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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
November 4, 2007
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report


With night air temps in the low forties, the surface water temps are falling rapidly. The fish react to this change in their environment by becoming eating machines in preparation for the long, cold winter. Several species have already left town or are on the way. The mackerels, kings and Spanish are in this category. A few kings and some Spanish are still around, but they are heading for South Florida on the heels of the migrating bait, particularly mullet. The reports tell of some small kings caught on shallow reefs and Spanish around the passes, like the Government Cut in Apalach and the Destin East pass. There are jacks, blues and sharks around the inlets as well. Patient anglers with fresh live bait have scored some really nice bull reds in the Bob Sykes Cut. The redfish action will only improve as the water cools down further. Live bait will continue to be the bull red secret. Jumbo shrimp, pinfish and mullet are primo baits to soak in the passes.

Some nice flounder have found their way onto dinner plates recently. The go-to bait is a frisky bull minnow(killifish). Tackle shops on the Forgotten Coast normally have bull minnows at reasonable prices. Talk to the folks at Fishermanís Choice (Charles and Rex). Or Half Hitch Tackle in Port St. Joe( Bill and Frank). These folks talk to anglers all day everyday and are the finest source of local info regarding where to go and the bait and tackle you need. Visit their fine website at www.halfhitch.com Local information is always the most valuable if you really want to hammer the fish. And donít we all really want to hammer the fish? We even have some catch and release mentalities around. I have consulted with my six(6) grand children and they want to say thank you to all who have adopted the catch and release mentality.

In the early morning on the flats there have been some nice gator trout catches. Slot reds and a few flounder are available around the bridges on a low tide with some current. Small shrimps are you best bait. Tarpon are gone south.

Offshore the snapper season is closed. Conflicting reports about when it will reopen are all over. When I get some definitive answers, I will share them on this site in my reports. If anyone has the answer about the snapper season for 08í, please email me at captainalex@topknots.com. Thanks! How about you psychoward, your email is dysfunctional.

Blackfins, wahoo and mahi are still around the offshore waters of the Panhandle. Two particular spots to consider include the Elbow and the Squiggles. I know it is a long round trip, but hey, you canít take it with you. Add a couple crew members to ease the fuel burden. Wet a line! Opportunities are dwindling!

Groupers will eat your large lively pinfish around hard coral bottoms in 100 feet of water. Giant mangroves are still feeding actively on deep water wrecks. Colorful jigs will entice a freight-train amberjack on the snapper wrecks. A few black seabass have schooled up and will chomp your squid offering, yum-yum. Speaking of yum, ever try lane snapper sushi-style onboard for lunch. I know you canít legally carve fish onboard. Well, what will they do, send us back to Viet Nam?

OK, what species have I overlooked? Marlin, sails?-- go to Costa Rica.

Till next tide, tight lines and solid hookups,

Captain Alex Crawford

www.topknots.com (850) 697-8946

Proud Member Florida Outdoor Writers Association(FOWA)

Proud Member Florida Guides Association(FGA)

Proud Member Florida Coastal Conservation Association(CCA)

p.s. As we get closer to Winter, we all need to check out our safety gear to make sure it is all serviceable. Be a SMART Captain, safe is smart!!!

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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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