Offshore fishing in september brings a wide variety of opportunities to the Panama City Beach area. While the Pampano are right off the beach so are the sharks so we do not suggest entering the water from dusk to dawn; unless your a thrill seeker then the best recommendation would be to book an adventure @example.business for the late night shark fishing. With the 1 to 3 mile ranger one will find tons of Black Fin Tuna. While trolling for Blackfin be on the lookout for debris and grass, Chicken Dolphin have been hiding out under the shadows. Additionally a few Sailfish have been caught while trolling as well so stay on alert. When bottom fishing search for natural bottem to find reel and gag grouper. The wreaks will hold the Amberjacks and larger sharks for daredevils whod like to shark fish @example.business .
Jack Carvell is chasing the bait balls in the bay so ll you sight fisherman sharpen your skills… there moving fast if you can find the mullet in the north end of the bays. Especially on top of grass flats then you have found the Redfish and Trout. Out in the open water the mangrove and Spanish mackerel are starting to gather. September inshore fishing conditions can be a great opportunity for salt water fl fisherman in panama city beach.
SPECKLED TROUT | THE FISH
Spotted seatrout are routinely called speckled trout, specks, or simply trout. Speckled trout can be distinguished by their elongated streamlined body, long pointed head, and mouth with the lower jaw extending beyond the upper. Their coloring is silvery gray on the upper sides and back with white on their bellies. The dark spots on the upper portion of their sides, the dorsal fin, and tail is what helps speckled trout be easily distinguished from other fish. Their overall color varies depending on the water conditions. The mouths, especially of the older fish, often show yellow coloration on the edges and interior. Thus, giving them the nickname “yellowmouth”.
SIZE & LOCATION
Typically speckled trout are 14-20” long and weigh about 14-20 pounds. Females grow faster and larger than males. Typically speaking all speckled trout weighing 5 pounds or more are females. The females have a longer life expectancy living on average ten years compared to the males 5 year life span. The male speckled trout have an ability to produce a deep drumming sound by contracting muscles on either side of the swim bladder. This sound, called “drum/drummin”, is used during courtship and when in distress.
Speckled trout can be found from Cape Cod down throughout the entire Gulf of Mexico. They are most commonly found along the northern Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Coast. Trout can be found from nearly freshwater estuaries and out in the Gulf in depths up to 30 feet. Specks are a schooling species and favor locations where the currents are mixed, such as mouth of bodies of water, gullies and trenches, sharp bends, and contour changes of the bottom. Specks are often found near seagrasses and saltmarshes.
Speckled trout have over a 5 month spawning period usually from mid-April to mid-September. The timing does vary year to year depending on temperature. They can spawn multiple times throughout their reproductive season. A surprising fact is that the number of eggs released during each spawning event actually increases substantially as the females grow older. For example: a five year old female can produce about 5x as many eggs per spawning as a one year old. Therefore, it is obvious why practicing catch and release with larger females is such a benefit. Speckled Trout spend their entire lives in or near the estuary in which they were spawned. They will move within their home range from time to time during the year but typically spend summers in higher-salinity waters (areas closer to the Gulf) and winters in the lower salinity waters (the upper estuaries).
The feeding behavior of the speckled trout differs depending on the stage of life. Newly hatched speckled trout feed on plankton and as they grow, the diet shifts to larger mysids, shrimp, and then to small fish. Adult specks primarily feed on fish, shrimp, and crabs. The adults typically gather in small schools to feed in the shallower waters of the incoming tide. Speckled trout are ambush predators. They are quick and aggressive; making short lunges to capture their prey and swallow it whole. Their front canine teeth and row of smaller teeth help them to hold on to their prey. Speckled trout maybe fast and aggressive when ambushing their prey, however, they are prey to many other predators such as the bottlenose dolphins, sharks, and predatory birds such as ospreys, pelicans, and cormorants.
Specks sometimes harbor internal parasites commonly known as “spaghetti worms”. These parasites are usually found more in larger fish and do no significant harm to the fish. These “spaghetti worms” are not visually appealing to most people but the worms are not harmful to humans. Usually they can be removed manually or simply ignored.
