Inshore/Gulf

Bay County Outdoors Inshore Fishing Report

By Capt. Nathan Chennaux
9/14/2017


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

8502587235

captainnate@baycountyoutdoors.com

 




Bay County Outdoors Inshore Fishing Report

By Capt. Nathan Chennaux
8/15/2017



Now that the rain has cleared out for the most part it’s back to fishing as usual.  Although the bay is stained the redfish and speckled trout are out chewing like crazy.  Look for the bigger speckled trout to be shallower, cruising right up near the shoreline, commonly following schools of redfish and big mullet. Early in the morning, or under cloudy conditions, top-water walking and popping plugs are hard to beat when it comes to getting big bites especially from big trout. Often enough it’s smaller plugs that really get crushed and the hook-up ratio is far better in my opinion.  



Usually by the time the top-waters stop getting there is enough light and just enough water clarity that you can still creep around shallow sandy banks and pitch jigs to cruising redfish. Since visibility is not fantastic you will have to get much closer to the fish before you spot them so keep extra quiet. Most of the fish I have caught sight fishing over the last couple days have been 20ft or less from the boat so the stealth is paramount.



If you want to do some more relaxing fishing you can always go catch a couple hundred pilchards and jump in the in the water and do some wade fishing. I like to fish areas that have at least 2 of 3 key components. A good mix of grass and sand, changes in depth, and varying currents.  If you can find one that has all of those then more often than not there will be fish hanging out there.  I like to cast up current at an angle and allow the bait to drift over sand holes, sand bars, drop offs, and other feature that hold fish.  Usually you are going to catch trout and redfish when fishing this way but it not uncommon to catch a wide variety of other fish species as well including jacks, spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, mangrove snappers, flounder, and many others.  A good quality VMC circle hook will ensure you get plenty of hook ups without having many fish swallow the hook.

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

7/16/2017

When I think of the ideal conditions to catch a bunch of fish the first two things that come to mind are a little stain on the water and a good amount of tidal movement. That little bit of color in the water generally makes fish aggressive and far more inclined to strike lures without scrutinizing the looks of it. Top-water bites become increasingly ferocious and even though the fish can’t see the plug as well as they would in clear water they often times get a better grip on it first shot. I tend to lean towards darker colors in darker water however white is a killer color regardless of the state of the water.
​ 
In the shallows the speckled trout and redfish have been particularly willing to chase and eat top-waters in the early morning and later in the afternoon. Generally by about 9 am I have put the surface baits away and gone to a suspending plug or a jig however with the dirtier water the fish have been eating on the surface all the way up until lunchtime. This is not set in stone, and you will have to make this decision on the fly based on how the fish are reacting to your lure. If they start to just pop at the top-water but not eating it then you may need to make a minor adjustment to your offering in order to get good bites. Look for the redfish and the bigger speckled trout to be in shallower water say less than 2.5 feet and the slot trout in water from 2-5 feet.
I just can’t say enough about how good the bite is on the big redfish throughout the bay. Of course the bridges are great places to target them but there are other ways you can catch them in the middle of the bay. If you find schools of bait being harassed on the surface by birds or other fish there is a good chance that lurking down underneath the mayhem there a few big redfish waiting on scraps to fall down to them. Also anywhere that you find big crabs floating through on the tide there is a good chance that bull reds are cruising the surface looking for them. If you decide to target them at the bridge be considerate of others that may have gotten there before you. Not everyone who is out there fishes on the bottom right under their boat. Often times they are casting plugs so be cool and give people some room to fish.


Although it’s not something that I do very often I have found that there are far more legal red snapper in the bay than people might think that there are. Several pieces of bottom in the 25-35 ft of water range have been holding some quality fish up to 24”. I have tried a couple of different ways of catching them including live bait but the thing that seems to get the bigger fish is 5.5 inch DOA jerkbait on a 1/2oz jighead. Overall this is one of my favorite patterns for bull reds, inshore gag grouper, and bigger shallow water red snapper. Its thin body allows it to sink relatively quickly and its long profile gives it a bulky look in the water that the fish just cannot refuse.

