Newbie with a pontoon.....(little long) - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 08-04-2014, 06:14 PM   #1
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Default Newbie with a pontoon.....(little long)

Hi, old poor dude here headed down with the family & extended family this Saturday. Having to foot the bill for the whole bunch, so I have to hold down costs.
Looking to take my daughters' husbands and boyfriends out for a little light mainly fun fishing. Can't afford a charter, and I'm bringing down our pontoon boat. My wife has been on me for years to take it, but I've resisted because my trailer is not galvanized. Used to rent one some , but the cost is a lot higher than it used to be, so I've relented. We've rented a condo with a dock on Perdido Key (Perdido towers).
Questions:
1. My plan is to launch the pontoon, then pull the trailer back to Lake Shelby to dunk it in to rinse it inside and out before letting it set for a week while the boat sits in the water. Looks like there's a launch right off hwy 182 on hwy 135 close to where the zip lines are now. Then take the whole rig to Lake Shelby to rinse after I pull it out after a week. Sound like a decent plan?
2. Tides. Is there a big change in water levels there? I've boated quite a bit in the Bahamas where there's a huge change and you have to be super careful to not let the boat get caught under the docks.
3. Licenses. on google maps, it looks like the Al-Fl line runs right onshore on north side of Perdido Key. We're Al residents, so licenses for Al will be cheaper (I'm paying for those too). Will I be ok running west from dock and doing all fishing over around Perdido pass, Cotton Bayou, Wolf Bay, etc. on Al. side then heading back in with fish. even though condo is on florida side (by road)?
4. Fishing. I've been on one onshore charter several years ago, and best as I remember, all we did mainly was fish live shrimp around a couple of bridges somewhere north of Perdido pass. I thought I'd go to bait store there and get set up on tackle for live shrimp, maybe some bobbers. Using rag tag old spinning gear and bait casters I have. Mainly just for fun, but some edible specks or something would be pretty cool too. Don't want to run too far in the slow pontoon, so where should I go? Can I fish under the Ono Island bridge? I don't see a lot of close bridges in that area except the pass bridge, and not sure I want to be around all that current and traffic preferably. I've read about fishing grass flats, around the intercoastal, docks, night fishing around piers/docks etc. Any good advice on best chance of productive spots to hit for a newbie that would be close to me there.?
Thanks, guess thats enough for now! any helpful advice/criticism would be appreciated!
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Old 08-04-2014, 06:55 PM   #2
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Let's take your questions in reverse order:
4. Fishing:Advice-You are on the right track with the live shrimp and fishing around docks and bridges in the vicinity of Ono Island. It's best to stay in protected waters with that pontoon boat. If you get to the Pass and have an engine issue, you will annoy a lot of people including yourself.
3. Licenses: Advice- You will be legal with Alabama Saltwater licenses and the beach behind Perdido Towers, in Old River, is part of Alabama. You won't have any trouble walking over to your condo but don't stop all along the way to show everybody your catch.

2. Tides: Advice- Tide charts are published on the internet for a given location. Use Perdido Pass as your location. Tides here are not so severe or high but currents can run high near the Pass. You want current while you are fishing but you don't want to get swept out to sea.
1. Just take your trailer to a pressure car wash and save yourself some time to spend on your vacation. Also you can get some Salt Away and spray things down as a final treatment but make sure the rig has dried before you do that.

Additional (Unsolicited) Advice: Tell your son-in-laws and the boyfriends to get some jobs and kick in a little to the cause. You should not have to bear everything.

Good luck and good fishing Try night time fishing this time of year. More productive.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:39 AM   #3
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+1 on panhandle

If you don't have a trolling motor, dock fishing might be a bit tricky. If you do, definitely try some night fishing the docks with lights.

I'm not familiar with the condo you are staying in but would assume if a dock is part of the property there should be a hose somewhere on property where you can wash the trailer down. Don't waste your time driving to a lake, just wash it down really well, especially the brake rotors if the trailer has brakes. Also be sure to REALLY wash the boat well when you pull it out. If the dock has hoses, wash it down each time you go out. It doesn't take things long to rust down here. As previously mentioned, the salt away should help.

As for you footing the bill, I suspect mama wants the whole family there and the only way that is going to happen is if they don't have to pay. Understand completely! I'd still try to guilt the sons-in-law to at least buying bait and beer. Good luck.
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Old 08-05-2014, 02:01 PM   #4
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Thanks guys, those are some good pointers! r.e. footing the bill: I understand and agree with the philosophy. but. they are good kids, all struggling college students. The guys always try to pull their weight and pay, but I've been blessed and like to help them out since they're working hard getting through school, working part time etc. This trip is actually partly a gift to one of my daughters who will graduate from nursing school this Friday, so that's 1 out of the nest soon to get off the payroll ! The guys will try to pay for stuff while we're there, but especially Mama will not want to let them.

Back to fishing.... it sounds then like we can probably do about as well just hanging close around Ono Island, fishing the bridge there, and maybe the docks at night a couple nights. We'll try that first, then venture further if we have no luck.

r.e. trolling motor. don't have one, used to, but sold it after I got disgusted with bass & general lake fishing. Buddy of mine is offering one we might try to mount, but doubt it will work, front of toon sits pretty high out of water, and I had to have long shaft one before to reach the water. So probably won't work. How cool would it be to tie a longish rope to a pier on Ono and drift downstream? Or I guess I could just anchor, but depending on wind and current, my lake mushroom anchor might not hold us. Don't have a Danforth or similar sand achor, also trying to avoid buying since I'd only need it there.

what ya'll think?
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Old 08-05-2014, 03:34 PM   #5
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I've not fished the area where you're staying. Trolling motor doesn't sound like it will work for you and the shroom anchor....if you're out of the current and the wind is minimal, it might work. Can't advise on tying to a pier.

Sounds like your best bet will be to either drift flats if you have a cooperative wind or tie up to a bridge piling and bottom fish. Just don't tie up in a channel or up to any channel markers.
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Old 08-05-2014, 03:47 PM   #6
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And watch it around East Ono (Rabbit Island). Those flats are poorly marked, but are no motor zones. If the man sees you fire up an outboard on the flats he'll bust you.

But those are great flats to fish. Figure out how you will drift it and let the wind/current push you across.
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