got off to a rough start due to the effects of Hurricane
Sally which came ashore Sept 16. Once the water cleared the redfish
sight-fishing was outstanding, and clients willing to travel
during these COVID times had some terrific days on the water. We
missed those who could not come and look forward to having you back
on the boat in 2021. Check out these photos from
fall season. Double click on the thumbnails for full-page
For photos from previous seasons follow the links to these additional
and Spring 2020, Fall
and Spring 2019, Fall
and Spring 2017, Fall
and Spring 2016 , Fall
to return to this page.
Tim English starts off
the fall gallery on October 5. Hurricane Sally came ashore two
weeks earlier trashing the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Pensacola
Bay, and Santa Rosa Sound. All we could find was "chocolate milk"
until we ran up into the Big Lagoon. Miraculously the water there
was clear enough for sight-fishing and targets were plentiful.
Tim with a deeply-colored redfish that was well camouflaged in
the tannin-colored water.
We had good sun and plenty of shots at redfish, but the most exciting
moment was when a school of big jack crevalle exploded on top a
hundred feet away coming right at us. By the time
Tim stowed his 8wt and stripped out line on the 10 the fish were
Tim flipped the fly in the water and got a quick take but missed
the hookset. An instant later the school spooked, and that was
that. What a rush!
October 14 was a red-letter
Jay and Jimmie Wright. We spent the morning sight-fishing for redfish
with Jay on fly and his dad Jimmie throwing a Sidewinder spoon
on light spinning tackle. We started out poling
very shallow water with Jay throwing an EP "peanut butter" baitfish
imitation but quickly changed to a tan/white clouser minnow when
we found the fish schooled up in some deeper water around structure.
Here's Jay with the first fish of the day. Gotta love that blue tail!
When we have both fly
and spin anglers on the boat the fly-caster gets the bow and "first
shot", and the spin-angler stands in front of the poling
platform taking all the shots that are out of range for the fly.
It didn't take Jimmie long to get in on the action. As soon as
Jay landed his redfish Jimmie tossed his spoon into the school
and hooked up immediately.
down the barbs on all our redfish flies and artificial baits
which helps us release the
Jay landed the redfish of the day a little later also on a clouser
redfish fishing got interrupted when the "gansters of the
showed up. Jimmie had a big spinning rod ready with a 4 3/4" Storm
"Chug Bug", and this jack crevalle crushed it on the
second pop. He finally brought it to the net twenty minutes later.
his first-ever jack crevalle. Let it be known... "Jimmie
The following day was
more challenging with more wind and fewer fish, but Jay persevered...
October 16 the wind was howling from the NW and all our inside
spots were blown out.
Will Kopal was in town and really wanted to
go, so we took the Mako out in the Gulf west
of Pensacola Pass off Johnson Beach. There were schools of ladyfish,
and sharks, and Will had fun catching fish on his own flies.
Late in the day we ran farther to the west and found schools
of false albacore within a couple hundred yards of the
beach. Will didn't want to use any of my flies and elected to try
a big 3/0 grey/white deceiver he had tied years earlier. The FA
were eating juvenile bay anchovies, and to my surprise one of
a swing at Will's fly. I suggested he try a fast two-hand strip,
and it was game on! The albies loved it, and he connected every
time I got the boat in the right position for casts into the
schools. The problem was a rogue dolphin that was taking the FA
off the hook. Will brought in two fish heads before the dolphin
miscalculated and got hooked. Will's flyline-to-leader nail knot
failed as the
dolphin disappeared with the barbless hook in its mouth trailing
a 9' leader. Good riddance! Will was able to land his first
FA and get the photo.
English was back on November 3, and the water was perfect for
sight-fishing a favorite flat close
to Pensacola Pass. This redfish must have been starving because
clouser minnow from 15' away. Unexpected and wonderful
when that happens.
Trumbull on November 9 with a nice fish caught around the docks
between the points. It's technical fishing in there. The area
holds plenty of redfish and trout, but stealth, patience, and
accurate casting are key. It's not for everybody.
O'Shea came to town November 10 for the annual "Running of the
Bulls" redfish action, but for most of the day the fish were
AWOL. After a couple hours searching around the bay we decided
to have some fun catching and releasing out-of-season Pensacola
We finally found some top-water action late in the day,
and Dave got his bull red...a beauty in full spawning colors.
had new client Bo Herrera on the boat on November 16. Bo is an
Optometrist from New Mexico who lives on the San Juan River.
He told me in advance that he spends most of his time catching
trout but felt he could probably cast adequately to have success
with our redfish. Of course I was skeptical and even joked to his
local friend who arranged the trip that the BS would stop when
I watched his first practice cast... Imagine my surprise when
guy could put it out there 90'! Accurately, too. I was in "Guide's
Heaven" all morning as we showed those finicky fish between
the points who's boss!
Bo hooked five fish including
this flats brute, and landed four. I can't publish the other photos
without giving away my special little spots. Let me just say the
one that got away was bigger than this fish and we were never in
water deeper than 2 1/2'.
Jenkins was back on the boat on November 17 and 18. On his first
day the Gulf of Mexico finally
calmed down enough for us to pole the
inner sandbar. Capt Dan Storey had told me there were lots of "stupid" redfish
out there, and he was right. We found numerous schools of fish
coming down the bar, and they climbed all over each other trying
Jenkin's clouser minnow. Here he is with redfish #1.
Jenkins with another
multi-spotted beauty! He landed four redfish of this quality
before a mullet
fisherman clued us in that the false albacore were
east of the Ranger Station.
