Summer 2017 was
challenging as we worked around the turmoil caused by tropical storms
Cindy in June and Irma in late-August. It was difficult at times
finding clear water for our sight-fishing fly and light-tackle clients,
and we resorted to running numerous offshore and bottom-fishing trips.
We did have some very exciting days on fly and light-tackle,
and these clients are shown below. For photos from
seasons click on the links to these
and Spring 2017, Fall
and Spring 2016 , Fall
2013, Winter 2013, Fall
to return to this page.
begin the summer gallery on June 30 with a 5 pound trout landed
by good client and friend Mike Youkee from London. We'd
been hammered for a week with the wind and rain from
Tropical Storm Cindy. All the inland waters around Gulf Breeze
were muddy, so we ran east in Santa Rosa Sound and found clear
water halfway to Navarre.
were poling 50' from shore looking for redfish on the shallow
sand and grass flats when we saw two really nice trout sitting
motionless in a foot of water on a sandbar 150' ahead of us.
The water was calm and very shallow on the bar, and we knew
the fish would be spooky. Mike was using the EP 1/0 baitfish
a feather. You just have to be careful to not "line" the fish
or drop the fly too close. We stopped about 80' out, and Mike
started making casts to the side of the fish with each cast getting
closer. On the third or fourth cast the fly was close
enough to arouse the trout, and they both swam over to investigate.
Incredibly the larger of the two decided to eat, and the fight
was on. The whole experience was as good as anything you read
about, and Mike turned to me and said "That, Baz, is the reason
I come all the way over here to fish with you". Well now I know...
I'd been wondering about that.
water was still off-color on July 20, but it was just
clear enough for some sight-fishing along the Gulf Breeze flats
Bennett. Bob and Cindy hooked five and landed three
speckled trout of this quality on the EP
with the first fish of the day.
took over the casting platform and landed another beauty. Check
out the "yellow-mouth" (and the perfect hook placement) on this
We released both
26 was a multiple species trip for Bryan Miller. First up is
this respectable Spanish mackerel. These guys are built for speed
give you all you want on 8wt fly tackle or light spinning gear.
This fish weighed about 3 pounds. In late-summer and fall, the
Spanish are on the flats, and we catch them up to 9 pounds.
We moved over to the
Gulf Breeze side of Santa Rosa Sound where Bryan landed and released
got quiet on the inside, so we decided to give the Gulf a try.
The water was calm and clear...
for pompano! Bryan got extra style points by releasing this fish
We finished the day chasing false albacore a few miles out in the
Gulf. They were feeding on top a half mile east of the
#2 Sea Buoy, and Bryan landed numerous fish on a #6 clear gummy
All the FA were in the 4-5 pound range and ran well into
the backing. You just can't beat false albacore on 8wt tackle.
Here's a nice shot of Henry Pfitzer on July 28 with a picture-perfect
"slot" redfish landed on light spinning tackle and released unharmed.
Looking good, Henry!
On August 14 we struck out on jack crevalle, redfish, and
trout, but Stephen Miller saved the day with this flounder which
found its way into the live well and onto Stephen's grill that evening.
August 17 was a fun day of fishing (and catching)for the Nichols
family. We had a busy morning drifting live shrimp over shallow
structure where young
Nolan landed fish after fish including sheepshead, mangrove
snappers, trout, catfish, and black sea bass. We finished the trip
sight-fishing for jack crevalle, and Keith landed this killer jack
on a big topwater plug. Debbie joined in the photo, and there's Nolan
with a "thumbs up" in the background. Looks like a Christmas card
Rothfarb, Atlanta, booked a half day August 19 for his first
saltwater fly-fishing experience. He had been working on his
including the double-haul, and just wanted to see what the
all about. His expectations were low. After some casting
instruction we headed straight to the Gulf hoping to find the false
albacore. The Gulf was flat, and we found schools of fish exploding
on the surface a couple miles out east of the channel markers.
As we pulled closer we could see
the green backs of the FA streaking through crystal-clear blue
water with the bright sun reflecting off their silvery sides. It
was mesmerizing. Mike did a fine job casting the #6 clear gummy
minnow 50-60' and succeeded in catching fish after fish. It was
of those days with perfect conditions, hungry false albacore, and
no other boats.
if the false albacore weren't magical enough, a half hour into
the hot action we noticed an area of "nervous water" fifty
yards from the boat. The surface was glassy, and
I could see fins and tails in the disturbance. It was a school
of big jack crevalle, and they were moving in our direction.
slid the 10wt out of the rack, and Mike began working out some
line. The jacks were beautiful beyond description with their
fins lit-up in the clear, blue water. Casting a 4/0 popper on 10wt
tackle is a lot to ask of a novice saltwater fly-angler, but Mike
did great! He put the fly out there 40' and didn't decompose when
the jacks all came over to investigate. It took a few casts, but
once he figured out how to remove slack from the line and
make the popper "pop", this gorgeous fish inhaled the fly 20' from
boat. Mike ended the day with bruised knuckles, line burns, and
memories that will last a lifetime.
