THE FISHING REPORT IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY ROY LEDBETTER AND LOCAL FISHERMEN LIKE YOURSELF, SO KEEP THE REPORTS COMING IN.
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LOCAL SALTWATER BOAT RAMPS
MONTHLY FISHING CALENDER
BOAT AND BEACH FORECAST
SALTWATER FISH ID
FRESHWATER FISH ID
FISHING AND HUNTING LICENSES
Destin and Offshore
Plenty of catching going on offshore. Joey Mathis has been targeting amberjack and caught 14 . He also caught some
good sized Mingo's and lots of throw back Red Snappers. Kayakers have been going out with mother ships for bottom fishing
and doing very well.
Fort Walton Beach and Choctawatchee Bay
The bay is slowing down on Speckled Trout and Mangrove Snappers. Black drum starting to come in strong,
white trout, and Sheesphead. Whiting has even been reported too. Sheepheads are averaging 2-5 lbs and is the best
fishing here till mid may. Use live shrimp, fiddlers, or oysters. Scrape the pilings with shovel to knock barnacles free
to stir up the Sheepshead. Use small hooks and let bait drift down slowly into the current.Set hook right before the bite.
Destin, Brooks, and shalimar bridge best for Sheepshead.Some Black Snapper, Drums, and trout right now. Live bait the best during these times. Frozen bait not too bad either. Check out shops buy 1 get 1 free deal on frozen shrimp. Whiting
have been reported at Shalimar Bridge. Some big Red Bulls there too.
River mouths are the best place to fish right now since all the rain we had recently. Trouts, Reds, and Drums are to
be had if you have the time to find them. Rumors of a new 331 bridge means new structures in that area.
Santa Rosa Sound
The sound is hit or miss pending tide and weather. Mike Stevens got into 15 small Reds on the south side last week. He also caught 4 nice trout all on live bait. Using lures very hard right now in sound.
Call Us if with your information between 1pm and 6pm.
Cold weather fishing has been difficult due to lots of whitecaps and changing temps. Off shore anglers have been going out with mother boats bottom fishing and doing quite well. Inshore its about being in the right place at the right time. Bayous will heat up then be silent for days. Mirror lures have done very well this winter and DOA,s. Some times the bite hasn't been starting till 2 pm. I am finding trolling the bayous with a mirror lure sinker has been well worth it. When you find one there has been a small cluster of them. Be prepared for drastic weather changes and have a game plan for hypothermia this time of year. Never go out with out a safety plan.
Salty Bass Final Comments
Traveled to Texas to hunt and fish for several weeks. Rained 8 strait days and saw 36 Bucks in the fields. Three of us shot 5 Bucks 7-12 points , 125-184 lbs. We also harvested 2 wild hogs. Enjoyed Dove hunting for 1 and a half hours
on only sunny day. Also I fished 1 morning in the port and Lavaca Rivers. Ended teaching them methods of finding fish in winter when conditions were 30-40 degrees and 20mph winds. Got 40 black drum,and 25 sheepshead. Only used fresh shrimp. They would not touch lures as i fished all day. Permit to fish salt water there was $68 for only 6 months. Florida's
fees are cheap ($47 a year).
Lure fishing in FWB area bay is still difficult. Just recently 5 guys went to Garner's and the Sound and only got one bite on D.O.A. Lucky me, I fought and landed on 6# braid a 15 lbs Red on a D.O.A. Only bite in 2 days. Bait fishermen are
tearing up the drum and a few Reds, tons of sheepshead, white trout, whiting, and a few pompano on the surf.
Here is a short story about a fishing buddy; gone but not forgotten. In Memory of Nelson VanHorn, one of the best people and fisherman I've ever known.
"I never met a fish I didn't like!"
Nels' Last Fishing Trip
About 4 weeks before Nels passed on, he called me to go fishing with him and Roy Ledbetter. Although he was not sure how casting and fishing he could do he wanted to go.
We met at 5 am which is normal when fishing with Roy and Nels. They know I don't mind going early so the time was fine with me. We often go out much earlier.
Nels helped launch the boat as usual and parked the truck and trailer while Roy got his boat ready. We already had the rods in the boat including my fly rod.
It was a beautiful day. We fished in the sound. water was very clear with a decent tide. Roy managed the trolling motor in the bow of the boat while fishing. Nels stayed in the middle with a light spinning rod. I brought up the stern with my fly rod.
The fish didn't start to hit until the sun was up a while. The water was clear and the fish were working at the drop off about 1.5 ft of water. Roy acted more like a guide that day spotting the fish from the bow for Nels and me. Although he still caught the biggest ones, he couldn't pass on a few without giving them a shot.
We caught more than 10 trout, including several over 20 inches. We had a couple of smaller reds. Nels also had a bluefish and several lady fish. He hung in there even though he was pretty weak and would occasionally take a break. Roy says Nels catches the most fish because he has more patience working a lure. It was true that day too.
The thrill of the day for all of us was when Roy spotted a 26-28 inch redfish moving along the drop-off. The water was gin clear and we had been sight casting several times. Roy and Nels passed on him and sent him back to me with the fly rod. I had an old reliable chartreuse and white clouser on my 8 wt. The red was moving slowly along the shelf with what looked to be a morning stroll along the drop-off. I put out about a 30 ft cast well in front of him and let it sink a while he approached. When he got closer I moved the fly a couple strips and he turned and looked at it. Roy shouted," Stop the fly!" I did and he slowly sauntered up to it, opened his mouth and sucked it in. I set the hook and after he realized he was tied to the line he took off directly away from the boat. He ran about 125 feet, stopped, and turned headed strait back to the boat. I had trouble keeping a tight line and he got off. The beauty of this whole thing was we could see it all like in slow motion. I knew Nels was pretty tired when he didn't get the truck and trailer and back it down to the launch ramp. He always had done that in the past.
Roy and Nels were special friends that spent many hour together on and off the water. They have taken me on many fishing trips just like this one. But this one was special. Nels will not be with us again but in spirit only. We miss him very much.
Picture to be added soon!