If I had one destination to pick for a Northwest Florida late-spring, early-summer fishing trip, I'd hit the Apalachicola area. This place doesn't get nearly the fanfare of Destin, Panama City Beach or the Keys, but it's wild, quaint and offers access to some of the most exciting, popular species that occur in the Gulf of Mexico's waters.
Last week, Capt. Christian Yergens, who fishes out of Apalachicola during the spring and summer, sent me a taunting email with one photo attachment, and text only in the subject line: "Tarpon are here."
Chris grew up on the Treasure Coast, and guides here in these waters as well. But he's "gone missing" from the Vero Beach area this time of the year for the past several years. I knew he was onto something, and the word is out.
Over the past decade or so, fly and light-tackle guides found places in the northeastern Gulf where anglers can sight-fish for large, migratory tarpon over bright sand bottoms with great success – Keys style. Apalachicola is one of the best of them. Throw in great redfishing, trout action, plus plenty of cobia and king mackerel, and you've got your hands full.
Gag grouper season is also open in certain state waters through June 30. Click here for the boundaries and regulations. Red snapper season opens June 1 and lasts through July 10, in state and federal waters. You can also keep amberjacks through the end of May, and catch a mess of "saltwater panfish" including black seabass and vermillion snappers, better known as "beeliners."
If you're a hardcore angler, the Apalachicola area is an ideal Gulf fishing getaway.