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Fishing Report for the Florida Panhandle

Capt. Alex Crawford
September 27, 2006
Carrabelle - Saltwater Fishing Report


Autumn on the Gulf Coast of Florida is nothing but spectacular. The only thing that is more anxiously awaited is the fall fishing. Finally, the nights are brisk in the sixties and with some fresh rain water, the surface temps are dropping. Every year this signals the seasonal changes that make fish hungry. Their body clocks tell them it is time to fatten up in preparation for old man winter. Inshore and offshore the changes are happening.

In the early morning tie on your favorite color jerk bait or surface lure. Gator trout are cruising the flats early looking for an easy meal. Or, if reds are your game, try the main passes fishing on bottom with live baits like finger mullet or blue crab claws. A fish finder rigs works well for this technique. Use just enough weight to hold on bottom in strong currents. Live or fresh dead crawfish is another excellent bait that is sometimes overlooked by anglers. These tasty critters that wash out of the creeks and rivers are superior redfish baits. You can trap them up north in the swamp or buy them at some tackle dealers. When you catch your own, it is tough to use them as bait since they are great to eat.

All summer the Spanish mackerel have gorged on pogies. They are big and healthy and have not yet started their migration south. Look for terns hovering close to the surface and have your light wire leaders at the ready. Spanish are really chunky now and eat great when fresh. Look along the outside beaches of the barrier islands and in the passes. Spanish are fun and sporty on ten pound class tackle.

The monarch butterflies are still here and that means the king mackerel are too. Offshore the fall run smoker kings are ravenous. Slow troll cigar minnows over live bottom. Or, set up on a good wreck and start chumming and chunking with pogies and oil. Kings get a whiff and all hell breaks loose. Catching fall kings is a real thrill. Put some thrills in your life.

For the obsessed blue water angler who has the time and coins to run way offshore, there are other excellent options. The target species are blackfin and yellowfin tuna, big wahoo and big mahi mahi. It’s smart to be safe and have a buddy boat within visual range when you are forty plus miles south into the Gulf. Just like diving, have a buddy to help out just in case. The fish plan may include stopping on the return trip for amberjacks, snapper and groupers.

Hey, it is fall on the Forgotten Coast and fish or no fish, life is good!

Till next tide, solid hook ups and tight lines,

Captain Alex Crawford

www.topknots.com email: captainalex@topknots.com phone: (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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