Inshore/Gulf

Bay County Outdoors Inshore Fishing Report

By Capt. Nathan Chennaux
9/16/2019


It's beginning to feel a lot like fall and conditions in the bay are ripe for some really good fishing. Bait-fish schools can be found throughout the bays and its a safe bet that fish will be out there taking full advantage of them. On the grass flats you can expect to catch a mix of speckled trout, redfish, bluefish and depending on the location and depth some spanish mackerel and flounder. Early in the morning, or even later if you have good cloud cover, you can do very well using surface or topwater lures. There are many good choices on the market today but a couple of timeless go to plugs are the Rapala Skitter-Walk and the Storm Chug-Bug. If the fish aren't reactive to the topwater offerings a tried and true  jig head and soft plastic bait combo almost always produces. 




Sandy drop-offs on the outside of the grass flats have been the hunting grounds for a wide variety of fast swimming, hard fighting fish. They include jack crevalle, spanish mackerel, ladyfish, redfish, and the occasional pompano. The best thing about these fish is that typically they all respond very well to artificial lures. As a matter of fact you would be hard pressed to find a better top-water eat than a school of 25lb jacks fighting over a big chug bug ripped across the surface as fast as you can reel it. It's really exciting stuff. Similarly, when the redfish get aggressive they will also get after a surface bait pretty good. Just about any of the fish in the group can be consistently caught on soft plastic or buck-tail jigs with a fairly erratic retrieval.



Structures in all depths of water seem to still be holding good numbers of mangrove snappers along with some increasing numbers of flounder. Its getting to be that time of the year when we start to see a lot more of those highly sought after, great tasting, flat fish. I like to target them in sandy pot-holes and shallower drop-offs and edges with jigs but once they get into water deeper than about 20 feet it is far more productive to use live baits like bull minnow or finger mullet. I like a drop shot style rig when drifting in areas of heavy current but if Im stationary and fishing for moving fish then I like a carolina style rig. 




Some of the most fun you can have this time of the year is to run around the bay targeting big bait balls in the middle of the bay. You never know what you might find lurking underneath them. You may see ladyfish or spanish feeding on them but rest assured there are always bigger fish laying in wait for an opportunity for an easy meal. Common catches include large jacks, bull reds, and many different species of sharks. If the bait school that is being fed on is near or over structure its very common for gag groupers and even red snappers for get caught up in the action as well. 


Good luck and as always 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

Captainnate@baycountyoutdoors.com

Phone: 850-258-7235





Bay County Outdoors Inshore Fishing Report

By Capt. Nathan Chennaux
3/20/19



Spring is hers and spring like fishing can be found throughout the bays. Speckled trout have started moving out of the deeper parts of the bayous and creeks towards the mouths where they have congregated in good numbers. The best bite has been on jigs fished near the bottom but plenty of other lures will get it done as well. When the fish are really thick and feeding I will usually go to a larger bait to try and weed out some of the bites from smaller fish. Bigger, solitary trout will be mixed in around the edges of the small fish in shallower water and there will also be some fish that are loners cruising the shore-lines looking for mullet schools. 


Also cruising shallow shore-lines are schools of good sized redfish. Most of the redfish are upper-slot fish with several fish mixed in up to 30". I target them mainly midday after the sun starts warming the shallows and the fish get a little more inclined to chase and eat a lure. I typically use DOA Lures or Storm 360 Coastal soft plastic baits presented to fish that I see or a feature that looks like it might house a good fish. In addition to the plentiful amount of redfish in the shallows there are also big schools in deeper water hanging around big points. The best way to find which points are holding fish is to look for activity of various kinds in the area. That could be other kinds of fish feeding, birds working baits, or baitfish schools that look or act nervous. At this point I will use my Humminbird  Down and Side Imaging Sonar to look for fish in the area. Once fish are located on the sonar simply Spot-lock with your Ulterra trolling motor and start fishing. 



There are a bunch of sheepshead around at the moment making their way toward the pass. Im sure there are already plenty of them there but on a daily basis I have had schools of them swim by me on the flats headed that direction. They are one of the hardest fish around to try catch in clear, shallow water but when they get into deeper water with structure they let their guard down and chew pretty good. Live or dead shrimp or small crabs fished on the bottom work the best but sometimes if they are feeding good you can catch them on natural colored soft plastic jigs. 

