Bay County Outdoors Inshore Fishing Report

By Capt. Nathan Chennaux

If you haven’t had a chance to get out and do some fishing lately you should make time to do so because the flats fishing is absolutely on fire. The fish are stacked up in shallow water throughout the bays primarily around points, small ditches or creeks, mouths of bayous, and other places that have changes in water speed, depth, clarity, or the type of bottom. If you can locate areas where the pinfish are still stacked up heavy in shallow water you will definitely find fish holding in those locations.

The redfish have been running in good sized schools from deep in the bay near the ICW’s all the way out into the gulf along the beaches. I have been choosing different types of areas depending on whether or not I want to target laid up fish or cruising schools. Most of the schools I have been fishing have been on sand flats and I will start down current of a big shallow point and slowly work my way to the point where the schools have been working back and forth. The light colored bottom and clear water allows me to see them from a long way off giving me plenty of room to maneuver into a good position to make a presentation to them. When targeting laid up fish I prefer to fish grass flats with numerous smaller potholes that allow the redfish to get on top of the sand and chill for a while. Often times you will see them with their head down looking for food so a well placed cast usually ends up getting eaten right away.

The speckled trout have also been pretty thick out on the flats in most of the areas with a good mix of sand and grass. I have also been finding a lot of good fish way up the bay outside of the creeks in 2-5 ft of sand/mud bottom. The water closer to the ICWs has been a little darker which has made for some great days throwing top-water plugs. On these low tides its common to find the fish extremely concentrated so once you get into a couple of bites the best thing to do is power pole down and fish that area thoroughly for a while. If the fish stop chewing surface baits try switch it up to a jig for a couple casts before moving on.

Good luck and as always if you have additional questions about what’s biting, how to catch them, or you would like to book a trip give me a call or send me an email.

Capt. Nathan Chennaux


Captainnate@baycountyoutdoors. com

Bay County Outdoors Inshore Fishing Report

By Capt. Nathan Chennaux
The bays are chocked full of fishing opportunities right now for a variety of inshore species.  Redfish are one of the most widespread bites with good numbers of fish in the shallows throughout most parts of the bay. We have been targeting them on all different types of bottom from thick grass beds to barren sand flats but the best concentration seems to be on areas with lots of potholes or with good broken bottom.

 It’s even better if there are varying water depths or a point nearby that has deeper water close. Top-waters will get some of the more aggressive fish to bite if you are fishing low light periods but definitely soft plastics are the way to go. Most of the fish on the flats have been good slot sized fish but some of the bigger fish have been upwards of 30 inches.

There are also quite a few big bull redfish hanging around the massive bait pods that have been in the bays. You can locate the bait schools fairly easy by looking for the big flocks of pelicans feeding on them. The bridges have been a good place to start looking but there are other places throughout the bays as well that I have been having good success. I have been throwing 4 and 5.5 in DOA jerkbaits on ½ oz jigheads and letting the lure drop down below the bait schools where the big redfish have been hanging out.

The speckled trout are out in force right now and as the water temp continues to drop look for those fish to start making their way up into the creeks and bayous. For the time being however lots of them are happy and staging up in schools in depressions on the flats and on the outside edges of the flat where the grass stops and fall off into deeper sand. Most of the trout are eating pinfish and croakers right now so jigs and suspending twitch-baits are the best ways to target them.

Every year when the water temp starts dropping late in the fall the gag grouper move inshore and take up residence on many of the shallow water structures. When I say shallow that can vary from 5 ft up to 40+ feet depending on where the fish end up. I see good sized fish sitting under docks quite frequently as well as on steep drop-offs just on the outside of the flats. Abandoned crab traps, old bridge rubble, along deep seawalls, and around rock piles are some other great places to look for grouper. Depending on the depth you can target them in several different ways. If the water is on the deeper side trolling big lipped plugs is one of the best ways and I catch a ton of grouper that way. Slow rolling big jigs is also a productive way to catch some nice fish. Of course you can also use big live baits and they will draw lots of bites but I find that a lot of the fish I catch on natural baits are smaller fish.

Good luck and as always is you have additional questions about what’s biting, how to catch them, or you would like to book a trip give me a call or shoot me an email.

