Fishing Florida's Panhandle Month by Month
January - There's a phenomenon that happens this time of the year here along the panhandle. Us rednecks call it Pensacola Bone fishing. What I'm talking about is the winter False Albacore. These fish are extremely hungry and they'll run the beaches real close to the shore, I've seen them so close to the beach that their backs would be out of the water. So listen up, if you want to have some fun sight fishing in this crystal clear water, it just doesn't get any better than this! These football shaped speedsters are easy to spot and look like giants against the white sand.
Fly-fishermen have really picked up on this and hence we came up with the Pensacola Bone fish deal. Just ask anybody that has had a chance to give it a try and they'll testify that it compares to south Florida Bone fishing in a big way. It's not just for fly-fishermen either; the spin casters can get in on this action as well. Put a six pound Bo-Bo on the end of an eight pound test spinning outfit and you better have an ample amount of line or you'll lose it all!
February - is a great time for sight fishing along the beaches. The days with little to no cloud cover and a light north wind are what we look for. These days are perfect for running the beach looking for the Bull Red fish and False Albacore. There is very little fishing pressure this time of the year and most likely we will be the only boat out there. What a peaceful way to spend a day away from the rat race.
March - is when the first Cobia of the spring will be caught, the first one is always caught around the 20th of March, but the biggest push of fish is on into April. Just for fun, we'll lay bets on what day the first fish will be caught each spring; my guess is always March 20th. We will also be catching Sheepshead around the bridges and structure around the bays as they start their migration towards the passes. Sheepshead is very good table fare and better than that they are great fun to catch. This is a great experience for youngsters, fishermen and women of all ages to get into. Once you locate the fish, it's catching one after another - its awesome fun!
April - will be time for the Speckled Trout and Slot Red Fish bite to start picking up. If we have a decent spring it will be early in April and if Mother Nature isn't nice this year it will be late April before we start catching them on a regular basis. The Sheepshead will also be at the top of the list for at the first part of April. But as I mentioned earlier, the most popular thing to be doing in April is sight fishing for the Cobia. I know people that take the whole month off work and fish every day. There are also lots of tournaments along the panhandle that make it even more exciting.
May - is always a good month; in fact May and June are two of my favorite months for early summer time fishing. The weather is getting more and more consistent, the water is warming up and the fish are hungry! Lots of Speckled Trout fishing along with chasing the Bull Red fish out on the beaches. The slot Red Fish will be doing good inshore and all over the bays.
June - as I just mentioned, June is probably the best month for summer fishing. It hasn't got real hot yet and for the fishing, all you have to do is name your tune. Red Snapper season opens June 1st and 90% of the fishing I'll be doing is in the Gulf of Mexico. Towards the end of the month it will be the near shore King Mackerel run. As the bait starts to show up in April and May the Kings will follow it up the coast and will here in big numbers by the end of the month. Talk about a light tackle adventure, get you one of those twenty five pound kings on a fifteen pound spinning outfit and hold on!! Spanish, Kings, Snapper, Amberjacks, Jack Crevalle, Slot Red Fish, Pompano, Sharks, Tarpon and who knows just what else we might run across.
July - we'll be headed into the summer pattern, the inshore fishing will drop off a lot and 95% of the fishing will be in the Gulf of Mexico. That's not a bad thing, that's where the big ones live anyway. There is still a lot of fishing to do in the Bays; slot Red Fish will be at the top of the list of things to do in the summer time, we will also be having a lot of fun with the sharks. There'll be a lot of big ones here by then.
August - HOT - can you say dog days? We catch lots of fish in August though, inshore and offshore. Inshore there will be lots of Spanish, Lady Fish, Blue Fish and Kings still around the passes. In the deeper waters inshore we'll find the Red Fish and Flounder, you will also catch Red Snapper and Grouper around the same deep structure.
September - HOTTER - and it will be a lot of the same as August. Lots of the garbage can slams along with a nice summer time Pompano every now and then and a box full of nice Spanish.
October - and we'll be back into the Bull Red Fishing bonanza, large time, knockdown, drag out Bull Red fishing at its best! Early October brings good Speckled Trout and slot Red fishing, the fish will be feeding up for the winter months ahead. Early morning top water action is as good as it gets. Live bait for Red Fish around the docks and deep water structure will be productive.
November - For the flat fish fishermen; it's time. The Flounder migration will be under full swing by now. If catching yourself a limit of Flounder is what you like then don't waste your time until now. These fish head out to the Gulf and meet up with the big females to perform their spawning duties. Find out where they are and it's a blast catching, not fishing.
December - Flounder will still be happening, but slowing down. December we'll be chasing after the mighty Bull Red Fish.
This will give you an outlook for our year round fishing and maybe it'll help you with your vacation and weekend getaways. If you have any question or if there's anything I can help you with, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 850-565-0593.