Grayton Beach Fishing Charters
Dead Fish Charters
Captain Larry Pentel is a native of South Walton, growing up just 300 yards from the beach. Having fished the local waters for over forty years he is very familiar with all the fish populations, their habits and most importantly their habitats. The finest Snapper and Grouper fishing found anywhere, sight-fishing Cobia along the sandbar or spectacular Tarpon fishing at Indian Pass are all part of the seasonal experiences provided by Capt’n Larry. 5399 East Highway 30A, Seagrove Beach, FL 32459 | 850-685-1092, www.deadfishcharters.com
Fishy Booty Charters
Since moving to the area in 1995 Captain Mark Thompson has learned the northern Gulf’s sea life and habitats up close and personal, logging over 6,000 scuba dives and fishing in between dives. Starting out in neighboring Destin at a local dive shop as a master scuba diver trainer. Currently Fishy Booty Charters is Walton counties ONLY scuba diving charter operation. Go online to www.fishybooty.com to make a reservation or contact Captain Mark @ 850-586-0807.
Not A Dog Charters
Captain Kerry Jones moved to the area in 1969 long before Santa Rosa Beach became a trendy destination. He has fished and dived the local waters since his arrival and has an exceptional knowledge of the natural bottom structures that attract fish to the area. Receiving his first Coast Guard license in 1976, Kerry’s 29 years of experience in the marine industry will assure you of a safe and enjoyable fishing trip. P.O. Box 1420 Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459 | 850-267-2514, www.notadogcharters.com
Trigger Happy Fishing
Depart on a guided fishing excursion from Grayton Beach on the “Trigger Happy”. Captain Mike will take you 3-9 miles offshore on his well-equipped Cape Horn vessel. Captain Mike has been fishing in the bountiful Gulf waters for over 20 years and will take you to the best spots for Grouper, Snapper, Trigger Fish, King Mackerel, Cobia and other sport fish. Contact Mike Valentino, 850-685-6787 (Cell), 850-835-2989 (Home), www.triggerhappyfishing.com
In addition to the Gulf of Mexico, South Walton is home to 17 fresh and saltwater lakes as well as the Choctawhatchee Bay. There is great fishing on the Emerald Coast. You can easily outfit yourself, get a guide or charter a boat, or show up at the dock and go with a group. If you’re on a boat with a pro – they’ll have all the gear and licenses for you.
For more information about fishing activities and regulations, check out MarineFisheries.org & FloridaConservation.org. Call 1-888-347-4356 and within minutes you’ll have a temporary license number enabling you to fish right away.
(Be sure to read “Grayton Beach History – A Pompano Tale” from 1945)
The keys to catching pompano and other fish in the surf are water conditions, temperature, tide, and location. Fish might bite in muddy water, but the best conditions are clear to fairly clear water, and flat to moderate surf. A moderate chop on the gulf is okay, but as soon as the water becomes rough and dirty the pompano split.
Look for a sandbar that can be reached with a moderate to long cast. Ideally, there will be a break in the bar, or an opening at one end. Success with pompano comes on beaches where you can cast to, or sometimes past, the bar. You can catch fish on both sides of the bar. Concentrate on the deep edge that can be found along the beach side.
Not to be forgotten is where waves break on the beach. Not only pompano, but many species of fish will follow these edges, looking for food dislodged by the breaking waves.
Most folks using the pre-rigged two-hook bottom rigs, with hooks sized from #3 up to #1. They usually have pre-snelled hooks with fluorescent beads. On days when the water is clear, keen eyed pompano shy away from too much hardware in the water. Put together a homemade bottom rig, tied from a 30-inch piece of 25-test clear monofilament. Hook sizes remain the same, and maybe add a plastic fluorescent bead just in front of the hook eye.
While pompano may be caught on small jigs in the surf, most of the time they are caught on pieces of fresh bait. Shrimp and sand fleas head the lineup. Sand fleas (mole crabs) are small crustaceans that live in the sand between the high and low tide marks on the beach. They can be dug by hand or with a wire scoop. The scoops are available at many tackle shops. The fleas will die if put in a bucket of water, but will last for a day or two in a few inches of damp sand.
Most tackle shops sell fresh shrimp during the summer, and shrimp may be available either with the heads on or off. Either will work fine. If no fresh bait is available, you can get frozen baits at most shops. Check your baits frequently, since small crabs and little fish also love the taste of shrimp.
Red Drum (Redfish)
Spotted Seatrout (Speckled Trout aka Speck)