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Thread: Port St. Joe

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    28

    Default St. Joe Fishing report

    My wife and I just got back from Saint Joe this afternoon after a one week stay at the park. It wasn't the best year for scallops but we got a few. Fishing was good as it usually is. The first couple of days were spent with my son-in-law and two grandsons ages 6 and 8. They both caught keeper Specks on the two days that they fished. I haven't downloaded my camera yet. When I do I'll attempt to post their pictures holding thier catches. After they left my stepson and I fished. Now that guy is dead serious about fishing and he is very good at the game. He spotted a couple of Manta Rays go by the boat and he immediately thought Cobia. He threw to them and sure enough he hooked up and landed one that was shadowing them. He measured 30 inches. They are tough on an 8 wt! But he landed it. Of course we released it as it was short of being a keeper. Yesterday I landed 9 Specks using a chartruse and white clouser. The last couple of days the surf got up on the gulf side to make the water dirty and rough. We can thank Dollie for that. Prior to that there were Blues and Ladyfish providing some action.
    I pretty much stick to the C & A clouser. I tie them using large gold bead-chain eyes rather than the solid eyes. The water depth I fished was 2 1/2 feet to 4 feet. The heavier flies get hung in the turtle grass. Cast to the holes in the grass or in the edge of the grass in the sandy spots. I tie them on size 2 stainless hooks. The bay water was gin clear as usual so 8 to 12 pound florocarbon is recomended.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    knoxville
    Posts
    432

    Default

    Panhandle-did you guys stay in a cabin or a tent? How long does it take to walk from the campgrounds to either side of the peninsula?
    Thanks for the help, and I am anxious to see some pics. Glad to hear you had a great time fishing. October can't get here fast enough!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    28

    Default Port St Joe

    Flyfishjeep: We did stay in one of the cabins. I tried to get one for next year just this morning. I was not sucessful. I shall try again tomorrow. The cabins are really one of the best vacation bargains that I have ever heard of. It gets more difficult every year to secure one. You must reserve it 11 months in advance. Be sure to check them out when you go there on your October campout. The gulf side of the peninsula is very easy to walk to from the campgrounds. The bay side on the other hand would be quite a long hike. It isn't that the bay is far away. As the crow flies it is maybe a half mile but that wouldn't put you in an area to fish. To fish the bay without a boat the best bet would be in the area that Byron suggested. Now, as we were leaving the park last Wednesday I noticed a small sign on the side of the road between the harbor and the check in gate. It was a very small brown sign with an outline of a fish in white. It was planted pretty low to the ground. It appeared to be marking a trail that was heading toward the bay. Watch for it on your way into the park proper after you check in and before you get to the harbor. Please explore that sometime during your stay. The area that I am talking about is at least a mile from the nearest campground and maybe more. There are two campgrounds in the park besides the cabins. I would have checked out that trail had I noticed it before. If it goes to where I think it does I believe you will find some really nice grass flats there. It should put you where I caught most of the specks I bragged on in my previous post. I go there by boat so I'm not sure. Don't rule out fishing the surf on the gulf side. October is a great month to try that out. The pictures I referred to are of two of my grandchildren. I'll post them soon.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    336

    Thumbs up

    Panhandle,
    Great report! Lookin foward to those pics. Headed down to the gulf (panama city beach) myself mid September.What did ya use for bait/ flies?
    Good fishin to ya!
    Mark<::><
    Mark <::::><


    "We try to be perfect, but we're only fishermen. We wade out into the water, we don't walk on top of it."

