Newbie in NWFL

Discussion in 'FLORIDA RIVERS TALK' started by DWMeyer98, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. DWMeyer98

    DWMeyer98 New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    Missouri
    Hello everyone, I am the new guy. I grew up in NW Missouri, but live in Crestview FL now. I've been in the area for a few years now and have not had much luck with the catfishing. I do some freshwater (bass) fishing and some saltwater fishing, but I miss catfishing a lot. I recently bought an old boat to turn into a catfishing boat. It is a probably bit big for smaller rivers, but it is stable and has a lot of room for taking my friends or my kids fishing.

    I have been reading the forums here for a while and it looks like there is a pretty knowledgable and friendly group in this area. I am sure that I will enjoy talking to you all and learning about this area. I would like to know if anyone has some advice about where to fish in the Escambia River and what baits and presentations work the best for any of the catfish species. The last time I went out there was at night. We got into the brackish part of the river and caught one small channel cat and a bunch of saltwater cats. We did have a gator come up under our boat while we were moving at a decent speed. That made a lot of noise, bumped us around and convinced me to buy a larger boat.


    Thanks a bunch,
    David
     
  2. baitchunker

    baitchunker New Member

    Messages:
    1,689
    State:
    alabama
    i live right across the state line from ya in baldwin county. my advice, drive over here to the mobile/tensaw delta-or alabama river. the catfishing is good.

    better advice" one of the guys that frequents the "ramblings" thread lives very close to ya. his screen name is "pythonjohn". he could hook you up with some cats pretty easy.
     

  3. Mickey

    Mickey New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,592
    State:
    Illinois
    David We Welcome you to the BOC, from So. Illinois.:0a18::0a18::0a25::0a25:
     
  4. Mo.Hick

    Mo.Hick Active Member

    Messages:
    1,531
    State:
    Madison Mo.
    David welcom to the BOC from Missouri. Great to have you. There is alot of knowledgeable people on this site Good luck with the catfishing in FL.

    Tom
     
  5. bigmaac73

    bigmaac73 Member

    Messages:
    434
    State:
    Lenoir City, TN
    Hey Dave, welcome to the BOC and hope you like it in NW FL. Fishing is alot different here than it is back home right? It has really hindered my fishing. Hope you will have better luck than I have had. Justin(fort walton beach)
     
  6. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    David, Welcome to the BOC, this site is full of good people and great info
     
  7. catfishcrazy256

    catfishcrazy256 New Member

    Messages:
    2,648
    State:
    Indiana
    David, Welcome to the B.O.C. from Southern Indiana , You will love it here !
     
  8. weinerdog

    weinerdog Member

    Messages:
    114
    State:
    Florida
    David- 1st of all welcome to Crestview! You'll find the catfishing is actually pretty good here but it takes a bit of getting used to. Most folks fish almost exclusively with limb lines here and it's about the only way I've been able to catch anything consistently. I have caught some channel cats on rod and reel but nothing in comparison to the limb lines. (To be fair, I haven't spent much time with rod and reel either so take the info with a grain of salt.)

    If you live in Crestview I'd recommend fishing the Shoal River and the Yellow River rather than going over to the Escambia. It's closer and has plenty of fish.

    Most people fish the Shoal river from the boat launch on Hwy 85 just south of town. Most also put in and go upriver. I always go down instead. It's riskier if your boat motor konks out (It's a looong way to the next boat ramp downstream) but there's less fishing pressure and more fish.

    I'd suggest trying limb lines just before sunset with either 1.) Live Crawfish (get them at the Destin Seafood Market on Hwy 85 near the center of town) 2.) Live or dead river minnows (easy to catch with a minnow trap baited with dry dog food) or 3.) Chunks of cut mullet. (Destin Seafood market again.) The park with this boat ramp closes after dark so you'll have to come back to check the lines in the morning or go upstream to one of the sandbars and camp out.

    If you are using a rod a reel at night and can get the bait definitely try cut bream, bluegill, or the "ultimate" bait- slices of filleted Jackfish. All of these are illegal in Florida on limb lines or trotlines but OK with rod and reel.


