20 Marlin

Spring 2022 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 previous seasons follow the links to these additional galleries: Winter 2022, Summer and Fall 2021 , Winter and Spring 2021 Fall 2020 Summer 2020, Winter and Spring 2020, Fall 2019, Summer 2019, Winter and Spring 2019, Fall 2018, Summer 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Summer 2017, Winter and Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Summer 2016, Winter and Spring 2016 , Fall 2015, Summer 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2015, Fall 2014, Summer 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2014, :Fall 2013, Summer 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2013, Fall 2012, Spring 2012, Winter 2012, Fall 2011, Summer 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2011, Fall 2010, Summer 2010, Spring 2010, Winter 2010, Fall 2009,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. Use the back button on your browser to return to this page.

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...
In 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 Company, 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.

A 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 to 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 Cortland's 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 fish.

Rob 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 baitfish.

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.

This 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.
Brian 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 redfish. When 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 was until 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

The 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!

John 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.

Next 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.
So nice when you can get one of these big spring trout to eat the fly! Check out that water...
Mike's 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.


Late 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 a 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".
Chuck 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...
The following week belonged to stroke survivor and two-time Emerald Coast Grand Slam holder Bob Jenkins from Colorado. Bob had been in 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 like 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 sure was nice being a part of that... Double click for a shot of the release.
With 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.

Two 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...
Way 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.
Jump 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 bonefishing at Mars Bay Bonefish Lodge on South Andros, Bahamas. My friend Bill Howard runs the lodge and does an outstanding job with everything from accommodations 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 South Andros Island. Double click for a close up of Bruce releasing his fish.

Denver's David Dawson with a fine bonefish
Megan Nellen with the biggest bonefish of the week...a 12 pounder. Got some beeg ones down there, mon...
Impressive bonefish tailed by Jonas Magnusson
Dave McLeod and "LJ" with a bonefish in the 5-6# range
Yours truly with my best fish of the week. It's a bona fide slice of heaven down there folks..
Back in the USA with Chris Hollingsworth and a multi-spotted redfish on June 1.
Brad 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...


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)

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