A morning on Perdido Key

I had a family beach trip to the Alabama coast in late July and was lucky enough to find time to fish on two occasions. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a fishing license, so I stuck to saltwater both days and drove a little bit further east to fish in Florida, where the cost of a license is acceptable. I opted to access the water via the Gulf Islands National Seashore on Perdido Key. This was strictly a wade fishing trip as the kayak didn’t make the cut when it came to packed family beach gear.

On the first morning I decided to see what I could catch on the grass flats behind Perdido Key. I assumed the ground would be hard enough to walk on and for the most part I was right as I only encountered a few soft spots.

Things were pretty slow early on. I was throwing a charlie over and around the edges of grass flats and anywhere that I found deeper troughs. My hope was to run into some speckled trout, but really I would have been thrilled catching anything.

After a couple hours with nothing to show I waded back toward the vehicle and grabbed my nymph box. At this point I just wanted to catch something and I knew there were smaller fish around. With the mentality of “catch anything that swims” I went back out in and waded in a different direction.

With a nymph trailed behind my streamer I quickly got into fish. The first was surprisingly not a pinfish. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a juvenile pigfish, which it turned out were relatively abundant on the grass flats as I’d come to find out.

Shortly after the pigfish I got the pinfish I had expected to get. I knew these were ubiquitous on grass flats in Florida, so it was only a matter of time before I ran into one. I’d proceed to catch several more.

The next species I ran into was the inshore lizardfish, which is one I’ve caught in the past, and another I expected to run into. They weren’t quite as abundant as the pinfish and the pigfish so I was happy to have caught the one I did. I made my way to a pretty significant cut between the bay I was fishing in Big Lagoon and a different cove. It was here that I noticed some nervous baitfish activity and after casting into it a couple times I hooked into a more substantial fish.

After a really fun fight complete with a couple of big jumps I had a ladyfish to hand. This poor man’s tarpon was a hoot on the fly rod! These things don’t get enough love.

I worked the run a bit more, but never ran into anything else. Satisfied with the morning I headed back to the condo to rejoin the fam, but was eager to see what else was out there.

5 comments
  1. Chris W said:

    Looks like a nice mixed bag morning. I really love that stretch of water, but reality never seems to meet expectation for me.

    Of course my expectations may be a bit loaded as when I first stumbled across it years back, I watched an older woman throwing a gold spoon land a 24″ red, 20″ trout and 20″ flounder within 15 minutes.

    That’s likely why I’ll be back there once again this Sunday morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, that lady must have been holding her mouth right. Good luck on Sunday man, hope you get into some fish!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cole Miller said:

    Ben , I always enjoy your reports . I have a condo on the Sound in Pensacola Beach and do quite a bit of wading and flyfishing as well . Never thought about using nymphs for smaller fish but will now –Thanks !

    Cole Miller
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    • No problem Cole, thanks for continuing to follow along. I never really thought about it until I started intentionally trying to catch multiple species for this Jambalaya Challenge. It at least provides some entertainment when things are otherwise slow.

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  3. Cole Miller said:

    Great report Ben , Thanks! I wade fish a good bit in Pensacola Beach on the grass flats behind our condo. Never thought about using nymphs or smaller flies for the smaller fish. Thanks for the tip !

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