We’ve experienced quite a few thunderstorms over the past couple of weeks, but the bite around the bay has been really good. Speckled trout are stacked up in areas that transition quickly from shallow grass to deeper sand. The presence of bait and current are definite giveaways when looking for feeding fish. On falling tides, I target the upcurrent side of points and let the bait drift naturally across the point with the tide. Topwater “walk-the-dog” baits and artificial shrimp have been the doing the bulk of the work but, if the fish are still slow to bite, you can pitch live bait such as mullet or pilchard and that should get them chewing. The redfish are all over the place, in both deep and shallow water. Deeper water fish are typically more consistent when it comes to getting them to eat; however, they are more difficult to stay on top of since they commonly chase big bait pods around the bay. In addition, they are generally larger in size with lots of over-slot fish mixed in. In the shallows, there are lots of nice schools of slot fish but they have definitely been heavily pressured and can be skittish at times. I recommend downsizing line, leader and lure and trying to make presentations from as far as you can accurately cast. The topwater bite has been decent early in the mornings but jigs or spoons are the way to go if you want to catch good numbers of fish later in the day. The bull reds around the bridges are transitioning from eating crabs to feeding on the piles of red minnows located throughout the bays. If you don’t see them feeding on the surface, then you can use your bottom machine to look for them under birds or anywhere that you find baitfish near the surface. I try to have a topwater plug and a heavy compact jig ready for either situation. The mangrove snapper bite has been fantastic, with fish up to four pounds being caught in the bay. I have had the best success chumming small rock piles and structures in 5-15 feet of water near steep dropoffs. If they are there, it won’t take long for them to come up and start blowing up on injured chum baits. I normally flat line glass minnows or pilchards to get them chewing and switch to medium-sized pinfish to entice the bigger bites. 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.
July Fishing Report
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 1:00 PM by Capt. Nathan Chennaux
Captain Nathan is a USCG licensed captain, fishing guide, and outdoor writer at Bay County Outdoors. He fishes out of Panama City Beach, FL.
Captain Nathan can be reached at (850) 258-7235 or CaptainNate@BayCountyOutdoors.com