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Southeast U.S. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Post fishing reports, ask for information, discuss this area...


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Old 05-07-2009, 12:26 AM
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Question St. Josephs Bay, Fla. flyfishing

I'm headed to St. Josephs bay just south of Panama City, FLA and wondering if anyone has fished here before? I got a last minute invite and am bringing my canoe, 8 wt, and a spinning rod. I hear there is wading as well but I wonder about gator etc... Any ideas would be very helpful and appreciated such as fish to expect, flies to bring, etc...
Thanks Much,
Racine
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: St. Josephs Bay, Fla. flyfishing

Hi Racine,

I have fished St Joe bay. It is a very good self-guided place to fish. You can camp or rent a cabin at the St Joe Peninsula Park. I like the St George Island camp ground better.

St Joe Bay has land on three sides with some really good grass flats. Your canoe will come in handy but you can also do a lot of wading at the right times. The fishing is influenced by tides like all salt water fishing.

According to when you are there you can expect Redfish Speckled Trout, and Spanish Mackerel. Early Summer and Summer you will find additionally bluefish, ladyfish, tarpon and sharks. I have never seen tarpon in the bay but that don't mean they are not there. It probably is a timing thing. Sharks will be found on the point by Cape San Blas lighthouse. You will find the Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish and Ladyfish are a blast in the shallow water. Its just a matter of locating them. You have to have some type of landing devise to handle the Bluefish. What ever you do don't lip a Bluefish no mater how small.

Frank
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Old 05-07-2009, 12:28 PM
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Thumbs up Re: St. Josephs Bay, Fla. flyfishing

Frank, you are one in-valuable resource. Is there any place you haven't fished? Thanks for the tips. Are you saying I should have a Boga grip for bluefish or risk serious injury? I'm bringing my Native Ultimate 14.5 for the first time and hoping for the best. Unfortunately I only have 1- 8 wt and 2 spinning reels so I hope my bases can be covered. Any good fly shops for flies locally? Thanks again and very much!
Racine
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: St. Josephs Bay, Fla. flyfishing

Hi Racine,

Your 8wt will work very well for every thing but the Sharks. There is a fly shop in Panama City that was very helpful with fly tying materials and information. You won't believe this but about a month ago I tossed their business card and I don't remember the name. The last time I was there my long time fishing partner from Alaska was with me. We had such a good time fishing for Spanish Mackerel while staying at the St Andrew State Park. I needed the space in my business card holder and that was one I got rid of. I felt that going back there would not be the same with out my friend.

If you look in the Panama City phone book you will find the store. It was on a main street and I can almost picture the store. If I remember the name I will get back to you.

Get yourself a couple of white poppers kits from Feather-Craft. They work great on most fish in St Joe Bay. One good access point is at the Southeast corner of the bay by the old paper mill site. That is if the site has not been developed. A Boga Grip would be an excellent choice for landing fish. One of the new composite LIPPA tool may be a less expensive choice. I have not used the LIPPA tool and don't know how tough the composite model is.


Feather-Craft Saltwater Popper Kit.
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LIPPA "Special Blend" catch and release tool.
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:59 PM
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Thumbs up Re: St. Josephs Bay, Fla. flyfishing

Thanks Frank, I'll let you know how I do. I sure appreciate your kind tips.
Racine
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:25 PM
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Question Re: St. Josephs Bay, Fla. flyfishing

Frank,
Just got back yesterday and fished from a Native Ultimate right around the Pig Island area and further out when our friend towed us from his motor boat. Fishing was slow and not the bonanza we were told to expect. Winds ranged from 5-20 knots with pleasant temps. 2 of us fished by kayak and the other 2 by motor boat all over the bay. We saw very few fish by sight and caught even fewer with Clousers, shrimp patterns, Coyotes, Poppers, etc. I managed to catch about 6 Specks on the kayak but mainly by spinning rod. I saw several specks follow my flies and even bite but no hookups. I wonder if the speed of my retrieve was slower than I needed it to be. The 2 pros( one former FLA guide and another accomplished flyfisher) caught just a few more. Otherwards the take was; 2 small sharks, 3 ladyfish, about 15 specks ( 3 keepers), 1 mullet, 1 flounder and one catfish in 2 days of fishing. I'm hearing the report was relatively similar elsewhere when we asked. What do you think about returning in the summer?
Racine
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