There’s something to be said about being able to live, work and play in an area with as much diversity as we have here in Panama City Beach. The month of June offers about as much diversity as we will see all year when it comes to fishing. Hungry predators of all makes and models are on the prowl and often have cruel intentions towards any prey unlucky enough to cross their path.
Each part of our diverse ecosystem provides habitat for its own variety of specialized predators and the flats are no exception. The speckled trout, a perfectly developed shallow water ambush hunter, has shown up in much better numbers of late. Shallow water grass flats have been holding lots of nice, slot- sized fish. For the bigger fish, you should target ambush spots such as sandy potholes, edges of the shoreline and around the mouths of ditches and creeks flowing into the bay.
Redfish are also making a great living in the shallows right now, grazing along shorelines on small shrimp, crabs, eels and a variety of baitfish. During periods of high water, the topwater bite for redfish is especially fun; however, jigs and spoons will get the job done when nothing else will work. You can always throw live baits at them because that works, too.
Nice sized mangrove snappers have taken up residence on shallow water structures throughout the bay. Docks, bridges, seawalls and all other forms of miscellaneous submerged structures can hold fish. I like to target them in 15-20 feet of water, using light tackle and as little weight as possible. Other common catches when targeting shallow structures are sheepshead, redfish, black drum, flounder, red snapper and the occasional grouper.
Along the beaches, the water is as clear and beautiful as you’ll ever see it. The fishing is great and there are a lot of big fish to target – jacks, king mackerel, barracuda, cobia, bull redfish and the mighty tarpon, whose strength and acrobats draw anglers from far and wide. Since you never really know what the next fish to come along will be, it’s best to have several rods rigged up with different offerings. A topwater plug, small and large jigs, and some form of swimbait are typically enough to entice a strike. A bonus pitch rod for a live bait is always a great backup or to throw at finicky fish.
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!