SPECKLED TROUT | HOW TO CATCH THEM
Specks are a popular sportfish along the Gulf Coast. They are considered one of the “big three” of sportfish along with redfish and flounder. If you were to catch all three of these species during a single trip you would have what anglers call a “grand slam”. The methods of catching specks vary depending on angler preference. Equipment used can range from a cane pole to sophisticated spinning and fly rods and reels rigged with dead bait, live bait, artificial lures, and flies. If you are targeting speckled trout, a medium 6-7’ action rod will provide plenty of power to fight without pulling the hooks. You do want to opt for lighter gear as this will increase casting distance while maintaining maximum sensitivity.
BOOK A TRIP TODAY!!!
Speckled trout fishing tactics can vary throughout the season so when you call us. Additionally, be sure to tell us what type of experience your looking for. Book your trip today and be sure to ask Caitlyn Crimm, our Customer Experience Manager, for local restaurant recommendation. .
Everyone knows that summer on the Gulf Coast means afternoon thunderstorms & tons of rain. With the rain comes a major influx of fresh water in our Bays. With this being the case the inshore saltwater game fish their way close to the pass as they can get. Check out bridge pilings & other inshore structure along the beach during the day for Bedfish & Speckled Trout. If battling the summer sun is not appealing to you then try a Dock Lights Fishing Trip during the evening hours.
During Mid summer one can expect massive amounts of Lady fish along the surf, including a few Redfish & smaller sharks . On the other hand due to the break a few other nearshore species swim as King Mackerel have move to deeper waters around the nine mile mark. While there have been some sightings of Tarpon nearshore iths the specific species such as Wahoo & Mahi Mahi that can be found once you reach the blue water. As always the Jacks & Trigger are hanging out in deep waters and wrecks.For those of you brave enough to go after real deep sea monsters the Swordfishing in Destin is extreme right now.
Red Snapper fishing is kind of a big deal. In fact Red Snapper fishing plays such a significant role in the Gulf Coast economy that when threatened by bureaucracy, the president himself had to get involved. Regulations, handed down by Washington, on all things red snapper fishing have started a battle. According to the mainstream media, fisherman are simply ravaging the Gulf Coast fishing stock for personal profit or gain. We are writing this blog to tell you a very different story. This is a story of governmental oversight & gross bureaucratic negligence. The truth is that the small business owners & families on vacation are not conspiring to desecrate fish populations in the gulf.
Red Snapper Fishing & The Federal Government Part 1
Over the last 10 years anglers and all 5 states have fought the government for the right of states to individually regulate red snapper fishing in their own state waters. However, over the last 4 years or so, more and more politicians are beginning to align themselves with the interests of their own constituents. The federal government had full control of our waters. When confronted by local officials as to why the 2017 & ’18 red snapper fishing seasons were cut short the feds were quoted as saying “near perfect weather everyday and an increase in enthusiasm for the season”; meaning too many people were booking trips for snapper, they claimed they met their quota by cutting the season short by 19 days.
It’s just 19 day right? WRONG- 19 days of planned trips were canceled, causing a huge loss for many businesses lining the gulf coast. It was not only the business owners that were negatively affected but their customers as well were losing money because of refunds and cancellation fees/policies. State control of red snapper fishing was brought before the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in 2016. The Irony is in that fact that President Trump, elected in 2016, is the 1st president in a long time to openly defy the status quo of government regulation, meaning that he is inclined to allow the states to choose.
Red Snapper Fishing & The Federal Government Part 2
At first, they did not know how the for-hire boats such as shrimpers and commercial boats, permitted by the federal government, would fit into their own program. How did they fix the issue of not understanding their new red tape? With several governing bodies trying not only to pass but enforce new regulations, the federal government’s self imposed “situation”, things become complicated quickly. Keep in mind that 5 different states share these waters with the federal government. Additionally, there are several different types of fishing operations affected. In an attempt to solve that issue the feds began giving certain people an EFP (Exempted Fishing Permit). It’s basically an all access pass to any seafood product captain, historical researcher, conservationist & market research, etc. to the gulf’s waters.
