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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
August 18, 2004
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report


That’s right, you read it correctly, on Florida’s gorgeous Forgotten Coast, you can have a blast catching fish right now. Bonnie and Charley have gone, but left horrible loss of life and property. Join me in a prayer for all of the good folks who are having a tough time now, dealing with the grief and destruction. It is just another serious wake up call for all of us who live and work on the water. It is far better to heed the warnings, be philosophical about worldly possessions being insured and get the hell out of Dodge post haste.

Yesterday, we ventured back out into the Gulf with renewed vigor in hopes of finding all things fishy. I was in a very positive mental state, anticipating a fantastic bite, like so many other times after storms pass. Just wish I knew why this always happens. The fish were ravenous, smashing every live bait we dropped. Our pinfish, croakers and mullet got nailed with wreckless abandon, at one point even inducing me to pick up a stick and join the fun. I sent a 7 inch lively croaker down through the triggers to the coral below. As I put the Shimano 20 TLD into strike mode it happened fast. A giant black grouper inhaled my bait and attempted to take the rod and reel away from me. Then, the monster swam into its rocky home and severed my 80 pound fluorocarbon leader like it was thread. I heard some low mumbles from my customers, surely derogatory words. Always, I drill my anglers about getting several fast turns on the crank to keep groupers from “rockin’ ya up.” I was humbled by this fish and felt a tinge of embarrassment for losing a good one. All I could muster at the time was the line from the movie JAWS, “break one off, tie one up,” I stammered, feeling a rush of blood to my face. Just when you start thinking you have it figured out………….

The ocean was as calm as a mill pond with winds 5 knots out of the Southwest and variable. It was sweaty hot and here I go again complaining that the wind and seas were flat. This should have said the wind and sea conditions were nothing short of absolutely idyllic.

Groupers can’t resist eating pinfish dropped on their heads. But only if the big red and mangrove snapper don’t get there first. All summer these fish have been fattening up on the delectables of the reef like baby triggers, finger mullet, pigfish, juvenile blue crabs and small snappers. The sow snappers are hungry and looking for an easy meal, like cut cigar minnows drifting down in the current behind the boat.

If you are sitting in the air conditioning wandering when cooler fall temperatures will arrive, the answer is get off the couch and get in the game. Forgotten Coast fishing is fabulous fun!

Till next tide, solid hookups and tight lines,

Captain Alex Crawford

Proud Member Coastal Conservation Association

Proud Member Florida Guides Association

Proud Member Florida Outdoor Writers 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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