was in a word...OUTSTANDING! There were plenty
of cooperative redfish, and the black drum showed up right on schedule.
had a much too short run of winter false albacore. Winter is our
favorite season due to the lack of fishing pressure. There are very
few guides, even fewer jet skis, and almost no recreational anglers
and pleasure craft. The place is deserted...just the way we like
it. Fishing is spectacular for those anglers willing to take
a chance on the weather. Cold fronts move through with wind and
rain, but the "calm after the storms" is fabulous with Bahamas-clear
water, light winds, and plenty of sunshine. Those days are perfect
for sight-fishing with highs in the upper 60's
and lows around 40. Gulf of Mexico
is in the mid-50's, so be sure to switch to "coldwater" fly lines.
We suggest spending a week on the beach hoping for 2-3 days of good
out unless conditions are right, and there are plenty of activities
for our clients on the unfishable days. If you have
the flexibility, try spending a couple weeks in a Gulf-front hotel
during the winter
months. Prices are ridiculously cheap, and you'll have the beaches
to yourself. Check out these photos of our winter 2022 clients.
Double click on the thumbnails for full-page views. For photos from
and Fall 2021 , Winter and Spring 2021 Fall
and Spring 2020, Fall
and Spring 2019, Fall
and Spring 2017, Fall
and Spring 2016 , Fall
to return to this page.
open the Winter 2022 gallery on January
11 with Master Chef Stephen Miller
and the first false albacore of the year. Late in the day the
fish were feeding on a tide line in Pensacola Pass, and this
was Stephen's first. The power
of these little tunas blew his mind.
Generac specialist Mike Broughton was
"Gone Fishing" on January 13, and
the fish cooperated. This is the first black drum of the season
over shallow structure. We found a school of a hundred drum
milling around a wooden shipwreck, and Mike drifted a chartreuse/white
"Go-meaux" over and over into the school before this
fish finally ate the fly. There's a lot of current along that beach,
need minimum 10wt tackle and a full sinking line both to get the
fly to the
bottom and to fight these beasts to the boat. Nice work, Mike!
There are always winter redfish cruising the
inner sandbar, and even with the chop we were able to anchor
within casting range and
for one to come by. Mike picked this fish out of a school using
an EP baitfish.
Miller was back on January 14, and we started the day sight-fishing
one of our favorite inshore flats.
We were staked out when a group of 20 pounders appeared on a sand
spot within casting range of the skiff. Stephen put the EP grey/white
baitfish in front of the school and this brute rose up and grabbed
Stephen strip-set, and we were both ecstatic as the big
redfish surged away from the boat. But ecstacy turned to horror
when we saw a massive
knot of flyline jump up off the deck and
click through a couple guides before hanging up in a guide toward
the tip of the fly rod. The extra pressure caused
the fish to hesitate giving me time to grab the knot of flyline
and ever so gently pull the fish back a couple
feet toward the boat. I
held the line tight while Stephen frantically
the knot. When the fish surged again the flyline slipped
through the guides, and everything was back to
normal. It was a "CF" of the highest magnitude, and we
came out on top. A bona fide miracle! Double click for
good shot of this redfish.
After landing that fish we ran to the Gulf
where we found clear, calm water and plenty of sunshine. We poled
the edge of the inner sandbar and found a nice school of winter
reds. Stephen got this one to eat a "green weenie".
Black drum were on the agenda, and when the
wind died we
from the area where they had been the prior day. Sure enough the
fish were there, and Stephen drifted a tan/white clouser on a full
sinking line down-current
It's similar to steelhead fishing where you cast across the river,
let the fly sink as it drifts downstream, and then strip it through
the "swing". The key to catching one of these black drum is getting
the fly right in the fish's face. They're not going to run it down.
Stephen's a pro at it.
finished the day with another beauty along the beach. Shirtsleeve
weather in January. Gotta love it!
be seeing a lot of photos of Carl Huhnke, Lander, WY. Carl spent
six weeks in the area, and we fished most
of the good-weather days when I wasn't already booked. We started
it off on January 18 with this hog on 8wt tackle. The fish looked
like a submarine in 2 1/2' of clear water on an inside flat. Carl
coaxed it to eat an EP baitfish.
moved out to Pensacola Pass and found plenty of fish eager to
take the fly. Here's Carl with redfish #2.
close up of the fly on Carl's 3rd redfish of the day. Double
click for the full photo.
Jim Wentzel from Colorado
armed and ready for action on January 19.
for the photo of Jim's first redfish on fly.
