The Florida Gulf Coast
Redfish are a staple of the northwest Florida gulf coast. These fish are here year-round and provide a great target for the fly angler. Best times to put a big redfish at the end of your fly line is without question during the annual "Running of the Bulls" as it is called locally. From early November till about the pelican drop on New Years Eve we can find these fish crushing bait in the bay by the thousands. They eagerly eat flies, plugs, jigs, flip flops and whatever else we throw at them. Other times of the year we can fish on the flats of Santa Rosa sound or along the emerald beaches and usually find a cooperative fish or fifty.
"Gulf Coast GT's" migrate along the beaches by the hundreds every year in April-June. The hardest part is picking the days to go as the spring winds can be too much some days. Although these fish stick around in our bays for the summer and fall, your best bet at one is a calm day in the spring with a big popper on the beaches.
Bonita, Little Tunny, or "Bo-Bo's" as we called them growing up running the local piers are a perfect target for the saltwater fly rodder. These little speedsters take flies readily and will burn you down to the backing in a hurry on an 8 wt. Book a summer trip and chances are they will be on the menu. Usually found a few miles offshore, although we get lucky in the winter months sometimes and manage to find these fish hugging the beaches in gin clear water.
Spanish are a great target for fly rodders regardless of experience. You can expect them on the menu from the time we see the first bikinis on the beach until about Halloween. These toothy critters are eager to take flies, and the larger fish reach 7-8 pounds and will burn you to the backing.
One of the most fun fish on the water. They eat anything you throw at them and immediately get airborne after. "Poor Man's Tarpon" are a great way to pass the time with a 6 wt in the summer.