The last front flew through the area last Friday and Saturday putting a damper on things, but the rest of the weekend and the first part of the week we say outstanding weather. Its pretty much been the story for the last couple of weeks so hopefully we are through with that scenario for a while.
Inshore, the trout and redfish bite is still going strong especially in the sound. The fishing has been especially good at night around lighted docks. Early morning and late afternoon has been the key to when targeting trout, but plenty are still being caught throughout the day. MirrOlures Top Dog, Heddon’s Super Spook, Rapala’s Skitter Walk, and Bombers Badonk-A-Donk have been the go to top water baits. The go to suspending baits are MirrOlure’s MirrOdine in 17 and 27MR in chartreuse and silver with the water so clear lately. The old reliable live shrimp under a popping cork presentation has also been producing good numbers. It is and outstanding presentation with only one drawback and that is that pinfish and catfish are also on the flats and it’s tough to keep them from cleaning you out of bait in very short time. The same presentations are also working for reds on the flats, but I also like to add a ¼ oz to ½ weed less gold spoons to that arsenal. Slot reds are also around the deeper docks in the sound and bays and will readily fall for a live shrimp fished near the pilings with just a split shot to get it to the bottom. Flounder are showing up in greater numbers around deeper structure and drop offs in the sound. White Berkley Gulp on a 1/4oz jig head drug along the bottom and bull or tiger minnows have been the top baits.
On the pier the king bite is still pretty slow, but there have been a few cobia landed this week. There is plenty of live bait as well as spanish, bull reds, black drum, pompano, blue fish lady fish, whiting and the occasional sheepshead. Got-Cha lures and Salt Slayer jigs have been to go to baits for targeting spanish and blue fish. Although I’ve received several reports of redfish and pompano being caught on both lures. The reds, black drum, pompano, whiting and sheepsheads are really keying in on live bait with live sand fleas and shrimp being the top baits. The pompano bite remains strong with most fish being caught early in the morning or late in the day. Most of the bigger fish are being caught pompano jigs. The redfish bite remains strong and as with last week most of the fish landed have been outside the slot.
Off shore cobia are mostly being caught around near shore wrecks, although a few are still being seen along the beach. The King mackerel bite remains strong with most fish in the 20 to 40 pound range. Slow trolling live baits around schools of bait fish and around most of the near shore wrecks holding plenty of bait has been the most popular presentation. Wahoo are being caught as close in as the edge with most fish running in the 20 pound range. Large deep diving plugs such as Mann’s stretch 25’s and 30’s have been producing the most strikes. Trigger fish, red and scamp grouper, mingo snapper, red porgies amberjacks are what’s available to bottom fishermen right now. Amberjack are on almost any large wreck right now, but most of the bigger fish being caught are in water deeper than 150 feet. We finally received a few blue water reports from out around the Nipple. Wahoo and blackfin with a few mahi thrown in. The blackfin and mahi came from around floating debris and the wahoo were caught trolling.
Until next week tight lines and get out there!
Quite a few wahoo are showing up on the edge, around the nipple and over to the Ozark trolling ballyhoo. Kings are biting on the southeast rocks, broken bottom and timber holes.
Triggers and mingos are biting in 80 to 150ft depths, amberjack are good on the edge and deep water wrecks, red grouper are biting on natural bottom 125 to 300ft range.
Plenty of pompano on sand fleas, some whiting, lots of hard tails and ladyfish.
Some redfish on live shrimp, Spanish on Gotcha’s and lots of ladyfish.
Some cobia caught this week, an occasional king and nice Spanish through out the day.
PANAMA CITY OFFSHORE AND INSHORE
Okay it looks like we have now gotten the final say on the start of our Red snapper season, 44 days in State waters and 21 in Federal. Two fish per person per day in both cases. I will re iterate, when Red snapper opens June 1st Amberjack & Triggerfish closes for two months and Gag grouper opens July 1st. Alright back to what happened last week, we are still getting plenty of reports of Amberjack and Kings from twenty miles or more miles out. Even a few Wahoo reports but they were even further out. Red grouper, Beeliners, White snapper, Black sea bass and Trigger fish have hit the docks and there are still a few Cobia coming in too. Bait like Cigar minnows and Herring is still difficult to find so plan accordingly, if you are looking for hardtails you are in business. They are everywhere.
Surf fishing has not changed much since last week, plenty of Ladyfish and Spanish, and if you can get past them you might catch a Pompano. Blue fish and Jacks are running the sand bar and will hit just about anything zipping through the water. At the piers the action has slowed form the prior week, what little bit of King action there has been, has been in the morning. There were no reported catches of Pompano or Flounder and to me that does not mean there are none but probably means they are few. Big bull Redfish are around to play tug of war with but almost all have been over the slot. There are Tarpon rolling in the surf but they are almost impossible to put a bait in front of without spooking. About the only bait you can find at both piers has been hardtails. If we could get a good southerly wind for several days, better baits should show up and with them come the Kings etc.!
Capt. Jeff Moorman "First Light Charters" below with a stud trout!
ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM
The Menhaden schools have showed up in the northern parts of the bay system and a few LY’s have showed up around Beach drive and areas like it. With that you can count on exactly what we have been hearing, a much better Trout and Redfish bite. If the purist in you drive you to fish with artificial baits only, there are some stick baits that will fool them into a strike like the Mirro dine (regular or the XL) and Bomber also has a few that are dead ringers for an LY. You may want to step up your Flourocarbon leader a little so you don’t lose your rig to a Spanish or the like. There are plenty of them along with Ladyfish and Blues remind you that you are not fishing in a stocked pond. We are still getting reports on Flounder getting picked up in somewhat random places. While working an area for Trout and Reds you might find they have some competition from this evolutionary king of ambush. Big Redfish have been hitting top water plugs on the outgoing tide in the pass again lately and down deep you can count on Mangrove snapper, and Black sea bass. Most have been small but if you get a few keepers you have a fine dinner in my book.