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Panama City Beach Weekly Fishing Reports

09/29/2014

PANAMA CITY BEACH OFFSHORE 

This past week has only had a couple days that lent themselves to a run way out.   The fishing was good, Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi and plenty of Kings. A good bottom bite too, Reds, Gags, Scamp, Vermillion and Black snapper were all posing for pictures back at the dock. You didn’t have to go that far to find fish though, plenty of edibles were caught within sight of land. There are a lot of Black snapper (aka Grey or Mangrove snapper) on the close to shore stuff, you may even pick up a Flounder or two. They have begun to show up in the pass a definite indication the migration has started. Also there is still a good King mackerel bite going on. Hopefully they will hang around a while and with our water still around eighty degrees near shore, they should. 

SURF 

Not much of a change here, plenty of Ladyfish, Spanish and Bluefish. Occasionally some Reds, Whiting, Jacks, or Flounder swing through and grace the lucky angler’s hook. From the piers, kayak or in a boat along the beach Kings have been caught. Most are caught early in the morning when there is a chop to the water.  

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

Reports coming in from expeditions back in the bay system have been positive. Flounder, Slot size Redfish, Mangrove snapper, Speckled trout and Sheep head made up the majority of them. That’s not counting the Ladyfish, Blues and Spanish. Grassy points for the trout and slot reds. Docks, bridges and marinas for the rest. Good supplies of live bait can be found and hungry fish… paradise!

09/22/2014

PANAMA CITY BEACH OFFSHORE 

The reports coming in from “off the hill” have been really pretty good. Bottom fishing has been a little frustrating with all of the Red snapper around (being as you can’t keep ‘em). However if you try, you can sometimes dial in on ways to get to the bottom in an area less likely to be holding Reds, and more likely to yield a species you can keep. Obviously no technique is fail proof but generally the outer edges of a wreck hold smaller fishlike say… Black snapper. Or you can employ a technique that works real good…chumming them to the surface so you can choose what you are trying to catch. It takes some prior planning, plenty of available cut bait chopped up in small pieces. Also the type of rig and bait used plays a large part in what is caught. Sometimes we just have to back off and take pause long enough to remember what has worked before. Good reports from one hundred plus feet on the bottom and trolling has been very good both in close and way out.  

SURF 

Surf fishing has steadily improved over the last couple weeks. Fall is typically better than late summer and we are there. We are getting better reports every day on Flounder, Pompano, Whiting, and Redfish. Not saying they are “thick” but it’s better than a trickle. Throw in a few Kings, Spanish, Bluefish, Ladyfish and you have the picture.         

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

There are a lot of just right sized pinfish (half dollar size) and they are easy pickin’s in shallow grass beds. Not quite as easy to get but large schools of LY’s can be found milling about over a healthy grass bed. Redfish, Speckled trout and now Flounder have taken notice. Slowly drag a nose hooked live one across an area that has a mix of grass and sand. If there are Flounder there this should flush ‘em out. Be patient and methodically work the entire area. Mangrove snapper, Black and red drum, and Sheep head are hanging out around the larger bridges and deeper marinas and docks. 

COMING UP SEPT 27: 40TH ANNUAL KING MACKERAL TOURNAMENT AT TREASURE ISLAND MARINA. GET IN ON THE ACTION!

09/14/2014

PANAMA CITY BEACH OFFSHORE 

There were several days last week that allowed a run for the hundred fathom curve. Real good fishing grounds here, both top and bottom. Having “numbers” out here certainly helps but it won’t  take long to figure out that watching the bottom machine will pay off with plenty of new numbers you find on your own. Good size Wahoo and Dolphin have been picked up trolling, no weed lines to be found but tide lines were enough to work with. From the bottom amongst the grouper, some impressive catches of Scamp, size and numbers. Closer in there are certainly fish to catch and topping that list is King mackerel. Slightly less glorious reports from those looking for Grouper and Black snapper within sight of land but some good fish were caught nonetheless. I guess my mouth is still watering from the Scamp and Mahi.   

SURF 

Believe it or not, we are hearing that a few Pompano and Whiting have showed up. The best reports were from areas less traveled like Camp Helen, Laguna and Tyndall beach, but a few were picked up off the local piers. Speaking of the piers, Kings, Tarpon, Redfish, Bluefish, Sheep head, Ladyfish, Spanish, and Mangrove snapper have all been seen or caught. Of course the bite can be hot one minute and cold the next so don’t go expecting all that all the time.         

