off just like any other year but then COVID-19 hit and everything
came to a halt. Pensacola Beach restaurants, bars, and hotels
closed as we tried to control
the invading virus. Of course the fishing
was still great, but only a few clients took advantage of it.
started opening in May much of the spring migration was over; however,
all was not lost. We continued to have pompano and jack
crevalle coming down the beach, plus the water temperature had
warmed enough for Spanish mackerel and ladyfish to arrive. The
inside flats fishing was already in high gear with plenty of sight-fishing
for redfish and speckled trout. Check out these
winter and spring seasons. Double click on the thumbnails for full-page
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.
started off with a BANG for Sarah Holman and
Mark Gleason. In was New Years Day, and we found schools of big
redfish in 3' of water along the Gulf Islands National
Seashore. Mark coaxed this fish to eat a chartreuse/white EP
baitfish. The trip was a gift to Mark from Sarah, and she appears
to be pleased with the action.
Happy New Year!
Here's Mark with the redfish of the day also
on the chartreuse and white. This fish measured 38" and was all Mark
wanted on 8wt tackle.
We had bright sunshine
and glassy water for Josh Symes a few days later on January 5. Hard
to beat sight-fishing on a beautiful winter day, especially with
your sweetheart onboard. Double click for a nice shot of Josh
were perfect on January 8 making it impossible to stay home.
Jonas, Capt Dave, and I decided to get into our waders and
try them on foot. They each hooked fish on the
but I stuck with Travis Akins' "green weenie" and landed this
one. Photo credit goes to Capt Dave who you can find at www.gulfbreezefishing.com.
Dave also took a nice
video on the release which you can view here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MriMU2Kev0
A week later and we're in the Bahamas for our
annual bonefishing trip. Here's Capt Dave with his first bonefish
early February we found 20# class black drum actively feeding
along an undiscovered shoreline of Pensacola
Bay. This fish took one of Travis' "green weenies". I
went back to the same area on foot a
later and found good numbers of big black drum tailing in
1-2' of water. It was an incredible sight. Those big tails looked like
5 gallon buckets! I landed five fish in the 20-25# range on 8wt tackle
using the same fly. Can't wait to scout that area
next January to see if the big drum are always there in the winter.
COVID-19 hit us hard in March, and Jay Lanier
was the only client willing to chance vacationing here. We found
some very nice redfish on the inside flats, but the black drum
were gone. Thanks for coming, Jay.
Southwind Marina owner Jim Williams booked
a trip on April 5 for his new dockmaster Andrew Cryer. Andrew was
a Colorado trout guide before moving here to run the marina.
He had never been sight-fishing from the bow of a skiff ,
and his first target was a school of jack crevalle. Talk about "trial
by fire"! We were looking for false albacore ten miles east
of Portofino when we found the jacks right up on the beach. Andrew
took the 10wt and made some practice casts as I poled toward the fish.
It was great to see him double-hauling and putting the big popper 60-70'
out there. We got within range and Andrew made a nice cast
to the edge of the school and started popping the fly. The fish followed
it all the way to the boat but wouldn't eat it. I changed to a
5" floating mullet and this fish crushed it.
could still see the fish a couple hundred yards down the beach,
and I slowly poled in their direction. They
were daisy-chaining as we got close...high and happy as they could
be. Double click for a better view. The
Gulf of Mexico was as pretty as it gets.
was a little more relaxed the second time around and could enjoy
the whole experience even more. Here he is
hooked up with jack crevalle #2.
Magazine cover photo of Andrew Cryer with his second jack crevalle.
Anyone looking for short-term boat mooring in the Pensacola area
should contact Andrew at Southwind Marina on the Big Lagoon just
west of Pensacola Pass. My clients are giving it very good ratings.
Williams couldn't stand it anymore and had to get in the game.
The fish had gotten wary and wouldn't take the fly, so Jim grabbed
the big spinning rod and dropped a 4 1/2" Storm "chug
what do the guides do when COVID-19 shuts down our business?
We go fishing of course. It was April 24 and
Capt Dan Storey and I took my skiff and met Capt Dave at The Orient
for a 6wt Redfish Shootout. What fun! Dave landed this fish
on an EP baitfish...his first redfish on 6wt tackle.
Dan won the contest by coaxing this fine specimen to eat his
Cast Love Affair" gray/white baitfish. Out of a school of
10 redfish the big one ate the fly... How often does THAT happen??
Dave took second place honors, and I sucked the hind teat with
the smallest fish of the day. But it was the first redfish of the day,
so that's good for something...right?
|I had another COVID-19 cancellation on April 29, and the conditions
were just too nice to stay home. Jonas was itching to get on the
water, so we hopped in the skiff and took off for one of our favorite
flats. The plan was to find some well-trained, selective redfish
and see if they were interested in a new, killer shrimp imitation
from Kevin Doyle of Destination Flies. This 29" fish ate the fly
on Jonas' first cast. What a fly! Thanks to Kevin. You can learn
more about his creations at https://www.facebook.com/destinationflies/
redfish sight-fishing ended when the jack crevalle showed up.
Jonas had just broken
off a nice jack and was tying on another
when a second school appeared. I snapped the photo from
the poling platform. There were 30-40 fish all in the 15-20#
Water was about 3' deep. I waved as they swam by...
The annual jack crevalle migration starts in March. Thousands
of fish arrive in large schools migrating to the west along the beaches
of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Some of the schools come
into Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound and spend the spring and
summer gorging themselves on mullet and menhaden. The jacks grow
quickly and become beasts by the time they depart in October. The
boat record weighed 40#. They fight every bit as hard as their cousins
the giant trevallies, and you don't have to travel 10 times zones
to find them.