Good luck. 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 shoot me an email.

Capt. Nathan Chennaux

850-258-7235

Captainnate@baycountyoutdoors.com





Bay County Outdoors Inshore Fishing Report

By Capt. Nathan Chennaux
12/1/2018




Despite the much cooler weather the fishing has been really good. Frequent cold fronts tend to have fish moving around the bay searching for food. This offers an advantage to anglers and can make for some action packed fishing. One of my favorite fish to target inshore late in the fall is gag grouper and as the water temp continues to drop you will see more and more of them coming inshore from the gulf. I typically do best on structures in 20-35 feet however I have caught big gags in water as shallow as about 8 feet. Usually when they are shallow they are sitting right on the edge of a drop off, or near the end of a dock with deep water close. With all the new debris scattered along the bottom from Hurricane Micheal, trolling a Rapala Mag Rap 25 a great way to cover water and find new structure. I keep a constant eye on my Humminbird Solix Side Imaging looking for good areas littered with debris that I can drift with DOA Swimming Mullet or drop big live baits on. Typical size for these fish will be between 20" and 30" and you can keep them through the end of the year.




Around the pass there has been a bunch Spanish Mackerel and bluefish to keep anglers busy. Small jigs and spoons fished at a medium to high rate of retrieval will get the job done and those fish pretty much always eat. If you are fishing close to the jetties, you can expect to catch some redfish, black drum, and I have even seen the occasional pompano being caught.



On the flats the fishing has been either really good or its been kind of tough. The fish are getting in bigger and bigger schools so catching fish depends a lot more on putting together solid patterns than it does just covering water. The speckled trout are much more plentiful in slightly deeper water between 3-7 feet deep but the better fish are still going to be caught in water less than 3 feet deep. I like a good mixture of grass and sand near a point, bayou, creek mouth or some other feature that can alter the current and give fish a place to hunt and or hide. While looking for big trout in shallow water I always keep an eye open for tailing redfish or schools of fish pushing a wake.  When I spot them, I slowly close to within casting distance and make a presentation near the school but not in the school. Its important not to spook the fish otherwise they will be gone and you will have to start the process all over again once they settle down. Small spoons and jigs that cast far and accurate while landing softly are preferred. 




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 I encourage you to give me a call or shoot me an email. 

Capt. Nathan Chennaux

(850) 258-7235

Captainnate@baycountyoutdoors.com






Bay County Outdoors Inshore Fishing Report

By Capt. Nathan Chennaux
9/1/2018


Flats fishing has been very good in many parts of the bay especially where the water is starting to clear up. Although it still has that tannic color to it the water clarity itself has improved tremendously making some sight fishing  possible. If you plan on sight fishing you definitely want to try do it on an incoming tide when you have clean gulf water pushing into the bay. Once the water starts to drop and the dirty water from up the bay near the intercostals start flushing out water clarity will get suffer. 



The speckled trout bite has been really good around points that get a good amount of tidal flow and where the bottom has some undulation. The bigger fish like to hang out in the slightly deeper spots in between sandbars or grass beds and ambush shrimp, mullet, and other baitfish like pilchards or glass minnows as they get swept around the point with the current. If you pull up very quietly on the boat, or on foot, often times you can see several large trout laid up together or in very close proximity to each other. I like to target them with shrimp patterns or weedless rigged swimbaits. Natural presentations are key to consistently getting the bigger fish to eat. When I get just within range I put down my Minn Kota Talons and make presentations up current allowing the lure to drift naturally through the area the fish are at. If you do it right and use the right lure they should eat because thats why they are there in the first place. 


The redfish bite continues to be really good for me. I have been targeting them a few different ways with a combination of live and artificial baits. When targeting schools in deeper sand I have been stopping the boat and live chumming with pilchards or menhaden to bring the school to me. Once you get the school to you and feeding it doesn't really matter what you use to catch them but you will catch more on the live bait than you will anything else. Not to say you wont catch bunch on lures because you can but the live bait is a sure thing. When targeting fish in the shallows along shorelines or on skinny grass flats I prefer to use the trolling to cover water and look for spots where fish should be at. Some examples would be areas of flooded marsh grass, points on the outside of a small ditch or creek, sandbars, potholes, areas or broken bottom, and any other transition points. I generally use top waters or soft plastics on a light lead when fishing these types of areas. 