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

It appears even though the air temps have not yet let on fall is coming the fish know it. Their appetites prove it. Speckled trout, smaller reds, Ladyfish, Bluefish and a few Spanish mackerel are prowling grass beds early feeding on Ly’s, pinfish, finger mullet and just about anything they can fit in their mouths. Later in the day work some of the channels where there is good tidal flow. You can expect Mangrove snapper, Black and red drum, Sheep head and Black sea bass. We are also getting decent reports of Flounder from some locals who have ventured out at night with gigs. It seems like they are beginning to move. 

09/07/2014

OFFSHORE 

Reports from blue-water are getting better each day, the recent rains, wind and increase in current have had an effect. Wahoo, Dolphin, a few Black fin and big Kings are feeding on sardines and big schools of hard tails. Still not a lot of weed lines to be had however fish are showing up. In a little closer some small Mahi, are scattered around, no real pattern. Have a rod rigged with a small artificial shrimp, spec rig or small gold spoon because when you find them you don’t want to be re rigging only to find they have departed. You should also be actively looking for Triple tail anytime you find anything floating. It’s amazing how something as small as a cooler lid will hold fish. Even though we can’t keep Red snapper now bottom fishing has been worthwhile. Black snapper, Vermillion, Porgies, Red and Gag grouper, and a few Lane snapper have all been seen coming off the docks. The weather is improving (heat wise) and crowds have    

SURF 

Still a little slow surfside, although I have heard some talk of a Tarpon bite coming alive at night. Ladyfish too (which are what the Tarpon are feeding on… how convenient). Daytime you can find a few Ladyfish, some Bluefish and Spanish especially in the morning.      

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

Working the grass beds in the morning is producing some nice catches. Daybreak and the incoming tide has proven to be a good mix. Speckled trout, quite a few Redfish and even some Spanish were picked up by a group of Kayakers I spoke to. Both East and West bays were mentioned. All sorts of artificial baits are working, plenty of new ones out there to try and when you see what the industry is doing lately you too will want to press one into service. Between the super life like patterns and action it’s a no brainer that they will be successful (and they are). Trust me, it will be hard to tie your old “go to” on after you use one of these. Now if you are going for Mangrove snapper or Sheep head you pretty much have to stick with live bait. Quite a few of these getting caught around any structure, (more Mangroves than Sheepies). Light leaders and small strong hooks are key as is moving water.  

08/24/2014

PANAMA CITY BEACH OFFSHORE 

The dog days are definitely here, to say it’s hot doesn’t seem to be adequate.  There is plenty of bait around so it stands to reason species higher up the food chain are there to take advantage. King mackerel are pretty much everywhere. Cigar minnows rigged with a duster and set up to run deep has been the best set up. You are likely to get a few Bonita in the mix but no one is complaining. A few nice Wahoo and a couple reports of Mahi-Mahi but they have been off the hill twenty five miles or more. Action is best first thing in the morning, and then it slows down only to pick back up in the afternoon. Gag grouper, Red grouper, Black snapper, Vermillion snapper and Porgies are all a good bet on wrecks from eighty feet and deeper.  

SURF 

Really surf fishing has been kind of slow. Not dead… just slow, if you are the patient type you will eventually catch something. Mostly Ladyfish, some Bluefish and Spanish. Increasing your distance from shore does seem to improve the chance of a bite.      

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

There are good reports on Speckled trout hitting top water in grass beds with six feet or so of depth. You will have to get up early for the best chances. Reds on the other hand are more likely to pick something off the bottom than up top. Working the waters around deeper docks and seawalls is a good strategy but pay attention to the water temp. Any decrease will be a step in the right direction. Stay closer to the shipping channels or places the tidal flow will stir up the cooler water from the depths. Places like the jetties and around the larger bridges are still holding a ton of Mangrove snapper at least partially due to their ability to do just that.

08/14/2014

PANAMA CITY BEACH OFFSHORE AND INSHORE

All it takes is a trip to the docks around 4pm to see that making a run offshore is worth it. Gag grouper, Red grouper, Amberjack, Wahoo, and Mahi-Mahi have been the most sought after. Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo, Sailfish and a few Black fin(and of course Kings) have been reported from as little as a couple of miles from shore! Down on the bottom Black snapper, Vermillion snapper, Gag and Red grouper, and Scamp are all falling victim to live pinfish, cigar minnows and sardines. Speaking of live bait, there are plenty of hard tails, cigar minnows and sardines around the buoys. Large pinfish or hard tails for AJ’s, and cig’s or sardines for the rest.    

