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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
August 26, 2005
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report


Katrina enters the Gulf of Mexico as we speak. Guess the weather service does not mind personalizing these storms and hurricanes. But I say just put numbers on them. I have good friends like Charlie, Frances, Jeanne and Katrina. And the loss of life and property created by “named storms” somehow diminishes my friends positive personna. That’s too bad! Anyone have a good friend named Dennis or Ivan; see what I mean. Don’t have an friends named 19!

Before Katrina, the fishing reports out of Apalach are as follows. Captain Tony Phillips reports outstanding catches of grouper and snapper along the 40 breaks. This past week he came to Scipio Creek marina with a box full of “bubba” groupers and “hawg” red snappers. Generally speaking, there are two givens to score big offshore right now. Captain Tony always invests extra morning time to cast net pogies and/or sabiki up frisky live baits on his offshore bait numbers. Forgive the redundancy, but ocean-size, healthy pinfish and pigfish(grunts) will score higher quality fish. Take it to the bank. The second given on the Forgotten Coast of the sunshine state is that deeper water produces larger fish. So, go south young man and you will be more successful. There are caveats. Running 40 plus miles offshore burns considerably more fuel, visualize stuffing $100 dollar bills down the boat’s gas tank. The inherent risk is increased way out deep without a second “buddy” vessel that is ALWAYS visual and in radio communication. But, when one has the itch, it must be scratched. Become a safety addict and go for it. We can’t continue to live on old yellowed press clippings. Have fun– chum and get it!

Try deploying an offshore bait trap chocked full of good squid. The commercial boys do it all the time and load the hold full of money fish. Any natural, hard bottom in your waypoints list will produce baits. Use common sense and always have a large, highly visible marker, sufficient stout line, added weight secured to the bottom of your traps and punch your MOB GPS button so you can find it in seas. Stowe your trap on the T top or bimini so it is clear of lines and landing large fishes. Be the ultimate prepared opportunist angler. Success is the precise moment that preparation meets opportunity.

Captain Charles Wilson is one of the very best guides on the Forgotten Coast. In preparation for this article, I interviewed Captain Charles. He had just returned to the dock and the catch was as follows. Beefy amberjacks, black and red groupers, succulent scamp groupers and red and black(gray/mangrove) snappers. As a bonus, Charles updated us on the inshore scene. Arguably the best bay guide around our small chuck of the big pond, Charles consistently brings limits home for his long-time, loyal customers. Look for trout-size pogies out to the west of Two Mile creek. Old yeller- mouth, gator trout are notoriously soft-mouthed and will put hooks especially on their first head-shaking run. Try 3/0 Owner Mutu-Lite hooks tied to 20# Ande fluorocarbon. Captain Charles reports limits of beautiful spotted sea trout to 6 pounds and top-of-the-slot redfish which always weigh seven to eight at 27 inches overall length. Try the last couple hours of the flood tide, look for good current and catch a yummy trout sandwich. For reds, give it a go on both sides of low water. The live pogies are the secret since live shrimp disappear in summer.

May the wind always be over your shoulder and your lines be tight,

Captain Alex Crawford


(850) 697-8946

email– fishing2write@yahoo.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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