The fishing is great in Panama City Beach these days!
Topwater and surface lures fished over shallow grass flats have been effective early in the morning. Later in the day, switch to jigs and soft plastics fished in potholes and sandbars. On high tides, look for redfish to be laying up or cruising right along the shoreline and in flooded reed beds, tidal creeks and throughout the shallows. As the tide drops out, begin looking for redfish in holes on the flats as well as around docks and other medium depth structures.
The bigger speckled trout are often found in the same environments as redfish and can be caught using similar tactics. Most of the trout I’ve been catching have come on jigs and shrimp patterns over broken bottom or grass flats in about 2-4 feet of water. Schools often stack up in depressions carved out by the water current running over points. Keep in mind that trout usually travel in small groups so if you catch one there are likely more around.
There are some good redfish still being caught around the bridges and in the St. Andrews Pass. Outgoing tides will give you the best shot to find fish feeding on the surface. This time of the year, you might also find a few tarpon mixed in around the bridges as well. They often end up in the bay during the fall, chasing big bait pods. While you may see these fish rolling on the surface, more often than not they will be feeding on the bottom. I typically use soft plastic jerkbaits or swimbaits to target tarpon but they will eat all kinds of live baits as well.
You can catch a wide variety of species on structures right now around the bay. Monster mangrove snappers, red snappers, redfish, black drum flounder… the list just goes on. When and how you fish a particular structure will determine how many of those species you will actually catch. Snappers and redfish will come up in the water column so you can hook them on flatlined or lightly weighted rigs whereas flounder like to be down on the bottom.
As it cools off along the beaches, look for pompano to start cruising the surf along the shoreline. Walking the beach with a jig is a good way to be active, get some exercise and catch dinner in the process. Or you can set up a chair, chunk out a couple of rods baited with sand fleas, drink a cold one and wait for the fish to come to you. Both tactics are effective and enjoyable.
If you have questions about what's biting, how to catch them or would like to book a trip of your own, then give me a call or shoot me an email. Tight lines!