SURF 

I can’t say the surf has had a lot of action lately, a lot of the time there has been June grass hampering the effort. There are a few Whiting, some Bluefish and Spanish mackerel around but most have been caught at the piers or from a boat. Maybe it’ll improve soon.      

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

The most dependable bite lately has been Mangrove (or Gray) snapper. Live shrimp is a go to bait but the larger grays will eat small pinfish and LY’s. The pass is probably the best location but the Hathaway and Tyndall bridges can be good too. On trout and reds, we have a neap tide today and between that and the full moon we just had… the action has not been that good. This week though looks to be much better. High tide will be pre-dawn and the effects of the moon should be wearing off so the bite should improve. Spanish mackerel and Bluefish are working the tide line created when the green water meets the warmer less green bay water. Troll along the color change or drift it while working a spoon or spec rig. You may have to let your rig sink pretty deep to get into the zone.  

06/23/2014

OFFSHORE AND INSHORE

Clear warm waters and plenty of bait equals a great Pelagic bite. Kings, Mahi mahi, Wahoo, Sailfish and a few Black fin are being reported from as little as a couple of miles from shore! Down on the bottom Red snapper (state waters), Black snapper, Vermillion snapper, Red grouper, Porgies, and Black sea bass are all fair game.  

SURF 

Pompano have been pretty scarce lately, Spanish, Blues and lots of Ladyfish are there though. There are still some Redfish getting caught in the surf, don’t let their silver coloration fool you. They lose the reddish tint when they inhabit clear waters for a while.     

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

Some fat Speckled trout have been picked up early on live bait, suspend it under a float or hook him above his tail fin to keep him on the surface. And Redfish are schooling up in three or four feet of water looking for a meal. Small crabs are a bait that will really get their attention, but a fat finger mullet or even a pinfish will work just fine. The jetties and around the larger bridges are holding a ton of Mangrove snapper. They love a live shrimp but will hit small pinfish and even small chunks of cut bait once they get feeding. A few Black drum and some Flounder are reported catches around the marinas and deeper docks. Come see us when you can and share your most recent experience or plan your next trip. 

Check out our new "What's Biting" daily report on our website. Just click on the location you want to read about and you'll see the link. http://www.halfhitch.com/http://www.halfhitch.com//stores/half-hitch-tackle-panama-city/whats-biting-panama-city

05/19/2014

The weather is finally cooperating and letting us get out and pursue one of our favorite pastimes. Bait has showed up and made it a little easier to gather what we need to get after it. Hard tails, Herring and a few Cigar minnows mostly, but Leather jacks and LY’s can be found too. The King bite is on most days along with Bonita and Spanish. If you want to work out the kinks of winter, set yourself up over a bridge span or larger wreck and drop a jig or live hard tail. In no time an Amberjack will have you doing all you can to remain in the boat. Also be aware that some Cobia are still around and it’s fairly likely to run into one out there. Red grouper, Porgies, Bee liners, Trigger fish and some Black snapper are out there too, but watch out for the new regs on Trigger fish and Red grouper.

SURF 

Pompano, some Whiting, Spanish, Blues and lots of Ladyfish reported along the beach. Also we hear some nice Flounder and Redfish are to be found working their way back towards the inlets and passes.   

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

Speckled trout and Redfish are working the grass beds in the morning ahead of the high tide. Some so shallow their backs are out of the water. You may have to park the boat and wade in order to get within casting distance. Flounder , Black drum, Mangrove snapper and Black sea bass on the bottom, and Spanish, Blues and Ladys on the top. Plenty to do… not enough time!

05/12/2014

OFFSHORE AND INSHORE

Cobia are here still and can be found along the beach or over wrecks, several were caught recently. A lot of the fish have weighed in over fifty pounds. Amberjack are absolutely covering up wrecks in anywhere from eighty feet of water and up. Porgies, Bee liners, and some Black snapper can be pulled off the bottom to help fill the box. Triggers too but be aware of the Federal closure, you’ll have to target (and possess) them inside of nine miles. While we are on the subject of Federal regulations changes, also be aware of the new rules on Red grouper. They have dropped to three per angler per day. King mackerel here in good numbers, trolling and flat lining are both producing fish. Bonita may get picked up this way too and they are out there.    

