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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
September 19, 2005
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report

Slammer Seatrout on the surface is a spectacular game. Fall is one of the best times to target trout on top. The cool nights have started and that means gator trout will begin fattening for the cold winter. Will you be ready for the super hot fall bite?

Spotted Seatrout have several colloquial names depending on their home range. Most folks simply refer to them as "trout," never to be confused with the freshwater varieties. These beautiful creatures are called speckled trout, old yeller mouth, specks or, in Southern Louisiana, truite gris. Other cousins in Gulf coast waters include White Trout, Silver Trout and Silver Perch. Across the landscape of the fishing environment, they are aggressive feeders and super on the dinner table.

Since the net ban law was enacted, trout have proliferated to record numbers. Trout are so prolific that today there is a considerable effort aimed at rethinking the closed seasons, bag limits and slot limits in Florida. Currently the bag is 5 per day between 15 and 20 inches and one fish over 20 inches per angler.

Although everyone has his favorite method of catching trout, one of the most exciting is topwater. A wide variety of jerkbaits and surface plugs will induce an explosive strike, particularly from larger "gator" trout. I assume this name comes from the long, razor-sharp canine incisors large trout possess. Lures that anglers swear by include the ever-popular Mirrolures, several different Rapalas and Yo-Zuri crystal minnows. My favorite patterns are mullet, chartreuse and red/white. Try bright colors in dingy water and mullet in clear water.

The action of these sexy lures is the key. Also, bigger baits produce bigger fish. Topwater plugs can be fun and challenging. Finding the right action of a lure to draw a strike is the real sport. Chuggers, poppers, twitchbaits, surface spinners, jerkbaits, crankbaits or combinations can be field tested to find the right action that give you that pure adrenaline rush from a monster trout "blowin' up" on your fine-tuned offering. After all, that is really what it about anyway, the heart-pumping thrill of landing slammer-size seatrout.

The next time you and your angler friends decide to go trout fishing, leave the shrimp at home and tie on some surface lures. One very important safety caveat here. When you spot the birds working on bait with trout in a frenzy, don't get yourself in a frenzy and forget that topwater plugs have super sharp sets of treble hooks. If you get excited and fail to watch your backcast, your fishing buddy may have a painful trip to the emergency room for some scalpel work, sutures, disinfectant and alcohol as needed for pain. Trust me on this. Years ago when younger and dumber, I had the honor of letting a young surgeon in Orange Beach remove an 8/0 2X strong stainless treble that was embedded in my forearm. Be smart and safe, these things will spoil your fishing day.

Until 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

www.topknots.com (850) 697-8946

email: fishing2write@yahoo.com

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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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