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Winter 2009 provided typically wonderful false albacore and redfish sight-fishing along the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Speckled trout were plentiful in the inshore bayous and canals, plus we found flounders and small redfish in the mix. Our spin-fishing anglers enjoyed catching grouper and red snappers on nearshore and inshore structure. In March water temperature on the inside flats moved into the high-60's, and redfish sight-fishing with the fly rods was the best in years. The sheepshead became very active around mid-March and provided light-tackle thrills and dinner for our spin-fishing clients. Here are photos from Winter 2009. For photos from previous seasons, check out these additional galleries: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.

Bill Cornzatzer from Bismarck, ND, leads off the 2009 Winter Gallery with a fine little football landed and released on December 26.

The conditions were very rough on December 27 for Richard and Rafale Tatum, but the false albacore were ravenous along the breakers at Pickens Point. Rafale quickly got the skunk out of the boat with the first fish of the day.
Richard won this battle on a day that ended up with two broken rods and more fish landed than we could count.
A cold front flattened the Gulf for cousins Dennis and Pete Farkas on December 29, and we found slot redfish feeding along the shore. Dennis' first fish ended up in the skillet along with some melted butter and an ample application of Chef Paul's Blackened Redfish Magic.
All the redfish weren't "slot" sized on December 29. Pete Farkas landed this beauty on a "Sidewinder" spoon rigged with a barbless single hook.
We ended the day catching and releasing false albacore that were once again feeding along the current line at Pickens Point. Pete's ready to release this fish as Dennis fights another one in the background.
Here's an artsy shot of Smithsonian Magazine's Donovan Webster with all systems "on go" as we look for false albacore in the current late in the day on December 30. Photo courtesy of Capt. Jack Stringfellow.
Sight-fishing conditions were excellent for Tom Zavoral on December 31 shown here with his first redfish on fly. This fish was in the "slot", but Tom got style points and a helping of good karma by releasing it unharmed. Way to go, Tom!
Northwest flight attendant Donna Zavoral, Atlanta, and a tough 31" redfish landed December 31 on light spinning gear. We were anchored in shallow water, and Donna did a masterful job keeping this fish out of the anchor line and the prop.
Donna thought the redfish fought hard until she made a perfect cast and this torpedo slammed her spoon.
On January 1 we anchored on some inshore structure so Joe Hornett and Andrius Galinis could try to catch a flounder or mangrove snapper for dinner. Imagine our shock when these big boys started eating our shrimp! Happy New Year, indeed!!
Allison and Jeff Morris, Austin, TX, met Allison's dad Jeff Barber from Kentucky for some family fun on January 2 and 3. Allison broke the ice on her first cast January 2.
Jeff Morris now knows what all the fuss is about after landing his first little tunny on fly January 2.
Jeff Barber got into the fly rod action, too, with his first FA on fly.
Jeff will always remember the vision of his fly line unfurling toward the unsuspecting school of redfish. The cast was perfect, the fly dropped just beyond the school, and as Jeff stripped this fish rose up out of the pack and inhaled it. Very sweet!
This is a great shot of a very happy Allison Morris holding the biggest fish of the trip...a 38" inch bull red landed January 3.
The redfish became very active late in the day on January 3, and we stayed until almost dark. Hey, that's why we have running lights! Here's Jeff Barber with the last fish of the day.
Pensacola resident Geoff Brodersen attended the PJC Fly-Fishing class last spring and was ready to test his new skills on January 4. In this photo Geoff's holding his first false albacore on fly landed on a Cowen's Albie Anchovy.
Geoff's dad Mark Brodersen, Jacksonville, put his excellent casting to use when the fish became boat shy and extremely selective. We dropped down to size 8 gummy minnows, and Mark was able to coax a strike on maybe one out of thirty 70-80' casts.
The Walters clan from Johnson City, TN, were here on a socked-in foggy January 5. Since we couldn't see but about 100 feet, sight fishing was out of the question. Instead, we began our day grouper fishing in Pensacola Bay. Daniel Walters is pictured with the first fish headed for the cooler.
When the fog cleared we found pods of false albacore slurping juvenile bay anchovies just a few feet from shore at Pickens Point. Ben and Dave Walters jumped out of the boat with fly rods in hand and chased them down the beach. Congratulations to Ben for landing the first FA ever from shore. Click on the photo to see Ben sliding his fish up on the beach.