SURF 

The Pompano have definitely turned on. Several reports of limits caught in just a few hours. Spanish and Blues are patrolling too so heavier leader may be necessary.   

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

Speckled trout and Redfish have been found working the grass beds. Early in the morning was best but the bite did continue until the tide turned. If you are prospecting around docks or some other structure, don’t be surprised to hook into a Black drum. There have been a lot of them around lately, and they can pull so your rig needs to be up to the task.

04/23/2014

RyanCater72lbCobiaOFFSHORE AND INSHORE
A couple cold nights slowed the action a bit but looking ahead it looks promising. Both Cobia and King catches dropped but over the last couple of days reports are up. The schools of bait are returning which is exactly what we need to fire it up. Out on the bottom Amberjack and Trigger fish are waiting on you along with Red grouper, Pink porgies, Bee liners and Black snapper. Best reports have been from at least a hundred feet of water.  

Ryan Cater caught this 72lb Cobia Wednesday morning.

SURF 
The Pompano bite is really pretty good. It does come and go so if you are not the patient type be prepared to try new locations. The cooler water did push the Spanish and Blues out but their numbers are on the rise with the water temps.  

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM
Sheep head action is slowing but you can still find some gnawing on the pass rocks, bridge pilings and just about anywhere you find barnacles. Live shrimp or crabs will get their attention. Reds and Black drum are in these areas too so rig up accordingly. Speckled trout have been rather elusive during the middle of the day, but dawn and dusk have been good. Live pinfish and finger mullet have landed the biggest fish, but plenty of keepers have hit artificial baits and live shrimp under a cork. Spanish mackerel are out there too so you may have to use heavier leader.

04/15/2014

IMG958532OFFSHORE AND INSHORE
If you have been waiting for conditions to get “right” and fish to show up, you’re there. Cobia are pushing through our area in pretty good numbers and there have even been a few Kings caught! Last look at water temps showed low seventies and with this warm water we are getting some live bait showing up. Speedos, Herring and a few Cigar minnows were around as of a few days ago. AJ’s and Trigger fishare present and accounted for over the bridge spans. On the bottom Red grouper, Pogies, Bee liners and the occasional Scamp.   

SURF 
Pompano are coming through the area in large schools. Spanish mackerel and Blues are out there too so bring along extra rigs to replace what they cut off. Bull reds are cruising the beach, usually too big to keep but a real blast to catch in the surf. And who knows you may even luck out and hook a Cobia, it has happened.  

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM
There is still a lot of brackish water in the bay but that has not slowed the action. Sheep head are still trying to chew the bridge pilings in two. Redfish, Mangrove snapper and Black drum are there too, differing techniques are recommended though.  Speckled trout have been a little harder to find lately, but if you find some of the LY’s that have begun to show up you likely have found them. Spanish mackerel are pushing their way up into the bay. Early around Deep Water Point has been pretty good, and further in towards Courtney Point as the tide flows in.

04/03/2014

80lb cobia IMG959546OFFSHORE AND INSHORE
Water temps are approaching the upper sixties finally. A few cobia have been caught in our area and with each day the chances get better. An 80lb cobia was caught on the county pier just yesterday! Amberjack are your best bet for the offshore bite, and down on the bottom you have red grouper, scamp, trigger fish, black sea bass, bee liners, pogies, and more. Not much around yet for live bait as far as cigar minnows and the like, probably need about four or five more degrees of water temperature.   

SURF 
Pompano, spanish, bluefish and some whiting have all done their part to make your trip worthwhile. Also there have been a few bull reds hunting their next meal, like some of the squid that have been coming though. Parameters like that will make you wonder what rig to use. 

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM
Recent rains have us fishing in stained water again but fish are biting. Speckled trout and redfish are working that middle of the day high tide we have been experiencing.  Spanish mackerel are up in the bay despite the fresh water influx. Shortly after daybreak has produced the best bite however once the green water pushes up into the bay round two has begun. Sheephead are chewing anywhere there are barnacles, they are extremely good at stealing bait so be prepared to feed more than you catch. That’s not a bad thing, after all this is their spawning season. Keep that in mind when figuring how many to keep, the next generation is counting on us.

