Marlin
 
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Spring 2018 began with clear skies and warming water temperatures. Redfish and trout were active on the inside flats, and there were schools of bull reds along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Migrating pompano and jack crevalle arrived from the east as the water temperature increased, and in May we started seeing the first Spanish mackerel. False albacore made an early arrival mid-May and stayed in the vicinity throughout the season. Double-click the thumbnails for full-page photos. For photos from previous seasons follow the links to these additional galleries: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.

March 30 was sunny and cool with a light north wind...perfect for redfish sight-fishing. Inland water temperature was in the low-70's, and the fish were ready to eat. Stephen Miller who escaped from late-winter Chicago for some much needed fun in the sun took full advantage of the situation. This first fish which measured 27" ate the EP baitfish in a heartbeat. We were happy to release it unharmed.
It warmed up significantly later in the day, and Stephen landed and released another beauty. Wonder what they're doing back in Chicago...
Fay Rogers with a Santa Rosa Sound redfish landed and released in 2' of water on April 11. You can tell by its light color that this fish has been living mostly over sandy bottom. Check out the beautiful blue colors in the fish's tail.
Always nice to have Bruce Trumbull back on the boat. Here he is on April 17 with a fine redfish taken on the old faithful EP baitfish.

John Chanslor on April 18 with his first redfish on fly.

 

Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Barry Saunders and Jimmie Wright were on the boat April 20 when we found a school of bull redfish on the Caucus Shoal. How about a bull redfish "double" for the guys from Birmingham!
Bob Jenkins, Woody Creek, CO, on April 25 with the biggest redfish of the year on fly. We found a school of big fish close to shore along the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and Jenkins coaxed this hog to eat a tan/white clouser. Nice work, my man!
We went back to the same area a couple days later on April 27, and Patti Cantu landed her first redfish. Here's a nice shot of her, her very proud husband Carlos, and a redfish with a super cool spot.
Not to be outdone Carlos grabbed his fly rod and landed this beauty. The tan/white clouser worked its magic once again...
Oh why not. When you got it...flaunt it! Carlos with his second redfish of the day.
The trip was over, and we were running back to the dock when a big school of jack crevalle appeared out of nowhere. We couldn't get the fly rod ready in time, so Carlos grabbed a big spinning outfit and landed this fish on a topwater "chug bug".
On May 4 we ran east in the ICW to a glassy-calm cove that was loaded with mullet, trout, and redfish. Problem was the fish were so spooky we couldn't get close to them in the boat. So we resorted to wading, and Greg Hawley broke the ice with this redfish on the EP baitfish.
A little later while Greg was standing in the same spot this fabulous speckled trout hammered his fly, came to the surface, and tail-walked for four feet. It just doesn't get any better! We didn't have any measuring devices, but this fish was close to the 7# boat record.
We found a huge thigh-deep sandbar later in the day that had a dozen or more very large trout "floating" just under the surface. These were all 5# plus fish, and Greg and his brother Larry tried to sneak up on them. Greg finally got one to eat but lost it at the net. Just seeing all those gator trout and having a chance to throw flies at them was quite a thrill.
Bob Jenkins was baaack on May 6, and we started the day off with a cute little pompano on the infamous yellow pompano fly. Big hands on that angler...
Ronnie Johnson was here from Montgomery on May 7 for his birthday trip gift from son Brian. This Spanish mackerel got his attention in a big way.
Jon Keary had a good time with his fly rod on May 8. We were blind-casting a clouser minnow on wire tippet when this pompano ate the fly.
We changed flies a little later to a chartreuse/white streamer that works just below the surface allowing the angler a better view of the take. It's quite a thrill when one of these 3-4# Spanish crush the fly.
However, it's pretty tough duty for the fly...
Sandy and Pam Loveless on May 10 with one of the monster redfish that live in the surf along the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Bob Jenkins was on the boat again on May 17, the very day the false albacore showed up. Jenkins is a FA veteran and once again broke the code and got the fish to eat. If you want to see Jenkins at his FA best click here for some action we had on his birthday a few years back.
We were looking around for more FA when we noticed a very large school of surface-feeding fish but the splashes were a little different. As we pulled closer we could see hundreds of mahi mahi leaping from the water as they fed on juvenile bay anchovies. Jenkins landed numerous "chicken dolphin" before we continued our search for the false albacore. Sure wish we had brought the cooler...
David Wages, Germantown, TN, with the fish-of the-day on May 21.
Ashley Howarth learned about red snappers on May 29 while fishing with her fiance Philip Stephens. Too bad it was the week before snapper season opened...

Photogenic Kevin Howard, Amarillo, TX, with a very stylish false albacore on June 4.

It was a scorcher on June 6 for Kevin and Joel Howard, and we'd been everywhere looking for the albies. Finally we found fish crashing the surface 9 miles S of Pensacola Pass. To our surprise they were giant blue runners in the 4-5# range. Not bad fish at all on 8wt tackle. Here's Joel Howard with a typical specimen.
Fishing buddies Coty Calvin and Shane Mendenhall were here on June 7 which turned out to be The Day the false albacore came into Pensacola Bay. But before we found them Coty landed this bluefish... his first saltwater fish on fly.
Once we found the FA it was Game On with Shane and Coty landing fish of this quality for the rest of the trip. This is Shane Mendenhall with a 6# FA
And Coty with another bad-to-the-bone false albacore. It doesn't get any better on 8wt tackle.
Patti and Steve Heacock had booked June 8 and 11 for some red snapper fishing, but the "decision makers" didn't open the season until the 11th. So we spent the first day of their trip fishing for everything else. Patti had a blast with this false albacore.
Well look at that! My brother Capt Dave Yelverton, Waxhaw, NC, with his first false albacore on fly. Capt Dave had taken casting lessons from Jonas Magnusson months before and could lay the fly out there 80-90'. It was beautiful to watch.
"Payday" came for Steve and Patti Heacock on June 11 when we loaded the cooler with red snappers.

 

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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