Dave Walters had his hands full with the next fish landed from shore. Click on the photo for an action shot of Dave "beaching" his fish while Ben prepares to make a cast to the next pod.
The gulf was perfect for sight-fishing on January 12, and Jeffrey Waters of Pensacola Beach landed his first redfish on fly.
The following day Travis Akins joined in for some "scouting" along shore, and we boated seven reds on fly. This is a nice shot of Trav with a pretty fish landed on his own "shrimp" clouser.
This was a surprise catch after a cast landed behind a passing school of redfish, and the fly line came tight after one strip. The cute little fellow was probably following the reds to feed on leftovers. January 13 is the earliest we've ever caught a pompano, and it bodes well for an early migration.
Tracy Meader, Powells Pt, NC, with his first redfish on fly taken (and released) on January 16. We had one of those fabulous winter days with a diminishing north wind, bright blue skies, and a high temperature in the 50's.
The gulf water was as pretty as it gets that day for Tracy shown here with redfish #2.
A strong secondary cold front blew through just before Ken Hutchison and Tony Severa came to town from Nampa, ID. The gulf was too rough, so we spent January 19 catching trout and flounders in the bayous around Gulf Breeze. Hutch caught this boat record flounder on fly in the back of Hoffman's Bayou.
We ventured into the gulf January 20 and were surprised to find bull reds on the surface a half mile out from shore. This redfish in full spawning colors was the first ever for Tony Severa.
Anybody say anything about it being cold?? These macho guys from Idaho don't feel the cold...especially when the bull reds are in clear, shallow water! Hutch landed this multi-spotted brute January 20 on a 10wt with a white bunny strip fly.
Later on, Tony caught his "fish of the day" on light spinning tackle.
January 21 was the third day after the cold front, and the wind died leaving the Gulf dead flat. We were in the Hewes poling the inside troughs for the first time in a month. For the day we landed a dozen redfish of various sizes and had three double hookups ... a "red" letter day in anybody's book. This is Hutch with his first fish of the day.
Tony's first redfish January 21 with an incredible water background...looks like a swimming pool.
The temperature rose to the mid-50's by mid-afternoon, and we found the mother lode of redfish holding in a little pocket close to shore. Looking good, Hutch!
The last fish of the day (and the trip) for Hutch and Tony was this beaut landed late-afternoon on January 21.
The false albacore disappeared from the beach on January 16, but we found them a week or so later four miles offshore. This worked out well for Rocket Man on January 27 who was in town from Ft Collins, Colorado.
Bob Spencer of Gulf Breeze finished off a spectacular January by landing one of the biggest redfish of the season...a 42" monster on January 31.
The bulls continued to roam the Gulf of Mexico shallows during the month of February. Here's Joe Cleary from Indianapolis with the fish of the day on February 21.
It must've been good karma that brought Kevin Maxey to town from Atlanta for the best day of inshore redfish flats fishing ever. This was Kevin's first fish landed March 9 in the Big Lagoon west of Pensacola Pass.
Later in the afternoon we poled my favorite flat, and Kevin landed four fish of this quality in clear water that was 2-3' deep.
The fish became boat shy, so Kevin and I got in and waded after them. At one point we had so many redfish around us on a shallow sandbar that we couldn't move. On two different occasions Kevin enticed strikes with the 10' leader in the tip top guide. Water temp was 70 degrees.
Mike Graham, Monroe, LA, with grandson Beau hanging on March 11 as a bull redfish heads for Mexico.
A proud Beau Bailey after winning the battle. That's a lot of redfish on a medium power St Croix rod, Shimano Stradic 2500, and 15 pound PowerPro.
Beau's dad Mike Bailey and a pretty-as-it-gets photo taken the next day. .
Here's the whole family with the biggest fish of the two-day trip landed by Beau on March 12.
Nick (hood up) and Dennis Farkas weren't detered by a little rain on March 16.
Houston's Brad Cress caught a few rays on March 17, but that wasn't all. This sheepshead was pushing 8 pounds and fit nicely in the cooler.
On March 18 Bill Johnson and I poled my favorite flat for the first time in over a week, and the redfish were hungry. Sight-fishing with 8wt tackle for these 30-34 inch brutes is hard to beat.
This shot of Bill with his second catch could be a cover shot for your favorite fly-fishing magazine. Only the background has been changed to protect the innocent...
Schools of slot-sized and larger redfish were feeding along the shore for Mark Walenczyk and family on March 19. This is one of a dozen fish landed on that beautiful early-spring day.
An exuberant Paul Wargo finishes off the winter gallery with Ft Pickens Point in the background.

 

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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