What's up Bay County? Hopefully everyone has had an opportunity to get out on the water and catch some fish. There certainly are plenty of them to choose from right now with good fishing throughout the bays, in the pass, and along the beaches.
Early morning high tides have produced lots of fun topwater action for speckled trout and redfish on the flats. I look for areas with good current and/or noticable amounts of action. Be it concentrations of mullet, big schools of bait-fish, or birds working back in the marshes. The 3" skitter-walk has been the go to but don't count out the chug-bug or similar popping plugs. Typically your redfish are going to be tighter to the hill than the trout however mature speckled trout will sometimes link up with like sized redfish schools.
On structures throughout the bay, mangrove snappers have shown up in full force. Regardless of the depth of the water, I have caught them the best fishing in the top 5 foot of the water column. I'm catching them by flatlining a medium sized menhaden around steep drop offs with shallow structures like sea walls, bridge and dock pilings, submerged rock piles, and sunk boats. Chumming a little will help to get them chewing if they are slow to eat. A hard falling tide seems to the be when they are chewing best, at least inshore.
Another great bite on a hard falling tide is the bull redfish around the bridges and in the pass. Although redfish are fairly opportunistic feeders, right now they are pretty dialed into crabs floating on the surface on outgoing tides. You can mimmick a crab close enough with topwater plugs, especially if you can be patient and wait for the fish to surface to make a cast. If you get it on top of him quickly there's a good chance your plug is going to get smoked.
Small groups of jumbo spanish mackerel have been cruising the drop offs on almost all of the points near the pass. Although i have not been targeting them fish that size and speed are always a welcome surprise. If you are going to make it a point to try to catch them add a short piece of light wire to say re-tying a bunch.
Good luck. 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