Pensacola Bay Bull Reds

 The running of the Bulls has come to an end, but the action in Pensacola Bay is far from over. The fish are still schooled up & feeding aggressively.

Andrew from Sacramento with his first ever kayak fish caught deep cranking.

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photo by Brandon Barton

Ray with his first ever kayak fish.

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Andrew had one goal, to top his previous personal best 27″ redfish. We crushed that by over a foot.

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A couple nights later the fish were on top & we caught them sight casting weightless Hogys on Owner circle hooks & the Fatback Herring Greenback.

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Brandon with the fish of the night.

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If you are interested in catching some giant Bull Reds, let us know. We would love to put you on them!

Pensacola Bay Provides

Last week’s charters started with a couple early morning solo scouting missions in Pensacola Bay.

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On both trips I found what I was looking for.

Next on tap was 3 days with my crew from the Mid West. Our 3 day journey began with an evening hunting Bull Reds at 3MB. We worked hard through a slow bite & managed to land 3 nice fish with 5 other battles that ended in big smiles & worn out anglers.

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The next evening it was all about the fly rods. Another slow bite resulted in miles of searching to finally find the fish.

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The evening ended with a triple of Reds all on the fly & yes that silly look on my face is the look of a sleep deprived, but very happy guide.

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The next morning arrived quick & we were blessed with perfect conditions. The goal for the day was what I refer to this time of year as the Pensacola Bay “Vann Slam”. Big Trout, Big Redfish & Big Red Snapper.

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On the way to our first spot I explained the plan of attack to the guys & that we would have about an hour before we would need to move to deeper water. I also explained that it might be difficult to leave the spot I was about to introduce them to, but to achieve our goal it would be imperative.

On arrival at our first stop we were greeted with trout busting bait & tailing reds. On all 3 guys first cast we were hooked up with solid fish on top water! Exactly what I had dreamed of during my 2 hours of brief sleep just a short while ago.

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Luckily I had anticipated this happening & gave Carl my back up net at the launch. Because, as you can see in the next 2 photos I had my hands & net full of exactly what we came for. Over 50″ of spot & dots!

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After landing & taking some pictures of our first go round, I told the guys “well… it might be hard to top that.”

After an action packed hour of feeding fish One Knockers it was off to deeper water. On our way I gave my normal pep talk to try to ready my guys for the battle they were about to engage in. It can be difficult to prepare people for just how determined & powerful these Bay Red Snapper are. It didn’t take long for them to all be drenched in sweat with rods in their lap needing to be re rigged. I could tell by the look on their faces it was time for another pep talk, change in strategy & some strong encouragement.

It worked!

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They were amazed at the fight from these spunky little pink fish. I kept telling them, “don’t worry there are much bigger ones & I have a plan.”

Carl just couldn’t stay away from the sharks & they kept him busy for about 45 minutes while the others worked on the target species.

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Finally we got Carl in the game & he was stoked!

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After repositioning & another pep talk I had the guys all jacked up. Like most people, nothing I said could’ve prepared them for their next battle.

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Not one but two stud kayak Bay Snappers! A perfect way to achieve our goal for the day & complete the Pensacola Bay “Vann Slam!”

The fishing inshore & offshore has been outstanding this year. With just 4 1/2 weeks of Red Snapper season left & all but one weekend spoken for, now is the time to call & book a trip.

Red Snapper Season off to a Sizzlin’ Start

This past Saturday was the opening day of our 52 day Red Snapper season here in Florida state waters & the fishing offshore is really starting to heat up. Monday, I had the pleasure of fishing with my son, a couple local Hobie teammates & 3 teammates from out of town that were visiting for the holiday weekend.

The day greeted us with a beautiful sunrise, calm seas & perfect conditions. Soon after launching we were surrounded by schools of bait & easily filled our bait tubes in no time. Once bait was made, we started our troll. Because of the size of our group, we opted to split a couple times & meet back up. Within a minute of my son’s first line in the water he was hooked up on a Mahi.

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 At our first bottom spot we were pleasantly surprised to land a mixed bag of Lane, Mangrove & Red Snapper.

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 Photo by Chris Holmes

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 Photo by Chris Holmes

 After putting a few fish in the bag it was time to move. Not long after starting our troll, my son’s line get’s trainwrecked & we thought for sure he had a Cobia on. The fish put up an awesome battle & when it finally came to the surface we were quite shocked to see this 31″ giant Red Snapper.

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 Photo by Chris Holmes

 Our next couple spots were close to 2 miles away & on this long troll we got into a solid King Mackerel bite. In all the excitement to get back to bottom dropping & fill our bags, we didn’t get any great photos of the Kings. They were all in the 24-36″ range & feeding very aggressively.

At our next spot, I was finally able to get in the game & land some really nice fish.

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 Photo by Chris Holmes

 The next spot yieled some epic battles.

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 Photo by Chris Holmes

 The fish of the day was landed by Chris Holmes after a colossal battle where the rod snapped during mid fight. Chris remained calm & brought up only the 3rd Warsaw Grouper to be caught from a kayak in our area.

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 In the end, we had a 7 man limit of Red Snapper, 2 very nice Mangroves, a Lane, 2 Mahi, a Warsaw Grouper, a bunch of Kings & a handful of sharks. A couple of our guys were still out fighting Kings & missed the group photo. Special thanks to Brandon Barton & Chris Holmes for some great photos of our offshore adventure.

