Skip to main content Skip to main content

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

October 15 - 17

Cooler temperatures are arriving slowly and it is the perfect time to be outside and on the water. The fall bite has been great both inshore, nearshore, and offshore!


redfish fishing florida panhandle
A beautiful bull redfish caught on the falling tide fishing the Destin bridge with a live croakers.

The inshore bite has been good, a lot of nice redfish are being caught on deeper docks in the bay on live shrimp. The best bite has been on the beginning of the outgoing tide and on bigger shrimp. When your dock fishing for red fish in particular and your in a fishy area don’t be scared to bounce docks, if you don’t get any good bites writhing 20-30 minutes hit the next dock. Also, make sure your covering the entire length of the dock with bait, many times people only fish the very end of the dock but there every part of that dock could be holding fish. 

The bull redfish bite hasn’t been firing off like I would expect this time of year but it is definitely still a stop on my trips. The end of the falling tide has produced the best results for me the last week on bridges with live croakers on the bottom. When you are fishing a strong current, make sure you spend a bit of extra time after you make your cast to feel your weight on the bottom. It’s easy to not let enough line out or let too much line out when and either of these results in not having your bait in the strike zone. They may not be stacked up yet but fishing the bridges and jetty’s near any inlet right now will be holding some redfish, if you soak a bait long enough your probably going to end up catching a few.


blackfin tuna fishing florida panhandle
Blackfin tuna caught on a live bait while bottom fishing in 200’ of water on The Reel Salty.

The amberjack bite has been fantastic both on nearshore and offshore wrecks. Most of the fish holding on wrecks closer to the beach are smaller and just shy of being keepers but there is usually at least one big girl in the mix. Big lively baits on long leaders is your best bet. I like to start with a freeline to see if I can get them on top but if I can’t, I’ll add some weight and start dropping down in the water column. The bait situation has been good but with all the rain last week I’ve been finding them a few miles off the beach on nearshore wrecks. If you are having a hard time finding them and are looking for amberjack, spend 30 minutes at the dock catching big pinfish, the jacks love them.

This fall has been all about the blackfin tuna, just when you think the bite is great it gets even better. The blackfin tuna can be caught using multiple different methods, the two that have been producing lately have been trolling diving plugs and live baiting. If you like trolling, pull some diving plugs around bait or any area that seems fishy, just keep in mind with the plugs, you may have to weed through the bonito before you find the tuna. Capt. Alex Kendrick out of Destin, FL has been catching them consistently by live baiting while bottom fishing with a hard tail or cigar minnow in 200’ of water.

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

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now