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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido

Florida Panhandle Spring Tournaments List from Half-Hitch Tackle

by on Apr.05, 2013, under Destin and Ft. Walton Beach, Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido, Panama City, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay

Passed along by The Fishing Wire, sponsored by Berkley:

April 20, 2013
(850) 234-2621

April 13, 2013 – Hoggtown – John E. Cessna Park
(850) 585-6806

April 17th, 2013 – King Mackerel
April 2, 2013
(850) 654-5962

April 11th – 14th, 2013
(850) 502-9733

April 5th – 27th, 2013 (Every Fri, Sat & Sun)

April 17th – 20th, 2013
(850) 457-1450

April 26th – 28th, 2013
(850) 457-1450

April 27, 2013 – Hopedale, LA

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MBARA Goes After Big Reefs in 2013

by on Jan.01, 2013, under Apalachicola, Carrabelle and St. George Island, Destin and Ft. Walton Beach, Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

The Board of Directors of the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association are moving ahead full steam for 2013 to try and obtain fabulous new reefs like Coast Guard Cutters, bridge spans, and pre-fabricated concrete structures.   These will all be placed in currently permitted sites off the shores of Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach, Florida.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Grant

Twelve (12) new reefs are on the drawing board with a value of $80,000 which will be completed in early Spring.   The grant money will combine with matching funds raised by the MBARA from the Kingfish Tournament, sales of t-shirts, and donations.  The grant has been approved and is currently out for bids to come in on specifications of the project.

St. George Island Bridge Spans
We are working to raise three (3) bridge spans damaged by Tropical Storm Debby back in June of 2012.  We will raise them off of the floor of the bay, and then transport them to permitted sites in the Gulf of Mexico.  These spans are 55 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 7 feet tall.

Teaming with Bay and Gulf Counties
The MBARA is working diligently with officials from Bay and Gulf counties to try and build some significant artificial reefs using some of the NRDA (Natural Response Damage Assessment) and RESTORE ACT funds coming from monies paid out by BP due to the oil spill and its damaging effects on the environment and subsequent economic decline.  The funds in NRDA and RESTORE are different and will require different applications and priorities as established by local and state governmental agencies.

These plans include 4 Coast Guard Cutters, some underwater sculpture designs, and massive pre-fabricated concrete structures.

Artificial Reefs Have Million Dollar Impact
The economic impact will be substantial.  Building artificial reefs will bring millions to our local economy and thousands of jobs.

Who says so?  There are numerous studies that have been done in Florida that very vividly show how a local economy can benefit greatly from a well developed artificial reef program that will bring in thousands of visitors for fishing and diving.

In l998 Professors Bell, Bonn, and Leeworthy did a study on Northwest Florida to study the effect of the artificial reefs on the local economies.   They studied the five counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay.   They found 414 million dollars in expenditures for fishing and diving related to artificial reefs.   That meant 8,136 jobs, 84 million in wages, with 359 million attributed to visitors.

In 2001 Johns, Leeworthy, Bell, and Bonn published a study of five counties if Southeast Florida including Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe.   What they found was that visitors spent l.7 billion dollars on fishing and diving related activities on artificial reefs which meant 27,000 jobs and 782 million in wages.

After the 2006 sinking of the USS Oriskany off of Pensacola,  over 4,200 dive trips were taken the first year.  In the two local counties of Escambia and Baldwin there were 3.6 million dollars in diving related expenditdures which meant 67 new full time jobs and l.4 million in local wages.

In 2006 the USS Vandenburg was sunk off of Key West.  This was found to produce 6.5 million in diving and fishing related expenditures, l05 full time jobs, and 3.2 million in income for local workers.

With so much money coming to our area in NRDA and RESTORE ACT funds, surely a part of that money can go to build large artificial reefs like 4 Coast Guard Cutters which will bring tourists to dive and fish which will translate to local wages, jobs, and and an increased tax base.  With millions of dollars coming soon to our area, it is essential that we use part of that money on projects that will produce jobs, boost our local economy, and grow our tax base.   Artificial reefs will do that.

