Spring in Florida is similar to midsummer in many states north of the Mason/Dixon line. Bad thing in any of those states, not much, if any, saltwater fishing is found.
North Florida has more to offer those interested in the outdoors than saltwater fishing. We also have freshwater fishing. Seriously, there is a lot to offer.
If camping is your thing, you’re in luck! Many campgrounds can be found by the water up and down the coast and along lakes such as Talquin and Seminole. Ironically, both flow into the bay, although you might struggle to get all that way past the dam at the western end of Talquin.
The lakes in North Florida provide world-class fishing. Two largemouth and striped bass numbers can be found, along with a 3-pound crappie and a 12-inch blue crappie.
Along the Gulf Coast, red monster fish weighing up to 45 pounds, cobia, tarpon, mackerel, and even grouper can be caught just a few miles offshore.
With the weekend just two weeks away, it’s time to start getting ready for the fun. I know honey comes first but all the work and no play makes Jack just want to fish more.
In the Florida Panhandle/Big Bend, we have several areas along the bay where groups of boats congregate on sunny days. West of Tallahassee is St. George and Dog’s Island. Moving east there is Ochlocknee Shoals. The St. Mark’s Sandbar is right in our backyard (or back bay). While you follow the river channel from the view of St. Mark to the left after the lighthouse. If a very large group of boats are on your right, you may have taken the wrong course or need a new GPS device.
A favorite with many anglers, the sandbar makes a nice stopping point after a long day of fishing. The shallow sands allow those well established to walk, mingle, meet and show off their watercraft. Music of all kinds can be heard, flags are waving and sunburns abound.
Whatever you decide in the two weeks for Memorial Day, remember to be safe and be patient because the rapids and boat lines will likely be full.
Otto Hough (myhometownfishing.com) says, “Well, it seems that after so many consecutive weekends with only one or less decent fishing days, Ma Nature will bless fishermen for the weekend with a great mix of fishing conditions. With light breezes and seas At two feet or less, combined with morning temperatures in the 60s at sunrise combined with great tidal flows before a full moon, it has all the makings of some great opportunities to enjoy fishing in the waters of Big Bend on this three day stretch.
“Low tide will occur near sunrise, rising during the lunch hour with great water movement between tides. With semi-soft seas in the current three-day marine forecast, whether chasing trout or redfish, or both, or Spanish mackerel in the skinny Water, or run outside to target gags, cobias, AJs or Kings, there should be plenty of hungry fish to provide some fine tugs on the line.Choose one or two species, indoors or out, and chase them early.
“If targeting trout and red trout, these morning start coolers have topwater seals that attract the attention of high-quality fish when working near the creek mouth tips east and west of the lighthouse. Expectations are high that topwater seals like One Knockers will continue to produce impressive surface explosions. , Skitterwalks, Super Spooks and Moonwalkers in bone color schemes. On the way to the west, the upper water bite was also smoldering around the bars of Alligator Harbor as well as the lower ledges scattered in the shallow waters near Turkey Point Spit and around Lanark Island. Morning sky, look at shifting gears by working a bit down into the water column with slow-moving suspension offerings, such as MirroDine 17MRs, Unfair Lures Rip-n-Slash 70s, 90s, and Arrowheads and real gold/orange belly Redfins.
Softbait offers like the 5-inch saltwater killer, Z-man, and Gulp! Loop, jitter, and stop pattern. Another good way to work on these softbaits if you’re not comfortable working in a freestyle style is to run these softbaits on about an 18 to 24 inch leader. Under the Cajun Thunder or Equalizer, using a strong jerk, pause and let the ripples dissipate, then repeat the loopback pattern.
“If the goal was to target gags in our Four County Big Bend, they would devour live bait and squid shows on live bottom in 20 to 40 feet of water. Remember, federal waters and rest of state waters don’t open until June 1. For the rest of this month, the AJs are wide open until May 31. There have been some reports of a lot of larger AJs frequenting the water near Tower K. Some really large cobias also made the known presence around many of the rock piles and structures they favored Those fighters who eat good food.They also love live bait shows and the biggest jerk shad baits.Rapala CDMag18s slow trolling in 16 to 22 feet of water above rock piles can still produce legal gags when conditions permit.
“As water temperatures creep higher, begin to expect to find more and more gags in deeper waters in the 25- to 35-foot range, also above a live bottom or any of the artificial reefs in state waters outside of our county’s four Big Bend waters. The deep, Mirrolure 111MRs and Rapala CDMag22s are very slow trolling plugs that can draw to depths of 25 feet or more depending on the amount of line fired.The rest of the state’s waters will open June 1 for gags through Four County Big Bend closing the area June 30, which It provides a one-month overlap in June.