    For bigger fish (especially Flatheads) go out to Gin Hole Landing or Carr's Landing on the Eglin Reservation. They're both on the Yellow River. You'll need to get a range pass at Jackson Guard in Valparaiso first. (Let me know if you need directions. I'm assuming you don't know all of these places yet so forgive me if I'm spewing info you all ready know!)

    These launches are open all night so it's a bit easier to fish here. You can camp at either landing if you have a permit from Jackson guard but I usually just set up on a sand bar somewhere away from the launch. No permit needed and you don't have to worry about someone driving off with your stuff in the middle of the night.

    For the Yellow River try the same bait as above and you'll catch a mix of Channel Cats and Flatheads up to about 6-7 pounds. If you want to catch larger Flatheads you'll need to catch some live bait. For limb lines to be legal with live bait it has to be a "non-game fish" bait. The best I've found have been Suckers and Bullheads (they call them Pollywogs here). Expect most Flatheads caught with live bait to be in the 10-25 lb range for this part of the river.

    With rod and reel, nothing does better than live bream, bluegill, shellcracker, etc. Many people use them on limb lines but it's definitely not legal so if you go that route you're taking your chances with FWC.


    Overall the fishing is very good as long as you use bait that is natural to the river. Crawfish are in the stomach of almost every channel cat I've cleaned regardless of the time of year. The river is full of 'em and so are all the fish. I've also found muscodine grapes in them too. (Haven't tried it as bait yet though) Mullet works but not as well and I assume it's because it's not "natural" to the cats. Stinkbait hardly works at all from what I've tried so I wouldn't even bother. Livers work about as well as mullet which is to say "so-so" and I've caught some small to medium sized channels with it. It doesn't stay on a limb line hook very well though so it's really only good for rod and reel fishing.


    I hope this helps a little. It's definitely a bit tricky to figure out the fishing here but if you keep trying it will pay off. The Shoal and the Yellow Rivers are full of fish but they're a bit finicky at times.

    Let me know if I can help!
     
  9. Wabash River Bear

    Wabash River Bear New Member

    Messages:
    3,019
    State:
    Indiana
  10. lance

    lance New Member

    Messages:
    2,658
    State:
    kentucky
    I live in KY now spent 2 years in pensacola I caught chanels pretty consistantly where the Escambia dumps into the bay outgoing tide .On occasion I could catch redfish and drum within minutes of turn of the tide .good luck don't have any other info to offer but hope hope this helps. Caught all catfish on dead shrimp and bull minnows. Its a good mixed bag . you can also catch sheaphead/rockfish/flounder/sea and white trout there pending time of year and tide .
     
  11. DWMeyer98

    DWMeyer98 New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    Missouri
    Mike (Weinerdog)

    As far as Carr's landing and the Gin hole go, can a bigger boat (18 ft) get in there or is it a place where it needs to be a smaller Jon Boat?
     
  12. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Welcome to the BOC, David!
     
  13. bluejay

    bluejay Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,507
    State:
    Napoleon, Mo.
    Welcome to the BOC David.
     
  14. weinerdog

    weinerdog Member

    Messages:
    114
    State:
    Florida

    You can get a bigger boat in there. The water is high lately so an 18' boat can easily make it. Watch out for logs and stumps they are always around in this stretch of the river.

    Gin Hole has the deeper launch of the two on average, but with water this high it will be a breeze in either place.
     
  15. DWMeyer98

    DWMeyer98 New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    Missouri
    I got my boat on Sunday and I went out and looked at the Gin Hole launch. I think that I will be fine there, but you were right about stumps and logs. I will have to be careful the first few times I go out there.
     
  16. seacatfish

    seacatfish New Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Florida
    David, welcome to the BOC from SW Florida. Venice. Glad to have you. Check out the alternate (traditional) methods forum when you get a chance.
     
  17. wigginsdano59

    wigginsdano59 New Member

    Messages:
    91
    State:
    alabama
    try fishing for mullet over at milton.it is a blast