Captain John Rivers: Florida Panhandle
Redfish, Bluefish, One fish, and Ladyfish, too.
Winds and tides have been just right for trout and redfish in the shallows in the upper bay areas. We’ve had some serious storms in the afternoons which have muddied up the waters a bit, but that’s all right, because I find that it’s helped the fishing a bit in the upper bay areas.
A rule of thumb to fishing these areas is to fish the wind blown banks and look for jumping mullet and menhaden schools. Average trout in these areas are 14 –19 inches with a few over 20. While fishing the upper bay areas you may get a redfish mixed in with the trout, and sometimes a trout trip becomes a redfish trip, not that anyone is complaining.
If you’re fishing the lower bay flats like Santa Rosa Sound or Ft. Pickens Beach you’ll catch more variety of fish, like trout, redfish, bluefish, spanish mackerel and skipjacks.
If you’re fishing an incoming tide work your way in slowly, you may only have moved 30 yards closer to shore, but that subtle difference may be the key to keeping your bait in the strike zone longer. The depths I’m fishing range from 1.8 –4.5ft of water. When the tide is heading out, and you can’t get close to the shore, position your boat in 4.5 –5 ft of water and cast into the shallower water and let the fish come to you. Stay there and keep fishing; the water will fall and the fish will come to you as they follow the bait into the strike zone.
I’m tossing a variety of lures on the flats, and one of my favorite baits to toss is MirrOlure’s Paul Brown lure in Pink Metal Flake. This lure has proven to put fish in the boat time and time again. I don’t use this lure when I’m down on the south end of Pensacola Bay near Santa Rosa Sound and Ft. Pickens Beach, as that’s where the bluefish and more toothy critters live and they will take chunks out of the lure, (and at 8 bucks a pop it can get costly). When I’m fishing those lower areas I use hard MirrOlure baits like the Top Pup or Top Dog Jr. Another great lure to toss out for trout and bluefish is the MirrOdine and Catch 2000. Try using colors that match the baits in the area and you’ll catch more fish.
I’ll be out all this week some mornings and a few afternoons hooking up on some great light tackle fish.
Capt. John Rivers
Mega-Bite Inshore Charters
About the Captain: Capt. John has a lifetime of fishing knowledge and over 9yrs of experience fishing the northern gulf coast and our local waterways. I have enjoyed fishing all my life. While living in the Midwest, I fished Kentucky & Barkley Lake for years along with the Ohio River and many local waterways. My first passion was bass fishing, but when I visited the Gulf Coast I found my new love: Salt Water Fishing !
The excitement of saltwater fishing is like nothing else. Hooking into monster Trout on the flats or having a big King pull off 80 yards of line in seconds is what it's all about.Fishing is my life, and I enjoy seeing my clients hook up on fish just as much as if I caught them myself. Depending upon what time of year it is, there is always some type of fish to be caught in our area.