Friday, July 23, 2010

Panhandle Fishing Report 7-23-2010

Report for 07/22/2010

Salt Water

State Waters out to 9 miles are still open for fishing; while Federal Waters have been closed. There is still plenty of good fishing within the 9 mile limit, bring along some chum to get them off the bottom and turn the bite on. Good sized Snapper are out there waiting for you. They will hit frozen bait readily, but larger live baits seem to get larger Snapper and you might find a Grouper as well. Amberjack are a good bet and the chum works well for them also, there is nothing like getting them to the top and sight fishing for them with light tackle. Your larger wrecks and bridge spans will hold better sized fish. Plenty of King Mackerel and Bonita around, free line a live bait while drifting, or troll a deep diving plug or duster with a cigar minnow, you should have no trouble getting in on the action. Beeliners, Triggerfish, White Snapper, Black Seabass and Black Snapper are all out there as well, so be ready to change tactics when your other limits are filled. Also, be sure to look close at any weed lines or floating debris for Mahi Mahi, they will hit a good buck tail jig or gold spoon but again you may have to chum to get them turned on.

Mangrove Snapper are all over the jetties right now in large numbers. They will hit a live shrimp or Menhaden. Rig it real light to make it look like it is drifting with the current. Spanish mackerel and Bluefish are still here, and you’ll find them following the large schools of Menhaden and other baits. Just look for the birds diving, they’ll give their location away. Troll Mackerel trees or cast Gotcha Plugs, spoons and Spec rigs for them. Large Red and Black drum will be hanging in deeper water with a good current, pinfish, finger mullet, LY’s and Pilchards make a great bait for them. Trout and smaller Redfish are a good bet at daybreak or dusk in the grassy flats. If throwing a top water wears you out, use shrimp under a popping cork or free line a live minnow. If you find some potholes in the grass fish on the bottom and drag the bait real slow looking for Flounder. Bull Minnows, finger Mullet and pinfish make good baits as well as a Gulp! bait on a jig head.

The King Mackerel bite has been very good at the pier. Ladyfish and Bluefish are plentiful and easy targets for the kids so you should be able to keep them interested. With a little more skill you can get in on the Sheepshead that are hanging around the pilings. They love fiddler crabs and live shrimp but they are real good at stealing bait without getting hooked. There has been plenty of bait around the pier lately which is keeping the action hot. It is still likely to see a Cobia, they seem to be on their way back away from the spill area. Tarpon are also a decent bet, they will be following schools of larger bait, look for their tell tale roll. Shark fishing at night has been producing some nice catches. Fishing in the surf will likely produce some of the same catches listed above if you can get a bait out there where they are. In a little closer you may catch Pompano, Whiting and the occasional Redfish cruising the beach. There have been a lot of small Sharks getting caught too, so don’t forget the pliers.

Fishing is still great.
Snapper are still biting well but it is unfortunate that they close Friday July 23rd.
Kings have been very good trolling along the beach and on near shore reefs as well a few off the Okaloosa island pier.
Amberjack have been plentiful even though you can only fish state waters.
We have heard of some red and gag grouper coming from the wrecks along the west beach.
In the bay, plenty of reds on the flats and around all the bridges on any tide change. Trout are biting in the early morning and later afternoon on the flats and then at night around dock lights.
In the surf there are plenty of ladyfish, hardtails and a few blues during the day. At night there is a good supply of small sharks.

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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