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Fall 2010 was in a word fabulous . The oil spill was behind us, there were zero storms, with little rain the water was clear and beautiful, and the fishing turned on in a big way. We had an amazing run of huge 5# plus Spanish mackerel, Pensacola Pass was loaded with all the myriad species, bottom-fishing for red snappers and groupers was outstanding, and then of course there were the redfish! Never before have we seen such numbers of redfish. The "Running of the Bulls" came off right on time. Huge schools of redfish in the 15-30 pound range in their bright-orange spawning colors came to the surface in Pensacola Bay and provided unforgetable thrills for both spin and fly-fishing clients. We also had terrific redfish sight-fishing along the beaches of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Toward the end of the season the false albacore appeared close to shore, and for our fly-casters it just doesn't get any better. Here are the photos from the fall season. For photos from previous seasons, check out these additional galleries: 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. Click on any of the small images below to see the full size photos. Use the back button on your browser to return to this page.

Let's Fish! Wade Knight, Tigertown, TX, opens up the fall gallery with a serious Spanish mackerel landed Sept 21. Silver "Sidewinder" spoons, single hooks, and light-weight spinning tackle are the tickets for these explosive fish. Our fall Spanish aren't your typical schooling Spanish mackerel. These guys are over 5# and will yank the rod out of your hand if you're not ready.
Wade's fishing buddy Tom Moodie, Grand Rivers, KY, with another beauty en route to the cooler. These big Spanish are relatively easy to skin leaving delicious, mild, boneless fillets ready for the skillet, grill, or broiler.
Red snapper season being closed Sept 30 didn't bother Pete Roberts, David Ermer, and Rod Bouchard a bit. They had a ball catching and releasing them and brought back enough mangrove snappers for dinner.
Margaret Contento holding a 6 pound triggerfish ten miles out in the Gulf on a spectacular Oct 2. Click on the photo to get a better look at this beautiful fish.
Back at the dock Mack Contento with a couple more unusually large triggerfish. Mack got his wings that weekend and celebrated heavily the night before our trip, but he was still able to remain mostly upright in the boat all day. Congratulations, Mack!
Timing is everything. Joe Contento with some fine table fare on the first weekend of the reopened red snapper season.
But it was Margaret Contento who landed the fish of the day on Oct 2. How about THAT for a red snapper!
Roy and Sharon Flanagan came down from northern Alabama October 4 for some redfishing. The wind was howling from the north, so we were limited to the south side of the Gulf Breeze peninsula. After working our way east catching and releasing fish too small to keep we finally hit the mother lode around a dock in Navarre 15 miles to the east. To quote the famous line from Galaxy Quest: "Never give up...never surrender".
Glenn Evans, Tulsa, OK, hit the fly-fishing conditions perfect on October 5. Here's a nice shot of Glenn with his first pompano on fly. The fish ate a tan/white Clouser minnow.
There were a lot more bluefish cruising the beach than pompano, so we decided to put on some bite tippet and try to catch a few. Our October bluefish tend to weigh 3-5 pounds, hit hard, jump, and put up a good fight on 6-8wt tackle.
Matthew and HM Nowlin were in town Oct 8 for the second weekend of the late snapper season, and they went home with a fine box of fillets.
It was a fine day Oct 11 for Mark Williams, JP Mattingly, and Mary Osborne. Mark and JP were on loan from the US Park Service working on the oil spill, and Mary flew in from Lincoln, Nebraska, for some R&R. Mark started the day off right with this early morning slot-redfish.
Mary was thrilled when this big Spanish mackerel took off for Cuba, and who wouldn't be?! We slid it into the cooler along with Mark's redfish.
Just before heading to Pensacola Pass JP decided to try one last live shrimp along the edge of the grass bed, and this lovely pompano inhaled it. The Paradise Bar and Grill did a great job that night with the redfish, Spanish mackerel, and pompano. Hard to beat eating your own "fresh catch" with hush puppies, fries, and cole slaw for $8.95 a person.
At the pass we caught and released some very fine red snappers, but this barely-legal (33") cobia was the fish of the day. Mary Osborne fought it like a pro and was happy to release it unharmed since they already had plenty of fish for dinner.
An artsy silhouette shot of Atlanta's Stephen Larson with a beefy Spanish mackerel caught on his trusty 6wt and released October 12. As long as your reel has a smooth drag and plenty of backing six weight tackle is ideal for these powerful fish. Always great to have Stephen back on the boat.
Jean-Yves Marcotte brought son Charles over from Lafayette, LA, for a birthday deep-sea fishing trip October 16. Jean-Yves had his hands full with this amberjack which eventually made its way to the cooler.
Excellent table fare provided by a very determined Charles Marcotte. Good job, Charles, and happy birthday!
More fun with the big Spanish mackerel... Tom Blair from South Carolina with a beauty landed on fly and released October 18.
Lute Blair was blind-casting along the edges of a grass bed when this Spanish mackerel hammered his Sidewinder spoon.
Pensacola's Russ Shields with a Spanish mackerel caught on fly. Russ is a gourmet cook who loves eating Spanish mackerel. Here's his recipe: simply sprinkle them with some Williams-Sonoma “Potlatch Seafood Seasoning”, a little lemon juice and brush them with a 50/50 mix of melted butter and Greek olive oil. Stick them under the broiler for about 11 minutes. Delicious.
