As is the case most times of the year, Panama City Beach is offering some fantastic fishing these days. Whether you’re looking to target fish inshore in the bays, along the beaches or near shore in the gulf, there are plenty of great bites out there.
Inshore – in the bays and on the flats – fishing is about as good right now as it has been all year. Large numbers of redfish can be found patrolling the shallows along the shoreline, especially on high tides. Under these conditions, tossing a topwater plug right down along the edge of the reeds where the redfish commonly cruise looking for mullet, bull minnows and pinfish almost always guarantees a hook-up. Areas with flooded reed beds are also great spots to find redfish but you’ll have to go with a weedless soft plastic bait or spoon to successfully get to them. Once the tide starts to fall and water starts to flow out of tidal creeks and backwaters, look for the fish to stack up on the flats just outside of those areas to ambush any baitfish that come pouring out with the tide.
Speckled trout are often found in very close proximity to areas where you would find redfish; however, there are noticeable differences in the patterns involved in catching more of one than the other – primarily location. While trout usually prefer a little more water (redfish will sometimes move off the hill in the deeper water), it’s uncommon to catch many slot-sized trout where it’s extremely shallow. Although the bigger trout are often laid up in water less than a foot deep, the bulk of the fish are going to be holding in areas where the depth is at least 2-3 feet. Trout are very curious and will hit a wide variety of topwaters, sub-surface plugs and jig/soft plastic combinations.
It’s getting to be that time of the year when fall migrations slowly begin to take place and fish will start showing up seemingly out of nowhere. One of the most anticipated migrations is the fall flounder run and, although it hasn’t quite begun yet, I have started catching more and more of them in places that generally tip me off to the fact that they are out and moving. Most of the fish I’ve been catching have been in deeper water around structure and near channels. Swift current has also been a key factor in locating the fish. Heavy hair jigs, soft plastics and live baits on a drop-shot rig have all performed equally well.
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.