I say this every year and I’m going to say it now! This is the one of two of the best times of year to get out and enjoy the outdoors along the Emerald Coast. The weather is usually mild making it perfect for hiking, camping, going to the beach, fishing and boating. Bottom line spring is a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors!

Inshore the Spanish are in the bays as well as in the sound. Reds and specks are on the flats following the schools of small baitfish that have finally begun to show up. Even though the cold front last week sent the specks into deeper water the last few days have seen them migrating back onto the flats. This week the low tide is first thing in the morning so the best time to target them would be early afternoon and on into the evening. We just haven’t had that much water movement during the incoming tide. Night fishing around the docks in east bay and the sound should be great on the outgoing tide. With live shrimp hard to come by artificial lures such as small Yo-Zuri 3D minnows, Mirrodine 14MR and Z-Man’s pinfish or redbone paddle tail minnows have been the go to bait. Gold spoons and a DOA artificial shrimp under a popping cork have also been producing. If you’re handy with a cast net small croakers, pinfish and finger mullet are also top baits for the reds and specks. The sheepshead bite is still going strong on the Navarre Pier, Pensacola Pass, 3-Mile and The Garson Point Bridges.

The spanish bite on the Navarre Pier is still going strong. The quality of the fish has also improved over the last week and I don’t see than doing anything but going up. With the large schools of bait around the pier I would have expected to see a few cobias or even a king caught by now. Hopefully we will see a few come over the rails this week. For now spanish, bull reds, sheepshead, black drum, pompano, whiting, squid and plenty of bait are available. Fishing from the surf is producing good numbers of pompano and whiting.

Offshore the amberjack bite has been outstanding! It’s been so good that the recreational season in federal waters will end on the 12:01 on the 24th. State waters will still be open as of this post, but please check for updates to this at MYFWC.COM to see if the state waters will be closed. The other big change this week is that the kings finally showed up along the cost just outside Destin. The bait has been here all winter and with the unusually warm water temperatures they showed up all at once this week. Fishing the nearshore wrecks is still producing good numbers of flounders, but I expect to see that start to fall off some as the flounder migrate back into the bays. So get them now because they won’t be stacked on the reefs much longer. I only know of one cobia being landed along the beach, but I have received several reports from charter and private sources catching the on the offshore wrecks so don’t leave the docks without a couple spinning rods set up ready to pitch a live eel or a cobia jig ready in case one pops up.

Until next time, tight lines!

Want to see your catch featured in our fishing reports please email them to rob@halfhitch.com