Back to the Gulf for Big Fish!

February 5, 2013 by Larry Pentel

After almost a month of "boat building", I have most of the bugs worked out of the new ride and am back at it offshore. The new boat did very well the past couple days. I was able to run a couple trips way out (for me) and put the Dead Fish through the paces. This time of year is one of the best to chase Amberjacks if you can get a pretty day and we had two nice ones in a row.

Sunday I took a long time regular and some of his crew; a great treat for his employees who had never been fishing in the Gulf before. They not only had a great time but caught a box full of fish. It's always a good thing when you have to come in because the lid won't shut on the fish box!

We let 'em go of course but this fellow's trip wouldn't be complete if he didn't catch at least one big Grouper! That sweat shirt is as much statement as for warmth.

Always nice when you run out nails! Plenty more in the box.

Yesterday I ran a Snowbird trip--- I took my visiting "northern" sister who had never been before, a couple of part time neighbors who live in Colorado and Tennessee but LOVE to fish when they are here and my son who has even been working up North a bit this winter. We covered a lot of ground and fished some spots I hadn't been to in years as well as a few "new" ones.

Proving that it doesn't take a lot of experience to land a big one- just determination! She wasn't real understanding when I let it go though...we pulled somebody elses hook out of his lip!

This gal has not only done it before but got to claim the bragging rights for the biggest Snapper (released) of the day AND the biggest Amberjack kept.

I have to be careful about taking these Snowbirds and they all have so much fun they want to move here; holding up some of the bigger ones with plenty more in the box.

There were fish on everything we checked, although we had to contend with a Barracuda and a big shark on one spot that got more Jacks than we did. We made a stop for Amberines before running way out and while they were thick and hungry most were too big (above the 22" slot). I think we kept 5 that were right at the top end of the limit and threw back another 15 that were too big. We made a couple stops to 2 hook fish and had 10 Mingos (Vermillions) that were a good size and caught a bunch of Triggers, but only 2 were big enough-- both were WAY over the limit though. Always nice to see that banjo Trigger come over the rail!

Less than a month before the season kicks in wide open again. I have another couple days of boat tinkering, a week of tackle rebuilding and then I hope to get in a few days more of personal fishing (and oystering!) before going back to helping other folks catch fish full time. I got to catch a couple Jacks myself yesterday just to prove I could still do it!


Larry Pentel's picture

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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