03/24/2014

PANAMA CITY BEACH OFFSHORE AND INSHORE
Spring has sprung and the fish are here to prove it. AJ’s so big you’ll think you have a nuclear sub on. Triggers, beeliners, black sea bass, black and white snapper and red grouper are all getting hauled in. The squid run is in full force so it stands to reason the predators are close behind.   

SURF 
Surf fishing is picking up nicely. Pompano are not yet here in real big numbers but it’s likely to find some. Squid are coming through in waves, and gangs of reds and spanish mackerel are hot on their heels. Also, we have had cobia sightings in our area; some have been caught to the west of us, as is typically the case early in the season. Have no fear, they will be here soon!

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM
Sheepshead, bull reds, black sea bass, and black drum are all good bets around the bridges and the pass. Falling tide has been preferred flow, but you can still find them otherwise. Speckled trout are up in the grassy areas especially at dusk lately, some tailing reds too. Spanish mackerel have followed the squid up into the bay system and you can pretty well spot them by watching the bird action. For more info stop in and see us. Don’t forget to send us a few pictures of your catch. We’ll post them on our site and you’ll be 'world famous'.

03/14/2014

OFFSHORE AND INSHORE
The weather is getting a little warmer and with it the fishing is improving a little each day. Super clear water but still hovering in the low sixties. You may have to lighten up on the size of your leader, and fluorocarbon can really be the difference between success and failure. Amberjack are very plentiful and very hungry. Be sure your rod and reel is up to the task, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. Trigger fish, and bee liners will do their part to help you fill the box. Red grouper and black snapper too. For all of these species placement, type of bait and terminal tackle are all key and we can help you rig for success.  Even if you are catching fish, hearing what is working for others and what’s new can be useful.  

SURF 
Surf fishing is still a little slow, however we are starting to see a few pompano getting caught. And believe it or not even a few spanish mackerel have been picked off too. Must be the scouts coming up the coast to see what the conditions are. It won’t be long now, time to prepare for the onslaught.  

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM
Yes the bay water is also still fluctuating just above sixty but you can find schools of redfish working the grass flats. There are a lot of new artificial baits to throw, both hard and soft. Super realistic and effective. Speckled trout are out there too and the early morning has yielded a few fish over five pounds. Here the new top water type plugs really shine, slow retrieve coupled with its lifelike appearance has worked really well. Sheep head are gathering and have begun to feed pre spawn. Mangrove snapper, black sea bass and a few flounder have showed up at the local cleaning tables too. If you are not rigged correctly here, you might as well try fishing in your bath tub. Hook choice, type of leader, main line and how you are holding your lip all play a part. For more on all of this, come see us. We will be happy to show you what is working and help you to increase your odds.

03/02/2014

OFFSHORE AND INSHORE
Fishing here has improved slightly as we move into a more spring like pattern. Flounder are beginning to eat again; some hefty fish have been picked off the close to shore wrecks and reefs to the west. Bull minnows or live shrimp have done the job nicely. Use a short leader on a Carolina rig to with enough weight to get it to the bottom and keep it there. Further out from shore Amberjack and Trigger fish are getting caught in good numbers, some nice keepers were caught over the Dupont and Red sea tug sites. Red grouper, Scamp and Bee liners are worthwhile targeting too. Natural bottom and reefs along a depth change will be where you’ll want to give it a try. Frozen squid is a good go to bait, but for Scamp a small pin fish is hard to beat. 

SURF 
Surf fishing has been kind of slow lately most likely due to water temps. Some Bull redfish were caught late in the day by some persistent snow birds out in the Laguna Beach area using cut mullet. Also out to the west near Phillips Inlet schools of Bluefish were found using surf rigs with cut shrimp.  

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM
Despite the relatively cold bay water, some fish are getting caught. You will have to be patient and work an area over. Use chum if you can, and or go with a type of bait that releases a scent trail. You really have to do all you can to wake them up. We are still hearing of schools of Redfish being spotted up in the grass on bright sunny days, pretty spooky but a nice reward if you can hook up. We are see sawing back and forth with cool nights and warmer days so the water seems to be holding in the upper fifties. Until we start seeing low to mid sixties the Trout will be content to hide out in more protected areas. The Intra Coastal water way has been fair along with deeper creeks and bayous. Sheep head, Mangrove snapper, Black sea bass, Black drum and large Redfish are all good bets still in the pass and around Tyndall or Hathaway bridges. They are slow to eat so be sure to rig as invisibly as you can and use small but strong hooks. The Sheep head have been especially finicky and has caused some locals to go old school. Take an oyster and hook it up on a leader you will use, put the oyster with the hook in it and put it in an old egg carton, then freeze the oysters. When you go fishing take the carton of frozen oysters and put in your cooler to keep them frozen until ready to use. If the Sheep head pass on an oyster you may as well give up!