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New Mexico Beach Reefs Coming in April 2011

by on Apr.01, 2011, under Destin and Ft. Walton Beach, Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido, Panama City, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

From the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association:

A deployment has been scheduled for April 20 for $81,000 worth of new modules coming to Mexico Beach.  They have been built in Orange Beach, Alabama, and are ready to be delivered and deployed. Weather will be looked at and exact launch day chosen.  The funds come from a FWC Grant and monies generated from the Kingfish Tournament, sales of MBARA shirts and cookbooks, and donations from members and corporations

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Closed fish-harvesting area in Escambia County reopens

by on Aug.02, 2010, under Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reopened state waters offshore of Escambia County to the harvest of saltwater fish, at 12:01 a.m., July 31.  The FWC had closed this area on June 14 as a precautionary measure due to possible impacts of oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “This is great news for all Floridians and particularly our coastal communities, where fishing is such an important component of their economy and way of life,” said Nick Wiley, executive director of the FWC.  “Reopening these Florida waters to fishing is a positive step forward in Florida’s recovery from the BP oil spill.  We can all be confident that fish caught in Florida waters are healthy and great to eat.”The FWC is reopening this 23-mile area of state waters because careful laboratory analysis of fish from the area confirms they are safe and oil-free.  The sampling and laboratory analyses were conducted under the supervision of the United States Food and Drug Administration and NOAA.  They passed all standards for safe consumption.  Oil has not been observed in the closed area of state waters for some time and was being closely monitored by state officials using aerial over-flights and visual observations on the water.  The reopened area to the harvest of saltwater fish includes state waters from the beaches out 9 nautical miles into the Gulf from the Alabama line east to the Pensacola Beach water tower.  Oysters, clams and mussels were not included in the closure and remain open to harvest in this area.  The area will remain closed to the harvest of shrimp and crabs, pending additional testing.

More information on FWC’s response to the BP oil spill is available online at MyFWC.com/OilSpill.

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Panama City Fishing Report from Half Hitch Tackle, July 13, 2010

by on Jul.13, 2010, under Destin and Ft. Walton Beach, Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido, Panama City, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

from Ron Barwick at HHT:

We are doing OK so far, a few tar balls and very little oil sheen on the surface. But with them closing Federal waters the people fishing has really slowed down. Most of the charter boats are under contract with BP, so they aren’t fishing either. So business is down some. The good news is that the oil has seemed to push a lot of the fish here. They have been catching Black Fin off the pier and Yellow Fins in State waters. Just before they closed Federal waters, a few Blue Marlin had been caught as close as 12 miles off shore, normally a 60 mile run.

Half Hitch Tackle

Attn: Service Dept.

2206 Thomas Dr

Panama City Beach, FL 32408

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Oil Spill forces Partial Fishing closure off of Escambia County, begins June 14, 2010

by on Jun.14, 2010, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido

Oil forces partial fishing closure in Escambia County

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in coordination with Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Department of Health, issued an executive order to temporarily close a portion of coastal state waters offshore of Escambia County to the harvest of saltwater fish, crabs and shrimp.  The FWC is taking precautionary actions regarding harvest and consumption of these marine species, which may be affected by oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The closure includes state waters from the beaches out 9 nautical miles into the Gulf from the Alabama line east to the Pensacola Beach water tower.  Interior bays and estuaries remain open to fishing.  This area covers approximately 23 miles of Florida’s coastline in Escambia County, where oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill is now present (see map).

Recreational catch-and-release fishing is still allowed as long as saltwater fish are not harvested or possessed in the closed area.

Oysters, clams and mussels are not included in the closure, because they are not expected to be affected by oil in the area.  The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services carefully monitors populations of these shellfish.

This order, which includes specific closure coordinates, can be viewed online at MyFWC.com/OilSpill and takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, June 14, and will remain in effect until repealed, extended or modified by a subsequent order.  The order will be enforced by several state and federal agencies, and the affected area will remain closed until it is free of visible oil and testing confirms that the water and the marine life in it are once again safe.

Under the order, fishermen can transit through the closed area with saltwater fish, crabs or shrimp that were legally harvested outside the closed area.  Fishermen doing this are required to go as directly as possible from where these species were legally harvested to where the vessel is regularly docked, moored or stored, or to the licensed wholesale dealer where the catch is to be sold.

“The oil spill in the Gulf is still far from most of Florida’s vast coastlines, and while the FWC continues to carefully track oil spill developments and prepare for possible impacts, Florida’s abundant saltwater fisheries remain in good health and the fish you buy in a commercial outlet or restaurant are safe and wholesome to eat,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto.  “The FWC encourages residents and visitors to go fishing in Florida and to enjoy fresh Florida seafood.”

