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Winter 2011 was in a word fabulous, especially if you like redfish. The false albacore run that normally happens in January came early this year. By December 21 it was almost over. But the redfish fishing was the best we've seen in many years, and it continued strong through March. The jack crevalle arrived a month early, and our clients had a ball with them starting March 11...the earliest we've ever landed a jack. For our spin-fishing clients the sheepshead spawned earlier than normal, and the red snapper and grouper fishing was dependable throughout the winter. Here are the photos from the winter season. For photos from previous seasons, check out these additional galleries: 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. 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.

Jim Williams, Austin, TX, starts off the winter gallery with the first redfish of the season...a beauty landed while sight-fishing along the Gulf Islands National Seashore on December 27.
On December 28 Jeremy Church had the pleasure of fighting his first redfish on his new fly outfit. It was a typically beautiful winter day with dead-flat, crystal-clear water and lots of fish. Check out all the boat traffic in the background...

Jeremy with his prized catch. The redfish ate a tan/white sz 2 Clouser minnow.

Dennis Farkas and well-fed 43" redfish on December 29.
It was totally overcast with rain threatening on December 30, but Keith Tucker, Reno, NV, wanted to try to catch his first redfish on fly...which he did. We poled some grass/sand flats in the Intracoastal Waterway and found enough fish to keep things interesting.
Keith, who's a trout guide in Truckee, CA, landed and released this beauty a little later. Double click on the photo to get a better view of perfect redfish habitat. Even though there was no sun we could easily spot the redfish holding in the sandy channels between grass beds. Water was 2-3' deep.
Jeff Tanner, Waco, TX, and a hard-fighting red snapper caught and released January 7.
On January 8 we were drifting toward the pass on a strong incoming tide when a school of about 50 redfish appeared just outside the inner bar. Geoff Brodersen had the presence of mind to wait until the fish passed under the boat before making a nice "going away" shot to the unsuspecting redfish. Good job, Geoff!
Geoff's dad Mark Brodersen with a fat, female speckled trout landed and released late in the day January 8. There are always big trout roaming the shallows during the winter months.
Rhad Hayden, Baton Rouge, LA, spent the morning trying to coax redfish to eat the fly on January 13, but they just wouldn't cooperate. We gained the upper hand by switching to light spinning tackle and a SPRO prime bucktail jig a little later in the day.
The following day Rhad nailed (and released) this black drum on a tan/white Clouser. He used a 240gr sink-tip line to get the fly down to the fish.
Once again on January 14 the big redfish were not interested in the fly, but a bucktail jig did the trick.
Steve Taylor and Randy Knutson came over from Fairhope, AL, for some outstanding redfish sight-fishing on January 19. Here's Steve with the first fish of the day.
Randy Knutson with a cool triple-spotted redfish which turned out to be the biggest fish that day.
Randy and Steve ended the morning trip with a fine "double" along the inner bar in the vicinity of Battery Langdon.
Ed Cox, Birmingham AL, with his hands full of redfish on January 20.
Atlantic Southeast Airlines pilot Allen Cox took a break from the cockpit and landed his biggest redfish to date January 20 while fishing with his dad.
Patsy Vargo Joyner and husband Don, Great Falls, MT, were in town January 27, and the redfish were hungry. Here's a nice shot of Patsy with her first fish of the day. Check out the water. The Gulf of Mexico was like a lake that day.
Don Joyner followed suit with this smaller male redfish. It's amazing how silvery these winter fish can be.
Bob Blain from Gulf Breeze on January 28 with what may be the biggest redfish we've ever landed. This fish was a bona fide monster, and Bob landed it on a St Croix AS70MF rod, Shimano Stradic 2500 and 15# PowerPro braid.
John Vacca learned a lot about redfish power on January 28.
It was a tough day redfish-wise for Rick Roth while fishing with Bob and John on January 28. Rick had his bucktail jig in school after school of redfish but was relegated to watching his buddies get the hookups. This beautiful red snapper saved the day for Rick.