Capt. Nathan Chennaux


Bay County Outdoors Inshore Fishing Report

By Capt. Nathan Chennaux

If you get out and look you will find some great fishing right now, especially in areas the where the pilchards have started staging up before they make their push into the gulf. Lots of flats within about  5 miles or so of the pass have giant wads of big pilchards sitting in the grass right up along the shoreline. A variety of fish have been getting fat feeding on them including speckled trout, redfish, mangrove snapper, jacks, ladyfish, and flounder. I start out fan casting top water plugs around where the bait is to pick off any aggressive fish willing to chase a lure. Then I will switch to a slow suspending plug that I can twitch and let sit still for a second or two. That little pause is when the plug tends to get choked and it will also allow you to keep the lure in the strike zone for an extended amount of time. Flashy silver colors with green, chartreuse, or black backs have been the best colors but white is always a good color as well.
I have been catching a lot of trout and redfish sitting in medium depth water (3-5ft) around areas of spotty or broken bottom.  With clear skies, and a decently high sun, you can drift or slowly cruise around with the trolling motor and spot fish sitting down in the potholes and make presentations to them. Sometimes they can be very wary especially since the water is clean so take your time and be as stealthy as you can and you can get them to eat. Once you find areas holding though you can always come back early on another day and fan cast the area with top-waters or other long casting plugs.
Just off of the grass in the slightly deeper sand on the outside of the flat and up along shallow sandbars I have begun to see an increased presence of big pompano. I have also been catching them in deep potholes in grass flats and out on shallow sandy shoals in the middle of the bay. We have been catching them on soft plastic jigs while targeting flounder but hair jigs, pompano jigs, sand fleas, and live or dead shrimp are all equally good at getting them to eat.

The spanish mackerel are nowhere near as thick as they were in the bay but the ones I have been catching have been big. There are still a couple big schools of smaller fish out in deep water feeding on red minnows but the big ones have been loners or in small schools cruising the outside of flats with a steep drop of into water deeper that about 6ft. Some of these fish are upwards of 5lbs and they are also the ones most likely to steal plugs from you as they are often in close proximity to where you would be fishing for trout and redfish. I recommend spoons or small shiny lures that you can work at a high rate of speed. If you are going to target them I would recommend a short piece of light wire or at least 40lb floro leader to help with abrasion from their teeth.

If you have additional questions about what’s biting, how to catch them, or you would like to book a trip I encourage you to give me a call or shoot me an email.

Capt. Nathan Chennaux

850 258-7235

Capt. Snapp's Oct Roundup 

October started out with sunny skies and crystal clear water but the recent weather has set us back just a little. Strong winds has limited fishing pretty much to the protected bays and grass flats. The good news, it shouldn’t be long and we can look forward to more fantastic weather. Even with the unsettled conditions fishing has been pretty good. My clients have been doing well with trout and reds throwing artificial and when we could get out of the wind most of my fly fishing clients have managed to put some nice reds in the boat! 

Live bait is just about everywhere, the bays and flats are loaded and it’s a great time of year to catch just about any species and not have to worry about heat stroke! Once the weather settles down the King and Spanish mackerel bite should be on fire near shore and in the bays. Large schools of false albacore will make easy targets just off the beach and provide for some great drag screaming action on light tackle and fly. 

Flounder will begin to make their move toward the pass and just off shore providing some great table fare for those that enjoy catching and gigging them. 

Even with all the recent rain the flats are still clear enough to sight fish. In fact, a little cloudiness to the water can make chasing and getting close enough to those spooky reds a little easier. Sight fishing with light tackle or fly this time of year is awesome! If you find area’s in the bay that are not loaded up with floating grass get out your favorite top plug and get to throwing. My clients have had a blast working over the trout and reds. Of course, if you are targeting reds and considering the recent weather and water conditions the old tried and true “gold spoon” has also been working great! 

For those that may be turning their attention to the upcoming hunting season, please be safe and wear that safety harness “every-time”! I know way to many people that have had close calls to life changing injuries from falls out of their tree stands. In addition to the safety harness, please also consider using the safety ropes that allow you an attachment point going up and coming down so you are secured from the moment your foot leaves the ground. 

