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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
June 17, 2006
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report


We left the dock a little late, but the fish were there waiting for us to arrive. John and Jennifer came all the way from Bloomington to vacation on Saint George Island and do some offshore fishing. The best post-Alberto weather day was selected and we loaded 12 rods, lots of water and headed south into the cobalt-blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

When we arrived on our numbers, there was another boat parked right over the wreck. Since it is a big pond and there are more than enough fish for everyone, we joined the other boat with a pleasant good morning. As long as the anchor lines don’t tangle, no problem. The color sonar showed fish (snappers) holding right above the wreck superstructure. We parked over the inshore side and stayed clear of the other boats anchor and chum line.

The groupers had lock-jaw, but the red and gray snappers were willing to accommodate. During the summer snappers are spawning and hungry. Cigar minnows were our bait of choice. Only issue was that the black tip sharks that live on the wreck had a keen taste for our minnows as well. Sharks keep anglers at the ready for that giant sow snapper bite. We donated our share of leaders, but that is why we always have plenty tied in advance.

In summer it is just a blast to chunk bait wreck snappers up. The mangroves are very aggressive and ready-biters. Sauteed fillet of mangrove is just the best. Fresh chum and chunk baits will do the trick if you anchor properly, just up current of your wreck. This past year’s storms have moved some wreck structure from strong surge. If your wreck is broken up, begin your search to the northwest, since the storm surge from hurricanes usually comes out of the southeast. Many old shrimp boat wrecks in the Gulf have additional artificial reef material deployed around them. The basic idea is to create more habitat and pull fish from the wreck to more private numbers. On your next wreckin’ trip, cruise slowly around the wreck looking at your bottom machine. You are likely to find other good shows of fish. Just enter/enter for future reference.

The nice thing about old wrecks is the variety of fish they attract. It is common to catch mahis, cobia and kings from your favorite wreck. Always have appropriate tackle at the ready for a shot at that monster cobia that just swims by your boat.

Also, please remember that the anglers in the other boat got up early and had a long run to the wreck, just like you. So, please show your fishing savvy and ethics by peacefully coexisting with your fellow fishermen. Everyone can catch good fish and have fun, without any confrontational language. Just simply do unto others.

Till next tide, tight lines and solid hookups,

Captain Alex Crawford

(850) 697-8946


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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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