20 Marlin

Summer 2020 was unusually productive for redfish sight-fishing. We found good numbers of fish regularly in both the Gulf of Mexico and our inland waters. Warmer water temperatures make the fishing more "technical", but most of our intermediate and expert casters caught fish. We even had some beginners catch their first redfish on fly. The jack crevalle sight-fishing was outstanding. We don't land a lot of big jacks on fly, but many of our fly clients experienced the adrenaline rush that accompanies these "gangsters of the flats". The summer false albacore run was disappointing, but they will most likely return in the fall and winter. A big THANK YOU to our clients who came to fish during these COVID-19 times. We feel relatively safe in the open air with no more than two anglers on the boat, and we have hand sanitizer available at all times. Check out these photos from the summer season. Double click on the thumbnails for full-page views. For photos from previous seasons follow the links to these additional galleries: Winter and Spring 2020, Fall 2019, Summer 2019, Winter and Spring 2019, Fall 2018, Summer 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Summer 2017, Winter and Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Summer 2016, Winter and Spring 2016 , Fall 2015, Summer 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2015, Fall 2014, Summer 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2014, :Fall 2013, Summer 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2013, Fall 2012, Spring 2012, Winter 2012, Fall 2011, Summer 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2011, 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. Use the back button on your browser to return to this page.

We begin the summer gallery on July 6 with Jimmie Wright and a 28" redfish caught on light-tackle in 2 1/2' of water in Santa Rosa Sound. Jimmie's son Jay was on the bow with the fly rod when we saw this nice fish out of casting range. Jimmie flipped the Sidewinder spoon in front of it, and the redfish nailed it. The barbless hook slipped out easily, and we released the fish unharmed.


Robert Lockwood from Huntsville was on the boat July 7, and we had battled the west wind and a 105 degree heat index all afternoon. It was the last hour of the trip, and we were poling the western edge of the Big Sabine looking for redfish when the school of big jack crevalle arrived. The first thing we saw were a dozen big wakes coming toward shore like torpedos a couple hundred feet up the beach, and then the water exploded when the jacks found the mullet. Depth charges were going off all around the boat as the mullet flew through the air. The jacks got into water so shallow that half of their backs were exposed. Robert and I had discussed the plan earlier, and he quickly cranked in his 8wt as I grabbed the 10wt and stripped out some line. We switched rods, and I stowed the smaller rod. When the fish were 50' out and closing fast Robert dropped the big popper into their midst and hooked up instantly. Fortunately the Tibor Gulfstream has an excellent drag and over 400 yards of 68# Hatch backing, because the big fish was over a hundred yards out in about 10 seconds. After some panic poling we reached 3' water depth and put the 115 horses to work following the fish. We came close to losing it and breaking the rod numerous times especially when the jack doubled back on us and rocketed under the boat. Robert plunged the rod into the water all the way to the cork and scrambled around the bow to keep up with the fish. I've never seen a big man move so fast. After 40 minutes of adrenaline-enhanced excitement (okay terror) we got our hands on the leader and netted it. The jack crevalle was indeed a monster weighing 29# on the Boga and beating the all-time boat record by a half pound. I learned later that Robert is a top level tennis player. Maybe that's where he gets all that speed...

Way to go, Robert! Hearty Congratulations!!

Next up is Louisiana resident Cole Miller and perfect "bonefishing"
conditions on the afternoon of July 8. The water was calm and clear, and the sun
was high and at our backs as we poled to the east on the north side of Santa Rosa Island. We immediately started seeing fish, and they were interested in the fly. The first fish Cole hooked was a very nice 22-23" trout, and he lost it in a most bizarre fashion. The water was only two feet deep, and
we watched every move the fish made...from the take to a couple long
runs. The trout was on the surface circling the boat when a 6" lizardfish
shot up from the bottom and snatched the barbless fly out of the trout's
mouth. Talk about a bad break! We could not believe our eyes...
Cole landed the lizardfish which didn't exactly get the skunk out of the
boat, and we continued poling down the beach where he hooked and
landed this nice redfish. Both fish ate a 2/0 EP pinfish.

A couple days later blue-water fishing convert Paul Moore came down
from Birmingham to try his hand on the flats. Paul was a tournament
angler who used to think fly-fishing was for sissies until one of his
friends landed a 9# redfish on fly. The friend showed Paul the photo and
told him "You can't do this". That challenge was all it took, and Paul has
become addicted to our sport. Paul said watching this redfish charge and eat his
fly was one of the highlights of his fishing career. He could hardly
wait to send his friend the photo!

