Hello anglers! It’s heating up fast here along the Panhandle. As we roll into May we should be seeing water temperatures rising through the mid to upper 70’s which lays down the welcome mat for many migratory species that only frequent our area during the warm months. Cobia, king mackerel, mahi mahi, bonito, and a few others will make their way into our area right on schedule. Bait fish migrations have been in progress throughout March and April. The predators aren’t far behind. As the bait fish push further into our bay system, the flats and bay fishing will turn on like a light switch!
BAY: May is one of the best months for top water plug action. Light spinning gear with 10-15 lb braided line and long casts on those shallow grass flats and creek mouths will be rewarding to many. If you like live bait in the shallows, free-lined finger mullet and live shrimp under a cork will be deadly. Remember a sneaky approach and long casts are essential most of the time. Redfish and trout will be on the prowl, but don’t spook them! Spanish mackerel, blue fish, and lady fish will be running throughout our inland waters so keep a spoon or Gotcha Plug tied up and watch for surface action.
OFFSHORE: I have noticed a significant increase in the grouper action inshore. Gag grouper isn’t open in state waters yet, but it’s a great time to start dropping some big baits and getting them located. Trigger fish are still thick on the reefs. Chicken rigs with small stout circle hooks will yield many hookups. Trolling the beaches should produce a variety of species this month. Be sure to keep a big spinning rod with a jig tied up and keep your eyes peeled for that cobia.
SURF: The pompano fishing should be excellent. Live shrimp or sand fleas fished on bottom is the ticket. Spoons and Gotcha Plugs will be a good idea as the Spanish mackerel and many others will be scattered amongst the surf. King mackerel will be lurking just of the beaches as well, so try soaking a cigar minnow on a larger spinning rod. Don’t forget that wire leader on the business end!
Thanks for reading folks and fish on!
CAPT. JASON SHINGLER
Adrenaline On H20
Panama City, FL