flyangler

Fishing the surf in Florida panhandle along Route 30A in October?

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Posted (edited)

I might cross-post this in the Florida thread but since it is a specific fly fishing question and many of you travel, I am starting off here. 

 

My wife and I are planning a two-week road trip over to the Panhandle in mid-late October after visiting youngest at UF and taking in a Gator game. Exact town yet to be decided but likely in or around Rosemary Beach. 

 

On vacation my wife likes to sleep in, whereas I am up at 6am most days, no knowing how to sleep in. So what better way to spend the couple hours before she arises than a walk on a beach with a fly rod in hand? 

 

Early AM sun makes sight-fishing a bit of a challenge until sun is up high enough, so I am good with blind casting or sighting fish right in the trough. Any cast and pull are good ones. 

 

So what kit is best?

 

I see some videos of guys talking 6wts, others 8s and one guy a 9wt. Pompano, ladyfish and small snook on a 6wt are probably fun. But a bigger snook or jack might require an 8wt. Thoughts?

 

Lines, floater or intermediate sinker? Beaches are pretty shallow so a floater seems appropriate unless sight casting to faster moving pods of fish where you want to fly down quickly. Also, taper? Standard belly or quickshooter or Outbound Short style? Thoughts? 

 

Flies, minnow patterns only or have some sand flea patterns as well? And minnow pattern colors, mostly white with some dark in case water clarity is turbid? 

 

Rods, one or two? I can envision having a 6wt rigged with a short intermediate head and minnow fly and an 8wt rigged with full floater and a popper or gurgler. I have a solid belt-based rig for carrying a fully rigged second rod. 

 

Finally, stripping basket or don't bother because the water is so calm and you are likely casting off the sand anyway? 

 

Anything I missed? 

 

All thoughts great appreciated. 

Edited by flyangler

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Also, if anyone knows a beach-based guide, let me know. I am not adverse to paying for a morning of fishing to learn the ropes. 

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82k+ posts and you are asking about Florida waters where you live? Other coast yes but not that much different.

I think we should be asking YOU what works.

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35 mins ago, Saltybum said:

82k+ posts and you are asking about Florida waters where you live? Other coast yes but not that much different.

I think we should be asking YOU what works.

most of those posts, 81,500+, are in the PG or the Tavern, so don't let comment count make you think I am some sort of expert. 

 

Florida is a big state, fisheries are varied. Where I am there are no redfish or trout.

 

I don't fish our beaches here with a fly rod as much as I should. When the wind is blowing, I am grabbing a spinner, thus, my experience is still not that high. 

 

Gulf beaches are different than SE ocean beaches. Few if no waves (unless the wind is blowing). Can be much shallower sloped beaches, some flats-like from what I have seen. here you almost have to throw an intermediate or a slow sinker to get the fly down and beat the waves when they are up. 

 

Also, different forage between the coasts at any given time. Here, you always have a chance of being "surprised" by a 40"+ snook or a 10#+ jack or a blacktip, thus a 6wt is not viable.

 

So yeah, I know enough to make educated guesses, but always nice to get experience from those who have fished the area.  

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I'm a little east of the 30A area and the beach conditions are a little different but fish species are the same. The fall pompano run should be on in October. Whiting should also be available.  Trout and reds should be active, especially  over grass beds and around the tidal creeks.  Fall is generally a good time in the big bend/west florida area as the temps finally start to drop. Just need to watch out for late season  tropical activity. 

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7 mins ago, MooreLyonQuick said:

I'm a little east of the 30A area and the beach conditions are a little different but fish species are the same. The fall pompano run should be on in October. Whiting should also be available.  Trout and reds should be active, especially  over grass beds and around the tidal creeks.  Fall is generally a good time in the big bend/west florida area as the temps finally start to drop. Just need to watch out for late season  tropical activity. 

MLQ, thanks for the note! For pomps, minnow patterns or sand fleas or both? 

