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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
September 5, 2006
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report


Meteorologists are a paranoid group. Since hurricanes Dennis and Katrina visited the Forgotten Coast last summer, the level of paranoia this year is at an all-time high. If you watch the weather channel as most of us do, it is easy to get caught up in all of the hype, excitement and paranoia. When a tropical depression spins off the African coast in the Atlantic, it seems that the weather people become downright giddy at the prospect that every storm will become tropical and elevate to hurricane strength. And it seems that the tropical weather models forecast these weather events to move into the Gulf and towards the Florida Gulf coast. The favorite weather reporter expression is “interests in the Gulf area should monitor this storm closely.” Well, after last summer’s hurricane damage to property and life, who among us does not stay completely glued to every hourly update from the National Hurricane Center. If Weather Channel forecaster Jim Cantore shows up in your Florida town, it is past time to batten down the hatches.

Ernesto was a prime example of how the hype plays out. The storm never became a serious problem, except for some flooding and loss of power as it moved into the Carolinas, Virginia and the Northeast. We had some storm surge, but it was only a rain event as a tropical storm. THANK GOD!

Normally, the fishing offshore after these storms improves significantly, but not this time. The offshore bite has been relatively slow compared to other post-storm conditions. Don’t understand why this happens, but the stock answer is always “it is fishing and catching!” i.e. No one knows these things, so go fishing whenever you can and just enjoy the outdoor experience.

This week the offshore reports are mixed. The one common denominator is that quality groupers and snappers are biting deep, like 40 miles off the Forgotten Coast. Running so far offshore creates some danger from summer storm cells and will bite your wallet with $3 a gallon fuel.

Other than some nice gags and red snapper catches, the Ajs are on the bite as well. If your plan is to target large amberjacks way deep, trap or buy a bait well full of fresh pinfish. Pins are in the Apalachicola Bay or cost about $9 a dozen. This crazy sport is fast becoming a pursuit of the well-healed angler.

Inshore fishing is in the typical late summer pattern. The water temperature is in the high eighties. Fish have been lethargic. If trout and reds are your game, go out early or stay out late. Live shrimp will catch fish when nothing else will. The pattern for summer fish means grass flats for trout and oyster bars for reds. A few flounder have been reported.

Wish this report was better, but reality is what it is! The best news is that cooler weather is on the way and with it, fall on the Gulf coast and improved fishing for all.

Tight lines and solid hookups,

Captain Alex Crawford

Proud member Florida Outdoor Writers Association

Proud member Florida Guides Association

Proud member Florida Coastal Conservation Association

(850) 697-8946

email: captainalex@gtcom.net Website: www.topknots.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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