“The other thing these good-looking days will bring are the crowds at the landings. After witnessing a number of unintentional launches at short notice during Mother’s Day on Timber Island, I will once again preach the need for slope etiquette. Do not load the boat on The ramp or right in front of it.Each landing along the coast has launch areas to prepare the boat for launch.Use these areas, locate everything, and drive toward the ramp.Don’t be the drop point everyone curses at.Also, put on the auto inflatable PFDs!Enjoy With all that Big Bend Water has to offer and shop at local stores and marinas for bait and gadgets. Be safe, just FISH!!”
St. George Island
Captain Ross Knapp (850-653-5072) reported, “For the first time in what seems to be an eternity, the weather forecast for the weekend looks great at this time (Wednesday evening) with the seas running 1-2 feet and no rain in the forecast… tides The Cut this weekend is in your favor as well with low around 8am and tides around 2pm, so I strongly urge you to take advantage of this weather miracle and go fishing.
“In the bay, Captain Dan Fortunas (850-980-0101) has been picking up a little bit of everything around The Cut this week with Mangrove Snapper, Flounder and Sheepshead all finding their way to the cooler and Ladyfish doing an aerial show. Dan suggests catching fresh shrimp. On one fish stand hook on the bottom for best results.
“If you’re looking for a flat trout head and make your way from the drop-off point until you find the fish, if Pompano is your target head to the beach and fish in the cuts in the sandbar. DOA or Gulp Shrimp under the Cajun Thunder or bounce on the bottom on top of a trout dance , while any pompano wouldn’t go through a real sandy flea brine filled with a bit of peeled shrimp works well, too.
“Outside, Captain Clint Taylor (850-370-6631) catches cute Amberjacks on sea wrecks like the Empire Mica and in turrets with big live baits, so bring some Sabiki with them and give them a little squid fishing will only get better because Pelagics will be here in force any day and the Red Snapper season is looking to be great this year.
“Tip of the week – the water is already starting to warm up so staying hydrated and focused is a must for everyone, remember that alcohol and caffeine are not your friends while on the boat. FWC says one beer on the water is like three on land while caffeine is a diuretic.” And it will dehydrate quickly, so stick with water and Gatorade-type drinks and enjoy your ride.”
Capt. Pat McGrave of One More Cast ([email protected]) says, “Water temperatures in the bay dropped from 83 last week to 73 degrees on Monday morning; but my friend Doug Garwood and his wife Janine of Dalton, Ga. had 8 fish rangers. Trout on stoppers Tuesday.The Gulf waters warmed up to 76 p.m.
“Friday we had a great ride despite winds of 20-25 knots. I had Steve and Marsha Slaughter from Columbus, Ga. We brought ten trout back to 22.5 inches and shot two over 19.” , 22 inches and a nice flounder 16 inches thick. We caught live pinfish under the thunder of Back Bay to get our fish down. Must love those winds! “
Capt. Kevin Lanier KC Sportfishing Mexico Beach (850-933-8804) reports, “Fishing has continued to improve this week, and amberjack runs here. Live bait and jigging are killing this fish. Being aggressive feeders, look for the hull and find the fish. Deep water is Best, but they also appear in water as shallow as 70 feet.
“The annual Port St, Joe Bayou Bash this weekend was a huge success with 259 participants. Lots of trout, redfish and flounder were weighed. Soft Jigs and Live bait were big producers. The wind was strong all day the catch was Hard, thanks to the Swivel Sisters for being the driver and sponsor of this tournament, and we were honored to be a part of it.
“The outlook for this week is still very good with decent conditions coming in this weekend. For us, the federally permitted Red Snapper season begins June 1. Come fishing with us. The Triggerfish and Crimson have been caught in 60 feet of water as they hunt squid The Cigar minnows.The red snapper is quite dense at the moment, but it’s still fun to fight, especially on the light bars.
“Good luck and be safe.”
Capt. Paul Tyre reports, “Bas fishing in Lake Seminole has been excellent through April and will continue through May and June! Bass transition into post-spawn patterns and the top water sting is turned on! Bumblebee baits and frogs are productive. I was out with 14-year-old Truman Garrison From Panama City Florida and he got his personal best performance!
The Shellcracker kept sleeping and for the last two mornings I had the pleasure of fishing with Alan Carter and Donny Powell from Andalusia, Alabama, where we hunted over a hundred Shellcrackers every morning!
For some exciting bass fishing or skycracker call me at @850-264-7534 and follow me on Facebook @capt.paultyrefishing
For a Lake Seminole Fishing Adventure for Shellcracker and/or Bass in April, call me to check availability at 850-264-7534, follow us on Instagram @ Capt.paultyrefishing or email me @ [email protected]
Otto B Fishing says, “I am happy to report on bass in Lake Iamonia, Mikusuke and Kar still feeding vigorously on almost any show resembling a newly hatched water eel when working over pads strewn over the edges of the deep water. This will be the largest show of softbait worms like Zoom Magnum Speedvibes and Bass Assassin RSBs in Junebug or Junebug Red colors.Also, the Z-man TRDz watermelon red frog was a well-loved offering that worked in fluffy pads.