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, give me a call or shoot me an email.

Capt. Nathan Chennaux

850-258-7235

Captainnate@baycountyoutdoors.com




BCO Inshore Report
6/29/2017

By Capt. Nathan Chennaux




Despite recent rains and instability in the weather the fishing has been pretty good. On higher tides the flats are thick with trout and redfish as well as the occasional schools of jacks, ladyfish, bluefish, and big solo cruising spanish mackerel. Early and late top-waters are still getting some of the best action and some of the biggest fish. During the mid-morning hours jigs, suspending/sub-surface plugs, and live baits have proved to be most effective. Near the top of the tide look for the fish to be closer to shore and as the tide starts to drop look for them to stage up in front of bayou and creek mouths, and on shallow points where the water will be moving slightly faster and baitfish tend to congregate.


The mangrove snappers are plentiful throughout the bay around most of the shallow structures in water between 4-10 feet. When fishing around vertical structure the fish can be in much deeper water but are generally spend a good amount of time in the upper part of the water column. Free-lined live or cuts baits on small circle hooks are the best way to get them to chew. To make it more fun and ensure more bites use a medium to light action rod and small diameter fluorocarbon.
The bull redfish bite continues to be very good in around the bridges but also in other parts of the bays as well. The big bull reds can also be found underneath big schools of baitfish in the middle of the bay especially if the baitfish are being fed on by other types of fish like ladyfish, bluefish, or mackerel. The bull reds will hang out underneath the action and pick up baitfish that are killed but not eaten. Throwing heavy jigs into the school and allowing it to fall all the way down is the best way to get down to the redfish. At the bridges the redfish are still primarily feeding at the surface on crabs floating through with the tide. Targeting them with top-waters when they are on the surface feeding is my favorite way to target them but they will eat crabs, baitfish, or cut bait either flat-lined, or fished with lead on the bottom.


If you have additional questions about whats 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 Summer Update
6/25/2017



Summer is here and fishing has been on fire! On the flats, off the beach, and nearshore has been producing some great action! Up on the flats the trout and redfish bite has been best in the morning and later in the day. My clients have been throwing top water and having a blast with explosive blowups. In addition to trout and reds, a mixed bag of ladyfish, blues, and huge Spanish Mackerel have been supplying tons of fun on light tackle. 




Later, as the sun comes up, reds and trout can be sight fished while they cruise across grass flats in one to two foot of water. Look for them moving across sandy areas and pot holes or laying up where the sand and grass meet. 




Off the beach and on the nearshore reefs jacks have been pounding live baits and 

artificial lures. Jack crevalle are a blast on spin and fly sight fished in the crystal clear water just off the beaches and the amber jack will provide all the exercise you can stand on the nearshore wrecks! The king mackerel bite has been good. Flatlining live or dead cigar minnows over wrecks or hard bottom and trolling a variety of artificial plugs have been producing some nice catches. 


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.



Captain Daniel Snapp

Grassy Flats Charters

“Sight Fishing the Emerald Coast”

(850) 832-4952




Capt. Todd Jones Gulf Update
6/8/2017


 

 

With the opening of State Water Snapper season, we have been able to put a lot of tasty fish in the box lately. The Snapper fishing has been very productive. Along with Red Snapper we are catching Vermillion and White Snapper.

 



These guys were lucky enough to come in with a few bonus Grouper as well. Speaking of bonus fish, we have also been fortunate to run across Mahi the last few trips out on our way to Snapper fish.



 

On the short trips, we are still catching lots of King Mackerel. I especially like to fish for King Mackerel on the late afternoon trips, they always seem to bite better in the late afternoon.

 

As you can tell by this report the fishing is outstanding right now. My advice is to get down here to Panama City and come catch some fish.

Thanks,

Capt. Todd Jones
850-819-5829
backbayadventures.com









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