Carl was back on January 24, and conditions
were perfect for the black drum. This fish turned out to be the
biggest of the season...26 pounds.
lost our light and pulled into shallow water hoping to find redfish
holed up in the
pockets around some finger bars. Sure enough the fish were there,
and the water was shallow enough that we could see them in the
low light. Carl had steady action until it was time to head for
the house. Here's
second redfish turned out to be the biggest of the day weighing
in at 22#. We never weigh redfish
by hanging them from the jaw. Instead we weigh them in the net
and subtract the estimated net weight. Hanging a fish this size
by the jaw can kill it by tearing the lining around the stomach
The lights came back on, but we weren't leaving
our "honey hole" to go back to the drum. Here's Carl's third redfish,
and we hadn't even moved the boat.
fourth redfish of the afternoon. We killed it that day. What
a nice way to spend a January 24...
Carl was back on January 27, but the Gulf of
Mexico was dirty from two days of rain. We found clean water in
the Big Lagoon, and Carl once again hit paydirt. Here's the first
fish of the day. Nice hat!
We found his second fish along the edge of
the ICW channel. Deeper water here, and we changed to a clouser
minnow to get the take.
Kip Echols came down from N Georgia with his
buddy Jason Brooks on January 31. We were staked out on a sandbar
watching a distant school of redfish when a jet ski ran right over
the top of them, and the school bolted straight at the boat.
Kip laid the fly in front of the advancing redfish and let it sink.
When they got close he gave it one strip, and this fish crushed
it. Only fish of the day. Never dreamed we'd get saved from a skunk
by a doggone jet ski!
friend and expert spin-fisherman Bernie Smelstoys from Boston
was on the boat February 8 for my
only spin-fishing charter of the winter season, and we had a blast.
We poled the shoreline of the Gulf Islands National Seashore both
east and west of Pensacola Pass, and Bernie landed 20 redfish on
a silver spoon
hooks, and we mashed the barbs flat. We never hurt a fish and only
took this one photo.
winter weather is unpredictable. There are always cold fronts
blowing through with
wind and rain, but
days between fronts are spectacular. Jennifer Holbrook
beat the odds when she booked February 9 and 10 three months
A cold front came through a couple days before, but we
had two bluebird days with plenty of sun, light wind, and moderate
We found the fish February 9 on an inside flat where Jennifer
got things going with the EP baitfish.
Nice shot of Jennifer with her second redfish
of the day.
Gulf of Mexico settled down the next day allowing us to pole
the shore of the
Gulf Islands National Shore. We found a nice school of redfish
a few miles east of Pensacola Pass daisy-chaining
on the surface with their fins out of the water. The fish were
very interested in each other but paid no attention to the EP baitfish.
Jennifer switched to a Travis Akins' "green weenie" and caught
this fish on her first cast. Thank you once again, Travis.
Check out the water color and clarity in this
shot of Jennifer's second fish. Not a bad place to spend a day
moved back inside and found schools of redfish right where they
had been the day before. There were plenty of fish milling around
the flat, and we anchored the boat and let them come to us.
fifth and final redfish of the day. Simply spectacular!
Carl Huhnke was eager
to get back on the boat as soon as Jennifer left town on February
11. We found the same school of daisy-chaining fish along
the edge of the Gulf, and Carl put it on 'em with the "green weenie".
good look at the fly
Clouds blew in causing us to lose our
light, so we moved inside hoping the big redfish would be visible
on the shallow sand flats. We anchored up and waited. Sure enough
the fish started showing up, and Carl had another "field day" landing
five redfish of this quality.
Carl with redfish #4...
here he is again with the fourteenth and final redfish of his
winter vacation. See you next year...
in Peace, Big Mike. Lost my good friend Mike Ingham, owner of
Gulf Breeze Marine, to cancer on February 17.
Words cannot describe how much he will be missed.
Here's Dave Dawson from Denver enjoying some
"wet wading" on March 6. Gotta get a little more sun on those legs,
bud. Double-click for a look at the redfish...
Jon Benstead and Kevin Barnes canceled a March
bonefishing trip to Acklins Island due to COVID restrictions and
instead came to the Emerald Coast. Here's Jon on March 16 with
the first redfish of the trip.
We did some walking later in the day, and Jon landed this terrific
speckled trout on an EP "perfect minnow".
Barney and a nice redfish taken on an EP baitfish.
Mid-March inland water temperature is around 65 degrees.
It's okay for wet-wading unless you stay in too long or go
just a little too deep. Waders keep everything pleasant. It's important
to use "cold water" lines during the winter and spring. Tropical
lines are too stiff in the colder water.
with an artsy shot of a fat, silvery-tan redfish on March 17.
Love that blue tail!
Barney with the biggest redfish of the trip...
a 20 pounder on March 17. It wasn't Acklins Island, but it wasn't
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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