This is where they water begins to get real muddy.
They went ahead and gave those out before the law, Amendment 50, was released and they saw a huge increase in allocation which gave us the ability to set size and bag limits within certain guidelines. But every state is different, so the total allowable catch did not equal the total 100%. They had 3.78% leftover, so they gave it to Florida because they were the final state to apply. Florida is one of the largest markers for red snapper. In the end, Alabama and Florida split that 3.78% because they are both the largest consumers of red snapper. Alabama only having 3% of the Gulf coastline, will receive 26.298% of the total allowable catch. After all the factors were looked through and tested, Amendment 50 was passed; allowing the states to create their own plan. Alabama’s allocation for red snapper’s private recreational season under EFP is 1,079,765 pounds as of this year 2019. Alabama’s allocation for 2020 season will be increased to 1,122,661 pounds if the private recreational sector does not exceed their quota in 2019.
Red Snapper Fishing & The Federal Government Part 3
As if you’re not confused enough, here is some more food for thought. The Gulf of Mexico has the most artificial reefs in the world. Part of how they regulate snapper is through captains logs of daily catches and conservationist keeping up with the numbers. It sounds pretty simple right? Wrong, the problem is the federal government only counts the natural reefs we have, leaving the thousands of others harboring 100,000’s of fish unaccounted for. Long story short, Washington D.C. profits from regulating for the sake of regulation. I am of the opinion that our friends in DC should stick to the business of blaming each other for the current state of whatever their last short sided scandal brought to the headlines and leave the business of red snapper fishing to the people. The people that truly depend on a sustainable fisheries program to put food on their plate and create memories for future generations.
The take away for you is simple. Call Caitlyn (850-375-2223) & book early in the season because you can’t trust the government.
The blackfin isn’t as high in demand at market as the bluefin. However, the blackfin has been a popular catch for many recreational anglers. This popularity is due to the fight these smaller species put up as well as the delicious deep red flesh that make for some great grilling. For many years, Florida Sportsman have covered the ins and outs of the blackfin tuna around the coastline. The basic biology of this species has always been a wonder. Now with more and more research, we are starting to gain more insight on this feisty fish.
Blackfin Tuna | The Fish
The blackfin tuna is one of the smaller tunas, averaging a max. Size of 30 pounds. They generally inhabit waters closer to shore than other tuna species. Along the Florida Gulf Coast, during the winter months, you will find then in waters much shallower and cooler feeding within a few hundred feet of the shore to 60 or more miles offshore. They can be caught in waters as shallow as 30 feet. However, they are more abundant in water temperatures about 70 °F in depths over 300 Ft.
In the shallower waters, blackfin tuna form smaller schools from 5 to a few dozen fish unlike offshore where they form schools of 100s of fish. Blackfin don’t mind schooling with similar fish as well. As a migratory predator, they do not generally hang around structures too long for their dinner. Researchers have discovered that they do not make the big circle migration. However, they do migrate to find food. However, their prey are structural which is very helpful when trying to locate them. They feed throughout the day and night. During the day, you will have better luck finding them feeding at deeper depths; during periods of low light they feed closer to the surface level. Low light is when the bite is best.
Because they feed closer to the surface in low light, shoot for early morning to late afternoon. Also keep an eye out for bait balls. Tuna love bait balls. Around the 1st of November is when blackfin tuna make their way into the waters off Key West. In March, there is usually a push of blackfins of the Gulf side of Key West as well.
Blackfin Tuna | How to Catch’em
Lines and Hooks
The tackle you use for king mackerel fishing, with a few differences, is the same as you would use for blackfin tuna fishing. You will use a heavier line to enable more pressure and to stop runs without breaking the line. Do not use wire because they tend to become ‘leader shy’ and will not bite. Do not use treble hooks, instead use single hooks. This is to keep as low a profile in the water as possible. The blackfin have great eyesight and will refuse anything that seems off. Therefore, it’s important to use fluorocarbon leaders, smaller hooks, and clean knots. Other tackle that is helpful is a good sharp gaff, a pair of fishing gloves, polarized sunglasses, and a great pair of needle-nose pliers or a dehooking device.
