OffshoreThe bottom bite is good but there are quite a few species that are closed right now. Come March 1 trigger fish will re open, gag grouper won’t re open till June 1 in our area, amberjack is still “up in the air” you will have to stay tuned. Red snapper is set to open in federal June 1 but state waters are TBD as of right now. However vermillion, white and black snapper as well as Black Sea bass have done their part to fill in. Also there are still some flounder on the inshore wrecks so keep that in mind. A few kings have been reported already and Spanish are here along with squid and bonito.InshoreThe Spanish have showed right behind the squid, both in the bay and along the beach. A few sheep head are getting caught, not any big numbers yet but that could happen any day now. Big redfish in the pass and under the big bridges, mix in a few black drum too. Speckled trout in the back waters and out in the grass flats some. A lot of mangrove snapper around docks, rocks and marinas...
Trolling Near Shore:
A good number of King Mackerel are being spotted on wrecks, and reefs from 1 to 10 miles are producing best on Yo-zuri and Rapalla lures. Spanish mackerel are being caught in the bay, harbor, around the pass and along the sandbars on straw rigs and spoons. Blackfin tuna are mixed in with the Kings; troll a cedar plug behind a bird for the best action.
Trigger and Mingo snapper are plentiful use fish cut squid or mackerel on a two hook circle hook rig over reefs (80-160ft deep). Red grouper and Scamp can be found over the deeper edges (160-250ft deep) use whole squid or cigar minnows for bait. Black snapper can be caught by chumming over inshore wrecks, large rocks as well as the natural bottom.
Fish for Redfish near the bridges and jetties on live shrimp. Troll for Spanish with straw rigs and spoons. Sheepshead are being found around bridge pilings and deep water docks. Trout have been seen on the flats and seem to be liking topwater...
A lot of firsts for the year have fallen in the last few weeks for anglers fishing the Navarre Pier. First blackfin, the first king, first Spanish, first pompano and first cobia are all in the history books. Folks fishing the surf have also been having pretty good luck with reds, pompano, and whiting. Not to be left out those fishing the bays are starting to see plenty of reds and specks on the flats. All in all, it truly looks like spring is here at least two weeks early.
The early spring has slot reds all over the shallow grass flats on the north side of the sound the bulls are hanging out in the drop-offs. Specks are also on these same drop-offs as they migrate out of the rivers and canals. Sheepshead are on many of the deeper docks and bridges in the sound, but can also be targeted around the power lines over in East Bay. The waters around the power lines are also holding slot reds as well as more than a few white trout. My most productive presentation this week has been to fish...
-St Joe Bay- Windy conditions have kept most anglers off the water for the first half of the week. However, the last few days have been pretty nice compared to early in the week. The bite has slowed down, but fish are still being caught. Sheepshead have been caught on just about any kind of structure in the bay. Some large spawning females have been pulled in 20+ ft of water. Some trout and redfish have been caught sporadically around the marina and the canal. Live shrimp should produce a bite if fish are in the area you're fishing. If that's not working, throw on a Gold or Silver Spoon. Try different retrieve rates and fan cast to cover plenty of water. If fishing the flats hit every pothole in the area, ledge's, and channels between two flats.
-Cape San Blas- A few fish are being caught; whiting, some redfish, and a shark here and there. Cut bait and shrimp have been the most successful. Fishbites will work as well.
-Offshore- No Reports this week.