If you are just looking for action there is a pile of bait out in the middle of the bay and any one of those bait balls could have a ton of hungry fish on it. It pays to stop and throw a few different lures into the school a few time and see what happens. I would start with small shiny spoons or plugs worked very fast for the more aggressive fish and probably also toss a bigger jig through to see if any bigger fish like bull reds or tarpon were hanging out underneath them.



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 I encourage you to give me a call or shoot me an email. 



Capt. Nathan Chennaux

(850) 258 7235

Captainnate@baycountyoutdoors.com






Capt. Snapp's July Update
6/3/2018


Wow, what an exiting summer so far. I have been extremely busy. Locals and vacationers are enjoying what the beautiful Panama City area has to offer and it seems like everyone wants to go fishing! I have had numerous calls and instant messages on Facebook inquiring about the area and how to target specific fish. I appreciate the questions and enjoy talking to everyone and of course listening to all of the fishing stories. 

Up on the flats, the red fish and trout bite has been either on or off for a lot of anglers from what I’m hearing. Hopefully you have been one of the lucky ones and have been able to find and stay on fish. This time of year can be difficult due to the heat, however, if you get an early start or fish late in the afternoon you can increase your odds of catching some fish. If you have a problem with artificial lures you may want to try live bait. The bait has been thick in a lot of the bayous and out around some of the points throughout the bays. Get a livewell full and fish them on the bottom, under a popping cork, or simply just free line them over a grass flat or drop off. If needed, throw some out into the water to turn the bite on. 



Off the beaches there are several species to target this time of year. Tarpon, Sharks, Jacks, Kings, and Bonita all will make for a great day on the water. These fish can be targeted with live bait, artificial lures, and my personnel favorite, fly fishing! For details on rigging, give me a call or stop by a local tackle store for everything you will need. 

It should go without saying, but this time of year you need to stay hydrated. Take in plenty of fluids throughout the day.  

Good luck! 

As always, 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 http://grassyflatscharters.com/. 


In addition, checkout “Grassy Flats Charters” on Facebook for the most recent pictures and video’s along with “Grassy Flats Charters” on Youtube and Instagram. 




Would you like to be a part of Bay County Outdoors? Have a cool fish story or picture? 
Email us: Info@baycountyoutdoors.com

Boat Ramps:
Panama City Beach

St. Andrews State Park 4607 State Park Lane (850) 233-5140
Lake Powell Boat Ramp 23104 Lake Powell Rd
Dolphin Boat Ramp Dolphin Dr 
Bay Point Marina 3824 Hatteras Lane (850) 235-6911
Lighthouse Marina 5325 North Lagoon Dr (850) 234-5609
Pirate's Cove Marina 3901 Thomas Drive (850) 234-3939
Treasure Island Marina 3605 Thomas Drive (850) 234-6533
Bayside Marina 6325 Big Daddy Dr (850) 234-7650

Panama City
Carl Gray Boat Ramp Collegiate Dr
Panama City Marina 1 Harrison Ave  (850) 872-7272
St. Andrews Marina  3151 West 10th St (850) 872-7240
Sun Harbour Marina 5505 Sun Harbor Rd. (850) 785-8268
Bob George Park 154 N Church Ave
Burnt Mill Creek Burnt Mill Creek Rd
Cook Bayou Marina 11722 Bay Vista Rd (850)874-8300
Donaldson Point 1562 Dover Road
Earl Gilbert Park 6511 Oakshore Dr
McCall-Everett Park County Road 2321
Safari Street Boat Ramp Safari St
Shoreline Cirle Boat Ramp 3718 Shorline Circle

Lynn Haven
Leslie Porter Wayside Park Ramp Hwy 77 Bridge 

Southport
Donald Penny Boat Ramp Bridge St
McKenzie Boat Ramp 1501 McKenzie Road 

Callaway
Gore Park Boat Ramp Beulah Ave (south end)



                                             



                                               
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