Cape San Blas Fishing Trip Report

Another Beaufort Area Redfish Flotilla (BARF) and fellow Local Hobie Team fisherman (ST1Pilot) and I, travelled over 9 hours from Beaufort, SC to Saint Joseph Peninsula, Cape San Blas, Florida.

Why you ask? Well, we were invited by the Georgia Kayak Fishing Club to join them for 4 days of bay and surf fishing for Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, Redfish, Seatrout, Flounder and numerous other species… As well as socializing, drinking and telling fish lies, plus a dinner Saturday Night of Frogmore Stew (AKA Lowcountry Boil).

Several members of a Montgomery Alabama Kayak Fishing Club and the Forgotten Coast Kayak Fishing Club joined us in the festivities and fishing.

The GKF invite either failed to mention, or wrote in very small print, about the Sand Gnats and Mosquito’s in that place! You needed friggen 20MM anti-aircraft for them dang things… You wouldn’t have been able to miss if you tried due to the sheer numbers of them… Worst of all, they seemed to like the taste of any and all bug juice almost as much as un-bug juiced skin!

We arrived on Thursday, around 3:30 P.M., and proceeded to set up camp. By 5:30 P.M., about eight of the early arrivals were out in the flats by the main boat launch, and heading out to fish the sunset. Winds were light (5 knots), the temperature was around 75 degrees. I was the last to set out from shore, having taken the time to rig my flyrod with a Olive Green and Brass Flashabou Clouser with Red dumbell eye, and my spinning rod with a inline gold spinner and white swimbait combination lure I purchased earlier in the day on the way down… All the others were only using spinning rods. (At least that’s my reason for being the last out. It had NOTHING to do with me being slow to set up.

On the way out to the grass flats, I am picking up speed in my Revolution, when suddenly, it violently pitches to one side, and I am almost a awarded a oak leaf cluster (To those of you unfamiliar with the significance of a Gold Leaf Cluster, it is a way to denote multiple awards of a Medal in the Military… The Medal alone being the first award, and subsequent awards being given a Oak Leaf pin to denote second, third, fourth, etc awards.) to my Huli Award… (To those of you unfamiliar with the Huli Award, it is what you receive when you unceremonioulsy fall off your kayak into the water.) Luckily, I maintain my balance, but quickly realize that something has broekn on my Mirage drive, and it is not working at full potential…

I pull the mirage drive from the mount, and lo and behold, one of the rods that holds one of the fins to the mechanism has fallen out, leafing the fin attached on the flexible side only… ie…Flapping in the water. :drown: I get out the paddle, and start paddleing, old school, out to the flats to join the others…

We fished as a group for about 2 hours, with the others catching between them, one Croaker, one Seatrout and one very long distance released Flounder. I on the other hand, caught a small 12.25" flounder on the new Lure, and two Seatrout (11" and 16") on the Fly Rod… Guess taking the extra time paid off…

The remaining evening is spent greeting new arrivals and with small talk.

Friday morning, about 8:00 A.M., finds about 15 paddlers heading out from the picnic area launch out to a series of sands bars and grass flats with water in the 6-8’ depth range. The water is calms and a thick fog makes visibility less than 100 feet. Since only a few people are familiar with the waters, it is more a lesson in learning new water than catching fish… I paddled about 8 miles total up the coast and back. The fog lifted about 3 miles into the trip, as I stayed withing sight of the shore. On the way back, I talked with a few of the others, and they reported the occasional seatrout or bluefish… One woman did catch a 16" Redfish. Seemed like a poor day overall…

Then I ran into River Swimmer (GKF), who had just caught her first Seatrout ever. Talk about a happy person! I left her and the others she was fishing with and headed back towards the largest group of anglers out there to get a fishing report. Just as I am within 100 feet of a group of 4 anglers I had met the night before, I catch one nice 17" seatrout, again on the flyrod (Though I was trolling the fly at the time between places to fish.)

They report lots of hits, but the tails of their Gulps baits being eaten… Not sure if it was Blues hitting short, or Pinfish, I put a small size 12 Bluegill hook on my spinning rod, and a small piece of Gulp shrimp. Instantly I realize that it is infact Pinfish, and I spend the next hour catching about a half dozen of them for bait later in the evening. About this time (2:30 P.M.), the winds start picking up out of the east, and the water start to get white caps… I decide to head to shore, rather than risk getting my Oak Leaf Cluster, having tempted fate ones already this weekend!

When I get to shore, and talk with all the others, I realize I should have stayed closer to the launch, and fished near a sunken sail boat (That no one told me about, and was not visible in the fog as I left.), as there were several Blues, Seatrout and Spanish Mackerel caught there by a couple of the Anglers… Worst is, I find I should have stayed close to River Swimmer, as she not only caught her limit of Seatrout, but released several more after reaching her limit, after I left!

That evening I tried Surf Fishing for Sharks, and Large Redfish with the Pinfish and dead finger mullet for bait on one rod, and fresh shrimp for Pompano on another… ST1Pilot headed out into the wind with another kayaker, JSuber (A local to the area), and caught a nice 22" Seatrout.

