started with outstanding sight-fishing on all our favorite
inside flats from Navarre Beach to Perdido Key. The normal spring
wind and rain that trashes the Gulf of Mexico had minimal effect
on the inland waters. On most days we were able to find calm conditions
with plenty of fish, and no one got seasick. On days with weather
unsuitable for fly-fishing we simply did not go. Why bother? There
will always be another day. We hope you enjoy these photos of happy
spring anglers. Double
click on the thumbnails for full-page
views. For photos from
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Chicago Cubs fan Tim Marsh starts
off the spring 2022 gallery with a beast of a redfish landed and
released unharmed on a cool, windy March 25.
Jason Grear on April 1 with the first shallow-water
redfish of the season.
Charlie Forrest caught his
first redfish on April 3 in an area with tannin-stained
water. The dark reddish-brown colors of this
fish were excellent camouflage but not quite enough...
the afternoon we ran east in the ICW and waded a beautiful stretch
of beach where the water was gin clear.
This silvery-tan redfish lives over sand and customizes its camouflage
accordingly. Compare the color of the fish's back to the color
of the wet sand along the shore. It's a perfect match that makes
the fish almost invisible when stationary. Sometimes all we
see is their shadow
April 4 was a spectacular spring day with blue
skies and plenty of sunshine. Monroe Mayfield of Cohutta Fishing
Blue Ridge, GA, was happy just to be here and even happier when
he landed this redfish on a simple tan/white clouser minnow. Check
out the blue in the fish's tail.
few days later we were poling close to shore and
saw a couple big redfish cruising farther out near
the dropoff. Monroe was throwing a new mullet pattern, and the
larger fish crushed it. We
immediately got out of the boat and moved well away from the skiff
fight the fish. After the redfish made a couple good runs into the
backing Monroe backed up on the beach and
gently coaxed the fish toward
the shore. When it was in less than a foot of water I was able
to net it. The redfish weighed over 20 pounds...a good test for
new "Ultra Premium" 12.9# fluorocarbon tippet material.
Congratulations to Monroe on his best-ever redfish!
We always weigh our
fish in the net, as hanging them by the jaw can injure a big
Angus was back on April 22 for some terrific sight-fishing in
the Big Lagoon. It was another nice day, and the fish
were aggressive. Rob's first redfish crushed an EP
Kudos to Enrico Puglisi
for his imaginative flies and terrific tying materials. We catch
more redfish on EP flies than all others
combined. They aren't cheap, but they sure are productive. To learn
more about EP Flies click HERE.
redfish was feeding along the edge of the beach along the sandy
strip you can see over Rob's left shoulder.
A nice soft presentation 4' from the fish usually results in a take.
It's always quite a visual...
Rob also added this fat spotted sea trout
(aka speckled trout) to the mix. The bigger trout come out on the flats
when water temp is still in the 60's. We landed a beauty earlier this
year on March 16.
Rick Hochstetler on April 23 with another gorgeous
deeply-colored redfish on an EP baitfish. Kudos to Enrico Puglisi for
all his successful baitfish and shrimp imitations. You can find
his flies at www.epflies.com.
Boutchard landed the next hog on April 24. We were wading the
north side of the island and
had been in the water for a couple hours when five
big fish appeared coming straight at us. Brian had plenty of
time and dropped the fly well ahead of the approaching
they got close he stripped it three times and this fish inhaled
it. The fish ran 100' into the backing and seemed unstoppable,
so I tightened the drag one click and started looking
around for approaching jet skis. Brian finally stopped it and began
backing up toward the beach. We didn't realize how big the redfish
it "flashed" about 60' out. What a sight! It
was a nail-biting fifteen minutes before he brought it to the net.
Whew! The really big ones always have a good chance of getting
away right up until the last minute. Congratulations to Brian on a
redfish experience of a lifetime.
Nice release photo of a very happy Brian Boutchard
and an equally happy redfish
Gulf of Mexico finally calmed down
enough for the skiff on April 27, and we made a beeline for the
Palm Tree. Sure enough there was a school of jack crevalle
hanging out around
the tide line, and with the Blue Angels flying overhead
John Earll landed his
first jack on fly. What an experience for a
trout fisherman from Montana!
really wanted a redfish on the fly, so we spent the rest
of the day sight-fishing in the Big
Lagoon. Here's a happy John Earll after he sealed the deal...
