The Fish We Catch

The Fish We Catch

We guide clients in nearshore and inshore fishing between Pensacola and Ft Walton Beach, Florida. We specialize in Backwater, Flats, Bay and Beach Fishing along with nearshore reef fishing for anything that has fins and a mouth. The most common species are Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Amberjack, Trigger Fish, Grouper (when in season), Cobia, Sharks, King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, False Albacore, Pompano, Jack Crevalle, Speckled Sea Trout, Red Fish, Flounder, Bull Red Fish and who knows, we might even catch a Sailfish.

And there just isn’t anything better than to TAKE A KID FISHING!

Spotted Sea Trout

Spotted Sea Trout caught on the Emerald Coast

You’ll find them inshore over grass, sand and mud bottoms. They’ll be in deeper waters during the warmest and coolest months. Use live shrimp or baitfish fished near bottom by free lining them or under a popping cork. Soft-bodied Jerk baits or surface plugs cast while drifting are effective also. Size limits are 15 inch minimum length, 5 per person per day, including one over 20 inches per person.

Redfish (Red Drum)

Redfish Red Drum caught on the Emerald Coast
The Red Drum is usually found along coastal waters. A three year-old Red Drum will typically weigh six to eight pounds. The largest one on record weighed just over 94 pounds. The juvenile Red Drum typically inhabits bays and coastal marshes until they reach maturity between three and six years of age. They will readily accept any bait but prefer Menhaden, Shrimp, Mud Minnows and crabs.

The most distinguishing mark on the red drum is one large black spot on the upper part of the tail base. Having multiple spots is not uncommon for this fish but having no spots is extremely rare. As the fish with multiple spots grow older they seem to lose their excess spots. Scientists believe that the black spot near their tail helps fool predators into attacking the red drum’s tail instead of their head, allowing the red drum to escape harm. Size limits are 18 to 27 inch slot and one per person.

Flounder

Flounder
The flounder is an ocean-dwelling flatfish species that is found in coastal lagoons and inshore estuaries on sandy or mud bottoms. In its life cycle, an adult flounder has two eyes situated on one side of its head, where at hatching one eye is located on each side of its brain. One eye migrates to the other side of the body as a process of metamorphosis as it grows from larval to juvenile stage. As an adult, a flounder changes its habits and camouflages itself by lying on the bottom of the ocean floor as protection against predators. As a result the eyes move to the side facing upwards. Flounder ambush their prey, feeding near bridge piles, docks and deep structure. Their diet consists mainly of fish and crustaceans. Size limits are 12 inch minimum length, ten per person per day.

Bull Red Fish

Bull Red Fish caught on the Emerald Coast
This is when a Red Fish (red drum) grows over the slot size limit of 27 inches. Schools numbering in the thousands live in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Every year spawning season is mid-August to mid-October. A female can lay up to two million eggs a season. The Red Fish can live to be 60 years old. These fish migrate into the shallow waters around the passes and are easily caught on just about any live bait and artificial lures as well. Catch and release only.

Cobia

Cobia caught on the Emerald Coast
You can catch them both INSHORE and NEARSHORE. In the spring time; April and May is when you’ll catch them sight fishing close to the beaches. Look for them around the buoy markers in the passes. In the bays look around rock piles inshore reefs and channel markers. Average size is around 30 pounds. Florida Record is 103 lbs., 12 oz. The females spawn in spring and early summer. Their main diet is crabs, squid, and small fish, Jigs or live pinfish. Size Limits: 33″ minimum to fork of tail, one per person per day.

King Mackerel (kingfish)

King Macherel Kingfish caught on the Emerald Coast
You can catch them near shore and inshore they are also caught off piers that run into deep water. Average size is common to 20 pounds. The Florida record is 90 lbs. They are a schooling fish that migrates from south Florida waters in winter to more northerly waters in spring. The Gulf population is thought to be separate from Atlantic population. Females spawn in midsummer offshore and they feed on small fish and squid. Size limits are 24″ minimum at the fork and 2 per person per day.

Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel caught on the Emerald Coast
You can catch them INSHORE, NEARSHORE and OFFSHORE – inshore especially over grass beds and reefs. The average fish is less than 2 pounds (20 inches). The Florida record is 12 lbs. Spanish are a schooling fish that migrates northward in spring, returning to southerly waters when water temperature drops below 70 degrees in the fall. The females spawn OFFSHORE, spring through summer. They feed on small fish and squid in the near-shore and off-shore waters. You’ll catch them Inshore over grass beds and around the large schools of bait. Try free-lining small bait fish, live shrimp or cut bait. Or casting silver spoons or jigs worked in a fast motion. Size limits: 12″ minimum to fork of tail, 15 per person per day. One of my favorite fried fish!

Sheepshead

Sheepshead caught on the Emerald Coast
These bait thieves are caught mostly inshore around oyster bars, seawalls, rock piles, jetties, and near shore reefs. In late winter and early spring they gather over debris, artificial reefs and around navigation markers around the passes for their annual spawning run. Average size is around 2 pounds. The Florida record is 12 lbs., 2 oz. These fish are crustaceans feeders, they feed mostly on fiddler crabs and barnacles; famed nibblers, prompting the saying that “anglers must strike just before they bite.” Size limits are 12″ minimum to fork of tail.

Jack Crevalle

IMGP0516

Commonly found in both inshore and near shore waters. This fish is a voracious feeder. They will corner a school of baitfish at the surface and feed with commotion that can be seen at great distances; feeds mainly on small fish. Size is usually 5 to 15 pounds. The Florida record is 51 lbs. They can be caught on all types of artificial and live bait.

Amberjack, Greater

amberjack caught on the Emerald Coast

Caught offshore associated with rocky reefs, debris, and wrecks, typically in 60 – 240 feet of water. You can sometimes catch them near shore in different areas of Florida. Juveniles associated with floating objects can be found in water less than 30 feet deep. Size is common to 40 pounds. The Florida record is 142 lbs. The largest populations of the jacks are thought to spawn offshore throughout most of the year. They mostly feed on squid, fish, and crustaceans. Size limits are 30″ to the fork and 1 per person per day.

Red Snapper

Red Snapper caught on the Emerald Coast
They are mostly caught offshore, although they can be caught in the deep waters near the passes. They have been reported to be more plentiful off the panhandle than in south or middle Florida. Common size is to 20 pounds. The Florida record is 46 lbs., 8 oz. The juveniles are found inshore over sandy or mud bottoms and are often taken in shrimp trawls. An adult may live more than 20 years, and attain 35 pounds or more. Sexual maturity is attained at age 2 and the female spawns June to October. They feed mostly on crustaceans and fish. Size limits are 16″ and 2 per person per day.