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    28

    Default Port St Joe

    Bigpopper: The grand kids caught their fish on live pinfish below a bobber. I fish exclusively with flies. Unless I luck into a flounder or a pompano I turn them loose anyway. I just get a real kick out of casting and catching fish on a fly-rod. When I go fishing with the kids I take on the duties of a mate and make sure that hooks are baited and the crew pays attention to the job at hand. I can't be flinging hooks around in a 17 foot skiff.
    I wish that I could help you by recomending spots over in Panama City. I have fished over there in West Bay but it was always from a friends or my stepsons boat. I don't know a thing about wade fishing spots there. I live in Fort Walton Beach and primarily fish Choctawhatchee Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. I also fish the surf here. In any case arm yourself with size 2 chartruse and white clousers for your trip.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Casselberry, FL
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Saw the post just before I was headed to Panama City Beach on a business trip last week and said why not take a late afternoon for FF someplace I've never been. Here's a link to their website if you have not already explored it: http://www.floridastateparks.org/stjoseph/default.cfm

    The park is beautiful and is at the north end of the peninsula and is divided into two parts: one with auto access (south part) and one for hiking (north part). The park is a few miles long. The camp grounds/cabins are at the north end of the south part. Access to the bay side is limited because of the dense shrub vegetation (protected). I did not explore access to the Gulf side for FF because of the strong winds (Mollie, I guess).

    The white sign referred to above is right at the road and gives you access to Eagle Harbor. (There is only one main road which pretty much follows the bay side.) Further north are picnic areas, the cabins and camp sites. Eagle Harbor is a popular site for boat/kayak launches, swimmers, snorklers etc. I waded in north of Eagle Harbor hoping to get away from the waders but was not very successful. The flats are sandy and easy walking. There are extensive seagrass beds with open sandy spots: ideal for fishing. Because of the limited access and popularity of the south end of the park I would recommend a kayak or boat to get to the less traveled areas to drift or to get out to wade.

    I did not have any success but did see several ladyfish (would follow but not take clouser, crease fly, pugliese minnow etc.) and rays (shuffle carefully). The area is teaming with flashing baitfish.

    October is a great time to be in FL but take your DEET. I talked to some campers who did not complain about the bugs.

    Enjoy! Please send a report!

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    28

    Default Port St Joe

    I am not sure that Nharrier noticed the sign on the road that I referred to. It is a small brown sign with a fish drawing in white not a white sign. In any case I hope someone checks out that trail. It seems that it would take you to the bay just south of the south point of Eagle Harbor. In any case I would also recommend a couple of additional flies for the Gulf Coast west of Cape San Blas. They are the Seaducer tied in white with a single chartruse hackle wrapped last ahead of white just behind the hook eye. This fly suspends nicely a foot or less below the surface. For a topwater fly the Gartside Gurgler is hard to beat and it is easily tied. White or yellow as well as chartruse are effective. Size 2 or 1 is about right.
    Chartruse seems to be an odd color to be attractive color for fish. I saw a demonstration by one of our brainier club members on what the fish senses. One of the most interesting parts to me was on the colors fish see in the water. Chartruse really exhibited florescents in water the color of inshore or nearshore water. Pink showed up beautifully as well. The only chartruse that I ever observed in nature is a band a white shrimp has across his tail. That must light up like a neon sign to a fish! That may be why they stay buried tail first in the sand during the day. I'm no expert. I'm just passing on what works for me down here. People on this board have helped me on fishing the Smokies.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Casselberry, FL
    Posts
    51

    Default

    Panhandle is correct, the sign is a white fish and white hook & line painted on a light brown sign. The road at that point goes east-west and the trail leads you northward to the bay near the south end of Eagle Harbor and the flats south of there. Byron mentioned the FC sand shrimp too. Brown/tan clousers also work. Just about anything that looks like what they will eat works. Copper spoon flies have become popular.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    7

    Default port st. joe

    try pink and white clouser with a size 4 hook and a 5/32 brass dumb bell in a black finish or a chartruse and pink in the same pattern. great for trout and reds and lady fish. if you run into spanish use a 20# shock tippit. I tie dozens of clousers in these colors and seldom need more than 5 or 6 unless I get into spanish or blues. watch the sharks and do not keep fish on a stringer and if you bloody a fish MOVE AWAY from the area. BIG sharks at Cape San Blas.

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