Fly and Light Tackle Fishing the Emerald Coast

Fall Inshore Preview with Slow and Low Coastal Outfitters

Captain Patrick Tarpey, owner of Slow and Low Coastal Outfitters, may be enjoying a small break as summer begins to give way to a quieter, cooler season along the Emerald Coast. But it won’t last long.

Very soon, bookings for inshore fishing charters will begin pouring in as eager anglers gear up to target giant bull redfish or monster jack crevalle—two of the company’s primary fall season targets.

A native Texan self-described as having “an absolute obsession with the water,” Tarpey draws from a wide breadth of experience fishing diverse ecosystems and learning new techniques across the globe. Today, his business is grounded in fly and light tackle sight fishing from St. Joe Bay to east of Destin.

“We offer a niche service that appeals to a wide market,” he says. “There may be easier ways to catch fish for sure, but that’s not really the point. On our charters, anglers are always hunting, actively engaged and eager to try and trick a giant fish.”

Finding the Giants

Our region is surrounded by multiple world-class fisheries that offer an abundance of species. And while the inshore opportunities for a sea-to-table catch are many, Tarpey’s focus is more singular in nature: catch and release trophy hunting.

In the summer, tarpon are central to that focus, and the popularity of catching these giants—reaching upwards of 150 pounds or more—equates to a fully-booked schedule for Tarpey up to two months out. The fall months may not boast the same size options, but Tarpey said that the excitement of targeting a 20-30 pound class bull redfish or 30-40 pound class jack crevalle makes for an exceptional experience in its own right.

“Redfish are some of our favorite and most challenging species to target, and the fight is rarely disappointing,” Tarpey notes. “The true giant redfish are out in the Gulf of Mexico right now making babies, but pretty soon, they are going to come back inland.”

Tarpey further explained that the Emerald Coast has some of the most visual red fishing encounters available anywhere on the coast. This distinction is important for sight fishing as it lays the groundwork for effectively sneaking up on the fish and getting into position for the optimal shot.

All about Adrenaline

Slow and Low Coastal Outfitter’s technical approach to fishing is less about chunking bait in the water with the hopes of a getting a bite and more about the hunt, proper technique and pure adrenaline. While Tarpey’s “catch and release” program means clients won’t take anything home for dinner, Tarpey emphasizes that the excitement and gratification of this style of fishing will keep you coming back for more.

“We’re actively finding targets in the region’s clear water and putting our eyes on them before making an approach. That giant redfish we are pursuing might be hundreds of feet in the distance,” he adds. “It’s goal-oriented fishing that hinges on making the right presentation to the fish.”

Simply put, anglers get out of it what they put into it, Tarpey says, emphasizing that there is an element of effort and practice. “You become proficient and then start having a lot more fun with it,” he says. “Our guests get the satisfaction of targeting bucket list fish on a fly–a challenging experience but completely worth it.”

Slow & Low Coastal Outfitters is based out of Santa Rosa Beach and the 30A area. For more information or to book a charter, send an email to Patrick@SlowandLowCoastal.com or call 850.502.3222.

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