Looks like we are in for more of the same this week. A little sun over the weekend and the first few days of the week and then it’s back to keeping an eye open for pop up storms. That’s the price for living in paradise I guess and it’s one I’m willing to pay, especially with the great fishing going on right now.
Inshore fishermen are seeing some of the best Redfish and Speckled Trout action that can be had in Santa Rosa Sound. East Bay is not too far behind especially if you’re willing to put in the time on the south flats west of Tom King Bayou. Finger mullet, Croakers, and Pinfish have been the go-to bait for most folks due to the lack of shrimp right now. Fished under a popping cork or on the bottom with a Carolina rig are the two must productive live bait presentations. Lure fishermen like myself are finding it a little rough with all the dying grass right now, but if you find some clear areas gold spoons, Mirror Lures, and Z-Man soft plastics have been the top baits. Just remember to use light colored lures when fishing clear water, dark colored water for low light conditions or dark water and white or chartreuse colored lures in any water and you will catch fish.
Spanish are also pretty thick around the Pensacola Pass and are showing up around the drop offs in the sound. I should know as I lost two lures to them on my last trip. Black snapper are also available around most of the bridges and deeper docks in the sound. Small shrimp, small pilchards and small pinfish are the go to bait for them right now. The Navarre and Bob Sykes are two of my favorite places to target them by chumming them away from the bridge using live and crushed up pilchard and menhaden. The action is fast and the fish are big, just be ready for the Spanish, reds, specks, and possible even jacks to show up while using this method.
The pier has been hit or miss for the most part with folks catching a few Spanish, kings, bluefish and the occasional redfish. About the only species consistent have been lady fish and hardtails. This can change from day to day so don’t let yourself get discouraged. Folks fishing the surf are having to contend with June grass so the reports have been few and far between. Those having any luck are having to walk some just to find clear areas once fond they have been catching whiting, bluefish, redfish and ladyfish. Shark fishermen are probably having the hardest time due to the June grass, but I’m still getting plenty of reports of black tips, sandbar and bull sharks being landed nightly.
Like the inshore fishermen, those fishing offshore are seeing some of the best fishing to be had all year long. With amberjack and triggerfish opening up on the first of August everyone has been targeting them heavily. Most of the reports are of amberjack a lot heavier than normal so don’t be surprised if the privet sector reaches their allotment a lot sooner than forecasted. Triggerfish is pretty much in the same boat if the bite continues to produce the quality fish we have been seeing and honestly I don’t see that changing much. The other species being heavily targeted outside the passes have been tarpon along area beaches. Folks are getting plenty of opportunities to jump fish, but as usual, few are being brought to the boat. This hasn’t slowed many of targeting them as this is one of the most exciting in our area right now. Kings, blackfin tuna, and mahi round out the most targeted species on the near shore reefs and wrecks. Further offshore yellowfin, wahoo, and billfish are available to those wishing to target them. Of the billfish being targeted, the swords seem to be the most prolific or more likely, they are the most targeted because of their food quality. Bottom fishermen are also targeting gag, red, scamp grouper, vermillion snapper, and red porgies out along the edge quite successfully to complement their trolling catch. So if you are looking to get in on a great offshore bite now is the time to GET OUT THERE!
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