2/10/2014

OFFSHORE AND INSHORE

Well that was a blast of winter I could have done without. It has been a long time since we had to close bridges due to ice, and local schools had what amounted to snow days! Offshore water temps are still trying to recover, even thirty miles out the surface temps are in the upper fifties to sixty degrees. Hopefully we will start to get into a more spring like pattern soon and a more southerly wind will prevail which will push both air and water temps up. Dependent upon who you ask, somewhere around sixty five degrees is the magic number where you start to see good numbers of Spanish mackerel, and begin looking for cobia. Now all that being said there are fish getting caught in the here and now. It does however require a bit of a different approach when you are dealing with fish whose metabolism has slowed to snail’s pace. Amberjack, Trigger fish and Red grouper have been the biggest contributors to the fish box. Black snapper and Bee liners are around too but fewer and further between. If the Flounder are around still, not many anglers have been able to coax them into biting. Bonita have also left the building, but if we get some more days like the last few, we may start to see them again.

 

SURF 

There for a while the surf was not holding much of anything, but the last few days have improved. Whiting have begun to show up again, and the occasional Redfish will surprise you. Crab meat is a premium bait to be sure, but it has yielded some nice Reds. 

 

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

We are still experiencing a low tide in the morning and will continue to throughout this month. So hitting the water early is not necessarily the best plan, might as well let the sun get up overhead and wait until the tide turns. Some large schools of Redfish are being sighted up on grass beds seemingly warming themselves, however they are very good at staying out of casting range. Approach with the wind at your back and quietly. Choose the rod and reel you can get the longest cast out of and try to anticipate where they are headed. There is not much out there for them to eat. So if you can make them believe they have indeed found something to eat that seemingly has no strings attached, and has nothing to do with that big white hull floating some fifty yards away you stand a good chance of getting bit. Speckled trout are sticking tighter to the bayous and creeks still, and will likely stay there for a while longer as they are even more timid when it comes to cold. Sheep head, Mangrove snapper, Black sea bass, Black drum and large Redfish are all good bets still around deeper water with any kind of structure. Use Fiddler crabs (if you can find them) or live shrimp for the Sheepies and Mangroves. And if you really want to attract a Black or Red drum cut a blue crab in two for an irresistible offering. Don’t snatch on the first sign of a bite, let them have it for a few seconds or you will be snatching it out of their mouth. They take a little longer to process a bait that large. Hope to see you soon, and you may want to beat the rush we generally get in April for rod and reel repairs. Drop them off now and you will get them back sooner rather than later.

1/27/2014

PANAMA CITY BEACH OFFSHORE AND INSHORE

If you get the chance to go out, gear up for Amberjack. They are by far the best bet out there right now. Live squirrel fish are a favorite and large pinfish a close second, but I have also had them inhale a lizard fish. So don’t be so quick to get rid of the little nuisances, throw them in the live well just in case. Right now over a wreck it is hard to even get past the AJ’s to try to fish the bottom. And where you find Amberjack you are also likely to find Trigger fish which is what we are hearing. A size four circle form Owner is about the most popular hook for them and a chunk of squid will do the trick for bait. If you do want to bottom fish I would suggest you do so over a reef or natural bottom rather than a larger wreck for reasons stated above. Red grouper, Scamp, Black snapper and Bee liners are around but can be slow to strike. If the current isn’t too swift bomb the area with some form of chum to wake them up (maybe chopped up lizard fish). If you are fortunate enough to have live bait to work with you may consider cutting off the tail to provide a scent trail, they will live long enough to get the job done. Then you will have the best of both worlds, the scent qualities of dead bait and the wiggle of live. Scamp and Red grouper have been reported in as little as seventy feet of water, not that strange for the reds but Scamp are usually found in deeper water. And yes we are still hearing of Flounder on the inshore stuff and Bonita a mile or so from the beach.

