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

August 1-3


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.


Pappa Dawg grouper fishing aboard the Sea Robin 40 miles SW of Pensacola Beach, FL.

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!

www.Hellerhighwatercharters.com {850-529-8655} hhwcharters@gmail.com

  • 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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alvin.white.1297 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

  • Mega Capital Loan

    Do you need a loan>
    funding for any reason?
    Personal Loan, Business Expansion,
    Business Start-up, Education,
    Debt Consolidation
    Hard Money Loans
    loan for any thing ?

    Our Loan Services Include:

    1)Personal Loan
    2)Business Loan,
    3)Secured Loan
    4)Unsecured loan
    5)Consolidation Loan
    6)Mortgage Loan
    7)Payday off loan?
    8)Student Loans
    9)Commercial Loan
    10)Car Loan
    11)Investments Loans.
    12)Development Loans.
    13)Acquisition Loans .
    14)Construction loans.