Bait is plentiful in the harbor and with fewer boats out on the water competing for them you can catch many more of them and more quickly. Giving you more time to chase the gamefish which still are not aware that school has started. October is a month-long celebration of the fisherman’s paradise. Called the Destin fishing rodeo, this local yearly tradition has been a Destin staple since 1948. Attracting visitors from all over the world. Fishermen compete for prizes in many different categories in boats of all sizes & fish of all kinds. And for those who do not have access to a boat or prefer staying closer to shore there is even a pier fishing category. Some of the categories of fish are Snapper of all kinds, (Red, White, Black,Lane, Mingo) Grouper, (Gag, Warsaw, Red, Snowy, Strawberry, Scamp, Yellowfin, Yellowedge) Amberjack (Greater, Almaco) are some of the bottom fish that are eager to munch on and if you are a good or lucky enough fisherman devour your offerings. For the hardy sea sports adventurers Sailfish, Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Wahoo, Dolphinfish (Mahi-Mahi) & the denizen of the deep the mighty swordfish can still be found hanging around the warm water currents which continuously flow into the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean, before heading south for the winter. Of course all that tasty fish attracts Sharks of all kinds (Bull, Mako, Tiger, Hammerhead, Blackfin, & yes The Mighty Great White too). Oh yea I can not forget to include everyone’s best tasting sandwich, the Tuna fish. Tuna, (Blackfin, Yellowfin, Bluefin, Bigeye,) are all species of Tuna that can be found. Blackfin tuna are often referred to as football’s because of the shape and size of their bodies. Writing about these tuna reminds me of the slogan “Sorry Charlie only great tasting Tuna gets to be Starkist”.
I am heading out tomorrow September 16, at 7AM sharp to throw a few lines in the water. I will continue then conclude my piece tomorrow….. Well I am back now from my day at sea and this is how it went: Getting up at the crack of dawn before sunrise after the nightclubs have stopped playing music allows for a certain kind of silence to be listened to. The birds, mostly seagulls, echo in the pre-dawn air as they anticipate a brand new day. It feels almost like a bugle call for fishermen who will soon be heading out to sea. Your sense of hearing is not the only sense that is amplified by the soon to be coming day. The high tide’s salty smells coming out of the Harbor’s glistening calm water can be absorbed better than at any other time of the day or night. Pulling up to the dock as the gentle sea breeze calmed down we boarded our boat. Heading out of the East Pass into the Gulf, the first sign of life we encountered was a playful porpoise showing off its leaping/playfull skills in the wake behind the stern of our boat. It’s always nice to bring that first fish onboard, breaking the ice ensuring you will have a successful trip & breaking the ice in the cooler where later on those fish will taste great in the frying pan. We landed triggerfish, vermillion snapper, Ruby red lips, King Mackerel, & a funny looking thing called an oyster fish. Which looked like half fish half reptile. Not bad for a day’s work. If fishing is not your preferred activity there are plenty of farmer’s markets, flea markets & shopping activities to keep you occupied. Also the U.S. Air Force has a very strong presence in Northwest Florida. Eglin Air Force base, the largest non-nuclear base in the United States & Hurlburt field where special Ops are located provide visitors with many activities. Air shows, museums, & the USS Alabama, a WWII Navy battleship are all cultural attractions. Many times while you are on the beach you can see & hear the Air Force planes overhead conducting exercises. It’s always reassuring knowing the fine men & women of the military are working hard keeping us all safe. They even helped us catch some fish on one of those exercises. I talk about that story in my book. “A Flicker in the Water” (Inside the Tales). In this article I hope I have captured the essence of the shoulder seasons of the Florida Panhandle where the climate is as temperate as the area is enjoyable.
Written by Bob Gonzalez
Bob is the author of a book of titled “A Flicker in the Water” (Inside the Tales) He is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania before relocating to Florida’s Panhandle. Ocean fishing is his passion he hopes readers will enjoy reading his book as much as he enjoyed writing it.