St. Vincent Island to Steinhatchee
Includes Apalachicola, St. George Island, Carabelle, St. Marks and Keaton Beach
May has just about come and gone and what a month it was! We have had a great springtime fishery here on the Forgotten Coast with all things swimming on the menu. Our weather has taken a turn for the good the past few weeks with great, mild air and water temperatures; all that is about to change in the next few days as summer fast approaches. This week’s weather outlook is another good one with HI’s in the mid 80′s and nightly lows around the mid 60 mark, making for some good fishing weather! Seas are looking good also with wave heights around 1 to 2 feet on Thursday and Friday, but building to 2 to 3 feet by Saturday afternoon and then dropping back down to 1 to 2 feet by Monday. This is also a holiday weekend and the season opener for the summer, making the boat ramps and restaurants busy again.
Inshore fishing is arguably at its peak right now and I know that I have been saying that for weeks, but I just can’t stop saying that because it is true. We have great reports coming in daily from all parts of our region from Mexico Beach to St. George Island and beyond. Inshore trout fishing will soon be a game of late and early. What I mean is that as the water temps get over the 85 degree mark: trout and redfish will be on the flats at daybreak feeding and as the water gets hotter, they will move to deeper, cooler water. This is not rocket science, and most anglers know this very well. Tides and winds will be another factor in summer time fishing. Thunderstorms are a daily occurrence as the air and water continue to rise.
Flats fishing is on fire with topwater action being the best approach for trout and redfish, and definitely the most exciting! Top dogs, spooks, chug bugs are all good baits and the colors that are working in our waters are: silver/bone, chartreuse, bone, and baby redfish/gold. Grubs and jigs are producing fish as well in white, pearl white, glow and of course, new penny. Work the jigs and grubs slow over the grass to maximize your chances at a flounder or 10. Fish the ledges and sandy spots that have as water color or tide line change and always keep an eye in the sky for feeding birds. Flounder gigging is heating up in Indian pass and throughout the “miles” behind St. Vincent Island. Good reports are seeing plenty of 15 inch fish to be had but no doormats just yet. Tides and winds are the major factor in gigging, so check them before you go!
Offshore action is slow to get started this year. We have had some good reports from the east part of our region on gag grouper and red grouper, but with so many species on the closed list, fishing is now a game of select species. This is a bad idea by the feds and any angler with common sense will tell you that as well. Selective fishing is killing in my opinion because we throw way too many fish back to the dolphins and sharks, not to mention the ones that we foul hook and gut hook that float away. I get carried away with the regulations that our leaders have set in place over the years, but I should be thankful looking forward to some 20-plus-pound pound red snapper coming to the docks next weekend. We should have a great season although it will only be 21 days in federal waters and 44 days running concurrent with the feds in state waters. All in all, it will be good for our community, so get them while you can. Good wahoo and mahi reports are coming in from the long range charter guys. Most anglers are high speed trolling with purple and black lures taking the top spot this week. It should be a good weekend, so come on down and keep reporting!