Big Fish to Big Surf

June 30, 2010 by Larry Pentel

After a long stretch of great conditions, this is the third day I've had to cancel my trips. Tropical Storm Alex may be on it's way to Mexico, but the surf generated by the storm is hitting the shore here.

The water is clean and green, the wind light offshore but we've had lots of rain storms and the surf, while beautiful to watch break on the second bar, is keeping everyone on the hill.

The fishing was great prior to the storm with some fantastic catches that will stand out for a while. I have a family group that charters me for 5 days in a row every year. They are obviously avid fishermen, but this year had some stand out catches.

On one trip we caught and released the biggest Grouper I have ever seen up on the beach. After a rather prolonged fight in 66 feet of water they brought up a Goliath grouper in the 60 to 70 pound range. We made a couple quick pics and I got the hook out so he could swim back down. Not a common catch in these parts !


Nothing to size him to in the picture but its was BIG !


After fishing everyday for 5 days you don't miss near as many of the big bites as the first couple trips - the old practice makes perfect adage. This pic is of their last day catch.

As good a board as you could ask for !


Just to be fair-- here's the folks that caught 'em !

While I take lots of families, some hard core anglers, wedding trips etc I took a new type of group this past week. These young men had just graduated High School and for thier graduation trip they wanted to go fishing! We caught some quality fish and had some big bites that will still be out there for the next time they try.


Two of 'em had never been before.


One more great catch with a regular and a another young man on his first trip.

The oil continues to miss us with the only impact being scattered tar balls so far. These are small (fingernail size) and show up right at the waters edge in fairly limited amounts. There have been hundreds of folks from all different agencies and BP contractors roaming the beach looking for signs of oil. A few folks are actually picking up any tar balls seen on the beach and putting 'em in a zip lock baggie though most just seem to taking up space on the beach and getting paid. The end result is no oil but the beach tends to get crowded at times !

I'm in Grayton for another week or so and then off to Indian Pass to chase Tarpons and Tripletails for 10 days. The reports I have heard have all been good. I am only going for a little bit in July this year do to the Snapper season being the shortest ever.

I have 2 days left open if anyone wants to to try thier angling skills against a Silver King. I'll be back here fishing on the 20th again and we'll see if the gov't extends snapper season any. With 3/4 of the snapper in the Gulf off limits and 90% of the charter fleet working for BP there is no way the quota will be even close to being caught. Of course reality and Federal Fishery management never seem to be in the same zip code.

Get out there and get em! The hype may be doom and gloom but it's still been great here.


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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