Summer 2019 began
with a false albacore run like we haven't seen for years.
Big schools of FA gorged themselves on juvenile bay anchovies close
to shore. When the albies moved farther
concentrated more on redfish and jack crevalle sight-fishing
along the beaches of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and the
flats of Santa Rosa Sound. The big Spanish mackerel finally began
showing up late in the season providing breathtaking action on 6wt
tackle. Check out these
Double click on the photos for full-page views.
For photos from previous seasons follow the links to these additional
and Spring 2019, Fall
and Spring 2017, Fall
and Spring 2016 , Fall
to return to this page.
Rich Environment! This is what greeted us on a June 27 Project
Healing Waters trip. Hundreds of false albacore
were feeding on the surface a couple miles out from Pensacola Pass.
Double click for a full page view of this fabulous sight.
Newton with a fine FA landed on a #8 bay anchovy imitation. The
naturals were tiny.
Even the usually dependable #6 gummy minnow
was too big. We finally tried a #8 "slinky anchovy" invented
by Matt Wegener and hooked up on almost every cast. The problem
these powerful fish without breaking them off. We finally lost
all our #8 flies and called it a day.
Smith was Cliff's fishing partner and held his own against
these badass little tunas.
Capt Eddie Woodall summed it up when he
nicknamed them "bad little dudes"! Every fish takes you
deep in the backing...a beautiful thing.
Here's Cliff with another shot of false albacore from
a final photo of Don Smith. That little smile is about all the emotion
you're gonna get from my friend Don...
The next week we were back to sight-fishing for redfish along the
beach. The fish were picky, but on July 8 Sam Lewis coaxed this beauty
to eat one of his own tan/white clouser minnows tied with yak hair.
Todd Gailey was in town with the family for some red snapper fishing
on July 15. It was late in the season but the fish were cooperative.
Here's Todd with Jake and Logan.
Jake Fanale and I sight-fishing for redfish July 16 on the
flats of Santa Rosa Sound. In this photo we had moved a little farther
out, and the fish were hard to spot. I picked out the targets,
and young Jake made the casts.
little earlier we spotted this fish in a foot of water, and Jake
put the mojo on it. Fun to watch!
a nice shot taken a couple days later offshore with a glassy
Gulf of Mexico. That masked man is none other than Jake's
younger brother Max Fanale.
false albacore showed up again on July 19, but this time they
were only a couple hundred
yards off the beach. It was quite a scene.
Thousands of false albacore, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and ladyfish
in a feeding frenzy bigger than a football field. As if that wasn't
enough there were 100 pound tarpon rolling in the mix. This time
the fish were happy to eat the usual #6 gummy minnows and Cowen's
albie anchovies, and the challenge was keeping the fly away from
the toothy critters. Here's a great shot of Larry Sisney with a "typical" FA
from that day. Larry's a very stylish guy. Check out how his fly
line matches the colors of the fish. Impressive.
fishing buddy Jerry Giles with his first of many false albacore
landed that day. The thunderstorm in the background eventually
blew us out of there but not before both Larry and Jerry landed
more than their fair share.
Young was on the boat Aug 5, and we hit our favorite grass flats
looking for big Spanish mackerel. The 5 pound+ fish show
up every August in a few spots around Santa Rosa Sound, and we
blind-cast for them using clouser minnows, baitfish imitations,
and poppers. The biggest Spanish weigh 8-9# and can easily bite
mono. I prefer 26# nylon-coated wire tippet, and that's what
Joe was using. As it turned out we were a week too early
for the Spanish, but this pompano was eager to eat his tan/white
leader-shy, and it's always a surprise to get one on wire. The fish
was released unharmed.
first week of August was all about jack crevalle, and we
could count on them coming across our favorite sandbar in small
schools up to a hundred fish. These were the bigger sized jacks...25-30#
brutes that climbed over each others' backs to crush poppers
and topwater plugs. It
was pretty darn choppy for the skiff on August 6, but Skip Dalton
wanted to give it a try anyway. We weren't there 15 minutes
when a nice school came by and Skip nailed this beauty on a big "Chug
Lanier had an epic battle with this fish on August 9. We were
anchored in 3' of water in sloppy 1-2'
swells when the big school of jacks showed up. Jay, armed with
the 12wt and a big popper, made a perfect backhand cast and this
fish crushed the fly. While Jay's drag screamed I unclipper the
anchor and fired up the motor to follow the fish. But before I
could get the boat moving we got hit by a huge wake from the Pensacola
Bay ferry and took a wave over the bow. We were left standing in
inches of water
as the jack crevalle headed for parts unknown. I pulled
the drain plugs and followed the fish around crab trap buoys while
Jay laid on the heat.
finally got his jack to the boat, and we took the photo. There's a
lot more to that story, but you had to be there...
The big Spanish finally
showed up on August 15, and Bob Mecklenborg, Cincinnati, learned
all about line burns and bruised knuckles. Bob landed over a
dozen of these spectacular fish, and every one of them took him
well into his backing. Quite a day for a guy who had never before
Here's a nice shot of Capt Dave Yelverton on
August 21 with a picture-perfect redfish that was bold enough to
eat a big chartreuse
popper generally reserved for jack crevalle.
Nice shot of Dave's fish in 2' of water. There's
a popper down there somewhere... Even though the fish inhaled it
we were able to extract the barbless fly, and this redfish lived
to fight another day.
Couple days later on a "scouting" trip Capt Dave and I found a
school of redfish feasting on balls of bay anchovies on a big sand
The fish were so innocent and unsuspecting we were almost ashamed
to catch them.
Tim English worked his butt off on August 28 trying to get a doggone
redfish to eat. Fish after fish refused the fly until this one charged
it from 15' away and sucked it down. Sometimes it's just a numbers
Petruzzi finishes off the summer gallery with a nice shot of
this adorable little fellow who has his whole life ahead of him.
May he live long and prosper.
a great day on the water with Gulf Breeze Guide Service!
Breeze Guide Service
P.O. Box 251
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32562-0251 (USA)
Tel: 850.934.3292 or 850.261.9035 (cell)
Waters Fleet Your
Guide Types of Trips Photo
Gallery Booking What
to Bring Contact Us Local