Brian Whitman and daughter Ashton, Alpharetta, GA, had a ball catching and releasing red snappers on January 29.
An artsy shot of Pensacola's Roger Orth "bowed up" on a balmy February 19.
Life is Good! Roger Orth and friend on February 19.
Roger Orth and partner Wayne Adkisson ended the trip with a major league double...
Ben Raines, Fairhope, AL, with an impressive redfish on fly February 22. Double click on the photo for a good look at the fly...a custom tied "go-meaux" from Deep South Outfitters, Birmingham, AL.
Now THAT's what I'm talking about! Howell Raines with a monster redfish in shallow water February 22.
How's this for a first-ever redfish on fly? Joe Lucero and son Cade, Fox Island, WA, with another monster redfish caught February 23 on Joe's first cast. We found this fish in crystal-clear water about 3' deep.
Richard VanSant and his finest redfish to date landed and released February 24.
March 11 was a breakthrough day for Matthew Vann of Pensacola. We rounded Pickens Point heading east and immediately ran up on a school of a hundred redfish. Matthew landed his first-ever bull red on fly...one of four landed that morning.
A little later in the day Matthew landed another beauty.
For those who've never seen a really big school of redfish the dark mass is solid redfish...about five hundred of them.
We pulled into the beach and picked up Keith Konen from Colorado who had just landed a big redfish from shore. Keith and Matthew got this "double" from the school shown above.
We dropped Keith off and were heading back to the big school of redfish when a small school of jack crevalle appeared a hundred feet away and closing fast. Matthew had just enough time to grab the 10wt and make a perfect cast. Here he is with his first jack on fly. After landing this fish we spent the last half hour of the trip trying for a pompano to complete the Emerald Coast Slam, but it wasn't to be...
Colin Michael Reilly had the hot hand March 13 while fishing with his dad and brother. We found a small group of jack crevalle feeding inside the inner bar, and this fish crushed a chartreuse "chug bug".
A little later in the day Colin added this redfish to his tally...
Trevor Farkas and a fine sheepshead landed March 14 while fishing with his cousin Derek and Uncle Dennis.
Dennis Farkas had the fish of the day...for a while.
Trevor Farkas took the top honors with this redfish landed close to the beach in the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Jim Palmer, Jackson, MS, and a trophy redfish on March 15.
Jim's grandson Palmer Duckworth on March 15 with his first redfish.
Walter Kirkland and Howell Raines came over from Fairhope, AL, on March 16, the day the big schools of redfish showed up on the Caucus Shoal. Here's Walter with a typically beautiful fish landed on a "go-meaux" from Deep South Outfitters, Birmingham.
After landing numerous fish each on the shoal we moved inside to a sandbar where Howell Raines caught this monster...the boat record redfish on fly. The fish followed the fly so close to the boat that Howell's leader was in the guides. He wiggled the rod tip from side-to-side, and the big fish ate the fly. It was indeed poetry in motion...
But Howell wasn't quite finished. At the end of the day we ran east of the pass to look for jack crevalle and immediately came up on a small school of about a dozen fish. Howell put the 3/0 popper in front of them, and this fish attacked it. The jack turned out to be the boat record at 28 1/2# beating the previous record by a half pound. Two records in one day and it was Miller Time... or was that Makers Mark...
Timing is everything. Francis Crockard and Hobart McWhorter hit the redfish jackpot the following day on March 17. There must've been a thousand redfish on the shoal, and we were the only boat out there. This is one of numerous fish Francis landed on his 9wt.
A little later we moved in to the same sandbar where we found the fish the day before, and Hobart McWhorter landed this 42" redfish on a 10wt, sinking line, and a white go-meaux.
By the time Glenn Perry got here on Saturday, March 19, all the other guides and recreational fisherman had heard about the redfish on the shoal. Glenn landed fish of this quality until we tired of the mayhem and moved inside.
We end the winter gallery with a terrific father/son trip for Keith and Holden Tate from Athens, GA. Let the good times roll, gentlemen!
Keith and Holden with the final redfish of the trip...and the season. It was a fitting end to the best winter redfishing in memory.
   

 

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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