View Full Version : Eating salt . . .
Went to Pensacola for the weekend and was sent to Gulf Breeze Natl Park by the local fly shop (after selling me some rather expensive flies at $6 a pop). But other than a hard thunk, only thing I got was sunburned and a sore arm. I guess I should have known better the 2nd day when I was the only person there fishing.
But did see one interesting phenomena (and wish I had been in my boat at the time). There was an interesting arrow shaped churning on the water (probably 8-9' or more wide) moving rather quickly parallel to the bank but fairly far out. When it got close enough, I could see very small bait fish jumping out of the water. I tried to wade and cast into it, but could only get 2-3 casts before it was by me.
The other interesting thing was that throughout the morning, I'd occasionally see a very small churl with just a 1-2 baitfish jumping out of the water. I'd try to cast into it, but then it was gone which I assumed meant that I spooked whatever it was.
Did I witness excellent fishing signals and just miss the opportunity? Or (other than the arrow) could I have been sitting in a virtual desert.
I'm not complaining too much. The scenary was beautiful and the place was teeming with life -- between the various crabs, jelly fish, small bait fish darting around me and some rather bizarre looking fish that occasionally swam by with fluttering fins (or something) on it's sides.
04-26-00, 11:19 PM
Your "arrow shape" sounds like a barracuda. Interesting on a fly rod I hear, but you'd need a wire tippet! Big, bad teeth. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
Very few nearshore barracuda in the Panhandle...they are almost always well offshore on wrecks. In 20 years I saw 1 - off the jetties at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City (which is almost an offshore environment).
Any theories then, bbell? This was my first time in that area but was first and only time I saw it.
BTW, any recommendations on good resources on fishing the gulf coast? I've got a couple books on order but they are more like generalist books on salt water.
[This message has been edited by ShawnT (edited 04-27-2000).]
04-27-00, 10:07 PM
Contact Capn Joe. He's a regular here and used to guide on the Gulf Coast.
It sounds like you may have seen a school of large jack crevalle...you said that this disturbance was roughly nine feet wide? They congregate in tightly packed schools in the surf in April and May and are hard to hook from shore as they are usually just at the limit of casting range. They tend to move in and out very quickly, so you're lucky if you get a shot in. I don't think you want to hook one from the beach anyway because you will soon be bereft of line and backing.
I can solve your saltwater problems pretty quickly: concentrate on areas where a lot of fish congregate at certain times of the year. I moved from Tallahassee last year after twenty years of saltwater fishing and I was just beginning to find some of these places, so it isn't easy. I'll offer two spots that are as close to a sure thing as there is in this sport.
1. East Pass on St. George Island near Apalachicola in April and May. If you have a 4wd vehicle or can hike 4 miles, you can access incredible shore fishing for mackerel, pompano, trout, redfish, ladyfish, and a variety of other species. Unless the wind is blowing 30 knots, you are pretty much guaranteed to wear your arm out. A year ago last week I fished there and found a school of 300 redfish in the trough just off the beach. It is a phenomenal spot.
2. Cape San Blas near Port St. Joe - May and November. The pompano seem to run a little later on Cape San Blas beaches than others in the area and the cape has the best run that I've fished. The pomps come a little closer to shore there for some reason.
Come in the last two weeks of May and you'll find them in the surf from dawn til dusk, along with plenty of ladyfish, large jack crevalle, bluefish, reds, flounder, and trout. I have had two good shots at tarpon that were swimming just off the beach, but thankfully they didn't hit! The entire beachfront is good if the water is clear, but I prefer the stump hole or the state park area (email for directions). The bay is excellent for large trout and redfish...the water is as clear as the keys there and there is plenty of wading access in the state park. Firm bottom, easy wading, unlike the Georgia estuaries! In November, trout and redfish move into the surf in the area known as the stump hole and fishing is usually excellent.
Saltwater fishing is pretty frustrating in most areas because the local flyshop guys just tell you to flog the beach. Without experience at reading the water, it's almost impossible to locate fish unless you have directions to a specific location. It's a shame to spend all that time and money for useless advice. If you hit the spots I mentioned and fish a chartreuse clouser (the one fly that everything likes), you should do well. Email me for more info.
[This message has been edited by bbell (edited 04-28-2000).]
That's incredible, bbell! That was a lot more than I expected. I appreciate all the info. And will take you up on your offer to email you. I assumed this was going to be more hit and miss (and seasonal) than fresh water (which can be frustrating enough) but too convienent to not try it out w/ my folks in the panhandle. Sounds like I asked just at the right time!
Thank you again!
[This message has been edited by ShawnT (edited 04-28-2000).]
bbell is right about the fishing down there. I lived in Tallahassee for 18 years and the fishing along the coast can be great especially since the net ban was put into place.
bbell, you brought back alot of memories to me of St. George. I used to spend alot of time over there. Had one day after Pompano where I caught over 40. Arm never ached so good.
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