Bay County Outdoors Inshore Fishing Report
Event Start Date: 2018/12/01
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