As previously stated blackfin tuna are not structure oriented fish, but the fish they feed on usually are. So a good place to start looking is near shore reefs, floating grasses, oil rigs, as well as behind shrimp boats (especially if you find a one separating its haul). If you don’t have any structures around, don’t worry. Locate areas where bait is most likely to be and focus on those areas.
You can catch blackfin tuna by trolling using two primary tactics: live bait trolling or artificial bait trolling. Trolling is best done in the lower light of dawn or dusk. Usually blackfin tuna are a by-catch when trolling for other species. Trolling gives you a great way to locate fish and vocer a lot of ground. Make sure you are using the best lures when trolling such as a 6-9 jet heads or Gatling jet lures. A surprising lure to troll with is a plain old straw cut down to about 3-4” with a hook at the end. We do encourage using biodegradable straws to avoid harming the environment if you lose your lure. Also if traveling 12kt you will want to add a bit of weight to your straw lure to keep it down.
Blackfin tunas are shy so using outriggers will help lead to more hits. You will have to play around with your trolling speeds (4kt-12kt) to get a feel for what is working best that day. A tip from experience is to have a spinning rod ready and baited when a fish is hooked. Cast the rod out and leave it in free spool while fighting the fish. Sometimes you get lucky and can catch more fish this way.
Chum can range from live bait fish to chunks of other blackfin tuna. The most important thing to know when chumming is to keep the chunks small enough to keep the fish hungry. If you feed them, then you have wasted your time. The goal is to bring them to the boat in a frenzy, not send them away with a full belly. Chumming with chunks of bait is also known as “chunking”. When chunking, throw only a few pieces at a time and wait until the bait is out of sight before chunking more into the water. Once you have done this for awhile, go ahead and bait your hooks with one of the chunks and let it drift back with your chum. Using your hand to pull back the line will help the line drift more naturally, preventing the fish to be spooked.
When you finally get your fish and are fighting the feisty beast, have someone keep chunkin. This prevents the blackfin tuna around from dispersing and moving on. We want to keep them interested. A very important key to chumming is patience. You may have to wait for several hours. Along with bringing enough patience, it is also important to make sure you have enough chum. We suggest having at least 50# of bait cut before you start chunking.
Blackfin Tuna | You got’em now what
This is the most important part once you have caught your fish! Tuna spoils very quickly, so as soon as you bring your catch aboard you will want to make a small incision under each pectoral fin as well as cut a ring around the tuna’s tail. Stand the fish on its nose in a bucket or cooler. He will quickly bleed out in a couple of minutes. This helps in preservation. Another tip is to have a cooler with mix of salt water and ice slush. Why salt? Salt lowers the freezing point and preserves the meat much better than ice alone. This can be used for all species.
Once you have the tuna home. Filet the tuna as normal, cutting out the red meat along the spine. If you are not going to eat your catch that day, make sure you vacuum seal and freeze your fish for the best freshness. Blackfin tuna can be prepared the same way as yellowfin tuna.
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Regardless of the month, if it’s summer on the Gulf Coast you can count on rain to some degree every afternoon. On the other hand you have the mid summer heat with all it’s suffocating humidity. With the sun rising hot & early the inshore fishing can shut down in the early morning hours therefore one may want to consider a dock lights inshore fishing trip. The summer storm runoff does cloud the water but the dock lights themself provide anglers with an advantage. If it’s redfish & speckled trout your after buy your live shrimp the day before and hit the water around 6AM. For all you surf fisherman out there lady fish and pompano will be your friend as long as the storms corporate. The key to the surf fishing game is fish bites & sand fleas.