October 22 was the first day the big redfish showed up along the edge of the Gulf, and Aaron and Stevie Mier were there for the fireworks. Here they are with the first "double" of the fall season. We sight-fish for these bulls in 4-8' of water with light spinning gear, 15# PowerPro braid, and half ounce SPRO bucktail jigs.
Aaron Mier with a perfect black drum caught drifting live shrimp through Pensacola Pass.
James Hoskins got into the redfish sight-fishing action with Aaron and Stevie on Oct 22. James and Aaron are with the US Park Service and were in town to supervise from an environmental perspective the oil clean-up efforts. Thanks for being here, guys.
It was an executive retreat for Jim Burke, Don Wilson, and Kurt Richardson on October 23. The Paradise Bar and Grill on Pensacola Beach prepared a redfish feast for the group that evening...
October 26 was just one of those incredible days for Pam Hatcher and Sandy Loveless when everything turns on and the weather is perfect for inshore fishing. They caught thirteen species including flounder, scamp, cobia, redfish, black drum and red snapper. Here's Pam with an impressive flounder.
Sandy was happy to slip another flounder into the box.
We stopped for lunch by some shallow structure, and Sandy landed this pretty, slot-redfish on a live shrimp. Check out the blue in the fish's tail.
After lunch we drifted the pass and landed some fine red snappers, a black drum, a cobia, and this cool 17" scamp...the inshore boat record.
Sandy Loveless with the fish of the day on October 26. Back in April it was Pam who caught the monster redfish on light tackle. This time it was Sandy's turn..."all comes to he who waits.."
Brent Searly and "Spud" Matulka, October 27, with a couple impressive Spanish mackerel. In one week Spud and Brent were shipping off to Afghanistan.
Fred Matulka, Lincoln, Nebraska, on October 27 with the boat record Spanish mackerel released unharmed after a hard fight and photo session. For some video on the fight click here
Here's another shot of Spud Matulka with a late-afternoon redfish caught in Pensacola Pass.
On Friday, October 29, red snapper season was open, and Zane and JP Mattingly took full advantage of the situation. That evening the Paradise Bar and Grill worked their magic on the fillets...
Later in the day we found some trophy redfish along the edge of the Gulf and Zane coaxed this fish to eat a SPRO bucktail jig.
JP caught this barely-legal redfish drifting live shrimp through the pass.
We were close to shore west of the pass looking for redfish when a huge school rose to the surface within casting distance. Problem was they wouldn't eat any of our favorite redfish lures. That's about when we realized they didn't have spots on their tails! It was a school of giant black drum, and they were happy to eat live shrimp. We landed two like this before the school drifted down and disappeared.
Pensacola's Roger Orth on October 30 with his first bull redfish landed on fly. Roger's a changed man...
We were poling the shore east of the pass November 1 when Jonas Magnusson spotted this redfish and dropped the fly right on target...240gr sink tip line, tan/white Clouser.
Dave and Mark Walters came to town Nov 4-5 for some brotherly R&R. On the second day the famous Walters luck kicked in...the sun came out, the wind stopped howling from the north, and the fish turned on in a major way. Plus, it was Friday and snapper season was open! Here's Dave with the first Pensacola Bay red snapper on the way to limiting out.
Mark landed the biggest snapper of the day...a ten pounder..
Dave got extra points for boating this nice Pensacola Bay gag grouper...his wife Anne's favorite.
With the cooler full of red snappers and grouper we headed out to the Gulf in search of redfish. We found some fish east of the pass and Dave and Mark scored this "double" on light spinning tackle.
Shortly after that we got a call from Capt Clif Jones (www.alabamaflyfishing.com) that the bull reds were on the surface west of the pass, so we took off in that general direction. As we crossed the Caucus Shoal there they were...hundreds of them on top. Dave grabbed his 12wt prerigged with one of son Ben's streamers, and hooked up immediately with this brute. We took some fun video of Dave putting the heavy mojo on his fish while others swam all around the boat. Thanks to Capt Clif for the "heads up". Click here for the video.
Mark hooked and landed this beauty while Dave was fighting his fish. That's a Facebook shot if there ever was one...
Ted Freese, USN, was in town for some training and his dad Leon flew in from Monticello, MN, for some father/son fishing. Here's an unusual red snapper/redfish double right out of the chute on our first stop in Pensacola Bay Nov 6.
Later we sight-fished along the beach, and this redfish cooperated after Ted made a nice cast and put the perfect action on the bucktail jig.
Late in the day we ran back across the shoal to see if the fish were where they'd been the day before. To our delight they were there in spades and in their bright orange spawning colors. Leon and Ted caught them non-stop until we ran out of time and left with the fish still biting...
On Nov 7 the Rocket Man (Greg Speer) from Ft Collins, CO, scored once again with a 40" redfish on fly. We were poling the beach and this big single appeared 60' from the boat in about 5 feet of water. Rocket was using a floating line on his 8wt and had to put the fly well up-current, so the fly would sink down in time for the fish to see it. We took these four short videos of the fight, the fish, and the release. Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4
Rich Defeno from NYC on Nov 8...the first day the redfish came to the surface in Santa Rosa Sound officially starting the "Running of the Bulls". Rich landed this gorgeous fish on his first cast. Looks like a billboard advertisement for Pensacola Beach...
It was another spectacular day with light winds and bright sunshine, so we headed out to the Gulf for some sight-fishing with light spinning tackle. After landing this fish Rich took a call from New York and found out it was snowing back home...

