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Report for Destin, Florida - Nearshore

Capt. Larry Pentel
February 20, 2000
Destin - Saltwater Fishing Report


With lots of boat and fish camp projects going I didn't make it out into the gulf this week. We had three days of beautiful weather and several boats went out. The reports I got back made me glad I got things done on the hill. It seems the tide offshore is ripping. I spoke with a commercial boat captain who came in with a broker trip . He said they were using 16 lb.s of weight to get their bandit gear to the bottom " somewhere way behind the boat". We get a few days past this full moon the tide should slow back down. I've got a couple of folks wanting to catch a grouper so when it gets pretty again we'll go.


The sheepshead are here in force, lots of fish under all the big bridges. While the traditional bait of live shrimp catches plenty of fish I usually do things a little diferent. Fiddler crabs or sand fleas are the bait of choice on the " Dead Fish " . Sandfleas and crabs stay on a hook way better than shrimp and pinfish can't pick them off. Even a practiced bait stealer like a sheepshead will usually telegraph a bite on a crab or a flea. I you can feel the bite it is a whole lot easier to know when to set the hook. It also keeps me from having to tell folks to set the hook right before they feel the bite. If go catch 'em up try substituting sheepshead fillets for your favorite snapper recipe. You'll probably spend a lot more time inshore after you eat a few of them.

I spent the end of the week at Indian Pass working on the fish camp. After paneling and painting for three days can to can't I was ready to catch a fish. Saturday morning had a clear high sky and a falling tide, perfect weather for fishing the flats. I took Indian Pass Capt. Randall Jones ( FV "At Random" )and put him on the bow of the jon boat. I poled along where I had seen fish before for about half an hour without spotting anything. We moved out to the mouth of the lagoon and the first flat we came to had a tail sticking up in the middle of a big patch of mud. Randall flipped a grub in front of the fish and hooked up, immediately there were wakes everywhere. We had come up on dozens of redfish in 10 inches of water ! The wind was blowing us right up onto the flat so I put my pushpole down and picked up my ultralight. There was a pair coming from 30 feet away right at the boat so I threw at the bigger one. Instant on and the 4# test starting melting off the spool rapidly. Randall pulled the hook on his first fish and was throwing at the wakes that were coming off the flat and past the boat to deeper water. It took me 20 minutes to get the 32 inch fish to the boat to release him. I had quit listening to Randall yelling about all the fish he was throwing to halfway through my fight and just started laughing. A perfect break from construction work and a fine reward for doing chores all week.

I've heard several stories of bull reds in Destin Pass lately. I have'nt gone chasing them but 'reliable sources" say there is a school of 20-30 lb. fish living between the bridge and the jetties. I'll check it out and report back.

Keep your rod tip up!

Capt. Larry Pentel

More Fishing Reports:


Gulf Fishing off Grayton Beach in beautiful South Walton. Red Snapper to Cobia to King Mackeral to Grouper. No need to get up early or drive for an hour to a marina. We will pick you up on the beach and be on a reef or wreck in usually less than 15 minutes. Some of the Gulfs best fishing lies just offshore of the snow white sands of South Walton. We also offer Tarpon trips at Indian Pass during the summer run. July and August have large schools of giant Silver Kings feeding just off the beach.

Contact Info:

Dead Fish Charters
174 Watercolor Way, Suite 103
PMB 280
Seagrove Beach, FL 32459
Phone: 850-685-1092
Alt. Phone: 850-231-6991
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