July 8-20 report

Here is the main forum about Navarre Beach. You will find tons of information, condo/beach house rentals, and discussion about the most beautiful beach in the world. Welcome to Paradise!
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Garrison
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:12 pm
Location: Valparaiso, IN

Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:10 pm

The travel down: We left on Sunday the 7th about 6:30 local from NW Indiana, and I had just finished working a 12-hour shift. My wife and twins were worried about who was going to have to take over driving first, and at what time. I knew, however, that my excitement and anticipation of being back on that Pier was going to keep me afloat, and it did. We only made 3 stops through the night, had a minimal slowdown through some orange barrels south of Birmingham, and we were on 98 at 8AM Monday. Kids and I hadn't been to NB since spring break last year, wife hadn't been since 2017, so everyone was amped!

First day: Since 2011, we've never been rained on upon arrival, no different this year. I had a fishing rod that needed to be picked up from Half Hitch Tackle, that place is my inner kid's toy store. While there, I was treated to a new fishing cart as a belated Father's Day gift, so I was on cloud 9. We got to the Pier, wife and daughters went down in front of Summerwind to coordinate the beach service for the stay, and Sam and I got to fishing. Bait fishing was rough for much of the time we were there; hardtails were usually too big and everything else was hard to come by. We had a 10-hour charter the next day on Destiny so we were hoping to get some bonita for our own use on the charter. That day ended up being the only day we fished that we didn't get a bonita, but we did get spanish. I got a text at 1pm that our condo was ready, so we headed over and unloaded, cleaned up, then headed over to Dewey's NB for our first-ever visit, followed by stocking up for the condo at Winn-Dixie. I've read mixed reviews about DD but for me, I was pleased with their gumbo, stuffed shrimp, pimento dip, and my twins loved the poboys.

Boat fishing: When we go on party boats, I always get there early and tip a deckhand so Sam and I can get some spots on the back of the boat. Sometimes though, if you get enough rookies or folks that don't follow the instructions, it doesn't matter where you are. We got tangled up quite a bit on the first trip but were still able to get the reds we were seeking, and I caught my first scamp grouper, very exciting. Wife also had a relaxing ride up on the top deck. Our second trip, an 8-hour trip on the Swoop (16th), was booked because our favorite deckhand from Destiny was working for them now and we wanted to fish with him. This trip was post-Barry and seas were calm, which meant all species were around. I've been out on many other trips where I saw more dolphins but it was never this bad with sharks! Every time we hooked up on something that was giving us a real run for our money, the tax man would show up and we'd end up with a fish head, or nothing, not even our leader LOL. We got some white snapper, mingos, and one red, but I still wonder what we lost down there to the sharks!

Dining: We're still all over the place because of places we love and must return to while there. We always head down 399 for the view and venture into Pensacola for McGuire's, Fish House, and Grand Marlin. We went to Harbor Docks after our Luther's/Crab Island visit, and visited O'Quigley's and Louisiana Lagniappe in Destin. When Windjammers first arrived on the Pier, we had some good meals there, for what it is; however, I read so many bad reviews about the place this spring, coupled with Dewey's being open, that we never even stopped in. I made it into Juana's a few times for bushwhackers, Grand Marnier-topped margaritas (tip of the hat to PKid), and sticky buns and cinnamon rolls. We had breakfast burritos from Shark Bite a few times, they had a great variety and, as I mentioned elsewhere, chorizo is my friend.

The Beach: My son and I have a saying that we fish the pier as if it's our job; my wife is the same way with collecting seashells. She always brings home a few gallons and fills these giant glass vases. One vase is always left with a foot of room at the top so she can tell me that we have to go back for her to get more :) She had a much easier time collecting post-Barry. Water was churned up as Barry approached, as one might expect, but we had some beautiful days as well, and very little rain.

The Pier: I was very disappointed in the condition of the Pier. From the entrance ramps/steps all the way out to the octagon, there are sections with plywood hammered over them, painted in neon orange, where I presume repairs are waiting to be made. I know there was lots of drama and wrangling over operation of the Pier; if repairs of the walking surface being delayed was a byproduct of it, I hope permanent repairs can soon be made. We encountered a lot more people at the entrance area but out at the octagon there were no more fishermen than we encountered during any other peak season.

