2017-10-01 / Fish Stories

Water’s clear; fishing’s great

There were hurricanes to the west and then hurricanes to the east, but the good ol’ Redneck Riviera dodged a bullet this time. Boy, oh boy, did we come out smelling like a rose compared to south Texas and southern Florida.

There is one good thing that came from all these hurricanes, and that would be water clarity. Because of all the excessive rainfall this year, the water clarity has been terrible, even 50 miles offshore. That’s not a problem anymore; you can see down nearly 80 to 100 feet.

On the inshore side, the southern flounder are beginning to move closer to the pass as they make way for their fall migration. There are two ways to target these fish during this migration.

The first is, of course, with a rod and reel. Using a two-ounce egg sinker and about a two-foot leader with any kind of live bait works well. The bait of choice would be a bull minnow, but a pinfish will work just the same. These fish can be hanging around any pilings on docks or bridges and around the jetties in and around the pass.

Photo courtesy of Captain Jerry Photo courtesy of Captain Jerry The second is to wade at night with a headlamp and a gig. Anytime the winds come from the north, these fish will move up into ankledeep water. Simply wading the shore, either inside the bay or along the Gulf, you can spot these fish swimming parallel to the shore.

Also inshore, the slot redfish are making a good showing. These fish can be found around most any of the larger docks. They tend to like the deeper holes around a dock and on the shady side.

In and around the Pensacola Pass, the baitfish have finally showed up in full force. We have not seen this amount of bait all year, due to the poor water quality cause by the excessive rainfall.

The early morning bite for both King and Spanish mackerel will be on fire around these schools of bait.

Further off shore on the bottom, most all bottom species are biting great. Of course, several species are closed, so make sure you pay close attention to the regulations before heading out.

The species that are not closed are the gag and red grouper,s along with the scamp. These are some of the most sought-after food fish we have here along our coast.

These grouper can be found on most any of the same wrecks that you may find snapper on. The only problem is that the snapper are so aggressive, and it’s hard to get a grouper bait down without it being eaten by snapper. So I like to fish deeper rocks and wrecks where the snapper are not so plentiful. This increases the odds of getting down to where the big boys live. A good place to start is in the 180-foot range and fish out to 300 feet.

Of course, our staple snapper this time of year is the vermilion snapper. These fish are open year round and the daily bag limit is 10 per person. They eat just as well as the red snapper, and it’s not hard to catch a limit on a half-day trip.

The off-shore fishing has really heated up, due to the change in water color. Of course, you can go all the way to the oilrigs, nearly 100 miles southwest, but you may not want to.

A recent report that I received was that straight south of Pensacola, around the 131 hole, the yellow-fin tuna were on fire last weekend. This is only about 37 miles and it surely beats a 100-mile run.

Maybe you still have a fishing trip on your bucket list or simply want to get out and enjoy a fun day on the water. Don’t hesitate to check us out at www.entertainercharter.com. And as we always say aboard the Entertainer and Big Zulu 2, “May the good fishing be yours!”

Bait fish can be hanging around any pilings on docks or bridges and around the jetties in and around the pass.

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