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For some, the joy of fishing is the thrill of the chase. For others, it’s beating last year’s record catch. Still others love the meticulous selection of lures and other gear. But whichever is your favorite part, I’m guessing the peace and solitude are what keep you coming back.

Unfortunately, peace and solitude can be hard to find in northwest Florida… unless you head to the Forgotten Coast in late winter and early spring.

This time of year – before the tourists head back to the Gulf Coast – the water starts to get a little warmer and the fish start to venture out of the rivers and creeks, down the shallow waters of the oyster bars in Apalachicola. All along the east end of St. George Island, where the deep tidal currents run,

Shallow oyster bars and deep tidal currents make for good fishing on the east end of St. George Island, and it will only get better as the surface water continues to warm. This is the time of year to catch monster speckled trout on top of oyster bars very early in the mornings using top-water plugs. In fact, the big fish get so shallow that many seasoned anglers will actually get out of their boats to wade along the sand bars.

Catch and (careful) release is important when you do hook a big one, because these fish are carrying the future of fishing. As surf temperatures rise to 65 degrees and above, you’ll find whiting and possible early scouts of Spanish mackerel and the prized pompano.

As we get closer to spring, the winds pick up and make fishing difficult. But with steady warming along the beaches, you’ll find improving action – especially along St. George Island and the east end of St. George Island State Park.

Just like any other time of year, your best opportunities will always be in the first third of a tide change and, generally, when the tidal current is fastest. Along the beach, you’ll catch Spanish mackerel and ladyfish on top-water plugs and spoons; pompano, mackerel, and flounder on silver-headed jigs; and trout and mackerel on slow-sinking twitch baits. You’ll see more whiting and flounder very close on the beaches, just behind breaking waves; sliver-headed jigs work well here, too.

Now is your chance to get in some quiet time along Florida’s Forgotten Coast – just you and the fish – before Spring Breakers arrive.

Tight lines!

This time of year, the airwaves are full of monster movies and creature features trying to scare you, but on the Forgotten Coast, we don’t have to look any further than the waters of the Gulf of Mexico discover the weird and wacky! Did you know that although oceans cover 70% of the world’s surface, humans have explored less than 5% of them? But even that 5% has proven to be home to some eerie organisms. Here are a few of our favorite freaky fish of the Forgotten Coast:

One creepy resident is also a favorite dish of ours—flounder! This fish may be known for its tasty flavor, but it also possesses a very distinctive profile. In adults, both eyes are on one side of its very flat body. But it gets even weirder: they’re not born that way! Baby flounders have eyes on both sides of their bodies, but, as the fish grows from the larval to juvenile stage, one eye migrates to the other side!

The Sheepshead Fish looks like your average, run-of-the-mill aquarium-type fish. Its black and white stripes are both eye-catching serve as the impetus for their nickname “Convict Fish.” However, their appealing appearance ends when they open their mouths—which contain what look like human teeth! They have many rows of them, too, to help grind up their favorite foods: mollusks and bivalves.

Barracudas also call the waters of the Gulf of Mexico home. Their signature features, such as the protruding under jaw and razor-sharp teeth, are definitely creepy, but it’s their attraction to shiny things that sends shivers up our spines. If you plan to swim in a barracuda’s habitat, be sure to remove all jewelry and watches. The sheen reminds them of their natural prey, and they’ve been known to attack humans, thinking their glittering trinkets are food!

What are your favorite creepy creatures from the deep?

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and if Facebook is any indication, daycares and elementary schools all over the country are celebrating by prompting children to dress up as their favorite Seussian characters. But the good Dr. isn’t just for those among us who can still get away with wearing jelly sandals! Most of us grew up reading his beloved classics, many times feeling inspired afterwards to hop on our own pops or request green eggs and ham from our moms. Even as an adult, reading The Lorax might just get you in the feels. With spring’s renewing warmth just on the horizon, take your Dr. Seuss reverence one step further with St. George Island’s Resort Vacation Properties’ One Fish Two Fish house!

This two-level beachfront cottage pays homage to the Dr. Seuss classic with its bright blue exterior and vibrant red shutters. You’ll find little hints of Seuss influence throughout the home—from the blue walls to the Kay and Jay decals in one of the bedrooms.

With three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gorgeous sundeck, and a screened-in porch, up to 10 people can relax right on the coast, all the while enjoying front-row seats to sunrises and dolphins diving in and out of the glistening Gulf waters.

 

The first-level summer kitchen is equipped with absolutely everything you’d ever need to whip up dishes from grilled fresh-caught fish to green eggs and ham! You’ll find a private pool with optional heating so members of your family can feel like little red and blue fish themselves. Take a relaxing soak in the hot tub on the sun deck or teach the family to play pool at the billiards table. And as a dog-friendly property, you can even bring the furriest member of your family along for the fun!

Located at 400 West Gorrie Drive, this West Gulf Beach bungalow is the perfect place to celebrate Dr. Seuss while spending time with your favorite folks. For more information, call 877-272-8206!