My good client from
London, Mike Youkee, was here the following week,
but the Gulf of Mexico
was blown out for his first four days. We spent our time on all our favorite
inshore flats, and Mike worked his magic
landing over a dozen redfish and one nice
trout. This fish on May 2 got us started.
day was warmer with better light. The flats were pristine, and
the fish were hungry. Here's Mike's second
of four redfish landed and released unharmed. This fish hammered
a new mullet pattern.
nice when you can get one of these big spring trout to eat the
fly! Check out that water...
third redfish on May 3...his best of the day. This fish nailed
an EP baitfish.
May 4 was another spectacular
day for sight-fishing, and we headed west to the Big Lagoon.
Here's Mike's third and most deeply colored redfish of the day.
in the day on May 4 we were running close to shore a quarter
mile past Pickens Pier. Mike
was asleep on the seat in front of the center console
when I spotted
showering mullet ahead of us. There was a school of jack
crevalle after them, and Mike fell off the seat when I made the
sharp turn and dropped to neutral. He recovered quickly, picked up
the rigged-and-ready 10 weight, and made
nice cast in front of the advancing fish. There were about a
hundred of them, and they were the smaller-sized jacks we usually
see early in the season. The average size appeared to be
10-15 pounds except for a single big fish, and that's the
one that ate the fly. How about that! Mike is one lucky
chap...always has been.
The Gulf finally calmed down enough on May
5 for some pompano sight-fishing. This is one of three landed and
released on "pompano rocket".
Banks was in town on May 9 and we spent the morning sight-fishing
all our favorite flats in Santa Rosa Sound.
Nice trout there, dude...
following week belonged to stroke survivor and two-time Emerald
Coast Grand Slam holder Bob Jenkins from Colorado. Bob had
stroke and heart surgery rehab for 15 months, and one of his
goals was landing another redfish on fly. We
tried last fall, but he wasn't quite ready to make
it happen. This time; however, he rang the bell. We
were wading in the Big Sabine on May 10, and Bob made a
perfect cast to this fish, strip-set, and landed it on the beach
a pro. It was a very emotional moment. He was crying.
I was crying. The redfish was wondering what the heck
was going on. Jenkins has caught many redfish on fly, but he
said this little guy was the greatest redfish of his life. It
nice being a part of that... Double click for a shot of the release.
the monkey off his back, Jenkins had a red-letter redfish day
on May 12. We found a hungry school of fish in the
cloudy water west of Pensacola Pass, and Bob landed four of them.
Here's numero uno on an EP chartreuse/white baitfish.
of the fish required 30' casts directly into a 15 mph wind, and
Jenkins was able to turn over the leader. I was very proud of
him. This is redfish number 2.
And his third beauty...
to go, Bob!! After
redfish number 4 and against doctor's orders we shared the traditional
Dogfish Head 90 Minute
IPA before heading back to the dock.
forward to May 18, and it's the Project Healing Waters trip on a
day with a nasty east wind. We picked May because we were"
certain" the ladyfish would be plentiful, and everybody would
have a blast catching lots of fish. Problem was the ladyfish were in the
Gulf along with 5' seas. So the three of us guides scrambled around trying
to find something for our most valued guests to catch. Capt Dan
went N towards Butcherpen, Capt Richard ran east in the ICW to
Opal Beach, and I headed west to the Big Lagoon with Larry
Sisney and Jerry Giles. We nearly hit a home run when I found a big
school of jacks east of the Ranger Station at 0845. There
were very hard to see in the low light, and the wind was howling.
Jerry who is an excellent caster made a couple shots at the school
and had the fly into them at one time, but we never got
a take. So off we went to my favorite spot for some sight-fishing,
and Jerry landed the fish of the day.
On May 22 some good clients joined Certified
Casting Instructor Jonas Magnusson and me for a week of world-class
at Mars Bay Bonefish Lodge on South Andros, Bahamas. My friend Bill
Howard runs the lodge and does an outstanding job with everything
to cuisine to the fishing. Once we step on our chartered flight from
Ft Lauderdale International it's a week-long magic carpet
ride to the best bonefishing on the planet, and Bill's the one
that makes it all happen. You can check out the lodge here.
First up is Bruce Trumbull
fighting a bonefish on one of the seemingly infinite flats of
Island. Double click for a close up of Bruce releasing his fish.
Denver's David Dawson with a fine bonefish
Nellen with the biggest bonefish of the week...a 12 pounder.
Got some beeg ones down there, mon...
tailed by Jonas Magnusson
Dave McLeod and "LJ" with a bonefish in the 5-6# range
truly with my best fish of the week. It's a bona fide slice of
heaven down there folks..
in the USA with Chris Hollingsworth and a multi-spotted redfish
on June 1.
McGrew finishes up the spring photo gallery with a fine redfish
landed June 6 on an EP baitfish in the Big Lagoon. A few days later
I came down with COVID and that was all she wrote for spring...
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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