Fishmas Time in SoWal

December 30, 2011 by Larry Pentel

It was a nice, warm, sunny day right before the new year, Florida weather sure can be great. The little front that came through last night kicked the surf up to much to be able launch today though so it's boat projects today instead of boat driving. I hated canceling a trip on a warm clear December day.

Yesterday was a little cooler and breezy but a whole lot calmer so I got to take a couple families out for a nice catch. We had a decent box going when at the last stop one of my younger anglers hooked a good fish that he called "just another 15-pound Red Snapper". When I went over to release the fish I quickly went to gaff the fish mode when I saw it was a Big Black Snapper.

I sure don't have a clue why the most abundant Snapper in the gulf is closed 11 months of the year and the Blacks (mangroves) are open year 'round but my angler sure was happy.

 

The rest of the crew and catch

Some days I get an "easy trip". I took a father son team out for the sons first ever offshore fishing trip. Dad said they didn't need to keep much- just enough for a couple dinners and we could catch & release fish most of the trip. Alright ! We wore out the Snappers and Dad got two real nice Gags as well before we swapped gear and let his son catch some Triggers and Vermilions for dinners. My folks were beat down and smilin', the son was all fired up about Gulf fishing and I only had to clean 15 fish. Everybody was happy !
 

One of dozens but the smiles never faded.
 

Back to one of my regulars and a more "normal" trip.. "capt, we want to eat fresh fish for our whole stay through New Years". These folks love to be on the water and the blond gal is one of those fisherwomen that is going to hook up every drop whether anyone else has a bite of not ( yes ladies, it does drive some of the men nuts). A cool calm December day and a great catch of dinners. They probably caught 40 of the jacks to find a dozen under the 22" slot.
 

As usual, the high hook was the gal on the right.
 

I'm off to Indian Pass tomorrow morning to spend New Years over there. One of my (most)regular anglers is coming over to chase redfish and eat oysters to ring in 2012. Come to think of it, there probably isn't a better way to start a year....

Make the most of a New Year by resolving to spend more time on the water, watch more sunsets and catch more fish !!!

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Larry Pentel

Captain Larry Pentel is a native of South Walton, growing up just 300 yards from the beach. Having fished the local waters for over 40 years, he is very familiar with all the different types of local fish, their habits, and most importantly - their habitats. Captain Larry is the owner of Dead Fish Charters

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