Wow, the fishing around Panama City Beach has been “lights out” lately! Bait fish schools are thick and the fish are chewing so there are great bites to be found in the bay, on the flats, and along the beaches.
Early morning topwater action on the flats is still yielding lots of redfish. Solitary fish and small schools are cruising along the shoreline or laying up in sandy potholes. The bigger groups of fish have been in water between 3-10 feet deep and a lot of schools have been holed up under docks, tucked tightly underneath whatever shade the dock might provide. Most of the time, you can catch dockside redfish with soft plastic jigs but, if they are picky, then a medium-sized pinfish with a light split shot will usually do the trick.
To catch the big bull reds, target the bridges on the bottom half of a strong outgoing tide. You can also catch them in the St. Andrews Pass on the bottom around points or over submerged rocks.
There’s some great speckled trout action, too. Look for specks in 2-5 feet of water around grass flats, points, the mouths of creeks and bayous, oyster bars and other similar features that give them cover and a place to feed. Artificial shrimp, jigs, surface lures and all types of live baits will work well on trout.
There are still lots of mangrove snappers around all types of structures. Inshore, target them in about 5-10 feet of water but keep in mind that some of the better fish have been close to deeper water. Drop offs with good current and some type of structure are good places to check. If you have pilchards, try throwing out a few free baits to see if anyone is at home – but have one rigged and ready to toss if you see fish busting the chum or coming up to the surface.
Although I have not really been targeting them, I’ve been catching some really nice Spanish mackerel when fishing for redfish on drop offs in about 10 feet of water. Although they haven’t shown up in big numbers, a couple of four pounders here and there have been nice bonuses. For whatever reason, jigs and fast retrieves have yielded bites.
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!