Panama City Beach / West Bay – April 2020

Joan with a fine bay snapper.
Joan with a fine bay snapper.

Backcountry / Bay / Inshore: If you’re targeting speckled trout and redfish on the flats, it’s hot enough to focus your fishing time on mornings and evenings. If you can, choose the higher end of the tide while it’s moving, preferably on the way out. Look for the bigger trout in very shallow water right at daylight or dusk. The smaller trout will be in the 2- to 4-ft range and in greater numbers. Redfish will be in most of the same areas but will also be around the docks in the bay. The big reds can be caught around the big bridges and in the pass on the outgoing tide. Most live baits will work as well as soft plastic jigs and top-water lures when they are feeding on top, but the best bait is a live blue crab. Sheepshead are being caught around the jetties and other shallow inshore structures. Use a light weight bottom rig with a small shrimp or piece of shrimp. Pompano can be caught on the beach in the surf using a jig tipped with a piece of shrimp, or a sand flea. There may be some flounder and redfish mixed in there with them. Look for cobia cruising the beaches with rays or turtles and have a live eel ready to go for your best chance.

Offshore: There are some big cobia being caught on and around the near shore wrecks, both on the bottom and right under the boat. If you’re headed offshore, bring a rod rigged with no weight for those sneaky ones. Lots of red snapper and gag grouper are being caught, but have to be released; the same goes for all the amberjack. On the up-side, there are plenty of triggerfish being caught along with mangrove snapper and scamp so there is still plenty of options for dinner. Remember to check the current regulations before you go. See you out there!

Liquid Native Charters