It was a day of doubles for Jim Epik and Trudy Berlin on November 9. Here they are with a couple of slot-sized redfish headed for dinner at the Paradise Bar and Grill.

But THIS was a double of a totally different order of magnitude! There were more redfish on the surface in Pensacola Bay than we've seen in years. Hard to imagine redfish being more beautiful than these. Click here for a short (amateurish...sorry) video of Jim and Trudy during the hot action.

 

We tried our favorite Spanish mackerel spot again November 10, and Bob Korose was rewarded with this "knuckle buster" on his 8wt.
We never found the redfish on top that day, but Bob was able to find them down deep using a fast sinking line.
Here's another shot of Bob Korose with his second giant redfish on a beautiful, glassy-calm November 10.
View from the stern...or maybe of the sterns. Tommy Scranton and Captain Baz on a perfect incoming-water drift sight-fishing for redfish close to Pickens Point. The bow of the Mako 21 is an ideal casting platform..same height as the poling platform on the Hewes flats skiff.
Don Ball, Bruce, MS, and a nice redfish caught drifting live shrimp through Pensacola Pass on November 12.
John Brasher, also from Bruce, MS, with the catch of the day November 13. We slid this Pensacola Bay gag grouper into the cooler along with the redfish, red snappers, sheepshead, and black drum we'd caught earlier.
The big redfish came to the top November 12 for Preston Quillen, his dad Jesse, Don Ball, and John Brasher. We lost count of the number of fish landed, and the fishing was so frantic we only stopped for a couple photos. This shot of Preston showcases the colors of these beautiful fish.
Jesse Quillen, Mobile, AL, and Capt Baz hamming it up with another bull redfish on November 12. There were football field sized schools of redfish on the surface that day...amazing numbers of fish.
Greg Catalano, Acton, MA, and his old school buddy Jack Sinnigen were here November 14 for an incredible day of fishing...Greg on fly and Jack using spinning tackle. We were poling a shallow sand/grass flat when this pompano appeared out of nowhere and slammed Greg's tan/white Clouser minnow.
Later we found the redfish on the surface west of Pensacola Pass, and Greg got to break in his 12wt. Nice bend in that fly rod...
Wow! What a redfish. Simply outstanding. Congratulations, Greg.
Jack Sinnigen with the biggest fish of the day November 14...cool colors, too.
Jay Walters, Opelike, AL, was here November 20 with a couple buddies on the last weekend of red snapper season. The Gulf was blown out, so we limited out using light tackle in Pensacola Pass. We liked the way Jay color-coordinated his T shirt with the red snapper. Thoughtful...
Jay's buddy David Warren with another yummy snapper the following day.
But it wasn't all about red snappers... Jay with a redfish caught just outside the pass on November 21.
Wade Knight and Tom Moodie came back for a return engagement November 22 and had fun with the redfish in Pensacola Pass. Here's Wade with the first fish of the day.
Tom Moodie with another example of the redfish from the deeper waters of Pensacola Pass. Interesting how redfish can change colors from near-silver to deep orange.
Barkley Gaines (aka "Tooter") joined Wade and Tom on the boat that day and battled this fat grouper to the boat and into the cooler...

