The installation of artificial reefs has gotten off to a great start in South Walton, and 2017 promises a flurry of activity by South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA).
Boy, this winter has gone by fast. Hard to believe that the Spring Break crowds ( hordes?) will be here in two weeks.
The early breakers will have a lot warmer Gulf than usual to play in this year. The water temp on the beach was 66 degrees this past week with surface temps of 67 off a couple miles. I have not heard of a Cobia being seen yet but there are Spanish in St Andrews bay all ready and the pompano bite has been strong on SoWal beaches the past week.
Been a while since I sat still and wrote a report but I don't sit still for long or often! I was able to run a pretty good ways offshore one day last week with the intention to target Greater Amberjacks.
Alas, they weren't chewing too well that day and we only got about eight to bite and only one of those made the "magic" length to keep coming in at 36" to the fork.
It took a whole a New Year but I finally made it over to Indian Pass for ten days. I just don't get to go as often as I used to, what with running so many trips and trying to keep three boats going here.
New Years Eve here at the beach. Lots of folks in town and I was booked all week but, as usual in the winter, the weather had more bouncy days than calm. We got three trips in with two of 'em on a beautiful, calm Gulf and then again today where it was overcast, breezy and bouncy. We came in early but still had 29 fine Flounders in the box and lots of missed bites.
It's early winter at the beach, one of the best times of the year to live here. No lines at the grocery, no traffic on 30A, still some really nice days at the beach and... the Flounders are thick!
With this being the "slow time" my trips have dropped off from twice a day every day to just a couple a week. I spend most of my time dealing with all the real world stuff like rebuilding boats and tackle, trying to cram in a years worth of put off doctor visits, house chores that get put off, renewing dozens of fishing permits etc.
Well the seasons are finally changing, the surf is up and I am on the hill doing boat chores. We have had a long run of good weather and fairly warm temps. I got to run trips in the Gulf for 8 out of 10 days at the end of November this year.
Most years I get booked every day around Thanksgiving but only get to run half of my trips due to weather. Red Snappers are closed now till sometime next year (probably in May) and we can finally start targeting some other critters!
Sittin' on the hill this Friday morning as the first real cool front of the year slides in. The weather has been great (a little breezy maybe) with clear skies and temps in the upper 80's for weeks now.
This front is supposed to drop the night time temps into the 50's for a couple evenings but is bringing a stiff NW wind with it this AM keeping me from taking my scheduled folks fishing. Hard to have fun in 25-knot winds and a choppy sloppy Gulf! The good side is the Gulf water will start to cool down a little and turn the all ready hot King Bite on even more.
It was absolutely beautiful here at the beach yesterday and today but the folks over on the East Coast are dealing with Hurricane Mathew. The storm has us getting a pretty stiff NE wind which makes it slick calm on the beach but pretty bouncy offshore. In another 2 weeks I'd take my folks out to chase Flounders and Kings right up on the beach but right now our only species are the Kings up in close and my folks decided they didn't want to just troll for a whole trip. Fine with me as it gives me a chance to catch up and write a report !
It's a wonderful time to be at the beach! The last big crush of visitors from Labor Day weekend is over, there are no lines at the restaurants, Red Snapper season is open on the weekends and there are lots of other fish to catch during the week.
The fall Red Snapper season opened up for four days over Labor Day weekend with lots of folks getting good catches on the days calm enough to go. The remains of Hurricane Hermine had the Gulf a little rough for a couple days but all in all we got off easy, it didn't even rain here!