20 Marlin
 
JB Shireman got out of the boat and snuck up on this redfish on July 16. Hard to beat summertime wade fishing to beat the heat!
A beauty for Joe Young on July 22. Redfish hammered an EP finger mullet.
Nice shot of Riley Cummings with his first-ever redfish on fly. This fish turned out to be the biggest of the month. Fine job by the young man from Idaho.
We had to get in the water on August 6 to get close to the fish. This is Chuck Horan having a blast wading the marshlands.
Chuck's second redfish of the morning ate an EP baitfish. That blue-tipped tail is a pretty thing...matches his shirt
Peter Petruzzi on August 10. The redfish were not at all interested in anything in my box. It didn't take Peter long to pull out a "special" little clouser minnow tied by our friend Sam Lewis, and the fish ate it up. I tied up something similar and tried it a few days later, but the redfish ran from it. That Sam Lewis is a fly-tying wizard for sure...
September 15 was a red-letter day for Megan Nellen...her first redfish on fly. We were at the end of a tough day and found a single fish sitting on a shallow sand flat in a foot and a half of water. The redfish had been refusing our flies all day, but when Megan landed a grey/white EP baitfish softly in front of this fish it swam over to investigate. One long strip and the redfish accelerated and ate it. It was a thrilling end to the day. Way to go Meg!
We didn't land a jack crevalle all month until the magic finally happened on September 21. Ken and Helen Smith and I were drifting the outgoing tide along the beach S of the Ft McRee rock jetty. It was very peaceful. Ken was casually blind-casting a streamer for ladyfish and Helen was watching all the birds, and then we collided with an unsuspecting school of 500 jacks at Caucas Point. Ken had just made a long cast with his 9wt when I saw the jacks and thrust the rigged-and-ready 10wt toward him. We're talking about some serious high-velocity chaos here, folks. The jacks were crashing all around the boat. Ken quickly handed Helen his 9wt, and she started cranking it in. Then he began frantically false-casting the big popper trying to work out some line. I was screaming "just get it in the water" and dodging the big, barbed fly as it flew all around the boat. And that's about the time I heard Helen screaming "What do I do?? What do I do??" A jack had grabbed the ladyfish streamer as she was reeling in Ken's line, and right about then Ken's popper finally landed in the water and another big jack crushed it. Dammit, man, where's that Go Pro when you need it! Fifteen seconds later it was over. The barbless ladyfish streamer fell out of Helen's fish and Ken somehow got cut off. His 40# leader was shredded. I looked up in time to see the jacks disappearing to the west, and that was that. Yet another fruitless jack crevalle adventure. We were all shell-shocked. They were elated; I was disappointed. But we weren't through with those fish. For the next half hour we hunted for them. We ran out on the shoal and to the west down Johnson Beach. Nothing. We came back to the point and idled north past the rock jetty and on toward the steel jetty. Ken and I were watching toward shore when Helen yelled" There they are!". A couple fish were chasing bait out toward the channel. I picked up the spinning rod and heaved the big hookless teaser plug in their direction and started raking it across the surface back to the boat. The water erupted as hundreds of jacks attacked the plug. It was a mind-blowing visual for a trout fisherman from Oklahoma, and Ken dropped the popper right on target hooking up immediately. A half hour later we got this killer photo.
September 22 was a Project Healing Waters trip with Dave Handley and Russ Shields on board. Here's Dave with the first fall Spanish mackerel.
Russ Shields with the biggest Spanish of the day. Both fish released unharmed to fight another day.
Ken Smith was back on September 23 for some redfish sight-fishing. The fish were spooky so we dropped down to a smaller fly...EP Perfect Minnow.
Ken's second redfish was bigger. The rope coming over the fish's tail is actually the strap on my camera... Photographer loses 1 style point.
The redfish in the Big Lagoon got so picky we couldn't get them to eat, so we ran east in the Intracoastal Waterway on October 3 to try some new water. Al Rudnick coaxed this fish to eat a perfect minnow.
We ran back to the same area a couple days later, and Clifton McRoy landed this beauty...his best-ever redfish on fly.
It just doesn't get much prettier than this. Gin-clear water, bright sunshine, light southerly breeze, and redfish cruising on a sand flat! Rusty Denson with his first fish on October 14.
Long-time clients Tim Reischman and Ken Hutchison lucked into some beautiful weather for their October trip. Here's Tim with the fish of the day on October 19.
We tried some new water the following day, and Hutch was first to score. The fish were skittish at first, but after we changed to chartreuse it was game on! To quote Lefty "If it ain't chartreuse it ain't no use"
We had a blast with these fish. We were poling over white sandy bottom in water a foot deep...exactly like Bahamas bonefishing. Tim with a pretty redfish caught on his own chartreuse creation.
Later in the day we moved off the flats to the Spanish mackerel hunting grounds. Watch out for those teeth!
The next day on October 21 Hutch got us going with this blue-tailed beauty
and Tim was quick to follow suit
During October there were lots of very aggressive pompano on the inside flats. The pompano like to travel with schools of redfish and will beat them to the fly almost every time. This pompano snatched Tim's EP mullet away from a charging 15# redfish!
On October 24 Jesse Ifland from Feather-craft landed two pompano while casting to redfish. It just wasn't his day for redfish. Earlier in the trip a redfish in the 20 pound range charged his fly, but a doggone 12" mangrove snapper ate it first! Not fair at all... Here's a nice shot of Jesse with his first pompano.
The Running of the Bulls started in earnest on Tuesday, November 2. It was my day off. I'd worked the day before and was fishing the same client the following day. My brother Capt Dave took this photo in front of Battery Langdon at 0930 and texted me. My client was staying in town having breakfast when my text with Dave's photo arrived. Twenty five minutes later he was running out my dock where I eagerly awaited in the Mako with the motor running. We ran at top speed to the Gulf, turned east looking for my brother, but he was gone. I called him and found out the fish were moving southeast and were already well past the Ranger Station. Through binoculars I could see his boat, and off we went again. As we got closer we could see a huge flock of circling and diving pelicans, the redfish were exploding everywhere, and Dave's spin-fishing client was hooked up. I killed the engine as we slid into the school. There were fish on the surface all around the boat, but my client was experiencing the dreaded RTS... "response time syndrome". By the time he got line off the reel and made a cast the fish were gone. The pelicans started floating around waiting for something to happen, and we drifted with them. Some time later a small group of redfish popped up and we ran over to them, but once again RTS struck. The fish disappeared before the fly hit the water, and with that the ball game was over.

