Hello anglers, I am Captain Dave Yelverton. Born in Pensacola just after the Civil War ended, I grew up fishing in Gulf Breeze and look forward to hosting you for some exciting spin, fly, and/or conventional tackle adventures. I specialize in inshore bay, shallow water flats, and nearshore Gulf fishing.
I have spent countless hours in Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound catching a variety of species, including Redfish, Speckled Trout, Spanish Mackerel, False Albacore (Bonito), Ladyfish, Bluefish, Flounder, Jack Crevalle, and many others. I particularly love throwing top water plugs for trout and redfish in the early morning. It’s always a special thrill to see the water explode when a gator trout or powerful redfish inhale the lure. I also enjoy fishing with live bait, either freelined or using popping corks. Sometimes when the action gets really hot I have seen that cork disappear within 5 seconds of hitting the surface. That’s a real charge! Lots of anglers and their children have been completely blown away by the popping cork action, and it alleviates the need to cast continually. Heck, I use them, too. It’s a fun, active, and productive way to fish. Whatever the style, we’ll adapt our technique to what works. We also carry heavy duty spin tackle for anglers who love the big-fish-fight on premium gear. We may venture into the Gulf with spin tackle and target King Mackerel, Cobia, Amberjack, Barracuda, Mahi Mahi, and many other resident species.
I just love saltwater fly fishing in our crystal clear waters. Saltwater fish are so powerful that some folks have a hard time realizing we can catch them on fly tackle. Well, we can, and we do. A Lot! Generally we use an 8-weight setup for Trout, Redfish, Spanish Mackerel, False Albacore, and other typical inshore and nearshore Gulf species. For some Gulf species and really big inshore Jack Crevalle, we use 10-weight gear. These 25 to 30 pound brutes pull like Russian Submarines. It’s really incredible.
I enjoy hosting beginning, intermediate, and advanced casters. If you are an Expert Fly Caster I am going to humble-up and ask you to check out my brother Captain Baz. He’s the region’s most sought-after fly fishing guide, and for good reason. Fishing with Captain Baz is kind of like learning to “Use The Force” with Yoda, except Baz is even better looking and quite a bit younger than Yoda. In a word, Baz is Excellent. His website is gulfbreezeguideservice.com. He and I work very closely with all our clients to ensure your adventure meets or exceeds expectations.
Now Then. If you cannot cast consistently 50 feet or more (be honest here) or need work on your double haul or other advanced line accelerating techniques, I suggest you contact our local FFI Certified Casting Instructor – Jonas Magnusson. I call him Sensei. An hour spent with Jonas will enable you to get the most out of your fishing time with either Baz or me, and he lives right here in Gulf Breeze. Jonas has a serious passion for passing on fly casting knowledge. He’s just great. Jonas’ website is everyjonahhasawhale.com. I urge you to take a look.
When we target reef fish, either in the Gulf or the Bay, we will generally use at least 4/0 reels on 60-80 pound rods, with 50 or 60 pound monofilament line and really strong terminal tackle. The species we target are not beyond straightening hooks, breaking 80 pound leaders, and generally stretching the arms out on our most robust anglers. You really have to experience the pull to believe it. A 10-pound red snapper in 35 feet of water is a serious battle. A 15 pounder is unbelievable. If we hook a 20 pounder, you’ll wonder what in the world is going on, and you’ll wish you had spent more time in the weight room. Truly! Of course, deeper water increases the chances we’ll win the fight, which is really within the first 10 feet of the battle, but the structure upon which we fish dictates water depth. Holy Moly!
Interesting data point about me – As a kid I pioneered the art of “SportYak trolling”. My SportYak was a small dinghy, from which I would troll along while rowing, holding my spinning rod between my legs and feet. As odd as it sounds, often times I caught more fish than anybody around. But don’t worry – we won’t be rowing and trolling with you aboard.
Another note – Over the past 30 years or so I have spent considerable time fishing the flats in Southwest Florida and have become a self-proclaimed snook fishing addict. The 50+ inch breeding female in the photo below was released unharmed shortly after the photo opportunity. It’s too bad we don’t have snook around here (they require quite warm water), although rumors are at least a couple have been caught locally. Even without a resident snook population, our waters are home to multiple game fish species, more than enough to ensure sore arms and a good night’s sleep after a great day on the water.
I bring decades of inshore and nearshore experience back to my hometown of Gulf Breeze and look forward to serving you aboard one of our excellent vessels. I will do my level best to help you light it up with your choice of spin, fly, or conventional tackle.