Friday, October 16, 2009

Panhandle Fishing Report 10-16-09

Report for 10/16/2009

Salt Water


The King mackerel bite is hot this week. Anglers were able to catch limits of King on the buoy line trolling dusters and large spoons. Trolling at slower speeds was most productive. The rest were flat lining both live and dead baits and having tremendous success over the air force tower and many of the other inshore sights. Spanish mackerel and bluefish schools are at the buoy line and around the Air Force tower. A few of schools of Spanish remain along the beaches and in St. Joe Bay. Offshore if you are into some great sport fishing, the red snapper are readily biting and they are big! Use your regular bottom fishing methods or try chumming them to the surface and go for them on light tackle. Remember Red snapper season is closed but that does not prevent you from enjoying the fishing

Big Redfish are moving into the area and it is apparent to those anglers fishing beneath the Tapper Bridge here in St Joe. In addition, this week some large schools of these great sport fish were sighted hanging around the Pompano Point area. Fishing a live shrimp under a Cajun thunder is working the best. The water temperature is dropping and Flounder have begun migrating back out to sea. The Flounder will be feeding readily over the next several days. A few good areas can be found in the surf or your favorite flats area where it transitions from grass to sand.

Sailfish caught by Jessie Parker Sunday, October 11th trolling a naked ballyhoo only 2 miles from the Panama City pass using a Penn 550 with 10lb test line. It was a catch and release after an hour fight!



jumping sailfish


The Pompano have showed up along the beaches. There have been some reports of a few good fish being caught. Best baits remain live or frozen sand fleas and live and frozen shrimp. Pompano jigs will catch them too. As the water continues to cool, the Pompano bite will increase. There are a lot of Ladyfish (skipjack), Spanish mackerel and Bluefish to be caught as well. Bright spoons, Gotcha plugs, Straw Rigs, Top Water and regular plugs will catch them. Live and frozen Shrimp will take them too. Some Redfish have showed up. Some will be slot size fish but for the most part they will be over the slot. Live, frozen and cut baits, especially cut mullet will catch them.

Trout remain on the grass flats in three to five feet of water. If you have no luck there try to go deeper, say five to nine feet. You can catch your biggest Trout early and late in the day on top water baits and on live baits. Live Shrimp, Tiger Minnows, Pinfish, Menhaden and Mullet all catch Trout. Now is a good time of year to throw the top water baits early in the morning for the bigger Trout. Redfish can be caught on the same live baits and artificial lures. Work all visible and underwater structure to increase your chances at landing a red. Skipjack, Jack Crevalle, Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel and Flounder can all be caught in the bay until the water cools way down. The Flounder fishing should start to pick up with the gradually cooling water. Finger Mullet, Bull Minnows and Tiger Minnows are hard to beat. Mangrove Snapper on are the bridge pilings, tie on a 12” piece of 10# to 12# fluorocarbon leader, a #1 hook, ½ oz. sinker and a live shrimp. This rig will take Sheepshead to. King Mackerel will be in the bays from now until the water gets to cold. Try slow trolling live baits in the pass, along the three mile bridge and in front of the Palafox Pier should prove productive. These can be some large fish. Don’t overlook trolling a big Rapala bait for these. You can also anchor and chum for them with Menhaden Oil or cut up Menhaden. Put your live bait under a balloon and wait for Mr. King to come along.

There have been some good reports of King Mackerel and Spanish mackerel caught right off the beach in the last few weeks. Live Cigar Minnows and Blue Runners (hard tails) are the bait of choice. If there are large schools of bait around the King and Spanish Mackerel are not far away. There have been a few Sailfish caught in the last week or two by some Kayak anglers. They have been incidental catches while fishing for Kings. This isn’t the norm, but on occasion it does happen. Jack Crevalle have also been caught while fishing for Kings and Spanish. Hold onto your rod! The big Redfish have begun to show up in the pass. Jigs, cut bait and live bait all take these fish. You may encounter a slot Red while fishing, but be sure to put the big ones back. This is a good time of year to look for the big schools to be on top. Try looking for birds working the schools. Throw top water baits for some great action or a large spoon or jig. For the fly rod enthusiasts this is prime time. Live baits or jigs will catch them to.

The bottom fishing for Snapper and Grouper remains very good. Live bait and frozen bait will work on both. Don’t be surprised if an Amberjack shows up, especially if you are jigging with Butterfly jigs or fishing with live Hardtails. Fish your live baits right on the bottom for the AJ’s. Black Snapper have been on all the reefs this year. Use live shrimp and live Tiger Minnows. However, they will eat the same baits as Red Snapper. I have had some reports of Cobia being caught over some live bottom here lately. I have had some good reports of Blackfin Tuna being caught while trolling for Wahoo and Dolphin. Look for weed lines and floating debris if you are interested in catching some Mahi Mahi, Wahoo and other species.

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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