My good client and friend Tim English from New Orleans was on the boat November 8. We started at 0800 and circumnavigated Pensacola Bay looking for birds. Nada. So we ran to the Gulf and got out the binoculars. There was nothing to the east, but I could see 3-4 guide boats to the west past the Caucas Shoal. We cruised over there and sure enough a couple spin-fishing anglers were hooked up. There were no birds or any surface activity, and we assumed the fish were deep. But then I saw some reddish-brown water a couple hundred feet away which turned out to be hundreds of redfish swimming in tight formation a foot below the surface. Tim had his 8wt and chartreuse/white EP "peanut butter" loaded in the LineTamer tube, made the cast, and the redfish fought for it. It took him 30 minutes to land his first fish. During that time the guide boat flotilla expanded to 10 boats, and they pummeling the school with lead jigs until the redfish went down and disappeared. By the time we took this photo and resuscitated Tim's fish all the boats were 2 miles to the west presumably following the school of redfish.

We ran in their direction for a mile before turning back to our original spot hoping there might be a few stragglers left behind. We arrived, killed the engine, and drifted. It was only a few minutes before the reddish-brown school came to the surface again, and we quietly idled over to them. It was miraculous. We had them all to ourselves for the next hour, and Tim landed two and lost a couple more. Numerous guide boats shot by us running hard to the west to catch up with their buddies, but not one of them noticed we were hooked up. I sat casually on the poling platform eating an apple, and Tim pointed his tip directly at the fish to keep the bend out of his fly rod. To the casual observer we looked like a couple guys drifting around taking a break. Hard to describe how much fun that was... Finally the guide boats worked their way back close enough to see we were fighting a fish. When they descended upon us we
decided to leave.
It was close to the end of our 6hr trip, so we headed back toward the dock making a big turn through the bay from Buoy 22 to Town Point and then toward Deer Point. As we got close to Deer Point I spotted some white water close to shore. From a distance it looked like confused boat wakes, but as we got closer it was obviously redfish blowing up in a school of menhaden. Tim was already false casting as I slid into the school, and this redfish crushed his fly as soon as it hit the water. Once again it took him almost a half hour to land the bright orange beauty on his 8wt while we watched hundreds of redfish on the surface all the way across Santa Rosa Sound toward Chicken Bone Beach. Bright sunshine, glassy-calm water, and we were the only boat...a dream come true.
Here's a nice shot of Tim's final redfish reflecting the 3 o'clock sun.
After hard back-to-back cold fronts we were finally able to get
back out in the Gulf on November 14. Carl Huhnke was here from Wyoming and we spent a couple cold, rough, fruitless hours out there before retreating back to Pensacola
Bay. After lunch the wind died, the water turned to glass, and we saw the birds at Deadman's Island from a mile away. We arrived to fish busting menhaden all around us and a few other boats casually idling around as though it had been going on for some time. Carl was rigged and ready with an 11wt, and it blew his mind watching the bulls go
berserk after his big popper.
He landed these two fish and had a couple misses before the action stopped.
The Running of the Bulls was over by Thanksgiving, but there were still lots of redfish and some really big trout on the flats. We found plenty of fish everywhere we
went on November 27, and Vail snowboard instructor/god
" Sando" landed his first redfish in 5 years.
Finished off the year with a return trip to Costa Rica's Jungle Tarpon Reserve. Tom Enderlin runs the program down there, and it's extreme tarpon fishing at it's best. Imagine fishing for tarpon up to 200 pounds in a river the size of a Western trout stream. These huge fish live in Lake Nicaragua and swim up the Rio Frio during the rainy season to feast on tiny minnows. We find the fish feeding along the bank and cast 2/0 baitfish patterns to them. It's insane. Here's my good buddy the Rocketman hooked into a fish estimated at 140 pounds. Lost it at the boat...
Managed to get another pic of the fish in the air. We use 11 or 12wt tackle and intermediate "slime" lines. Short 5' leaders with a 2' section off 100# bite tippet. Various EP 2/0 baitfish patterns.

Yours truly with an 80 pounder that jumped all the way over the boat during the fight. Clipped me in the left knee as it flew by, and I'm still wearing a knee brace two months later... The guide said if he'd had the GoPro going we'd have 5 million hits on Instagram! Oh well.

If you want to learn more about this fishing contact Tom Enderlin at www.costaricaflyfishing.com

That's it for 2022. Thanks to everyone who came to fish with me this year. See you next time. Capt Baz

   

 

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: 850.261.9035
Email:
gbgsfishing@aol.com

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