The Fishing: Whether by luck or years of experience, neither Sam nor I hooked into a remora. I brought home one king, we both ended up with plenty of spanish. Sam caught and released a 44" blacktip shark, but the bite of this trip was bonita, it was insane how many were around, especially post-Barry, the last 3 days we were there. In fact, on the 18th, my first 3 casts I hooked up on bonita each time. And, from the 13th on through the end of our stay, I fished almost exclusively with a 2-ounce Gotcha in order to cast for distance, beat the wind, and avoid excessive bait fishing. It was encouraging to see a lot of young anglers out there this season too. There were a couple days where we saw some pods of tarpon, but I think their bellies were full of ballyhoo because no one that casted on them had any luck. Having caught one in '17 I had no desire to drag one up and down the Pier, or have it take me for a ride lol.

Other: We stopped into Joe Patti's once while in P'Cola to pick up some shrimp; I always seem to forget this is there from year to year.... a framed photo on the wall where the staff marked the water line from Ivan, which gave me chills when I saw it. I also saw there were a few realty/construction signs at that old, derelict brick house on the west end. I just know my brother, our best friends, and I could do wonders inside that house as we've done elsewhere, if only I had the $1.5 million to acquire it LOL. I didn't observe it but I read in some articles though that some of the brick was damaged. If that's the case then I'm out HAHA. A friend of a friend, Jessica Winkler Photography, came out to Summerwind on sunset of 17th to take family photos near the Pier. It was difficult to get Sam to focus because he, as did I, saw the bonita charging bait fish not far from shore and he desperately wanted to run back upstairs to get a fishing rod. That apple didn't fall far from the tree I guess :)
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lvthebch
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Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:25 pm

Thank you for sharing your vacation fun! Sounds like a great time! Really enjoyed reading about it!



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Garrison
Posts: 148
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:12 pm
Location: Valparaiso, IN

Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:03 am

You're welcome; it was nice to get back to our "routine" 2 week-or-so summer visit. We skipped that one last year because my twin daughters were preparing to start college. Don't know how many more of these we'll all have together, so it was special for sure. My son, wife, and I did end up going to Indian Shores for a week so the wife could at least have some FL beach time and my son and I could get on some redfish and snook. It was a great visit in some ways but not dear to us like we hold NB.
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Pete
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Location: Navarre - Hidden Creek Estates

Fri Jul 26, 2019 11:01 am

Garrison wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:10 pm
The Pier: I was very disappointed in the condition of the Pier. From the entrance ramps/steps all the way out to the octagon, there are sections with plywood hammered over them, painted in neon orange, where I presume repairs are waiting to be made. I know there was lots of drama and wrangling over operation of the Pier; if repairs of the walking surface being delayed was a byproduct of it, I hope permanent repairs can soon be made. We encountered a lot more people at the entrance area but out at the octagon there were no more fishermen than we encountered during any other peak season.
County issue - they are responsible for major maintenance - not the pier operations management folks.
Have (or about to) let a contract to replace most if not all of the wooden decking - something like $750K!!!
Hope this time they do annual (or at least biannual) applications of deck sealant - would extend the life - a lot?
Cheers, Pete
Go Vikings!
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PensacolaKid
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Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:40 am

Now that's the kind of report you can sink your teeth into. Thanks Garrison. Sounds like you guys had a blast. Very much enjoyed reading the post.

Btw...I pulled up the webcam to the Galveston Fishing Pier this morning and the water is green to the beach. That means the Spanish are in and I am going very early tomorrow morning. Also saw a baby dolphin on the webcam for several seconds.
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Garrison
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:12 pm
Location: Valparaiso, IN

Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:57 pm

Yes indeed; I follow Galveston Pier on facebook and there were a few anglers showing off their spanish yesterday! Never saw water like that when we were at Seascape last year lol.
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PensacolaKid
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Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:19 am

Went out this morning Garrison and caught four Spanish. Got cut off for the first time ever with possibly the biggest Spanish ever. Even with 60 lb mono, I have never been cut off in 40 years. Today I was. Going back tomorrow morning and get those two I lost.
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Garrison
Posts: 148
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:12 pm
Location: Valparaiso, IN

Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:11 pm

Wow! Well you got the 4 but I still would have been frustrated getting cut too! I remember in '14 on the Pier right after I caught my first Crevalle, I actually got a lazy 'cuda to bite...he immediately took me under the pier and burned my line on the concrete! Good luck in the AM!

Just ordered Sam his first Van Staal for Christmas from Half Hitch; I don't even own one lol but he's a great kid and responsible sportsman so he's earned it.
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