Jaime Lanier landed his first-ever redfish on fly July 17. We had good sun and clear water, but the wind was howling out of the north. Jaime had not mastered the double-haul, and casting into that wind was impossible. We spotted this fish 100' upwind holding in the current like a rainbow trout, and poled in a circle around it giving Jaime a 50' down-wind shot. He cast the EP baitfish high into the air, and let the wind float it out to the fish. The fly landed like a feather right on target, and Jaime let it sink to the bottom. The redfish saw the fly and cruised over to investigate. As Jaime gave it a long strip the fish flared it's gills and sucked it down...easy peasy! Jaime's son and expert caster Jay Lanier just shook his head. Jay had been on the bow for the previous hour and had made numerous perfect casts to redfish that had no interest in his fly. Maybe this was just Jaime's day...
Jay spent another fruitless hour on the bow until the wind shifted to the south and we made our way across Santa Rosa Sound to a favorite flat east of Pensacola Beach. The water was like glass, and Jaime once again took the bow. I had been poling about a minute when I saw a big dark shape 30' from the boat sitting motionless along the edge of a grass bed in 2 1/2' of water. I held our position as Jaime tried unsuccessfully to locate the fish through the mirrored surface. He just couldn't see it, so he started working out some line and we communicated on direction and distance until I said "drop it". The fly once again landed right on target 3' in front of the fish, and Jaime let it sink. He couldn't see the big fish like I could as it came to life and swam in the direction of the fly. I told him to start stripping which he did until he felt the line come tight. It was a perfect blindly executed strip-strike...easy peasy again! Turned out the fish was a beautiful, female speckled trout in the 5-6 pound range. Biggest trout of the year so far on my boat. We gently extracted the barbless hook and released her unharmed. Jay was once again just shaking his head...
But it all came together for Jay Lanier a little farther down the beach when he delivered a textbook-perfect 70' cast to this terrific flats redfish. And once again all is right in the universe...

Skip Dalton and his son Bale were hoping for some redfish sight-fishing in the Gulf of Mexico on August 5, and the weather gods cooperated. It was a spectacular, bluebird day with gin-clear water, light breeze, and virtually no shore break. What made it even better was the school of bull redfish we found cruising inside the inner sandbar too shallow for all the center-console boats to reach. Bale and Skip landed fish after fish on light spinning tackle. We use St Croix AVS70MF rods, Shimano Stradic 2500 reels, and PowerPro 15# braid. The St Croix rods weigh just 4.1oz. and handle these magnificent redfish beautifully. Here's Bale Dalton with his first catch.

Skip Dalton with his first catch. All these redfish were released unharmed.
Nice to have the sun come out for this nice shot of Bale. Check out the emerald green water. Florida's Emerald Coast on full display...

Skip landed the biggest fish of the day. Huge fish...no spot. Got a nice belly though...

Could not pass up sharing yet another of Skip's redfish. The emerald-colored background around this fish makes a nice contrast.
Connor Hogan on a breezy August 6. The Gulf was blown out by a SW wind, so we confined our sight-fishing to shielded areas on the north side of the Gulf Breeze peninsula. This trout took a yellow/white clouser minnow.
The Gulf settled down enough the following day to take Skip Dalton's other son Brenden and grandson Peter back out there looking for the redfish.
Robert Parker was back in town and took a casting lesson from our Certified Casting Instructor Jonas Magnusson on August 11. The next day he and I were stalking one of our favorite flats, and Robert coaxed this redfish to eat his EP pinfish. Congratulations to Robert for his first saltwater fish on fly! We spent the rest of the day catching ladyfish, and Robert got to practice his strip set.

Later in the day when the jack crevalle showed up Robert picked up the big spinning tackle. This fish crushed a Storm 4 1/2" Chug Bug and was off to the races. For the big jacks we prefer St Croix's Tidemaster TIS80MHF rod with a Quantum Cabo 60 reel and 40# PowerPro braid. The rod is sensitive enough to throw the big topwater plug accurately, plus it has the power to stop these beasts. The reel holds 300 yards of line which can be helpful when you hook into a really big jack. The boat record weighed 40 pounds...

Robert was hoping for more jack crevalle action the next day and hit paydirt...again...when a big school came by. This is a 30# class fish. Released unharmed.

On August 16 I had new Dallas client Lee Spencer on the boat, and we began the day "staked out" at a favorite jack crevalle spot. Lee is a good caster, but his saltwater fly-fishing experience was limited to redfish fishing around Charleston. I was determined to put him on some jacks. We were set up by 0815, and the first school showed up within fifteen minutes. It was overcast, and I didn't see the fish until they were on top of us. Lee sent a Hail Mary in their general direction as they sped away, but we never really had a chance. You can imagine his excitement at just seeing them. I repositioned the boat, and soon another school came along out of reach for the 12wt. I had the big teaser plug ready and brought them to the boat as Lee made the cast. One of those monsters inhaled his fly 20' from the boat, and Lee snatched that rod tip back like he just got off the
BassMasters tour! Of course the hook fell out... I motored well out ahead of the school, but in the low light we never found them again. We had one more missed opportunity before the boats and jet skis started showing up, and I decided to head to the gulf.

There was good intel that the false albacore were out there, and sure enough we found them just east of the sea buoys. These were small fish in the 2-3# range...perfect for Lee's 6wt. There were large schools of fish all the way past the 3 Barges, and half a mile farther we found schools of mahi mahi in the mix. Lee had a great time catching numerous FA and mahi mahis, and then we ran west for more fun with the bluefish. After about an hour it was time to head back to the dock.
Sam Lewis and I had a blast on September 10 catching and releasing ladyfish and bluefish on fly off Johnson Beach in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. We kept all the fish out of the boat and never took a photo...except for this cool shot of Sam with a surprise visitor. The next week Hurricane Sally hit, and the game was over for a few weeks.


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)

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