I then enjoyed a nice dinner of fresh grilled (Lemon Juice, Seasoning Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder was all that was available to spice it up with…) Spanish Mackerel, Seatrout and Flounder and spuiced French Fries with Pescador, Paddlecakes and a few others. DELICIOUS!

Saturday finds the winds steady out of the east at 10-15 knots… (Yeah right… 20-30 is more like it! :eek:) Several of us head out anyways, and try to get to the sailboat to fish… The winds and hard bottom not allowing my Cajun Anchor, Stakeout Poles or even many anchors to hold bottom. The swells are about 2 - 3 ft at times. Despite the conditions, manage to catch my first Bluefish on a Flyrod, a feisty 18" one too, on the same trusty clouser! :banana: before calling it a day with less than two hours on the water… One angler, ST1Pilot, stayed out in the stuff, and caught several Seatrout. One other angler caught a 16" bluefish and gave it to me at the shore. I am going to try to smoke it tomorrow, and see how it tastes… I heard that Yankees eat them, and we know that they only eat bland, tasteless stuff up there…

Saturday Night, Slp053 and I prepare the Frogmore Stew. (With help from others in the prep… :up:) Only a few minutes after the 7:00 P.M. scheduled time, dinner is served, and 100 pounds of Steamed Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Sausage and Shrimp is served to about 50 ravenous kayak fishermen and women from five states… Luckily I had my hands out of the way quickly, or I might have ended up missing one of them in the ensuing melee!

Worst thing was, about 6:30 P.M., the wind died down, and not only could we not go fishing, but them bugs, remember the bugs I mentioned at the start of this tale, they came out with a vengeance!

Come to think of it, that explains why 50 people were able to eat 100 pounds of food… The Mosquito’s and Sand Gnats at about 50 pounds themselves that night…from the assembled anglers!

At the dinner, we found all the anglers we did not see, who spent time in other places around the park fishing… Several of them (HungOne, Lifa, RedDrum, and others who stayed in a nearby rental house, safe from the bugs) spent the time out on a sandbar in the gulf, catching Spanish Mackerel and Sharks. They kept is a secret until everyone else had to go home…

Sunday morning arrived, and most people headed home…

In the end, the trip was well worth it, despite the bugs, wind and less than stellar fishing for the majority that didn’t know to rent a house and go offshore to the sand bars or go to the Sailboat wreck…:uhh: I will return next time, only better prepared for the conditions… Anyone want to share the rental a house next time?

I would recommend a trip there for anyone interested a beautiful area, with a variety of species of fish to target.


really sounds like you had a great …

– Last Updated: Apr-27-09 11:50 PM EST –

....... fun time !!

I'm happy for ya ... by the way , a smallish Bluefish like that 16"er you mentioned , is tasty a morsel . I'll bag one just for the table ... don't care too much for the big ones though , too strong tasting .

I was once a guest on a party boat and the mate served up smoked Bluefish ... we ate them like popcorn ... delicious !! That is the only time I've ever eaten them smoked though .

Sounds like a blast
Totally worth a nine hour drive for several days of fishing and camping. You caught stuff, so quit your bellyaching. I once saved money for two years to go to Washington during salmon season, spent months in training for hiking at altitude for some mountain trout lakes I had found out about, and when I got to Washington, it winds up that I had picked a year with record snow-pack. All the salmon rivers were blown out from runoff and the mountain trout lakes were still frozen over. I had to satisfy myself with a few small cod caught off a town pier. On July 2. While it was snowing. Two weeks out there, and all I get was three small cod. Still TOTALLY worth the trip.

As far as bluefish, don’t delay. They are best eaten when fried upon reaching the beach. Next time you go, have a cast iron skillet with you. Have a campfire, scrape out some coals, set the cast iron skillet right on the coals for a few minutes to get it searing hot. Fillet the bluefish. Season it with salt. Put a fair bit of butter in the pan. If you can, allow the pan to cool a little, maybe have a platform to raise it a couple inches above the coals once the pan is hot, so that the butter doesn’t burn. Put the fillet in there. Flip it over in a few minutes. Splash on some lemon juice, pepper, maybe a little spicy mango salsa if you remembered to pick it up at the store before you got to the beach, serve with some Pinot Grigio or Seyval. A nice side is julienned zucchini and yellow squash sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

The day after caught, bluefish requires a soak in milk. Two days after being caught, even if kept frozen, it’s hardly worthwhile as bait. It’s oily and goes rancid very, very fast. If you do keep it, keep it whole and on ice. Don’t expose the flesh to air or you’ll have rancid meat in no time.

  • Big D

I kept whole the first day on ice…
The filetted before leaving the campground and kept on ice…

When I got home, I put on a dry brine and refrigerated over night.

In the morning I rinsed off and covered in the refrigerator to allow the brine to set a coat…

I smoked for 2 hours at 200 that night over apple chips…

I wil eat some this weekend. Wish me luck.


Good luck
The brine should make a big difference.

  • Big D