Panama City Beach / West Bay – December 2019

Bryan Ferns of Panama City with a nice red on a beautiful day.
Bryan Ferns of Panama City with a nice red on a beautiful day.

BACKCOUNTRY / BAY / INSHORE: With water temps dropping, the trout and redfish action is starting to pick up in the bayous and the mouths of the creeks. For speckled trout, focus on the potholes and deeper parts of the channels. Live bait works best but soft plastic jigs will do fine. When it’s really cold most of the action will be on the bottom so you may have to put a small weight to get your bait into the strike zone. The fishing will be slower but when you find one there will usually be several there so focus on that spot. Some redfish will be mixed in with them but they can still be caught on the flats in shallow water. There are always going to be some big bull reds in deep water under the big bridges and in the pass. Focus on the high end of an outgoing tide. Most any live bait will do but crabs and shrimp will do the best. Lots of mangrove snapper are being caught around the wrecks and bridges and other structures in the bay using light tackle and small baits. If shark fishing is your thing the bay is full of blacktip sharks in the 3 to 5 foot range which are always fun to catch on light tackle around the bridges or channels in the bay. Free-line or float a golf ball size chunk of cut bait and it won’t be long before you get bit. If you bring a little chum, you’ll have them circling behind the boat. Some really nice blue fish are being caught on anything from casting a top-water bait to trolling a small jig and everything in between. Flounder are being caught near the pass and on the beach as well as around the whistle buoy and other near shore structures. Fish on the bottom with light tackle and use live shrimp if possible, but soft plastic jigs will also work.

OFFSHORE: There are plenty of fish to be caught offshore but be sure to check updated regulations because they are always changing. Gag grouper is open and a big live bait fished on the bottom will put one in the box. You will catch plenty of them but red snapper and trigger fish are closed. But not to worry, mangrove snapper, scamp, and several other species of grouper and snapper are plentiful and great to eat.

CAPT. DARYL SHUMATE
Liquid Native Charters
850-624-6968
Liquidnativecharters.com

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