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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
March 24, 2006
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report


Between offshore pressure systems this week we were finally able to get offshore for a day of reconnaissance, as a warm up for the reopening of the recreational red snapper season. The season has been closed for over five months. Don’t mind saying that it has been a tough nut with a combination of factors all playing out together. Hurricane Dennis started the fun last summer, followed by the most persistent red tide on record and then came the great red grouper controversy. And then the red snapper closed 10/31/06. What is a full time offshore fishing guide to do? The answer is to pray a lot and wait anxiously for spring. The hurricanes are fading memories and join me in refusing to worry about the upcoming season. Why worry about tomorrow, it will worry about itself, plus why worry about things we can’t control. I can write these words, but find it almost impossible to actually heed them. Oh well, sometimes you have to just say, “what the (use your own 4 letter word).”

The best news is that the fish are still here and they are hungry! We ran south out of the Cut to a secret hard bottom/reef to explore the deep brine in search of good eaters. What we found was interesting. The red snappers are so aggressive, that we could not get bait down to the groupers that were on the color sonar. It’s a happy problem because snapper season is only weeks away and everyone loves to pull on fat snappers and fried red snapper fillets are as good as it gets. The fish we were catching on the reef were large, averaging a healthy 4 pounds. They all seemed to be sister fish and much larger than previous pre-season fish. What this means is that the fish will get much bigger during the summer spawn. That is super encouraging!

The current was running and during one run, we got bit on every drop. I love it when it is like that. It is akin to fishing in your own personal aquarium. There were very few short fish and we begrudgingly had to release all of them with the closed season. But, they will be there waiting for our return soon. And we will have live baits on the next trips.

Our recon mission of catch and release snappers was a success. The fish survived the hurricanes, red tides and government regulations to fight another day. I’d say the fish fared better than this writer/Captain through the long winter. Spring is springing—HOORAY!!! It’s a great day to be alive, GO FISH!

Till next tide, solid hookups and tight lines,

Captain Alex Crawford


(850) 697-8946 (office)


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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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