I encourage you to give me a call if you have questions about fishing in the Panhandle at (850) 832-4952 or for additional information about Grassy Flats Charters, please visit 

Captain Daniel Snapp

Grassy Flats Charters

“Sight Fishing the Emerald Coast”

(850) 832-4952

Capt. Nate's BCO Inshore Report

With fish settling nicely into their fall transitional patterns you are going to start to notice several ways that fishing is going to change. First off you will notice that the majority of the fish you start to catch are in bigger schools than they would normally be in other times of the year. This can be either a good or a bad thing due to the fact that you are either on them or you aren’t. With far less fish scattered out it is very much feast or famine fishing. You may end up finding yourself covering expansive sections of water before finding a good school of fish, however when you do the bite can be incredible. You are definitely going to want to use the signs that nature provides you to try and narrow down where the fish may be at any given time. Some things to look for may be birds working baitfish on the surface, big schools of mullet acting nervous in the shallows, or the wake that comes off a school of fish as they cruise down the flats just under the surface of the water.

The trout have been schooled up in areas of medium depth grass near points, small creeks, areas or broken bottom, and near drop offs. The morning top-water plug bite has been great in areas with little to no dead floating grass. In areas inundated with grass on the surface a 5.5 inch jerk-bait rigged weedless with no weight will work almost equally as good. Later in the day a suspending twitch-bait or jig fished in deeper water between 3-5 feet will also catch plenty of trout. Average fish are 1-2lbs but some of the fish especially the ones in shallower water have been in the 3-5lb range

Redfish are a very diverse fish in the fact that they act differently in different parts of the bay. Fish that spend the majority of their time on the flats act very different than fish that spend the majority of their time in deeper water around structure like docks and what not. I find that fish that hold to structure or sit in deeper water are far more consistent and move around much less than fish on the flats do. Even with that being said I generally target fish in shallow water when I want to fish artificial lures especially when sight fishing or throwing top water plugs. If you really just want to sit and catch a bunch of the best way is to fish a school in slightly deeper water with some sort of live bait like pilchards, shrimp, pinfish or whatever. They usually are not that picky or skittish and you can catch them one after another until it’s boring or you just get wore out.

As always if you have additional questions about what’s biting, how to catch them, or you would like to book a trip feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email.

Capt. Nathan Chennaux


Bay County Outdoors Inshore Fishing Report

By Capt. Nathan Chennaux

The speckled trout fishing has been fantastic in the bays lately with lots of fish stacking up on points near schools of mullet. The best bite has come early in the morning for the first few hours after sunrise especially if you plan on using top-water plugs. As much as I like watching the fish come up to the surface and eat I have found that sub-surface suspending plugs and jigs have put far more fish in the boat.

I have been wrecking the trout with the Rapala sub-walk in natural color patterns like a silver/green back or anything similar. Additionally, as the day goes on, the pearl white DOA 3 inch shad tail is also going to a ton of bites.

There are lots of redfish in the bay and because I don’t really like to get out and just chunk lures all day to catch them I generally wait until a little later in the day around 9 am or so and go looking for areas of clear water where I can spot fish and cast to them. I like to sight fish over broken bottom, meaning that there is a good mix of grass and sand. The sandy spots, or potholes, give the fish somewhere from which to ambush prey and it gives me and area to spot fish as they are laid up or cruising over the potholes. 80 percent of the time I use soft-plastics on jig-heads for this type of fishing although occasionally I will throw plugs or when the fish are very picky live baits.

There are still lots of bait balls throughout the bay that are loaded with all sorts of hard fighting fish. There is no way to tell exactly what kind of fish are feeding on any particular school until you get to it and start making some casts. You may see a spanish mackerel jump and you may see a tarpon roll but there could be jacks, sharks, big schools of bull reds, the list just goes on. There are a lot of lures you can use that will get some good bites but the first thing I would throw would be a big soft plastic jerk-bait or swim-bait on a jig-head heavy enough to sink through the school and get down to where the bigger fish are. I would recommend that you use a slightly heavier spinning setup, something that can handle a good size fish as some hefty tarpon have been mixed in and caught with decent regularity.

Good luck and if you have any additional questions about what’s biting, how to catch them, or you would like to book a trip I encourage you to give me a call or shoot me an email.

Capt. Nathan Chennaux



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