Thursday, June 24, 2010

Panhandle Fishing Report 6-18-10

Report for 06/18/2010 Salt Water

There is a very good Snapper and Grouper bite on. All it takes is getting over a wreck or reef and dropping down your favorite bait. A few Cobia are getting caught while bottom fishing (how cool is that?) so keep your eyes open and have a rod rigged with that in mind. Amberjack are waiting to test your tackle over any of your larger wrecks and bridge spans, the deeper the better. How about a nice screaming run from a King mackerel? Free line a live bait while drifting, or troll a deep diving plug or duster with a cigar minnow, I’m sure one will find your offering irresistible. Beeliners, Triggerfish and White Snapper (Porgy) can help you fill the box, try in the 120 ft range and use frozen squid. Be sure to look close at any weed lines or floating debris for Mahi Mahi, they can be a nice addition to your day out on the water. There have been some large Threadfin Herring as well as Cigar minnows in and around the pass (great offshore baits). A Sabiki rig will catch all you need. It is a short Snapper season unfortunately so don’t miss out, get out there and get ‘em up!

two king mackerel

Austin Morris with a 46" King Mackerel caught on flat line while fishing bridge decks 10 miles from pass out of Panama City!

Spanish mackerel and Bluefish are still here, and you’ll find them following the large schools of Menhaden. Troll Mackerel trees or cast Gotcha Plugs and Spec rigs for them. Of course you will probably get “bycatch” of some Ladyfish but hey they make a good cut bait. The Bull Reds and Black Drum are still being caught with live shrimp and pinfish around the jetties and bridges, even better baits would be LY’s or Pilchards (lots of which have shown up recently). Lots of Speckled Trout and younger Redfish are moving onto the flats especially at daybreak. If throwing a topwater wears you out, use shrimp under a popping cork or free line a live minnow. Good numbers of Flounder are being caught, look for a mottled bottom (a mix of grass and sand). Shrimp and bull minnows make good baits as well as a Gulp! bait on a jig head. A good way to fish for Flounder is to retrieve them real slow on the bottom.

Good numbers of King mackerel being caught especially when bait is schooling around the pier. Spanish mackerel, Bluefish, and Ladyfish can also be found harassing bait schools and will hit a good spoon or Gotcha plug. Cobia have been seen cruising with schools of Tarpon, either of which would make your day. Large Sharks have been the cause of a few anglers night sweats. Surf fishing has been pretty good if you can stand the heat, daybreak and dusk are good ideas for two reasons (better bite and less heat). You could find some Pompano, Whiting, Ladyfish, Spanish, Bluefish and you may hook into a Jack Crevalle or the occasional Redfish cruising the beach. There have been a lot of small Sharks getting caught too, so don’t forget the pliers!

Here is what we know about Oil, where you can fish and the pass as of 11:30am Thursday morning. State waters are open out to nine miles, federal waters are closed. Some tar balls have washed up west of the pass and some ribbons of oil spotted to the southwest of the pass. The county is working on a plan to close the pass during times of incoming tide but it will remain open on the outgoing tide for now.

Red snapper are as good as I have ever seen on most all the near shore reefs.
Kings are good trolling the same area as the snapper and are also being caught drifting a cigar minnow while bottom fishing.
The boats that fished Wednesday had nice catches of grouper, black snapper and amberjack also.
In the bay the reds and trout are very good and numerous reports of flounder.
On the pier they have been getting kings, Spanish, hard tails, and ladyfish.
A few tarpon have started to show up along the coast also.


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 Hard tails 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 ¼ oz 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 hard tails. You will have to remove the tails from the Hard tails; 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.

Fresh Water

No Report This Week!

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.

No comments: