Full Fish Boxes and Empty Beaches

September 29, 2014 by Larry Pentel

Every year I am always amazed at how empty the beaches get in September. One of the bonuses to living here I guess. It's not as hot as summer, the water is at its clearest and you can count the number of folks on the beach on fingers and toes most days. Luckily for me the fish are here year 'round!

The weather pattern has started to change and I have missed a few trips here lately due to weather, or at least, weather forecasts. I had my charter cancel a trip the evening prior due to a gloom and doom prediction that never happened and I canceled a couple due to "small craft advisories" and predictions of 8-foot seas that were really more like 2 foot. I wish I could get wrong as often as the weather guy and still get lots of repeat business.

Oh well, here are some pics from days where I guessed right with some soon to be repeat and some long-time clients.

This fellow booked a 3 hour afternoon trip by himself and said he didn't really want to keep anything but would like to catch a big grouper.

Mission accomplished! I gave the King and Spanish to some of the beach locals for dinner and he only took half the grouper so my wife cooked us up a FINE dinner that night. We let a bunch of other critters go as well.

These folks fished with me for the first time on a blowy day that kept us up in close for a great catch. Kings, Spanish, Almaco jacks, Trigger, Pinks, Lane & Vermillion Snappers and even a Strawberry Grouper on the board.

This couple booked a 3-hour afternoon on what started to be a beautiful day. We had great luck trolling and went on to bottom fish, about the time we started catching fish a BIG black thunderstorm ran us in early. My wife and I cleaned fish as fast as we could and got done just as the first big drops started falling.

Some locals on a nice calm afternoon trip with some big Vermillions and a couple Kings.

This was the young man's first Mahi. We had been catching Kings and his brother had him beat with the two biggest fish 'til this great fish jumped with his turn at the rod. I don't know if he was more excited or proud!

Another single angler trip. He got our limit of Kings, some fine Spanish and that big Black Snapper.

These guys have fished with me for years and for years that gal in the middle has caught the biggest fish. No exception this year. I don't know who has more fun on their trips, me or them, they cut up something fierce and woe to the person that misses a big bite ..........which is always gonna happen.

Should be another six weeks or so of "easy" fishin' and the bite should actually pick up a bit when the weather backs off some. The Kings should start getting a little bigger and the Groupers should start feeding on bait with hooks in 'em better as the hordes of small reef fish start to move offshore. I had an angler catch the first Flounder of the Fall this past week bottom fishing as well, another couple weeks and we should be able to target 'em on the shallow wrecks.

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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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