Friday, February 05, 2010

Panhandle Fishing Report 2-5-10

Report for 01/29/2010

Salt Water

BAY FISHING In January, the trout and redfish are in the deeper holes and up into the canals. Live shrimp is the bait of choice with the lightest weight possible to keep your baits under control. For this time of year, the Gulf canal is a great place to fish. You can start past Raffield’s Fisheries continue to the “T”. The Port St Joe Marina is a favorite trout hole with the smaller trout far outnumbering large ones at the onset of January, but will increase in size by the end of the month. Big redfish can be caught trolling Mann’s Stretch 25’s in the bay or throwing big soft plastics. The key for the big reds is to look for any bird activity. Apalachicola Bay will be a hot bed of great large trout action with live shrimp off the edges of the shoals and in the deeper channels. Sheepshead bite will be good in the surf at the beginning of January and will pick up. Also, try the canal and around the oyster beds using fiddler crabs and small shrimp. NEAR SHORE/SURF Whiting will be along the surf in good numbers in January with a few pompano thrown in for good measure. The Stump Hole off Cape San Blas is a favorite among the locals, but along Mexico Beach is often overlooked. Use a 2-hook pompano rig with small circle hooks rigged with a headless shrimp. Use a pyramid weight just heavy enough to hold your rig in place. Big breeder redfish will also be along the shoreline at sunset. Use a 4/0 circle hook Carolina rigged on a 20lb class rod/reel. OFFSHORE Grouper will have moved to the shallower wrecks and reefs as the water temperature drops. The big hogs will be at 150’. Trolling with Mann’s stretch series lures works very well and you will want to use the 25+ series in 30’ or less and the 30+ series any deeper. Of course, using live bait works great, but is increasingly harder to find with the temperature dropping. Frozen cigar minnows/northern mackerel will work well Carolina rigged with 80lb fluorocarbon leader and 10/0 Mustad circle hooks. Triggerfish never leave us and are great table fare. Use a double drop rig with squid on #4 owner fly liner hooks. Amberjack will stick around wrecks and the Air Force Towers. A favorite lure is the Shimano Butterfly jig. Trolling gets a little slow with the temperature drops and your best bet will be Black Fin tuna out past the 20-mile mark. Troll skirted ballyhoo and have some tuna plugs ready when you find a school.

Flounder are still being caught around the inshore wrecks. Use live bull minnows, shrimp or pilchards on a Carolina rig and target the edges of the wrecks. The Amberjack bite has been strong over the bridge spans and any large structures. Grouper season closes February 1st through March 31st. They are still being found well offshore from 20 plus miles out; best bet is to use large live baits.

Sheepshead are being caught more regularly around the jetties with live shrimp and fiddler crabs. The White Trout bite is still very good. They can be found in deep water under the Hathaway and Tyndall Bridges. Use live shrimp on a Carolina rig for best results. Redfish are being caught in very shallow water on the flats in East and West Bays. The Bull Reds are still being caught with live shrimp and pinfish around the jetties. Speckled Trout closes the month of February. For catch and release, concentrate on deep bayous, creeks, the intercostals waterway and the hot water discharge canal.

Fresh Water

The crappie bite will be on this month. Use live minnows or small white/chartreuse jigs around structure for your best shot. The day following a good cold snap is the best time to hit the water. Depot Creek is a local favorite. The largemouth bass will be sluggish, so plastics worked very slow along the drop-offs and in the deeper holes will bring the bass to your boat.

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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