Perdido Key to Cape San Blas
Includes Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe
It’s finally going to be a nice weekend on the water! The winds will lay down late Friday and then pick up a little mid-day Sunday. Lots of choices this weekend and you really never know how great the fishing can be after a storm unless you get and wet a line. One thing is for sure, keep an eye on the water and be extra safe when running. This storm caught a lot of people off guard and wrecked a lot of boats. Debris in the water is definitely a safety issue. Inshore, redfish, trout, and flounder will be extra hungry an on the search. Nearshore fishing should be good too with spanish mackerel, king mackerel, and schools of bull redfish. Offshore, triggerfish, amberjack, groupers, and vermillion snapper will be the main targets, just be sure to keep a flat line out or at least ready for when that day maker cobia, king, or mahi shows up. Further offshore, the blue water conditions should be good and tuna should be snapping. With Fall in the air the new FADS near the spur should really begin producing.
Inshore fishing was really good before the storm and should be just as good if not better now. The water may be murky but the fish are hungry. That dirty, dark water can hide debris from the storm, the best bet is taking it slow and keeping a good eye out. Look for trout to still be on the flats and around the docks. My favorite spot for redfish is the marshy areas around the mouths and creeks of the rivers. When the tide is up the fish will be working the the submerged grass shorelines, as the tide falls look for the fish to move into the choke points where the water moves out of the backwaters and into the bays. Live shrimp will be the best bet this time of year, minnows a close second and when live bait inst an option I fish a 1/4-ounce jig head and Gulp! shrimp or a Gulp! jerk bait rigged weedless.
Nearshore, the mackerel bite should be good in the bays, along the beaches, and near the buoys. Live bait is always a favorite but dead cigar minnows on duster rigs behind planner boards is my favorite. I like to fish a variety of planner boards. From the small to the large. Even just a 10 foot difference in depth can can results. Keep an eye out for schools of redfish on the surface. The birds are also a good indicator, especially at a distance. A two to 3-ounce bucktail jig and cobia rod is ideal for landing these fish quickly, while still having a blast. These are our breeders and a timely release is important. Plus the quicker you release them the quicker you get to catch another. Be courteous to other anglers and do your best not to drift across the school. There are plenty of fish around for everyone to have fun.
Offshore, the bottom bite should be awesome. The old salts always say the best grouper bite is after a hurricane. Keep your eyes out and be safe there will be a lot of debris in the water. The best bet will be taking time to find a variety of bait. Vermillion will key in on small cut baits, scamp grouper medium and small live baits, amberjack bit live baits, and gag grouper large live and dead baits. Deep dropping should also be good this weekend and with the passing storm. Some of the old stuff may be uncovered and some of your newer spots might have gotten covered. The point is things can change and it may just take a little bit of looking.
Archery season is just around the corner and now is the time to dial in the those bows and stand locations. Shooting is always important but shooting from an elevation is really important. This weekend is the last weekend of early teal season. There have been some birds around just be sure to identify before pulling the trigger, wood ducks are closed. Tight lines and calm seas!