SURF

You can pretty much count on catching something from the beach, the question is what today? One day the Whiting are there and the next day it’s the Bull reds. Then you show up hoping to duplicate your last trip and find that Flounder are the catch of the day. Granted most days the bite is slow, but if you hang in there long enough with the idea that they have to eat sometime you will be rewarded. You can also expect to find some Bluefish, and maybe a few Pompano, especially when we get a more southerly or onshore wind.

ST. ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

Not much change here from the last few reports, cold weather, wind and even the tidal conditions have remained pretty much the same. Find warmer water, just few degrees can make a difference. If you can, fish ahead of the front or a few days after and you’ll find they bite better. Trout, Reds, Sheep head, Mangrove snapper, Black sea bass and Black drum have all been reported. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, chum can really help this time of year, bridges, seawalls and dock pilings are prime for Mangroves, Sheep head and drum, and back waters for Trout and smaller reds. Go scent heavy with artificial bait if possible (it certainly won’t hurt) and if using live bait consider cutting off the tail or the dorsal fins to provide a scent trail. Let us know how you do if you get a chance to go, we can always use more intel. You don’t have to get too specific, we understand when exact locations are withheld. Just hearing what kind of luck you had is really all that is needed.

1/14/2014

PANAMA CITY BEACH OFFSHORE AND INSHORE

I can't say I have very many reports from what I would consider offshore. The weather is still holding most of us back, but there were a couple days that allowed the trip. Speaking to a few of those groups that managed to get out there, they did say it was worthwhile even though Gag grouper and Red snapper are closed. They hit some natural bottom spots to target Red grouper and then went to their favorite bridge span for some Amberjack action and there is plenty of that to go around. This time of year is prime for A J's and if you are headed offshore, be sure to bring a jigging outfit, plenty of jigs, and something to chum with. They can be a little slow to realize you are there.

On some of the closer to shore wrecks and reefs Flounder, Black sea bass, and Bee liners can be found. The Flounder action is pretty dependable, so you will want to have smaller tackle and live bull minnows, if possible. They will work for sea bass and the Bee liners too. Oh, can't forget to mention all of the Bonita out there, it is best to have a medium sized spinner with a Gotcha or buck tail rigged and ready or you will have to give chase while someone does the rigging.  

SURF

You can still count on Whiting in the surf, they have really been front and center for the last few weeks. Flounder, Redfish, Bluefish and Pompano are also being reported. Certain areas of the beach also seem to have the ability to hold Sheepshead. I am not sure why but I believe there is either some sort of wreck or debris in the area. Maybe just a large concentration of shells is enough to interest them for a while. 

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

Speckled trout and puppy Reds are looking for warmer waters and the reports are good from those that have braved the cold and wind to go after them. There is really no need to be out there at daybreak, waiting for the sun to get up and lately the tide to be on the move is wise. Artificial baits work great this time of year, but the live shrimp and minnows can still have an advantage most days. In more open waters popping corks and artificial baits with internal rattles can help them find you, but if you are way back in a tight area you may have to "pump the brakes" on the noise, you may spook them. Go as light as you can weight wise and let it lay for a while before giving it a twitch.

Redfish, Sheepshead, Mangrove snapper, and Black drum are being found around bridges and larger docks still. The bite is often slow due to the cold temps but they are still hungry. Days like these can really benefit from some chum. There are all kinds of recipes for making your own but sometimes finding the ingredients this time of year can be hard. It can also require some planning, a lot of the mixtures require soaking overnight. Oatmeal, sand and Menhaden oil is one. Even the size of the mesh in the chum bag you choose can be critical as it plays a role in how long the chum will last, but with a few trial runs you should be able to dial it in. It can really save the day or just serve to speed the action up enough to keep your crew interested. All you have to do is watch the marine and weather forecasts a week in advance, figure in the tides, and learn to think like a fish! Get Out There, you can't catch them from the couch.

 

 

1/1/2014

PANAMA CITYBEACH OFFSHORE AND INSHORE

About the only recent reports we have are from those who have gone out to some of the inshore wrecks or hard bottom to the west. The weather just has not been conducive to any kind of long runs, and Christmas took front stage. But we do know there are still plenty of Flounder on the close in stuff and Bonita can be seen working their way up the coast. If you do get the chance and the weather permits, you should be able to find plenty of action at the bridge spans. The Amberjack have been there in good numbers and were willing to eat just about anything you put in front of them. Reports from those that have targeted Red grouper, Bee liners and other desirable bottom dwellers that you can currently keep have been few and far between. So I guess I will wait to get more current information and then pass it along to you. Surely Santa brought you something that you will have to take out and get wet, and when you do stop in and share your story (and bring pictures).

