A Little Fishin' and a Lot of Catchin'
January 30, 2012 by Larry Pentel
While it's has been a very mild winter so far here in South Walton, we still get the seasonal winds blowing which keeps most boats from venturing very far offshore most days. If you can wait for the couple of calm days every week and go then, it sure is a great treat to catch not only lots of fish, but big ones too.
I had a crew of locals on "stand by" all last week wanting to go catch Jacks on a calm "easy" day. The forecast was bumpy or rainy most of the week but Saturday looked like the best shot by the weatherman.
We lucked out and guessed right, the Chamber of Commerce couldn't have a produced a prettier day for the end of January. Calm seas and a temp in the mid 70's sure make for an easy run offshore.
The fish bit real well too keeping my anglers busy. I had one fellow start off Jack fishing with a jig. Now I am very used to having a jig catch fish even better than live bait some days but the first drop produced 2 Amberjacks on the same lure ! They were both over the 30" size limit but my angler let 'em go-- hoping for a big 'un. (the gamble paid off at 40 pounds )
If you think one Jack fights hard try catching 'em two at a time.
While the Jacks bite was on we also caught the (required anymore) pile of fine Red Snappers. This fellow had never been before and was amazed at how many there were.
That's a fine one I got-- make a picture!
While I was too busy to work the camera they also landed five Gag Grouper (released) with three over 20 pounds. We hooked LOTS of big Jacks, losing the battle with some monsters but still putting two over 40 pounds in the boat along with some other good table fare including a nice Red Grouper.
Yesterday was calm up on the beach but blowy offshore so we took Capt Tyler's "Too Dead Fish" out for it's first beach launch with his sister and his girlfriend and stayed in close. The boat did wonderful and the girls caught a pile of Pinks and Vermilion Snappers. I even got to play fish a little , catching and releasing some nice Red Snapper while Tyler practised holding up. It really is amazing the number of fish that are within 3 miles of the boat launch !
The first fish over the rail.
While getting the boat ready to go yesterday AM I saw hundreds of Bonita running right along the beach. Light tackle and Flyrodders dream- these hard fighting members of the Tuna family have been thick this winter. Being able to catch 'em while standing on the shore makes it even better !
I am taking a trip with my wife Way down South to where the water is 85 degrees for a couple weeks. So no fishing reports from me for a while. With all the activity right now get out there and make some fish stories happen for yourself.