MEXICO BEACH/PORT ST JOE OFFSHORE
Few anglers reporting from offshore yet again this week due to frigid temperatures however, many anglers are gearing up and readying their boats for trolling. Winter months are excellent times to troll for grouper. Mann’s stretch series lures and Yozuri deep diving plugs are very effective lures for this type of bottom fishing. Traditional bottom fishing techniques are still your best tactic for grouper beyond depths of about forty feet. One other report this week indicated heavy Amber Jack activity over high relief wrecks and structures like the “Empire Mica” A variety of bait and lures will work for these hearty fighters.
ST JOSEPH BAY
The trout bite continues to improve in the intercoastal canal as freshwater runoff and flood conditions subside. Of course, more rain is forecast for the southeast this week and fishing conditions in the intercoastal may continue to be depressed until the fresh water influx subsides. The redfish are biting well in nearly all of the deeper holes and channels in St. Joseph’s bay and along the beaches. The very best spot for trout continues to be the Port St. Joe marina. Savvy anglers are taking advantage of tides and using solunar tables to pinpoint the best times for fishing. Others are braving the cold and wind, are rewarded by nice catches of trout simply by putting the time in with a Carolina rigged live shrimp or any number of shrimp imitations like the DOA.
PANAMA CITY OFFSHORE AND BAYS
Flounder are still being caught around the inshore wrecks. Use live bull minnows, shrimp or pilchards on a Carolina rig and target the edges of the wrecks. The Amberjack bite has been strong over the bridge spans and any large structures. Grouper season closes February 1st through March 31st. They are still being found well offshore from 20 plus miles out, best bet is to use large live baits.
ST. ANDREWS BAY SYSTEM
Sheepshead are being caught more regularly around the jetties with live shrimp and fiddler crabs. The White Trout bite is still very good. They can be found in deep water under the Hathaway and Tyndall Bridges. Use live shrimp on a Carolina rig for best results. Redfish are being caught in very shallow water on the flats in East and West Bays. The Bull Reds are still being caught with live shrimp and pinfish around the jetties. Speckled Trout closes the month of February. For catch and release, concentrate on deep bayous, creeks, the intracoastal waterway and the hot water discharge canal.
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