Perdido Key to Cape San Blas
Includes Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe
The inshore bite has definitely gone through a change the past few weeks and anglers that adapt will overcome. The biggest change is the lack of over slot trout biting. Those lucky enough to find a few seem to fall into the scenario of “right place, right time,” and the right time is at night around the docks. The main focus for most on the water during the day will be redfish, flounder, and mackerel.
The trout bite has been slow for some and decent for others in the region. Look for the majority of the slot sized trout to be in grass flats between 6 to 12 feet of water. Live baits like shrimp are ideal but topwater lures and jerk baits can be effective too. The larger trout have been hared to come by and using live baits like finger mullet and smaller croakers around the lighted docks on the intracoastal.
Angers looking for redfish will want to spend most of their time around the docks and bridges. The larger bridges seem to be best at night while most day time fishermen will best spend their time around the docks on the intracoastal. Live shrimp on a jighead is a must if dock fishing. A properly placed shrimp, stout rod and braided line will almost always land a red if its there. The best redfish bites have been coming between 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and around the height of the tide changes.
Off the beaches anglers will find plenty of ladyfish, hard-tails, and Spanish mackerel. The best bet is to throw smaller lures like spec rigs, holographic lures, and gotcha plugs. Out past the second sand bar anglers should find plenty of sharks and a few king mackerel. Those fishing the piers have reported a good king bite and a few tarpon.
This weekend marks the reopening of amberjack and with calm seas it should make for ideal fishing. Anglers will want to look to the bigger wrecks and reefs for amberjack and gag groupers. Then look for vermillion snapper and scamp grouper around the deeper natural bottom areas.
Amberjack and gag grouper fishermen will want to use larger live baits. Jack fishermen will have the best luck using LONG leaders and fishing baits mid water. While grouper fishermen will want to use 6-to 8-foot leaders and fish on the bottom. Amberjack will prefer faster swimming baits like hard-tails and cigar minnows, while groupers like slowing moving baits like croakers and pinfish.
Vermillion snapper anglers in federal waters and triggerfish anglers in state waters will want to use smaller cut baits on two hook rigs. Ideal baits would be squid and cut mackerel. Small circle hooks and lighter leader will catch more fish. Be sure to keep a flat line out while bottom fishing, mackerel and a few mahi are around.
Blue water anglers will be happy to know the water is getting better and a few reports have wahoo between the nipple and spur. To the far South West anglers are reporting tuna between 60-to 80-pounds. Live bait is best but boats are having success using ballyhoo and chunking. Tight lines!