair of flounder for dinner. We filleted 4 pieces off of each fish. Then, we boiled the leftover shrimps and added some lump blue crab from the traps. The concoction was rolled into the fillets with garlic and butter and pinned together with toothpicks. If we had any cheese, it would have been flounder cordon blue. It turned out perfectly as fish croquettes deep-fried in peanut oil, super fast at about 400 degrees. I know it is redundant, but add some romance with steamed artichokes, candles, California chardonnay and Kenny G. And don’t forget to make a big thing out of toasting the setting sun. How many more are there?

The offshore side of this story is the Reader’s Digest version. Simply, go into the Gulf and get on an old shrimp boat wreck. Drop live pogies down to hungry gray and red snappers. Have fun pumping and winding and throw the snapper fillets on the grill for a gourmet delight that is to die for. In spring on the Forgotten Coast, you will reach a higher level of enjoyment. It is all about the spectacular beauty out on the watery paradise and the unadulterated fun and adventure of simply fishing.

Plan to take yourself fishing today. Go coastal!

Till next tide, solid hookups and tight lines,

Captain Alex Crawford

www.topknots.com Proud Member Florida Outdoor Writers Association

Proud Member Coastal Conservation Association

Proud Member Florida Guides 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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