More information on FWC’s response to the BP oil spill and closed fishing areas in federal waters offshore of Florida is available online at MyFWC.com/OilSpill

To see a map of affected area: Go to MyFWC.com/Newsroom and click on the headline for this story.

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Panhandle/Mexico Beach/St. Joe Tournaments 2010 Updates

by on May.02, 2010, under Apalachicola, Carrabelle and St. George Island, Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

14th Annual MBARA Kingfish Tournament
August 28, 2010.  Mexico Beach, Florida.  Be there for a wonderful time.  We have added fish fry on Saturday night at Beacon Hill Park by Volunteer Fire Department from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.  Plates only $3.00 and all money goes to fire department.  BYOB.

We have added a dance with live band at Toucans on Saturday night from 8:00 to 12:00.

The El Governor Motel is offering a tournament special of only 75 dollars a night for fishermen and families.  Call soon to reserve a room.

Full details at www.mbara.org.  Click on Kingfish Tournament.

Wounded Warriors Weekend

The Bluewater Outrigger Charity Classic Offshore Fishing Tournament in Port St. Joe on Saturday, June 5,  will have seriously wounded veterans fishing in their own tournament on Friday, June 4, and will be honored during the tournament weekend.  The veterans will be weighing in during the Captains’ Party on Friday night. The public is invited to come and honor these brave men and women.

Check out all details at www.bluewatercharityclassic.com.  Go to mbara Facebook and read super article about tournament from the STAR newspaper.

Fish the Panhandle Kingfish Slam
An extra $5,000 is to be awarded to the boat weighing in the most kingfish in all three tournaments combined.

June 5            Bluewater Outrigger Offshore Charity Classic
July 30 31      Marquardts Marina Offshore Classic
August 28      MBARA 14th Annual Kingfish Tournament

Presnell’s Saltwater Slam
May 21 and 22 Inshore Nearshore tournament for flounder, pompano, redfish, and trout.   A kids’ division has pin fish, bluefish, and trout.  A super rock concert is held on Saturday night at Presnell’s Marina by the sea.  This concert is one of the best you will ever hear or see.

Bluewater Outrigger Charity Classic
June 5 out of Port St. Joe.  They donated to the MBARA last year and built a new reef (BWO#1).   They will help us again.  Support them in their effort.  Go to www.bluewatercharityclassic.com for full details.

Marquardts Marina Offshore Classic

July 30 and July 31.  Two day tournament.  Offshore fishing.  They will donate to the MBRA to build another new reef.  Lets help them out by entering.  Go to www.marquardtsmarina.com for details or call Nate Odom at 850 648 8900.

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Pensacola fishing Pier open–finally! And free, for a while.

by on Feb.22, 2010, under Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido

I ran into the guys from Hot Spots Tackle in Gulf Breeze at the Florida Sportsman Show this past weekend.  They assured me that the new Pensacola Bay Bridge Fishing Pier had finally opened and that anglers were catching a few fish, despite the weather and cold water.  And, they said the pier was going to remain open for free–at least for a few weeks.  For updates, give Hot Spots a call at (850) 916-7176 or stop by the store.

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Pensacola Fishing Pier, January 2010 update

by on Jan.14, 2010, under Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido

There have been lots of folks asking for an update on the new pier opening.  I spoke with the folks at Gulf Breeze Bait and Tackle toady and got the latest ‘update’. Seems the problem is with the City of Pensacola, who owns the pier, and some issues about parking.  Although the new pier is wider than the old one, they feel there’s not enough room for anglers and parked cars.  But, they’ve not been able to find any parking at the pier end either.  So, they’re ‘studying’ the situation, and now the proposed January opening has been pushed back, but no one knows for how long.

I recommend that everyone keep in touch with the folks at Gulf Breeze Bait and Tackle, if they want current info.  I’ll be doing the same.  Their phone number is:  (850) 932-6789

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Capt. Rob Cochran’s Florida Sportsman online Panhandle Fishing4Cast, December 18-20

by on Dec.17, 2009, under Destin and Ft. Walton Beach, Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido

Take a look at Rob’s Panhandle Fishing4Cast

His weekly report Includes Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe.

Also, if you need a great guide in Destin, Ft. Walton Beach or Navarre, Capt. Rob’s the man.   See his Light Lines Charters Web site or email:  rob6956@aol.com

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