SURF

We are still hearing that the Whiting are a pretty good bet. Flounder and Pompano can also be found in the mix every now and then. Really you just don’t know what you may get into lately, certain species will come through in spurts, one minute you are catching Whiting then nothing for a little while… then all of a sudden you hook into a nice sized Redfish. Shortly after that you notice someone down the beach appears to have done the same. Then nothing for a while until a school of Bluefish and Spanish mackerel come through and clip off your rig, no problem you had another pole rigged with a Gotcha and fifty pound mono for leader. After you catch a couple of them they are gone as fast as they arrived. It makes for some head scratching when trying to figure out what to take out there with you and what to leave behind but hey it beats not getting bit at all!

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

Speckled trout are getting caught in their usual winter haunts, deeper protected and warmer waters like those in the local canal systems are prime. Watson Bayou and others like it are also good as well as the Intra Coastal waterway. Most have been small or shorts, but if you persist you should be able to find some that are ice worthy. When the tide is moving at a good pace, fishing around docks and bridges is producing Redfish, Sheep head, Mangrove snapper, and Black drum. They like warmer water too so keep this in mind when choosing a spot to fish and even when to go. An afternoon falling tide after a bright sunny morning can bring warmer waters to places like the Hathaway and Tyndall bridge channels, while a rising tide early in the morning after a cold night will do the opposite. Personally, I am counting the days till spring but for now we have to do what it takes to find fish.

12/19/2013

PANAMA CITYBEACH OFFSHORE AND INSHORE

Looking back, last week had a few days nice enough to ease out to one of the bridge spans or Dupont sites. We are still getting plenty of chatter about Flounder and Amberjack all over these “inshore” spots. Large schools of Bonita are working their way along our coast and though they are sorely lacking in the table fare category, they more than make up for it in the strong runs they are capable of when hooked. Small white buck tails cast ahead of them are deadly, use a fast retrieve and have the drag set a little loose or they will break the line. They make great bait for just about anything that swims. A few Black fin tuna have been reported in with the Bonita so you could get a nice surprise while seemingly messing around catching bait. Red grouper, Scamp, Grunts and Black snapper are also getting caught, so for those who think it’s not worth the trip I say think again. Way offshore there are still Wahoo and Mahi to be found, but you have to get far enough out find the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream. With one front after another rolling our way not many have been able to make a trip like that, calm waters and blue skies are pretty much necessary and definitely preferred.

SURF

Big Bluefish, Flounder, Whiting and Pompano have all been present and accounted for. Whiting having the largest head count. A few Redfish, even fewer Spanish, and some Jacks have also been picked up. A surf rig with squid, shrimp or artificial bait like Fish Bites has worked great for the Whiting and Pompano. For the rest of the gang a jig head rigged with your favorite soft plastic or a gold spoon will do the job. The full moon has made for a good evening bite and northerly winds have kept the surf laid down. Put that together with one of our gorgeous winter sunsets and you can’t help but find yourself in a good mood.   

ST ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM

Speckled trout are working their way up into some of your canals and up in the creeks again especially when the temperatures drop into the low forties overnight. But when you get one of those warmer sunny days you can find them over a grass bed or mud flat in two or three feet of water. They are responding well to Mirro dines and Gulp! baits but nothing beats a live shrimp. Redfish, Sheep head, Mangrove snapper and Black drum have put a smile on more than a few faces. They are more likely to be found in a little deeper water around something that holds barnacles or oysters. All manner of live and dead bait works for red and black drum, but live shrimp or small crabs are key for the snapper and sheepies. Encourage everyone to dress in layers and figure it to be colder on the water than it is in on land. You don’t want to have to cut the trip short because your blue lipped crew is contemplating mutiny.

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  • September 30, 2014 7:18 am EDT Location: 30.213N 85.88W Wind Direction: NNE (20°) Wind Speed: 6.0 knots Wind Gust: 9.9 knots Atmospheric Pressure: 29.87 in (1011.5 mb) Air Temperature: 72.1°F (22.3°C) Water Temperature: 80.4°F (26.9°C)

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