We ran down there and
found school after school of FA in the 4-6# class feeding on
Here's Bob with an average-sized catch landed on a #6 clear gummy minnow. It
was a treat finding albies that were so happy to eat the fly. Nothing
technical about it.
I was hoping to find them in a foot of water, but all the schools
we found were farther out in the draw. There was so much bait
we thought the albies might be with us for a couple weeks, but
they disappeared for the rest of the year. Downright heartbreaking...
the next day the Gulf was kicked up with a big SE swell, so Jenkins
and I spent the day between the points. Bob hooked two nice
redfish and a lovely trout but this is the only fish that made it to
Will Duncan came down from Atlanta on November 23 hoping to catch
his first redfish on fly. He was new to saltwater fly-fishing
and was concerned about his casting, so we started the day with
a short casting session working on his
double-haul. Will picked it up nicely, and in no time was casting
comfortably 60+ feet. So we took off for the Gulf.
What a thrill to come around Pickens Point and find calm,
clear water! We started poling with the sun at our backs and immediately
started seeing redfish. Will hit paydirt on the first school with
his first redfish on fly. Hearty congratulations!
We found fish all morning, and by the end of
the trip Will had hooked 5 and landed 4 redfish. This is the best
of the bunch.
Here's Will with his last redfish of the day. Check out the bluebird
sky... What a day!
Thomasson on December 1 with the biggest redfish of the season
caught 2-3 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico close to the Sea Buoy.
What a surprise finding the Running of the Bulls going
on all the way out there! There were hundreds of bull redfish
on the surface when Ryan hooked and fought this fish on his 8wt.
By the time we landed, resuscitated, and
released this fish
all the action was done. We never saw another fish. Timing is everything...
The latest Project Healing Waters trip finally happened for
Oleta Webb and Tony Moore on December 8. We had canceled two previous
because the Gulf was blown out, and that's where the fish were.
Finally we caught a nice day with a north wind,
clear water. It was a cold run out to the observation tower, but
once we anchored up just outside the inner bar it was pristine. We
picked a spot where a small channel cut through the sandbar to the
inside trough... perfect for shots at passing redfish. All we had
to do was be patient and
group of fish appeared westbound. This was a group of six big redfish
cruising high in the water column, and the lead fish took Tony's
chartreuse/white EP baitfish with no hesitation. For a guy who's
never landed a big fish on fly Tony did great! After a half hour
of fighting the fish into the current Tony finally brought this
bona fide bull redfish to the net.
A little later Oleta was up when a large school of redfish came
into range. She used long, smooth strips to coax this beauty to eat
the fly, and then closed the deal with a nice strip set. Very little
happened for the next hour or so while we enjoyed the setting and
ate lunch. When the wind picked up we ran into Gilmore Bayou where
Tony and Oleta landed a bunch of trout and one adorable little rat
red. We could not have asked for a nicer day on the water.
Chef Stephen Miller invited Capt Dan Storey to join us on December
10, and Dan put on a casting clinic. There were
2-3 foot rollers breaking on the inner sandbar, and
the redfish were up in the breakers. We anchored the skiff a hundred
feet outside the break and waited for fish to come into range.
Casts had to be accurate, 70-80' in length, and launched from
rocking casting deck. It was a blast! Dan showed us how it's done
with this beast of a redfish.
Miller was back for a second day, and this time brought his son
Trent. The water was calmer but the redfish were scarce, so we
decided to check out a few winter black drum spots. Bright sunshine
and gin-clear water made it possible
to find a school of 50-100 drum holding on the bottom. I anchored "up-stream" of
the school, and Stephen used a 10wt and full sinking line to drift
his chartreuse/white geau-meaux back into their midst. The drum
don't see very well, and the trick is to move the fly very little.
just get it to the bottom and let it wiggle. Then use short 2"
strips with a pause in between. When the fly rides up in
the current you play out more line
the time you are watching the dark shapes down there knowing your
fly is about to get eaten. Sometimes you feel a little pressure
small tug from a short-strike, but you have to have the patience
to wait. Eventually a fish will eat the fly, and when you strip
set it's like driving the hook into a stump. That's when the
big drum ambles off down-current, and the fight is on. Check out
of Stephen with the first fish landed...a 28 pound brute.
It took about a half hour to land Stephen's fish, and
during that time the school relocated. We found them after a short
search and once again
up-current for the perfect cast. This time when Stephen hooked up
he handed the rod to young Trent and spent the next half hour talking
him through the process of fighting a big fish on fly while his son
was hanging on for dear life. It was a wonderful father/son moment,
and I tried to stay out of the way unless the rod was about to get
broken. Miracle of miracles Trent landed the fish, and you can tell
by his smile he way pretty pleased. We landed a third fish before
the rain started and called it a day...a very good day!
a nice shot of Eastern Montana rancher Connor Wald with his first-ever
redfish on December 13. Connor took to the salt like
a duck to water. He has a beautiful casting stroke from throwing
streamers at western trout. Nice job, Connor!
Connor's friend and fellow rancher Jill Rigler landed
the biggest redfish of the day "fly-lining" a live shrimp on light
Ramu Nallamala wraps up the fall season with a pretty redfish
in a couple feet of water on a tough December 14. We were poling
some shallow-water structure and spotted this fish on a
sandbar a hundred feet away. The fish was slowly moving in our
direction, and Ramu made a long, beautiful cast barely over-shooting
the target by a foot. The fly passed over the fish and landed
right behind it. At first the redfish spooked but immediately
spun around to see what made the noise. Ramu stripped the EP
minnow, and the fish nailed it. Fun to watch.
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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