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Fall 2009 arrived with beautifully clear, warm water after a storm-free summer. The amberjacks and red snappers were plentiful in the Gulf, pompano cruised the pockets along the beach, and big Spanish mackerel provided exciting action for both fly and spin-fishing clients. Sight-fishing for redfish on the inside flats was reliable, plus there were quite a few big trout and flounders in the mix. November's "Running of the Bulls" was explosive as always, and the amazing redfish action continued throughout the month. Heavy rains in early December brought muddy water into the bay and Gulf, and the redfish moved elsewhere. The fall season ended with clearing waters and redfish, pompano, and false albacore showing up along the edge of the Gulf...all of which bode well for the winter season. Here are photos from the 2009 fall season. For photos from previous seasons, check out these additional galleries: Summer 2009, Spring 2009, Winter 2009, Fall 2008, Summer 2008, Spring 2008, Winter 2008, Fall 2007, Summer 2007, Spring 2007, Winter 2007, Fall 2006, Summer 2006, Spring 2006, Winter 2006, Spring 2005, Summer 2005, Fall 2005. Click on any of the small images below to see the full size photos. Use the back button on your browser to return to this page.

The Ward family from Columbus, GA, came to town September 25 for a family fishing vacation, and the amberjacks were turned on in a big way. Here's Ben and his mom Lonnie after a hard fight. Ben made a very enjoyable YouTube video of the trip: http://www.blackflyoutfitter.com/flog/BlackflyOutfitterVideo.aspx?yid=cyCGWRgGupk
Hobart McWhorter, Birmingham, AL, with the first pompano of the fall season. We were blind casting for Spanish mackerel when this fish grabbed Hobart's Clouser minnow...40# bite tippet and all. Those darn pompano are full of surprises.
The Spanish mackerel were much bigger than usual this fall. Careful Hobart, watch out for the teeth on that "snake"...
Hobart's long-time fishing buddy Frank Bainbridge with another fat Spanish mackerel on Sept 26.
A great shot of Rich Defeno, New York, and a fine caught-and-released amberjack on Oct 1.
Is this the Bahamas or what? Atlanta's Neal Osborn practice-casting his new Sage Smallmouth 7' 11"rod Oct 2 as we ambushed pompano feeding along the beach. Sight-fishing for pompano in clear, shallow water is the most technical fishing we have to offer. The fish are very nervous and nearly impossible to see. Pinpoint casting at 50-60' is prerequisite to success.
The result of Neal's fine casting...the first pompano caught in the Gulf this fall. Of course, we released the fish unharmed. For more photos and Neal's comments on our trip check out http://flyartstudio.com/wordpress/?p=455. You can see more of Neal's phenomenal fly-fishing photography and commentary at www.flyartstudio.com.
Noreen Galaba, Breckenridge, CO, shows good casting form as we approach a "pompano hole" on the morning of October 2. Very nice elbow extension on the backcast...
Chad McCoy, Louisville, KY, with the first false albacore landed on fly since May 12. Chad was throwing a tan/white Clouser minnow for Spanish mackerel when a small pod of albies popped up behind the boat along a current line. This fish grabbed Chad's fly and was off to the races.
Earlier in the day Chad hooked this nice Spanish mackerel, and son Hunter fought it to the boat. It's always good to see a youngster with a fly rod in his or her hands.
Alexis Marcotte, Lafayette, LA, with the fish of the day on October 12.
Size wasn't important to Larry Green, Kansas City, MO, with this hard-fighting little fellow on October 14.
Susan Shaw, Washington, DC, landed this beauty October 20 drifting a live pinfish along Pickens Point.
November is known for the "Running of the Bulls" when huge schools of big redfish collide with acres of menhaden migrating from the inland waters to the Gulf. The menhaden try to escape by coming to the surface, and that's where the redfish in full spawning colors crush them in depth charge explosions. Steve Cothran from North Carolina was here to witness the first day of the annual melee on October 26.
Charlie Tripis, Warner Robbins, GA, on October 29 with as pretty a redfish as you'll ever see.
George Amaya, Edwards AFB, CA, and Capt Baz with one of the biggest fish of the day on October 29.

The red snapper season's closed, but for those willing to catch-and-release October and November provide some terrific action in Pensacola Bay. How about the colors on this perfect specimen carefully released Oct 29 by Rocky Tasse from Ft Walton Beach...

