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Report for Destin, Florida - Nearshore

Capt. Larry Pentel
February 11, 2000
Destin - Saltwater Fishing Report

Panhandle Region:

Winter came to visit Northwest Florida this week with freezing temperatures, high winds and 10 foot seas offshore. While the weather has slowed down fishing considerably it hasn't stopped completely and for those in the know it even provides opportunities not usually available.


Cold winter weather usually turns the inshore angler to thoughts of sheepshead. These hard fighting and great tasting fish are just starting to show up around the area bridges and pilings. The water temperature in Choctawhatchee Bay has dropped this week which should turn the convict striped critters on to eating whatever crustaceans they can find. The colder the better to dip live shrimp or fiddler crabs around anything barnacle encrusted. This fishing should do nothing but get better through the month of February.

Speckled trout still have to eat when it gets cold and luckily they go where it is calm. A big cold front will usually move the trout out of the bay and up to the river-mouths and the Intercoastal waterway. The "ditch" between Choctawhatchee Bay and West Bay is one of the most overlooked trout hot-spots around after a front. This past week had lots of good trout catches coming from the Intercoastal canal. Some boats even found schools of Hybrid Bass toward the Choctawhatchee end. The trick to fishing the canal is to keep moving until you find the size fish you're happy to catch. Remember that there are lots more schools of small fish than big ones.


It has been too rough for the "Dead Fish" to get in the gulf this week. I haven't talked to anyone else who tried either. This doesn't mean I haven't been exited. Big winter fronts turn the bottom fishermens' thoughts to grouper rallies. Sometime between January and March the gag grouper will make their big move to migrate inshore. If it coincides with a big cold front and a low pressure system out in the Gulf it provides the fishing most folks only get to dream about. Imagine pulling up to a spot and seeing starving grouper up in the water swimming around the boat!

The weather looks good for most of the upcoming week and I've got Gulf trips lined up for everyday we can go. You can bet we will be looking for the big grouper bite.

I'll report back next week with tales from the big pond. Till then fair seas and sunny skies.

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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