Fishing has been very good lately throughout the bays and along the beaches! A wide variety of fish can be caught cruising the clear, emerald green waters around Panama City Beach. Jacks, redfish, pompano, bluefish, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cobia, triple tail, flounder and sharks are all common catches this time of the year. For the more aggressive fish species, topwater lures, spoons, and jigs are enticing a lot of bites.
On the flats, the trout and redfish are getting more and more aggressive. The slowly warming water will only add to their willingness to chase topwaters and other fast-moving search baits. Slot trout have been in three-to-five feet of water over grass while the bigger fish are still running a little shallower (one-to-two feet), mostly in areas of broken grass and sand or on shallow sandbars. Look for the bigger fish to also be hanging out near areas of varying current such as points and the mouths of bayous and creeks. Redfish generally cruise near the shoreline in shallow water when on the flats but they have also been balling up on the back of points, near docks and around other structure in water that’s 10 feet or deeper.
Around the bridges, big bull reds have been chewing pretty good on the surface when small crabs, shrimp, and eels are floating on the tide. The best bite is generally going to be on an outgoing tide; however, if the water is moving, you have a good chance of catching a few good fish at any time. Depending on the night and what is floating around, I will use either a surface-walking lure, plastic shrimp or, if the eels are thick, a snake-shaped bait. You can catch quite a few fish by either casting up current and working your bait back slowly with the tide or waiting until fish blow up and present a bait to them. Both techniques can be very effective.
The St. Andrew Pass has been loaded with many different species including redfish, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, pompano, mangrove snapper and others. Drifting with a shrimp or small bait fish on a bottom rig is the most commonly-used technique to have some success. You can also catch a lot of fish by casting jigs around shallower parts of the jetties or throwing a spoon out into the current and working it back quickly. There’s often a lot of boat traffic in the pass, so be aware of your surroundings and operate with common sense, courtesy and safety in mind.
As always, if you have questions about what’s biting, how to catch them or want to book a trip, give me a call or shoot me an email. Tight lines!