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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
June 11, 2005
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report


A fintastic group of seven obsessed anglers escaped the stress and crazy traffic of Atlanta for a few days of R & R on Saint George Island. They joined me and Captain Robyn Morgan on her deluxe offshore fishing platform for a purrfect day on the Gulf. These way-pumped fishermen/fisherwomen were at my dock before nautical sunrise literally chompiní at the bit to pull on some big snaps and groups. And thatís exactly what they did!

The fish plan was well-conceived after hours of deliberation. With the winds out of the southeast at first light, we ran southeast with the brine in our noses. Nice to have it on your shoulder for the ride back to the hill. The meteorologists said wind 5 to 10 and seas 1 to 2, again purrfect, or my acronym WOT (wide open throttles). There simply are not very many of these WOT days, so one must fully appreciate this rare opportunity to enjoy Mother Ocean. The anticipation level from all hands was as thick as Kentucky cream. In preparation for this special trip, I double-iced the boat, precut mahi chunk baits, tied two dozen extra leaders, loaded 12 sticks in the rod holders, including a Penn International 30 wide. And, just for good measure, we purchased a dozen dozen palm-sized grouper pins. We were ready!

First waypoint was the Exxon template 30 miles southeast of the Cut. A couple drifts with our biggest pinfish produced several cut offs in the steel. Those big jacks had even stronger muscles than our young-stud anglers. Out of 100 feet of water we managed to put two double-digit AJs in the box, before moving to a deep water wreck to crank on serious snappers. These folks were in a meat mind set and the Captains knew it.

Every offshore fishing trip produces something new. The learning experience this day was that, no matter how much anchor rode I deploy, the anchor will not hold with a second vessel tied off to my stern cleat. Just too much drag in current. We kept dragging off the wreck and the fish. So, the solution was simply to anchor two boats abreast and the cheering section never missed a friendís struggle with something fishy. Itís just about the thrill of good fun comradeship and the obligatory male banter for bragging rights. Itís ok to use up some testosterone, it is free! Plus, these accomplished anglers had a cash money wager going. I explained that I could be bribed about the heaviest fish of the day. A 12 pound gag grouper would win the money, slightly better than a very nice red snapper that was destined for dinner.

The dayís catch was uncommonly varied, including amberjacks, lane, vermilion and gray snaps, lesser AJs, gags, no red groups, cobia or kings. I carved better than 10 pounds of bagged fillets. We accidentally caught one little mahi when they came streaking through our chunk baits and moved on fast. But we were ready.

Our last waypoint was a close-in wreck to fish the remaining pinfish. The current was strong and the group was rewarded with a final grouper/snapper blitz. The crew and Captains would sleep like rocks. Would anyone buy a workout video expressly for conditioning fish fighting muscles?

This was a spectacular fishing day. It was THE one fishing day that was the one when you should have been here yesterday. Everyone would enjoy the photo opps and cold ones at the dock. This is exactly what keeps this writer/Captain going!

Till next tide, may the sun shine bright on your face and your line always be tight,

Captain Alex Crawford

www.topknots.com (850) 653-1325

Proud Member Florida Outdoor Writers Association

Proud Member Florida Guides Association

Proud Member Coastal Conservation Association

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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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