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Florida Panhandle Weekend Fishing 4Cast

Perdido Key to Cape San Blas
Includes Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe

July 25-27


The weather forecast looks great this weekend. Lows in the mid 70′s and highs in the mid 80′s. Anglers will have the best chance chasing trout in the am the switching to red-fish and flounder mid/late morning. Light winds will give everyone a shot a bringing home fresh dinner and those paddle fishing will have a hard choice to make…inshore on the flats and around the docks or off the beaches for kings and Spanish.

The best trout bite has been coming early to mid morning or at night around docks with lights. A live shrimp simply free-lined or under popping cork is always a good option. Artificial fishermen will want to have a couple of lures tied and ready to go. First, topwater lures, preferably one that can “walk the dog.” Second, suspending baits from Mirrolure. Third, a jig/Gulp! bait with 2-to 3-feet of 15-pound fluorocarbon leader tied to a popping cork. Look for the best bites to come from the flats and docks in water 6-to 12-feet. While most of the trout will be caught around the perimeter, these same docks will often hold redfish and flounder on the bottom.

The best redfish bites have been coming from along the inter-coastal around Navarre, Ft. Walton, and near the Southern edge of the Bays in Panama City. A live shrimp on a light jig head pitched under a dock will quickly tell anglers if the fish are there. Stout rods and braided line will definitely increase the anglers of odds of getting the fish out from under the barnacle-ridden docks. Anglers may find a few flounder in the same areas with the best chances catching flounder using live bull minnows. Those that really want to focus in on the flat fish will want to go gigging. Gigging involves using lights and a pole with sharp barbs and looking for fish at night in the shallows.


Offshore fishing has been tough for some and good for others. Angler will have the best chances fishing for vermillion snapper, black snapper, white snapper, scamp and gag groupers, and king mackerel. Look for the best bites to come from the edge. Be sure to spend time catching live baits and have a variety of cut baits.

Those bottom fishing will want to have both squid and Boston mackerel as cut bait for vermillion snapper, mangrove snapper, and white snapper. Scamp grouper fishermen will want to have small to medium sized live baits. While gag grouper fishermen will want larger live baits. Those bottom fishing will also want to keep a flat line out for king mackerel. Some areas have been better then others, yet everyone is reporting the best bites on live cigar minnows.

Blue water anglers will want to head 80-plus-miles out. Looks like the best water is southwest, yet a few have reported a decent color change due south. Reports have the good water moving up 15 miles a day. Having a membership to Hiltons or Roffs or both can be well worth it this time of year. Tight lines and good luck! {850-529-8655}

  • Rich Smith

    Great info, thank you. We just moved to the Emerald coast from PA and are still learning
    saltwater fishing. Keep up the great info. I will check back as often as I can. Looking for good info
    on 2 main places, 1 is the pier at Fort Walton Beach, the other is called the Lagoon, I thingk it is at the Destin bridge, near crab island. What is good there ( Lagoon) at this time of year and when are good times to go there?
    thank you again and keep up the good work.

    • Chaz Heller

      Thanks Rich! The pier is always a great place and as the summer gets closer the action will heat up. Cobia are just around the corner, but will be a few more weeks before the its at its peak. Spanish and king mackerel should also be showing shortly after the cobia. In most any Lagoon, bayou, canal, etc you should be able to find trout, redfish, and flounder. Working dock to dock with a trolling motor is the ideal set up. Live bait will work great but a jig/gulp combo and 15-20lb leader is a more versitile set up. Spoons are also a good choice, just be sure to keep your retrieve to a slow roll during the cold months.

  • Alvin White

    Thanks for all your work in preparing these reports. I mainly surf fish Perdido Key, and your reports are my way of keeping up with “the bite”. Thanks again.

  • Devin Thompson

    I just found your report for the first time.I will be back in the future to follow you.I live in SW Georgia ,and fish the Port St.Joe area when possible, but the weather this year has not coroporated.Do you have a report to post for the June 1st weekend?I fished in March and April caught a few flounder and Spanish ,but no trout .This time last year I killed the trout ,but no luck this year.Anyone catching trout?

  • Bradley Wilson

    I plan on fishing at Grayton Beach out of my Kayak the week of July the 12th. I was reading your update here and was curious about the “Safety equipment needed for Mackerel fishing” Would you mind going over that? Also what baits / leaders should I bring?

  • Alysa

    Going to Perdido Key in December. What usually bites during that month?

  • Jeff

    Anything biting aroun St. Andrews bay

  • Cody

    im a skinny water fisherman from south texas. heading down to port saint joe this weekend for my first time. I’m used to wading and spot casting trout, black drum, and reds, and I’m pretty stuck on berkley gulp. any other advice besides live bait techniques?

  • Paul Baker
  • Bobbyg123

    Looking for a place to stay in the Destin area for an upcoming fishing trip. Can’t seem to find any fish camps/cottages like they have in the Keys. Anyone have any recommendations? No frills plan to be fishing.

  • pagsfish

    I’m going to be staying in Destin the week of 4/12 thru 4/19 and would like to share a charter trip. I’d be up for either inshore or offshore but probably not a bottom fishing trip. Anyone interested give me a call; 508-737-0738

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