Surf's Up Spring Break Is On In SoWal

March 10, 2016 by Larry Pentel

It's a sunny, warm spring break this week but the surf is huge ! I got 4 days in a row in last week and then another 2 this past weekend but the Gulf started getting rough Monday and the current forecast has the surf to big to go fishing for the foreseeable future. On the bright side, while it was nice it was beautiful and now there is no question about not being able to go. I hate it when it's "marginal" and I second guess myself all day if I cancel someones fishing trip.

The bite was pretty strong when we got to go. Lots of Vermillions around, a few Triggers and plenty of Pinks for the box and dinners. For those wanting a big pull there are plenty of short Amberjacks to catch and release as well as an awfull lot of Red Snappers.

The most memorable trip last week was with a group that has fished with me for years. We had a good catch of vermillions going when a couple Dolphins showed up and shut us down. I ran a few miles to get away from 'em and as pulled up to where I was going I saw a bunch of commotion and fins and thought "oh no, more Dolphins". Well, upon getting closer I realized it was a school of sharks up on the surface in a feeding frenzy.

I grabbed a couple big rods and my folks were quickly hooked up to a pair of fine Blacktips. They played with those for a while and we pulled back up to where we started and dropped down bottom gear. As soon as everyone threw their reels in gear they were on, slip lead or 2 hook rig it didn't matter. Not just on but drag burnnin, line pullin' rod benden', hangin' on!

We had found a huge school of Bull Redfish out in 90 ft of water on a reef. My folks caught a bunch and I was tieing broken tackle together as fast as I could when.. the shark school shows back up. Seems they had been shadowing the Redfish, picking one off every now and then till we ran them off by hooking a couple. I grabbed the heavy tackle again and we went back to shark mode.

My folks decided they wanted to keep one to eat so we put a nice 6 footer in the boat to be a future fish fry (Black tips are delicious ! ) Running off the shark school we we then went back to the Reds 'till my folks were beat down from catching. They still managed to catch a limit of Vermillions before we finished up our 4 hr. trip.


Just few of the many Red Fish they got. Only one was small enough to be legal.



The crew with some of what they kept including that toothy critter on the end.



These 3 guys had a limit of Triggers along with their Vermillions.



That's a BIG Red Snapper. Might not can keep 'em but he can still brag about 'em!



Plenty to keep in the box still.



Everyone always asks about gals and kids being able to fish... that Mom to be outfished her dad and her husband!



Another nice snapper on a slick calm morning.



what better way to spend spring break with the boys than catching fish on a beautiful day.


This big SE swell and breeze will probably start the spring fish migration our way. The water temp was 62 by my machine on Sunday and may very well be 65-66 by the first of next week. The Cobia's, Mackerel, Kings, Mahi, Sails and bait are coming to a rod and reel near here soon!


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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