Friday, June 05, 2009

Panhandle Fishing Report 6-4-09

Report for 06/04/2009

Salt Water

We had great weather over the last weekend and the king mackerel bite was on over the Air Force tower and out around the buoy line and car bodies. The bite has slowed though over the last couple of days due to the weather fronts, but the kings will be here all summer long. Trolling widgets and dusters with cigar minnows is everybody’s favorite and is a good producer.

It is taking some searching to find the keeper grouper without the interference from red snapper. The main bite has been over the natural bottom starting at about 180’. Live baits were the main choice, but butter flied northern mackerel and cigar minnows are always a good back up. Live baits are still plentiful around the inshore structures. The Snapper bite is good for this first week of opening season and excellent bag limits reported by most anglers who targeted them.

Dolphin are showing up at about 10 miles plus. Try trolling skirted ballyhoo or Boone Sea Minnows to pick them up.

Redfish and trout are reported everyday by anglers now and the quality of the catch is improving steadily. Working the area south of Blacks Island to the area around Pigs Island is a great first stop for both of theses species. Use free lined LY’s/shrimp or a live bait under a Cajun thunder. Always pay special attention to the deeper holes as most fish are hanging out at the bottom of the holes. For artificial, no change here, use the white gotcha grubs with the pink tail and work it along the bottom and for the top water, use the Mirrolure Top Dog/Top Dog Jr. in the bone color. Also, try the DOA deadly combo under a rattling cork.

Tripletails are plentiful and hungry in Apalachicola. Work the weed beds and around under crab buoys...

Red Snapper are very plentiful over the inshore wrecks and hard bottom areas. Wahoo are being caught from 20-40 miles out. Hi speed trollers, like the Yo Zuri Bonita, are a sure bet. King mackerel are being caught in great numbers. They are being caught steadily around the Whistle and Weather buoys trolling and free-lining cigar minnows. Several reports of Mahi Mahi being caught from 6-8 miles out are coming in. Spanish mackerel are biting sporadically out on the beaches. Grouper are still biting well from 7-10 miles out. Use large live baits to get past the Snapper! Lots of AJ’s are still being caught around the 100 foot mark over bridge spans and large wrecks.

Flounder are being caught on the beach close to the state park using live bull minnows. Ladyfish, Bluefish, and Spanish mackerel are biting good at the jetties on spoons and Gotcha Plugs. Mangrove Snappers and Sheepshead are still being caught off the rocks with live shrimp. Redfish have been found on the flats in East Bay; while Bull Reds are still being caught with live shrimp and pin fish around the jetties. Trout are being caught on the flats with topwater lures early and live shrimp under a cork later.


We are now into June. Hopefully the weather will stabilize a little this month and offer some fishing opportunities. Area fishermen have been experiencing some of the best fishing in recent memory. We should see good numbers of Jack Crevalle in the 20# range as well as small schools of bull Redfish. The Jacks are hitting best on top water poppers and Rapala Skitterwalks. The Black Tip Shark bite is also heating up. Live Hardtails or cut mullet have been the go to bait. The Pompano bite has remained steady with most fish being landed on fresh dead shrimp and live sand fleas when you can find them. On calmer days Kayak fisherman can reach the King Mackerel just at the drop off in 20’ of water. Look for the schools of threadfins and cigar minnows and troll with deep diving hard baits. Try trolling live baits around these baitfish schools as well.

Area anglers can expect to see great Trout fishing around the grass flats from Tiger Point to the grass flats just east of the bridge. Redfish and Flounder are also in the same waters with most of the fish caught on live shrimp under a popping cork. Also try using a 1/4oz jig tipped with a GULP! shrimp or jerk shad under the same popping cork. There have also been plenty of Trout and Redfish landed in East Bay from the Garcon Point bridge up to the power lines crossing the entrance to the East River.

King Mackerel are still the hot bite near shore and continue to bite strong in and around the passes and inshore reefs in 60 to 80 feet of water. Trolling or fly lining live cigar minnows when anchored up has been the top producer. Dolphin continue to show up in increasing numbers especially around anglers fishing for bottom species. Just remember to have a rod ready and rigged with a pitch bait when they do show up. The near shore reefs and wrecks are also producing good numbers of Amberjack, Grouper, Black Snapper, Lane Snapper and Triggerfish. The Grouper are being caught on large pinfish, threadfins or hardtails with their tail clipped to make it easier for the grouper to catch them.

Red Snapper has been the top predator on most reefs and wrecks this week and we should continue to see more of the same this upcoming week. They are hitting jigs, live bait and deep running hard baits trolled over shallow reefs and wrecks. Amberjack are almost on every wreck from 60’ on out with the largest fish being caught in deeper water of 100’ or more. With all the bad weather last month the Grouper have almost been left alone. Look for them on the near shore reefs and wrecks. Fish in the 10# to 15# range will hit pinfish, threadfins and hardtails. You will have to remove the tails from the Hardtails; otherwise they are next to impossible to get to the bottom on a light weight. The amount of debris in the water has also increased this last week. So has the amount of Dolphin and Triple Tail on it. King mackerel are being caught daily around the mouth of the passes and buoy lines on cigar minnows slow trolled or free lined. If you can get out the blue water bite is still smoking hot. Yellow Fin, Black Fin and Wahoo are being caught around most of the deep water oil rigs. Poppers, jigs and slow trolled ballyhoo continue to be the go to baits. The bigger fish are coming off the bridled Bonito or large Blue Runners bump trolled around the rigs.

Fresh Water
Fly-fishing action is really turning on in the river. Try Howard’s creek. The bream are biting in bear man creek. The bass action is starting to pick up too. The bass are feeding on shad and other baitfish. Don’t pass up any opportunity to throw crank baits. Many of the fish are between one ½ to 2 pounds. Although there is, the occasional 4-6 pound fish mixed in with them. Generally, this time of year the best baits you could be fishing are the soft plastics. This is the time of year when the fish start moving out to their summer haunts. So look for offshore weed lines, humps, channel bends, and just anything that could attract the baitfish right now.

Half Hitch Tackle
2206 Thomas Dr
Panama City, FL 32408

Fishing Report prepared by Half Hitch Tackle Staff.

The Captains Corner Fishing Report is provided by local charter captains and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Half Hitch Tackle.

This report is dedicated to the memory of Al Hubbard.
Al Hubbard was a field editor for Florida Sportsman magazine, an outdoor writer for the News Herald and a board member of the Florida Outdoor Writer's Association.
Mr. Hubbard was also the owner of Al's Outdoors Outfitting Services.

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