Some folks head to Vegas for the gold while others head to the Florida Panhandle for the silver. Either one's a crap shoot, and the house usually wins.
Today was the day. Took off at about 5:15am to meet the guide at a local outfitters and head down to Mexico Beach to put in. Got the boat in the water and started out at about 7:30 am. Beautiful sunrise but a pretty strong offshore "breeze" (at least that's what the locals call it). It only took about half hour to motor out to the flats, but as we approached the point, the swells started to build. We only saw one other boat out on the flats and he was anchored off, facing into some pretty heavy swells. Our guide recognized him and called him up on his cell phone to see if they were doing any good. The other guide had a couple of his old high school buddies out for some yuks. He had them up in some cages and they were getting beat up pretty badly.
Needless to say, today was not the day for chasing silver.
After bouncing around in the gulf for about 15 minutes more, our guide informed us that even if he was fishing alone he wouldn't attempt going for tarpon under those conditions. Admittedly, I wouldn't want to try and stand on the casting deck, much less try and cast from it under those conditions. So we motored back in to the launch to pack it in and try for some redfish elsewhere.
About 40 minutes later we're back in the boat (sweet boat, by the way) and headed across the bay at Panama City Beach. After another half hour boat ride, we pulled into some shallow water looking for redfish and hoping we weren't going to get hammered by the massive thunderstorm that was coming onshore. We spotted a few and cast to a few but couldn't get any to eat. The bulk of the storm passed to our north but we did have to pull off and sit out a brief squall with only a light soaking. Once the storm passed, we had to wait another 20 minutes or so for sunshine in order to sight fish.
However, by that time the tide was noticeably going out and we had to head back to the launch, stopping to try one more spot before the water got too low. Skunked again!
So the house won today and the silver's still on the table waiting for Byron's next trip.
Gerry and Brett -- reporting from sunny Santa Rosa Beach, FL