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 Now is the time to get out & take advantage of the Red Snapper season & some excellent offshore fishing.

 

Santa Rosa Sound Redfish

The morning of 3-10-14 greeted me with sunny skies, light north winds & temps in the mid 60’s. Even though the feeding charts had the day listed as poor, the conditions were ideal & had high hopes.

 

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After a very pleasent 20 minute pedal I arrived at the spot I planned to fish. I was nearly immediately rewarded with this 19′ beauty.

 

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After another fish in the 20″ range I moved to my next spot & found exactly what I was looking for.

 

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A pair of hungry twins.

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The water in the Sound is still a bit stained. The singles & pairs are spooky, but catchable with a stealthy presentation. The schools or small groups of fish relating to structure are more approachable generally feeding aggressively.

 

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Get out there while the water is still cool & enjoy the happy Redfish of Santa Rosa Sound.

Offshore Flounder

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My first Offshore trip of the 2014 season began as a glorious morning with temps in the low 50’s, light offshore wind, & glassed out conditions. I arrived at the spot I planned to fish right at the tail end of the first peak feed time to find 6 boats posted up & bait everywhere.

I started the morning off jigging & quickly landed a legal Snapper which was released to be caught another day. The next 30 minutes produced a giant Toadfish aka Oystercracker, a Ray, a long distance release of a really nice Flounder right under the kayak & a lost jig to what I assume was a hefty Snapper.

After 45 minutes of fishing I had no flounder in my bag & the boat closest to me had landed 4 legal fish. It was time to change tactics. As I went to put up the jigging rod, I realized I had forgotten the sabiki rig in the garage. No worries, cut bait it would be. On my first drop with light tackle I landed a 13″ flatty. Over the next 20 minutes I caught a 13.5″ & one a bit over 15″ then the bite shut off, at least where I was.

I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon soaking up all the goodness the Gulf has to offer. There were Black Sea Bass, Sheephead, & plenty of Red Snapper landed on the same reef.

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It was a beautiful day on the Gulf & a great reminder of good things to come.

Winter Fishing is Heating Up

B Barton with a dandy 3MB Bull. Photo credit Jameson Redding

B Barton with a dandy 3MB Bull. Photo credit   Jameson Redding

Even with the back & forth weather we’ve been experiencing here in NW Florida, a few things have remained consistent. Most of our water is in the mid to upper 40’s & the fish are locked into their winter patterns. That being said, the fishing has been very good.

The Bulls are congregated around deep water structure & in the pass, as well as cruising in the surf. Our last trip to 3MB yeilded close to 20 fish by 4 anglers ranging from just over slot up to nearly 39″. Every fish was very healthy & sporting their beautiful golden winter coat.

1/4" shorter & this one would've came home for dinner

1/2″ shorter & this one would’ve came home for dinner

All of my fish this evening were caught jigging with the PowerTeam Lures 4.5″ Grub in Silk Chartreuse. The majority of the other fish were caught on a number of different soft plastics & a few came on live white trout on the bottom. We did see a handful of fish on top, but they didn’t pop until we were on our way back in.

Beautiful fish, funny face. Photo credit Brandon Barton

Beautiful fish, funny face. Photo credit Brandon  Barton

The Trout are in most of the mud bottom bayous, creeks with deep water, deep holes in the marsh, & up river from any of the bays. The fish are holding in water depths of 6-20+’ depending on the area. If you find the mullet, especially finger mullet you are likely to find the Trout. Every fish I cleaned from my last trip had a finger mullet in it’s belly.

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Good morning

The key to winter Spec fishing in our area is a deep & slow presentation. Sinking & suspending twitchbaits as well as soft plastics on appropriate sized jig heads are my lures of choice. Remember if it’s cold outside & you think you are fishing slow, then fish even slower.

Beautful Winter Spec

Beautful Winter Spec

Also the last 2 Sundays on my Duck hunts on the beach I saw slot reds as well as sheephead in schools on the flats. If you find grass & take your time, you will find both. Small baits/lures & a very stealthy approach are crucial.

         Get out there & enjoy some of this Hot Winter action!

 

3MB Report

Dodging the storms has been the challenge. On the nights that it hasn’t been raining, the action at 3MB has been hot. We have been consistently catching beautifully colored Bull Redfish in the 30-38″ range with a few nice slot fish in the mix. These fish are totally lit up & extremely fat. We have also been bringing some really nice Jack Crevalle yakside. Most of the fish have been caught on 1/4-3/4 oz jigheads & PowerTeam Lures soft plastics (JP Hammer Shads, Grubs, & of course the Swinging Hammer) www.powerteamlures.com. The Bay is still very stained with low visibilty, but the fish have been feeding in the upper part of the water column. An evening trip to 3MB is a great way to beat the summer heat & get a good workout.

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2013 Red Snapper Season Update

 

Our 2013 Red Snapper season is well into it’s 2nd half with only 18 days left. Just like any other year we’ve had some great days, some good days, & some just plain challenging days. One thing is for sure, we’ve put some beautiful fish in the bag & had a great time doing so.

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2013 Bud light Fishing Rodeo Video

2013 Bud light Fishing Rodeo Video

Had the opportunity to fish the Bud light Fishing Rodeo this past weekend. My King took 2nd place in the Kayak bonus division. I am really looking forward to a full on Kayak division next year. We got on a solid King bite just couldn’t find the smokers. The conditions got pretty sporty, but we still managed to put some nice Red Snapper in the bag as well.