Fishing Between Fronts

February 18, 2015 by Larry Pentel

While we have not had near as much winter weather as our northern relatives, it is still February here at the beach. I have been very fortunate to have lots of folks wanting to go fishing lately but the weather has limited us to three trips since my last report.

The current forecast has the boat and I stuck on the hill for another week as well. Oh well, it just makes those perfect days on the water even sweeter if we have to deal with what most of the country thinks of as "reality" or normal for just a little bit.

I ran a couple locals with another pair of their winter vacationing buddies last week on a cool but absolutely gorgeous winter day. One of the vacationers had driven up from his winter spot in Cocoa Beach just for the fishing trip and it was his first time for beach launching.

We ran out and stopped to catch wigglers to fill the live well and he said that was the most fish and the best time fishing he had in ages. The other three who knew what was coming told him to hang on. We were targeting Greater Jacks and while I ran us a long way the run paid off and we had a fantastic bite. They landed over 30 fish, maybe as many as 40. We kept our limit and I ran a very tired but happy batch of anglers back to the hill.


The box was full with just five fish.


While we always have to throw a few Red Snapper back this fellow said the 25 pounder he released was the biggest he had ever seen. A fantastic "bonus" catch.


My next trip had vacationers that had fished with me a couple times prior during the warmer months. They got on the boat wanting a promise of a box full of fish and were asking about Mackerel and other critters they had caught previously.

I told them those species were not around right now but Vermillion snappers had a 10 per person limit, tasted good and if they fished hard we could get our limit. The plan worked yet again and we had 40 Vermillions in the box along with 40 Pinks about three hours into the trip. With enough time to chase yet another species we went and got into a few jacks as well. Most were short Greaters (one by only 1/4") but we did get to add four lesser jacks to an already great catch.


They wanted a box full and got it!


Next trip was three experienced locals and another newcomer. A breezy , bumpy day but my folks were gung ho for big fish so we made a long run to a jack spot and caught our limit pretty quick to turn back and make a slow slog back up in close to try for Vermillions. They got a couple dozen of fine eating snappers in the box before it was time to put it on the trailer. Perfect timing as the wind and seas kicked up to past the 'safe" level about an hour after we were back in.


Another great catch. My anglers had to work for this board in some sloppy seas and cold weather.


I am almost finally done with the other boat. Hopefully I can get it all put together and sea trialed in the bay by the time it's calm enough to go in the Gulf again. I had ordered and paid for $1500 worth of T-Top parts from a big company almost 5 months ago.....that I still have not received.

I finally gave up and ordered from some one else and they came right away. I should be able to get my e-box and all the electronics mounted this week and have her ready. If you are going to buy a mass produced T-Top, , E- box or pieces parts call me and I 'll tell you who NOT to use.


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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