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Florida Panhandle Forecast

Florida Panhandle Forecast
Captain Gabrielle Mercado with a chunky trigger caught in the Panhandle.

Perdido Key to Cape San Blas

Capt. Gabrielle Barnes discusses fishing from Perdido Key to Cape San Blas, including Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe

September 24 - 26


redfish fishing
Larry from Alabama with his first of many Choctawhatchee Bay bull redfish caught on a live pilchard fishing the jetties.

This week has been marked on my calendar for quite a while, the full moon in September and into October is my favorite time! The bull reds are schooled up and have made their way into the bays. For the next month and a half, our area will see the best redfish bite of the year, especially for bull reds. You will find consistent bites near jetties and bridges this month, fish live bait on the drop offs. The redfish will be waiting at an ambush point to crush a vulnerable live bait as it gets pushed by the current. The best tide is an outgoing, however you can find a few fish on a good incoming tide too. The greenies are significantly bigger than they were in the summer and are great baits to fish for these redfish and trout. The trout and mangrove snapper bite has also been good. These cooler mornings will start to lower the water temperatures which will eventually have the trout seeking warmer water but for now you can still find them on the grass flats.


redfish fishing
Capt. Lionel putting his clients on an epic bonito bite right outside the pass.

Vermillion snapper have been the go to fish to target while bottom fishing for dinner meat but grouper and amberjack are still in season. The storms that we’ve had brush by have moved some of these fish around so you may have to do a bit of searching to find them. The king mackerel bite has still been hit and miss,  some days are great and others you really have to work for a couple fish. Typically the month of October the king bite improves so if your having a hard time getting them in the boat, don’t give up, better days are ahead! Black fin tuna and sailfish are cruising around right now and if your wanting to get your hands on one, now is the time!

Bonito are plentiful right now, you can find them in a frenzy, feeding on small minnows in the Gulf. This may not get many people excited but if you like fly fishing, bonito on the fly is hard to beat! First off, they aren’t the easiest to get a bite out of and almost impossible when they are keyed in on these minnows, unless you have a fly that matches the hatch. The fly that I find works the best in this situation is a blue gummy minnow. You have to constantly chase these schools and get in front of them but when you get a bite, hold on. They almost immediately take you into the backing and make for a fun fight on any tackle but especially on fly!

Capt. Gabrielle Barnes
Lady Luck Adventure LLC
Marler Park Fort Walton Beach, FL

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