Much like the inshore bite the offshore bite is good later on in the day. We are running a lot of trolling / bottom fishing combo trips in the afternoons. The Gulf of Mexico is a big place so we can easily run around the afternoon storms as needed. Red snapper along with Amberjack & Trigger Fish are holding on the offshore reefs in the slightly deeper (55ft. Pluss) waters. Even thow these fish are fairly consistent through the mid summer months in PCB, remin aware the with both State & Federal governments setting Red Snapper dates it can get confusing. Be sure and check the FWC fishing regulations before you get your hopes up for a Red Snapper trip this summer.
Because our fleet does have comfortable center consoles with knowledgeable captains I would suggest taking advantage of the diversity July has to offer. Bottom fishing for snapper and grouper mid day while trolling your way in for kings or sight fishing for cobia & mahi mahi is a great way to spend 6 hours of offshore fishing. Please keep in mind that a long sleeve performance wear fishing shirt could make a world of difference when spending the better part of the day in the summer sun. Be sure and visit the Intercoastal Outpost and gear up before your next trip.
Its June its hot and the June grass is here. My advice… get out there and get over it. There is a reason that our anglers flock to our cast by the millions during June in search of Red Snapper. They are big and plentiful and willing and not afraid to bite as long as your willing to look for them. Along with Red Snapper you have Kings, Blackfin Tuna, and Vermillion all located within the 9 mile mark.
The limit on Redfish is 2 per person so once you have you limit head inshore for Redfish, Speckled Trout and Pampano along the beach. Sharks are very active along the surf this time of year so be careful and have fun if you decide to make camp on the beach at night. If you don’t want to deal with the heat then take us on a deal with the fishing trip at night its fun for the whole family and you might just have bay all to yourself.
Due to all the seagrass that came around pier fishing will become messy and somewhat difficult to tell if thats a fish on your line or just a big ball or grass. Because of the seagrass there is very little bait around however, when you book your inshore fishing trip @example.com they’ll have plenty of live shrimp so you’ll have the chance to catch your Mackerel, Trout, Redfish, and even a few Flounder and Blue fish.
Very little activity happening offshore, due to seagrass. However reports show Vermillion and Amberjacks have been spotted offshore. See a weedline better go grab your line!! Mahi Mahi
are being caught off those weedlines! If you’d rather not mess with the muck of the grass along the beach then book yourself an inshore or dock light fishing trip @example.com. Don’t forget your bread, mayo, and mustard, when headed offshore! The Black Fin Tuna are out and about, and it doesnt get any freasher than seafood on the back of the boat!
It seems as if the weather took the last 30 day to decide on spring or not. Finally the patterns have started to even out and the PCB area so balancing between the 70’s and 80’s once we have a consistent average of 70 the King Mackerle will come in to near shore wattos along the beach. However the Pampino spanish and ladyfish are already flocking to the beach in droves. If your inshore fishing adventure keeps you away from the beach and in the bays cruise the watters around the 5ft mark. In addition to larger Redfish the Speckeled Trout are starting to school up.
The offshore fishing in PCB has been hendered by rough waters. However those angles that have taken advantage of a break in the weather have started to see KINGS AND COBIA (BLOG) moving in. as always the trigger are taking up the reefs. As Spring sets in and warmer weather takes hold of the woods and water in the hog hunting action heats up. Be sure to check out our partners @intercoastal safaris to take full advantage
MARCH FISHING OFFSHORE
Mother nature does not discriminate when it comes to fishing. Both inshore and offshore fishing have been negatively affected by the harsh weather. Offshore, the wind is producing 4ft to 5ft swells. With high winds, swells, and cooler than normal temperatures, Amberjacks and Vermillion Snapper along with Trigger fish are about as good as it gets during March fishing offshore.
MARCH FISHING INSHORE
Inshore fishing has provided some consistency with a strong Sheepshead and Redfish bite near the jetties. If your headed to the jetties, I suggest fiddler crab and fish bits for bait. March is the last month for quail hunting along the panhandle. This is the month that the hogs start to venture out in the fields during the daylight hours for the first time since deer season ended so be sure and take full advantage of the dog hunting in Intercoastal Safaris.