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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
October 15, 2007
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report

SNAPPERS, GROUPERS, REDFISH AND SEA TROUT

Offshore of Floridaís Forgotten coast it is spectacular fall fishing. Anglers that target snappers are having success with red, lane and mangroves. Old shrimp boat wrecks, artificial reefs and natural coral reefs all hold fall snappers and they are biting dead baits, as well as live baits. Live cigar minnows are the best bet for hammering snappers. Look for schools of cigars around the alphabet towers and navigation buoys. As usual, quality sabiki rigs are best for cigar minnows. Frozen minnows will work almost as good as the livies, as long as they are fresh frozen and not thawed and mushy. The natural tendency is to save boxes of cigar minnows at the end of the day and re-freeze them. It is no wonder we want to save them because they are so expensive. These re-frozen baits will not catch as well as fresh frozen baits, so itís best to use the refrozen ones as chum only.

In 100 feet of water or shallower gag grouper are hungry and biting. You will have to catch some shorts to get a few legal fish, but they are so good to eat, the time investment is certainly worth it. Try the Saint George Island bridge rubble by trolling magnum plugs or drop a pogy down in the rubble with a circle hook. Try good squid for a big garbage-mouth red grouper.

King mackerel are still around, but it wonít be long before the fall run ends and the fish will be in the Keys and south Florida. Kings shadow the vast schools of mullet, as they move south and east every autumn. Slow trolling a couple giant mullet on your pair of downriggers is a killer fall tactic. Check your drags carefully, big kings are a real hand full. And donít forget to sharpen your long handle gaff.

Nice gray triggerfish are on the wrecks and reefs in giant schools. Scale down your tackle and go with super sharp 1/0 Owner hooks with a very small piece of fresh white squid. Or double your fun and add a second dropper leader. Triggers are some of the finest eating available to the recreational angler. Yes, triggers are very hard to fillet, but the sweet white meat is worth your efforts. Wherever you find snappers, you will find triggers. They are prolific school feeders. When your sinker hits bottom, set the hook hard and you will be hooked up to these aggressive feeders.

Inshore, the report is improved as the water temperature has fallen some. The surface temp in the Apalachicola Bay is in the high seventies according to my bottom machine yesterday. Prized inshore species like flounders, trouts and red drum are feeding more actively. The Cut is yielding some bull reds according to Captain Charles Wilson. Captain Charles is generally considered the guru of inshore fishing around Apalachicola. He is so good, it is best to book him way in advance in the fall of the year.

Speckled sea trout are teariní it up right now. The easiest area to fish for trout is the Saint Vincent Dry bar on a flood tide. Trout love moving, clean water and are hard to catch on a slack tide in murky water. Best time for trout is the last hours before high tide, with good horizontal current. Live shrimp fished on bottom is an excellent pattern. Use 10 pound class tackle and remember they have soft mouths, no horsing! A quality long handle dip net is a valuable tool with big trout and flounder that always escape at the boat.

Til next tide, tight lines and solid hookups,

Captain Alex Crawford

www.topknots.com (850) 697-8946

Proud member Florida Outdoor Writers Association

Proud member Florida Guides Association

Proud member Florida Coastal Conservation Association

SNAPPERS, GROUPERS, REDFISH AND SEA TROUT

Offshore of Floridaís Forgotten coast it is spectacular fall fishing. Anglers that target snappers are having success with red, lane and mangroves. Old shrimp boat wrecks, artificial reefs and natural coral reefs all hold fall snappers and they are biting dead baits, as well as live baits. Live cigar minnows are the best bet for hammering snappers. Look for schools of cigars around the alphabet towers and navigation buoys. As usual, quality sabiki rigs are best for cigar minnows. Frozen minnows will work almost as good as the livies, as long as they are fresh frozen and not thawed and mushy. The natural tendency is to save boxes of cigar minnows at the end of the day and re-freeze them. It is no wonder we want to save them because they are so expensive. These re-frozen baits will not catch as well as fresh frozen baits, so itís best to use the refrozen ones as chum only.

In 100 feet of water or shallower gag grouper are hungry and biting. You will have to catch some shorts to get a few legal fish, but they are so good to eat, the time investment is certainly worth it. Try the Saint George Island bridge rubble by trolling magnum plugs or drop a pogy down in the rubble with a circle hook. Try good squid for a big garbage-mouth red grouper.

King mackerel are still around, but it wonít be long before the fall run ends and the fish will be in the Keys and south Florida. Kings shadow the vast schools of mullet, as they move south and east every autumn. Slow trolling a couple giant mullet on your pair of downriggers is a killer fall tactic. Check your drags carefully, big kings are a real hand full. And donít forget to sharpen your long handle gaff.

Nice gray triggerfish are on the wrecks and reefs in giant schools. Scale down your tackle and go with super sharp 1/0 Owner hooks with a very small piece of fresh white squid. Or double your fun and add a second dropper leader. Triggers are some of the finest eating available to the recreational angler. Yes, triggers are very hard to fillet, but the sweet white meat is worth your efforts. Wherever you find snappers, you will find triggers. They are prolific school feeders. When your sinker hits bottom, set the hook hard and you will be hooked up to these aggressive feeders.

Inshore, the report is improved as the water temperature has fallen some. The surface temp in the Apalachicola Bay is in the high seventies according to my bottom machine yesterday. Prized inshore species like flounders, trouts and red drum are feeding more actively. The Cut is yielding some bull reds according to Captain Charles Wilson. Captain Charles is generally considered the guru of inshore fishing around Apalachicola. He is so good, it is best to book him way in advance in the fall of the year.

Speckled sea trout are teariní it up right now. The easiest area to fish for trout is the Saint Vincent Dry bar on a flood tide. Trout love moving, clean water and are hard to catch on a slack tide in murky water. Best time for trout is the last hours before high tide, with good horizontal current. Live shrimp fished on bottom is an excellent pattern. Use 10 pound class tackle and remember they have soft mouths, no horsing! A quality long handle dip net is a valuable tool with big trout and flounder that always escape at the boat.

Til next tide, tight lines and solid hookups,

Captain Alex Crawford

www.topknots.com (850) 697-8946

Proud member Florida Outdoor Writers Association

Proud member Florida Guides Association

Proud member Florida Coastal Conservation Association

More Fishing Reports:

 

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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