Merry Fishmas SoWal

December 23, 2014 by Larry Pentel

Merry Christmas everybody. I hope that all my anglers find that perfect gift under the tree in a couple days. Doesn't matter if it's a new flats boat, a gold reel or a new rubber shrimp, we are all easily entertained by new fishin' stuff! Sometimes the time spent dreaming of using a new piece of tackle or lure can be just as much fun as when we finally get to use it.

I had some folks take up some of my (not new) fishing stuff this past week and not only have a blast using it but will probably get lots of enjoyment just re-telling the stories from the trips. I took a group of first timers out Flounder fishing who loved the fish but had never really "targeted" 'em before. They had been referred by a repeat client and weren't really sure they would catch a mess when they got on the boat. Not only did they catch a limit of Flounders, they did it in about 3 hours which gave us an hour to go catch some Snappers and Trigger too!

Lots more Flounder in the box. The older gentleman caught that dogfish on Flounder tackle and he showed the younger guys how to fish.

While we have had a great year weather wise I have had to cancel a trip for some of the Frank's hardware crew several times this year due to rough conditions. I finally got 'em out on a slick calm morning this week to chase flat fish right about the end of the run. I was kinda apologizing for not quite limiting out (they had 37)and one of the guys said prior to today he considered getting 3 Flounders after fishing for 'em all morning a great trip, one of the other fellows said he had never been on a fishng trip where they caught 37 of anything as good as Flounders. I guess I am getting spoiled...

lots of Flounders!

With the flounder starting to disperse back out all over the Gulf I took one of my regulars, my wife Mary, and capt. Pat ( formerly of Strike Zone fame)out for some freezer fishing. I even got to fish this trip and kept up pretty good with the professionals... we came back with 35 for holiday treats.

Capt. Pat had to quit running boats and pretty much fishing entirely due to a bad back, worse surgery and a couple pounds of titanium implanted into him. I still manage to get him upright once a year long enough to catch a limit of Flounder for a Christmas present. He not only kept up with numbers but had the 2 biggest fish as well.

Still in the spirit of the season I took my daughters and their significant others out yesterday on a calm but damp and overcast day to catch a mess. We Flounder fished for a little over an hour and they caught a dozen nice ones before we ran offshore a couple miles to fill the box with Vermillions and Pinks. That done I turned to get everybody a "BIG" fish before running back in for lunch. I am proud to say all the kids did great and had some fine fishes.

taking the family out I employed a professional fish finding service to help.

Daughter Darcy with a fine 25# Red Snapper released after a quick pic.

Her fiancé' with another fine one.

My son-in-law the chef with a great Snapper we got to keep. He was already talking recipes before we had the lid shut on the fish box.

While there are still Flounders around the big "run" appears to be over. I'm sure if you spent the time you could fill the box but being able to limit out in a couple hours is probably over till next fall. There are plenty of Vermillions around, lots of Pinks and the kids even released a couple of "just short" greater Amberjacks 3 miles off the beach yesterday when we were looking for that big black Snapper.

Lots to catch and plenty to keep to have some fantastic seafood dinners this winter. I have trips all next week (the week between Christmas and New years is always the busiest of the winter)so I should have some idea on what's around and biting in a fishing report right after the first of the New year.


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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