The next day Tom and Tooter stayed behind, and Wade brought his wife Casie along for what turned out to be one of the best days of the fall season. Wade put this 26 1/2" grouper in the box, but then it was Casie's turn...

Talk about a beast, Casie Knight with a seventeen pound red snapper landed on spinning tackle in 32' of water. Casie was incredibly patient waiting for the bite, and then fought the snapper for fifteen minutes. When we pulled back up to the spot, she immediately hooked another similar sized fish which she also landed. You can't believe how hard these big snappers fight, and on light tackle it is indeed the "whole enchalada".
That afternoon we found the bull reds on the surface, and both Wade and Casie caught them on small baitcasting outfits they'd brought with them from Texas. It's always fun to give your own tackle a major league workout on these magnificent fish.
This photo of Casie in her "Fight Like a Girl" breast cancer awareness T shirt makes a fine advertisement for "The Cause".
Charlie Forrest and Nicky Phillips, St Paul, MN, came to town to visit pal Taylor Curry and were on the boat November 27 for our best-ever day of false albacore fishing on fly. The extremely-selective albies were turned on to the #6 clear gummy minnows, and we drifted in the same school for hours. Our best guess was that we landed and released around fifty fish that day. Click here for a short video of the explosive action.
Taylor Curry with one of many false albacore in the 6-8 pound range
We couldn't believe our eyes when a school of big redfish rose to the surface right in the middle of the albie melee. Nicky Phillips landed this fish on the "Sidewinder" spoon she was casting to the false albacore.
Taylor Curry with his redfish-of-a-lifetime on fly...at least so far.
Might as well hang it up, Charlie, because you'll never catch a more impressive redfish than this on fly...
The wind picked up the following day for Ken (Cowboy) Shireman, Fayetteville, AR, making it difficult to reach the false albacore west of the pass, but we found a few pods close to shore. Cowboy put the gummy minnow right on this fish's nose, and we were off to the races
How sweet it is! Cowboy Shireman with a trophy redfish on fly November 28. The fish took a chartreuse and white "Go-meaux" from Deep South Outfitters, Birmingham.
Terry McCormick and Tom Finkle from the Northwest Florida Fly Fishers club were on board December 3 with the goal of catching their first false albacore on fly. The timing was right, and we found some small pods of fish in very shallow water east of the pass. Sitting on the inner bar in 2' of water watching an approaching pod of albies slashing the surface and leaping clear out of the water is one of the best thrills we have to offer our fly-fishing clients. This is Terry with his first-ever albie on fly.
Tom Finkle who spends most of his time at home in Maine was amazed at the power and speed of this 8# albie. The fish on the inner bar were willing to eat the gummy minnows, but when we drifted through a huge school a quarter mile offshore the fish wouldn't touch the fly... FA...frustrating albies...fickle albies. Fickle albies for Tom Finkle... Sorry 'bout that, Tom.
Ben Raines and his dad Howell came over from Fairhope, AL, December 7 to hunt for false albacore, but the conditions east of the pass were so nice we decided to sight-fish first for redfish along the beach. Ben used a 240gr sink tip line to get the tan/white Clouser down to this fish which ate the fly and ran well into the backing. As Ben got fly line back on the reel we noticed there was another redfish swimming with his fish. Howell flipped his fly to the other fish, and for a short time we had a redfish double on fly. That was until Howell's fish threw the hook....
Author Howell Raines closes out the fall gallery with this fabulous false albacore. Look at the size of this fish's eye. It's no wonder they can be so doggoned particular! Fly casters who've not read Howell's books should check out Fly Fishing through the Mid-Life Crisis, and The One that Got Away...both are wonderful books.
   
   
   
   

 

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)
Email:
gbgsfishing@aol.com

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