Thad Wallace, Ft Walton Beach, FL, and yet another trophy redfish on October 29.
It doesn't all have to be catch and release. Thad slid this fine Pensacola Bay grouper into the cooler, and who could blame him. Today's fresh catch...yum.
Here's to you, guys! George, Thad, Charlie and Rocky celebrating after a great day on the water.
This flounder caught and released Nov 2 by Rhad Hayden, Baton Rouge, LA, is very close to the IGFA world record on fly (4lb 0oz on 12# tippet). The fish was lucky we didn't realize it was a possible world record, or it would've most likely ended up in the cooler...
Rhad's always willing to try different kinds of fishing, so we stopped on our way to the Gulf for a few minutes over some hot inshore structure.
It could be good karma or just plain luck but Rhad was here once again this year on the first fall day when the big schools of false albacore showed up in the Gulf. Here he is bowed up on his T&T 8wt with a nice school of albies eating bay anchovies in the background.
Rhad Hayden on November 2 with one of about twenty false albacore landed and released. The hot fly that day was Cowen's Albie Anchovy, size 6, from Umpqua Feather Merchants. After about a dozen on his 8wt Rhad moved up to a 10wt to make it a little easier to land the fish before they tired themselves out....more good karma for next fall.
It was late in the afternoon when the albies finally stopped feeding, and we paused on our way back for some redfish action in Pensacola Pass. After three fish of this quality on spinning tackle and soft plastics Rhad was ready to call it a day.
Here's Rhad the following day with a slab-sided Spanish mackerel.
Vlada Turbina showed the men on the boat how it's done by landing this beautiful redfish on November 9.
Odell Mullis, Richmond, VA, had his hands full with this brute on November 14.
This red snapper did everything in it's power to bite, impale, or slice Odell before we could take it's photo and release it unharmed. This fish weighed about 12#, and we landed it in just 30' of water.
Jim Little, Santa Clarita, CA, joined an elite group of fly-casters November 15 by landing this pompano...just the second this fall in the Gulf. We were poling an inside slot in a couple feet of water and spotted the fish facing away from us feeding along the edge of a dropoff. The pompano was moving back and forth in a feeding lane like a rainbow trout in fast water. Jim dropped the fly on target, and the pompano followed about 15' while Jim tried every stripping technique in the book. That "follow" and finally "the take" are the moments we live for... The fish weighed about 3 pounds and ate a yellow pompano fly tied by Ken Hutchison, Nampa, ID. Great job, Jim!
The following day we found the redfish, but they were near the bottom in 25' of water. Jim Little "dredged" this one up using a 425 gr sinking line and a 3/0 streamer.
Writer Dave Lear came to town Nov 19 to gather information for a Saltwater Sportsman article on fishing the beaches of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. A little kiss showed this redfish how much we appreciated it's participation. This and a few other redfish ate a Spro 1/2oz bucktail jig as we sight-fished the shallows.
As we poled along looking for reds this pompano appeared cruising in 2' of water along the edge of the sandbar. Dave dropped the bucktail jig in its path, and the pompano pounced on it. Once again, you just never know about those darn pompano...
The "bulls" were running November 21 for Corbett Davis, Jr, of Jewelers Trade Shop, and his buddy John Alexander. Corbett enticed this spectacular fish to hammer a 3/0 popper.
It just doesn't get any better than this! Just ask artist John Alexander from New York City shown here with a picture-perfect redfish landed on a "Go-meaux" bunny strip fly from Deep South Outfitters, Birmingham. You can see John's incredible artwork at: http://www.johnalexanderstudio.com/. John and Dan Aykroyd also own the Crystal Head Vodka company which makes one of the world's finest vodkas: http://crystalheadvodka.com/ Here's a Crystal Head martini to you, John. Nice catch!
An artsy, wide angle lens photo of John Alexander taken by Corbett Davis. Both John and the Tibor Everglades drag were screaming as this false albacore headed for Cuba. The fish ate one of Travis Akins' "green weenie" Clouser minnows.
Displaced Icelander Jonas Magnusson of Gulf Breeze with a hefty Spanish mackerel caught and released on November 23. The big Spanish mackerel hung around much later this year than usual to the delight of our fly-casting clients.
This November 24 photo of Charles Chamblee, Starkville, MS, could be on the cover of Florida Sportsman. What a beautiful redfish...one of nine Charles landed that day while fishing with his son Michael..
Michael Chamblee, Tuscaloosa, AL, with a fat bull redfish pushing thirty pounds...perhaps the largest landed on fly this year. Michael landed this fish on a "Go-meaux" bunny strip fly tied by his friend David Diaz of Deep South Outfitters, Birmingham. The "Running of the Bulls" gave us one more thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.
Will Greer, Birmingham, AL, after one of many dances with redfish on November 25.
Will's dad Mike Greer with a lovely specimen. When spin-fishing we take great care to protect these magnificent fish by only using lures with large barbless single hooks, never lifting them by the jaw for photos, and getting them back in the water as quickly as possible. If a fish is too exhausted to swim away we always take the necessary time to resuscitate it.
Welcome back from Michigan, Paul! Paul Wargo, the Blue Heron, has a love affair with the fall/winter redfish, and who could blame him...
Atlanta's George Sayegh got his first taste of our fall redfishing on a November 29 trip with his dad and son.
December was a month of rain and muddy water, but the Gulf cleared enough for Clyde Cox, Selma, AL, to land this nice redfish on December 20, the last day of the fall season.
   

 

Itís always a great day on the water with Gulf Breeze Guide Service!

Gulf Breeze Guide Service
P.O. Box 251
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32562-0251 (USA)
Tel: 850.934.3292 or 850.261.9035 (cell)
Email:
gbgsfishing@aol.com

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