Rod Building Class

January Panhandle Fishing Forecasts



The holidays are over and a new year has just begun. Just because we are in the middle of winter doesn’t mean we have nothing to catch out there! We have an entire season of possibilities. Trout, reds, flounder, sheepshead, and black drum can all be caught in the bay. Along the coast and just off the piers, winter bonita are cruising just off the shore line and sand bars in the early mornings. Surf, pier, and jetty fishing produce pompano, whiting, redfish, and sheepshead. On the bottom, fisherman can catch amberjack, scamp, red grouper, triggerfish, and vermillion snapper. 

Read more: JANUARY Forecast

The decent weather we had during part of Thanksgiving weekend afforded some people to head offshore to find the grouper and amberjack. Those that fished in 125+ feet of water reported some decent catches of both grouper and amberjack. The bait of choice was dead cigar minnows for the grouper and amberjack jigs for the amberjack. There are a lot of red grouper being caught in these areas as well, which the season is currently closed . Please be sure to properly vent these fish prior to releasing.
Closer to shore, there were some grouper, amberjack, flounder, large beeliners and plenty of triggerfish caught within 15 miles of the pass. Dead cigar minnows and squid worked well on the grouper and squid was the bait of choice for beeliners and triggerfish. A few anglers we talked to that had success with the flounder on the inshore wrecks had cast netted some finger mullet and used them for bait. The finger mullet were also readily eaten by a lot of red snapper, which the season is currently closed. Again, the red snapper may need to be properly ventilated prior to release.
In the pass, the redfish bite has been pretty good, with most being caught on baits drifted with the tide along the bottom. Some mangrove snapper have also been caught along the rocks as well as some flounder being caught in the pass on small finger mullet and plastic grubs. There are some larger bluefish being caught in the pass as well.
Along the beaches, bluefish, flounder, whiting, redfish and a few pompano were caught this week.

If you were fishing live shrimp or finger mullet in most any of the bayous, canals and creeks this week you most likely found some trout and/or redfish. Most everyone we talked to this week that were targeting trout and redfish had found them in this manner. A great place to go and catch & release fish this time of year is in Warren Bayou (Steam Plant Canal). There are a lot of large fish up in there, however until March 1st, it is catch and release only. The flounder are still migrating to the pass and can be caught on grubs and live finger mullet. There were a few pompano caught on live shrimp in the bay this week by a few anglers flounder fishing.
Half Hitch Tackle

Whiting and bluefish provided most of the action this week, however there were some redfish and flounder caught as well. Pier fishing varies day by day this time of year so if you are planning on heading out there, give the pier gate a call at 850-233-5080 for the most update information.
PCB Pier

This week has produced a few grouper offshore mostly on live pinfish or cigar minnows. On the Pier a few reds were caught, a few pompano and an occasional flounder.

The surf has had some over sized reds, a few pompano and one or two bull whiting.

As for the bay plenty of reds around the Mid Bay and Destin Bridge, the trout have moved to the North and east end of the bay with the exception being around Hogtown and Macks bayou on the south side.

The reds and sheeps head have been around the jetties most days. I have heard of a few white trout and spanish around the Shilimar and Cinco bayou bridges.
Half Hitch Tackle

The seas did not cooperate this week and there were not many reports from offshore, but the seas look to be favorable for the next few days and the last reports we did get had the grouper moving in some and hitting at the 120

WJHG Fish & Game Forecast

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