Pensacola Gulf Red Snapper is a very highly sought after species, both for the table fare and for the thrill of the battle. When you get hooked up with a 15 plus pound snapper you’ve got your hands full. I’m a state licensed boat, so that keeps me inside of the nine mile line. In these waters there is hardly any water more than 75 foot deep. This is where learning how to fish for and catch these fish takes a little finesse, especially on the slick calm days. If there is a wind chop on the water it makes it easier to fool the fish. You can go with the standard Carolina rig using as small of weight as needed to get the bait down at a reasonable rate. Also I’ll tackle up a little – 4 foot of 60 or 80 pound test fluorocarbon leader and a 6/0 inline Gamakatsu Circle hook, add a lively cigar minnow and hang on. Now, on the calm days this is where the finesse part is very important. Tackle down, smaller weights, smaller leader and hooks, 6 to 8 feet of 40 or 50 pound test fluorocarbon leader, 4/0 Gamakatsu inline Circle hooks, start fishing the reef at 100 feet away instead of 50. This gives you a little more room to stop the fish before she makes it back to cover. Next if you can’t get the bites go to a knocker rig – this is where using a good spinning reel and rod is a must. Add a small egg weight on the main line at the hook, pin on a lively cigar minnow and cast it up current and let the current and weight pull the bait freely down toward the reef. Don’t play around here when you get the bite. Work hard to stop the fish, otherwise she will beat you every time! Try these tips and I bet you’ll have better success this season.
Next it’s Mackerel time. King and Spanish will be prolific – close in. Start with stocking up the live well with fresh cigar minnows, then head out to the passes and slow troll. Bump troll them around the buoys that have bait hanging around them. I use spinning gear – 4500 size reels and 20 pound test line on 7 foot medium action rods. Add 2 foot of wire leader with a stinger hook and you’ll be successful.
Pensacola Inshore – the Speckled Trout bite is going to be early in the morning. At daylight, I’ll use the dog walking plugs 99% of time. Give it an hour or so then move on to different species. Finding a school of Crevalle Jack is very probable. I’ll keep a couple of rods rigged with a big chugger at the ready. You never know when a school will swim under the boat. Slot Redfish are a staple this time of the year. Once the sun gets overhead the fish will get closer to cover which narrows down the strike zone making it easier to locate the fish. Go with live shrimp, LY’s and small pogies for live bait; plastic shrimp and gold spoons for artificial baits.
June is one of the best months of the year to go fishing. You can just about name a species relevant to our area and go catch it. So get out there and have some fun!
Thank you for reading my fishing forecast,