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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
September 1, 2004
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report


Please indulge me this time. My reports are normally slanted to offshore exploits. It is not intentional that I write less about the inshore bite. So, in my ongoing effort to inform, educate and entertain, this report be all about what’s biting now inshore.

First, a basic definition of my “inshore waters” is appropriate. Bay fishing trips out of Apalachicola include all of the barrier island passes, the St. George and St. Vincent sounds, the Apalachicola Bay including the rivers that flow into it and the near shore waters of the Gulf.

One of the sometimes overlooked target species of summer is the great-eating, hard fighting tripletail. This true pelagic is found around nav markers, crab traps and wrecks, as well as sargassum weeds offshore. The most effective bait for tripletails is a big live shrimp. Approach likely tripletail haunts up wind/up current with the motor off. From a position high on your vessel, present your bait on the fish’s nose. Upon hookup, get the fish away from the structure immediately, as they are good at breaking off. This is a fun summer diversion from other types of fishing. Tripletail fishing on the fabulous Forgotten Coast includes spectacular scenery and a healthy, fun outdoor experience for everyone.

The fall run of pompano has started. Although not as widely anticipated as the spring run, fall pompano are still the same delectable table fare. If you fancy yourself as a fish dining connoisseur, now is your chance to wet a line. Try the pilings around the SGI bridge on an incoming tide. Fall fish are larger than their spring counterparts.

Spanish mackerel can be found cutting up glass minnows and pogies outside of the passes. The water is literally teeming with fish. One can actually smell the heavy odor of fish oil on the water. As always, look for terns and gulls working low on the water. You will get more strikes if you pull your silver Clark spoons on 40# fluorocarbon, rather than wire. Go with the small spoons to better emulate glass minnows skittering on the surface. These fish are eating machines and they will continue to gorge on minnows until they regurgitate all over your squeaky clean boat.

Huge schools of sand trout are here now. It is loads of fun to catch these smaller cousins of the speckled sea trout. Small, fresh shrimp are ideal baits. Or, try one quarter ounce jigs tipped with shrimp. You may find fish anywhere, but outside of Saint Vincent Island in 20 to 30 feet would be a start. Drift until you find fish and deploy a marker buoy. Use minimal lead to reach bottom on an ultralight outfit. These little fighters make the quintessential trout sandwich.

Keep a sharp eye on Frances, she could be a shameless hussy. Be smart, stay safe!

Till next tide, tight lines and solid hookups,

Captain Alex Crawford

www.topknots.com Proud Member Florida Guides Association

Proud Member Florida Outdoor Writers 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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