Bob Jenkins, Woody Creek, CO, braved the cross-country
drive and arrived ready to fish on May 1. Jenkins has two Emerald
Coast Grand Slams under his belt, and our plan was to add a third.
The jack crevalle came relatively easy...for a jack.
Next came the pompano which were more challenging than usual.
We had a very nice fish on earlier that wrapped the leader around
darn trim tab and broke off. After a couple more hours Bob nailed
(and released) this beauty just before the wind picked up and blew
us out of the Gulf. This was the first pompano of the year. Nice
the rest of the trip trying for a redfish to complete
The Slam. Had some follows but never got one to take
the fly. Getting
it is harder than you might think. Has happened
only three times on my boat in 17 years.
Glenn Perry on May 4 with his first-ever jack crevalle on fly.
We were poling the beach looking for
redfish and pompano when the big fish showed up. It didn't take
Glenn long to stow the 8 and grab the 10wt which was ready to go
with the big popper. We've been fishing together for 15 years, and
this is the first time the jack crevalle magic happened. Way
to go, Glenn! Fun to watch...
The wind picked up, so we decided to come
inside and look for redfish. After "blanking" with Jenkins
three days earlier I decided to try some different water, and we
made the long run to The Orient. What a difference! The flats were
loaded with redfish, and they were happy to eat a clouser-esque
creation from Karl Elliott. This is the second
of 5 redfish Glenn landed and
Glenn with another beauty. We caught redfish until we finally
lost our light late in the afternoon. One jack crevalle shy of
the Grand Slam...
|Bob Jenkins was baaack on May 7. There's a
good look at our favorite popper tied by Ben Walters, Eastern
Fly Outfitters, Johnson City, TN.
and Wallace West were on the boat on a very difficult May 8.
The problem was a 15-20mph WSW wind which made
many of our favorite flats unfishable. Late in the trip we found
a sheltered stretch of beach in the Big Lagoon and Wallace landed
his first-ever redfish on fly. The fish took a lovely little "crawler" he
tied himself. Very satisfying.
A few days later conditions were much better
for Chuck Banks. Glassy conditions greeted us on the south side
of the Gulf Breeze peninsula where Chuck landed the biggest speckled
trout of the year. The fish took a 2/0 gray/white EP baitfish pattern
in 2' of water.
At the end of the trip Chuck added this pretty little redfish
to the day's tally. Nice look at the fly in this photo.
It was a beautiful morning on May 19, and we
decided to get wet and go after the redfish on foot. Jack Michalski
hooked this fish fifteen minutes after we got in the water. He
fought it to the beach, landed it without a net, and released
it to fight another day. Well done, Jack! The redfish took an EP
We got back in the boat
and poled the shoreline to cover more ground. Jack landed his
second redfish a quarter mile or so down the beach.
snapper season opened June 11. Every year we put the fly tackle
away for a week or so, break out the heavy spinning gear, and put
a few good clients on our favorite nearshore reefs. Here is the
Himmelwright family (Hanna, Jim, Amy, and Rob) from Auburn, AL,
after a fun day on the water with their prize-winning
catch on June 13....a twelve pounder
they appropriately named
spin-fishing on June 15 with Steve and Patti
Heacock on board. Our targets were red snappers,
redfish, and false albacore. The FA never showed up, but we had
a blast with the redfish and red snappers. Here's Steve with a
fine red snapper headed for the cooler.
The Gulf of Mexico was as pretty as it gets when we pulled into
shore for some redfish sight-fishing. Patti landed this 24 pounder
on a St Croix Avid series AVS70MF spinning rod, Shimano Stradic reel,
and 15# PowerPro braid. Twenty four pound redfish on a rod that weighs
less that 4.5oz. Hard to beat!
Not to be outdone Steve boated this similar-sized beauty.
a nice shot of Patti with another red snapper headed for the
box. The glassy water made for a perfect afternoon of Gulf of
Mexico snapper fishing.
June 14 Tim English and I ran west of Pensacola Pass to "Crane
Cove" and had a few fun hours with the ladyfish and bluefish.
On the trip back we lucked into a large school of bull redfish
close to shore on the Caucas Shoal. There were a couple hundred
around a foot below the surface and incredibly no other boats had
seen them. It was too sloppy to pole so I idled upcurrent of the
fish, killed the motor, and drifted within casting range. Tim had
a 9wt with sinking line and a chartreuse EP baitfish, and the big
fish were happy to eat. He landed three fish of this quality before
the dirty water from the bay reached us and we lost sight of the
following day after the Heacocks "limited out" on
red snappers we found the redfish where they were the day before.
Right off the bat Patti and Steve landed this "redfish double" which
was quite a feat. They were using the usual light tackle, plus
we had plenty of current and 1-2' seas in the mix. Both fish circled
the boat multiple times while Steve and Patti scrambled around
to keep them from getting wrapped up. My job was keeping the boat
from washing up on the beach. We got Patti's in the net and kept
it in the water until we landed Steve's with the Bogagrip. Got
this quick photo and released both fish unharmed. A good photographer
would have asked Steve to raise or lower his fish so it's head
We were the only boat in the neighborhood, and the fish never spooked.
Patti quickly hooked up again and landed this brute.
Heacock with what is known in some circles as called a "hawg"!
The redfish school got closer to the point and disappeared but
not before Patti and Steve each landed one more. Here's Patti's last
of their vacation. Can't imagine a better finale.
close out the Spring Gallery with a shot of Will Pippen and a
redfish he'll be remembering for a while. Nice job
on that fish, Will.
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