Two days later Stephen Miller and I ran back
to that same area hoping the false albacore would be there...but
nooooo! They were gone, and we spent two hours covering
twenty miles of Gulf of Mexico waters looking for them. We did
of giant blue runners about 9 miles out, and Stephen landed fish
of this quality on his 8wt.
25 was the 33rd wedding anniversary trip for local fishing addicts
Jenifer and Steve Cotaya. We found
a school of redfish feeding along the beach in the Gulf Islands
National Seashore and they "doubled-up" on light spinning tackle
and half-ounce SPRO bucktail jigs. How about 30-something
years of fishing together to make a marriage special and long-lasting...
Congratulations to Jenifer and Steve!
ran east to Opal Beach on September 2 looking for clean water
and redfish, and Mike Petrucci
nailed (and released) this beauty
on the EP baitfish. We were anchored in a perfect spot, and Mike's
fishing partner and Michigan guide Andrew Behrend was up on
at the passing
redfish when hundreds of mullet started "showering" a
couple hundred yards down the beach. It was a school
of jacks for sure, and we could see them exploding like depth
charges all around the mullet. The normal "fire drill" of
controlled panic broke out on the boat as Andrew cranked
in and stowed the 8wt, pulled out the 10wt with the
big popper, and worked out some line. While he was doing that
I pulled in the anchor, grabbed the push pole, climbed up on
the platform, and poled us in the direction of the melee.
As luck would have it the jacks were moving toward us.
It was a small pod of a dozen big fish that looked like black torpedoes
pushing wakes in the shallow water.
the fish approached the boat they broke to the inside trying
to get between us and
the beach. But the water got too shallow, and
they turned directly at us. It was all happening so fast there
wasn't time to get "buck fever", and Andrew
instinctively backhanded the popper in front of the fish
and started stripping.
The jacks were nervous from the presence
of the boat
and the shallow water and
passed under the popper without noticing it. I thought Andrew was going
to pick up and recast in "Hail Mary" fashion, but
he kept stripping the fly closer and closer to the boat.
A split second later I saw why as this huge jack crushed
fly 10 feet from the boat! The fish's head literally came up out of the
it hammered the popper with Andrew looking straight down its throat! A
half hour later he brought it to the net, we got the photo,
resuscitated the fish,
watched it swim
away. It just does not get any better...anywhere. If you're in Northern
Michigan check out Andrew at Boyne
In August and September the big ladyfish were schooled
up in the "draw" between the inner and outer sandbars in the Gulf
of Mexico east of Pensacola Pass. We caught and released them
on clouser minnows,
"sliders" using a straight 8' shot of 40# monofilament leader. There
were also Spanish mackerel in the mix, and occasionally we had to
add a little bit of wire. This is Frank Bainbridge on September 2
with a typical sized ladyfish that readily take the fly and fight
hard with lots of aeriel acrobatics. Imagine a 3-4# tarpon...
Andy Anderson from Scotland coaxed this redfish to
tan/white clouser minnow just down the beach from Pickens Point on
September 5. Nice work, Andy!
couple weeks later Brandon Bertagnole, owner and guide at Park
City Outfitters was onboard on a glassy-calm,
hot September 18. We had good light and poled the flats east of
Gulf Breeze looking for trout and redfish. It was very "technical"
fishing in the shallow crystal-clear water, but Brandon connected
with this speckled trout right off the bat.
continued poling down the beach in 2' of water and started seeing
lots of redfish. They were mostly singles
sitting motionless on the sand spots surrounded by sea grasses.
Brandon, a FFF Certified Casting instructor, made beautiful cast
after beautiful cast to the fish with little interest in the EP
baitfish. We tried clouser minnows, but the "plunk" of the lead
too much for the wary fish. After switching back to the baitfish
Brandon spotted this torpedo-sized redfish cruising just below
the surface in a foot and a half of water. He laid
a perfect cast in front of the fish with the fly landing like feather,
sink for a count of three, and gave it a long, smooth strip. The
redfish swam over nonchalantly, and sucked it down just like it's
supposed to do. Very satisfying on a tough day! You'll find
Brandon at Park City Outfitters, Park
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)
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