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Short clousers/charlie flys have worked for me - I haven't caught that many since I normally fish creeks and oyster bars, but the ones I have caught have been yellow clousers/charlie type fly/ Yellows, pinks are good colors for them, but tan over white with a little orange (egg sac) estaz collar may work if the water is clear (as it can be over off 30A).   If you get a chance, head over to Pensacola - there can be some great fishing over there, plus the Naval Air Museum at NAS Pensacola is always good. 

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Definitely want to carry an 8wt as they can have some bruiser redfish in the gulf surf. Generally being calmer also allows for some exciting sign fishing walking down the beaches.

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On 8/29/2022 at 7:55 AM, flyangler said:

I might cross-post this in the Florida thread but since it is a specific fly fishing question and many of you travel, I am starting off here. 

 

My wife and I are planning a two-week road trip over to the Panhandle in mid-late October after visiting youngest at UF and taking in a Gator game. Exact town yet to be decided but likely in or around Rosemary Beach. 

 

On vacation my wife likes to sleep in, whereas I am up at 6am most days, no knowing how to sleep in. So what better way to spend the couple hours before she arises than a walk on a beach with a fly rod in hand? 

 

Early AM sun makes sight-fishing a bit of a challenge until sun is up high enough, so I am good with blind casting or sighting fish right in the trough. Any cast and pull are good ones. 

 

So what kit is best?

 

I see some videos of guys talking 6wts, others 8s and one guy a 9wt. Pompano, ladyfish and small snook on a 6wt are probably fun. But a bigger snook or jack might require an 8wt. Thoughts?

 

Lines, floater or intermediate sinker? Beaches are pretty shallow so a floater seems appropriate unless sight casting to faster moving pods of fish where you want to fly down quickly. Also, taper? Standard belly or quickshooter or Outbound Short style? Thoughts? 

 

Flies, minnow patterns only or have some sand flea patterns as well? And minnow pattern colors, mostly white with some dark in case water clarity is turbid? 

 

Rods, one or two? I can envision having a 6wt rigged with a short intermediate head and minnow fly and an 8wt rigged with full floater and a popper or gurgler. I have a solid belt-based rig for carrying a fully rigged second rod. 

 

Finally, stripping basket or don't bother because the water is so calm and you are likely casting off the sand anyway? 

 

Anything I missed? 

 

All thoughts great appreciated. 

Are you car or fly ?  if you can stop a day or two in Crystal River , it’s a special place . 

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yes to the  stripping basket. I like an intermediate in the surf.  You can have good days fishing the trough between the first bar and the beach on an incoming - trout and reds will run there.  Best day I ever had in the surf was fishing that trough with a white bead head clouser with a few strands of flash and a chartreuse  fluorofiber 'throat'

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58 mins ago, Hook I said:

Are you car or fly ?  if you can stop a day or two in Crystal River , it’s a special place . 

Car, with non-angler wife. 

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1 min ago, flyangler said:

Car, with non-angler wife. 

My wife don’t fish also , it’s called the “Nature Coast “ Just a place I would not pass up if I had the opportunity. 

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Place rented, in Santa Rosa Beach which is about halfway between Fort Walton Beach and Panama City Beach, in the circle below. This area in the satellite picture looks like it is a rough beach, no beach service or lifeguards, so maybe there’s not too many bathers in the area, even during the day. Looks like Draper Lake discharges into the Gulf there, if levels are high enough I guess. Don’t know if those bars are "permanent" or were just there when the satellite passed overhead

 

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Posted (edited)

57 mins ago, Hook I said:

My wife don’t fish also , it’s called the “Nature Coast “ Just a place I would not pass up if I had the opportunity. 

Crystal was in an earlier discussion. She swam with the manatees there of years ago and wanted me to as well. However, it’s a long way to go for strictly amenity swim, so maybe some other time.
 

 

Edited by flyangler

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2 mins ago, flyangler said:

Crystal was in an earlier discussion. Swim with the manatees there of years ago as well. However, it’s a long way to go for strictly amenity swim, so maybe some other time.

It’s in my top 5 Fla towns to fish. 

safe travels . 

 

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