Before this massive amount of rain that got dropped on us over the past couple of days, the bite had really turned on. The cobia run was continuing to produce solid fish with a couple over 90lbs being caught. Some of the cobia are starting to move out to the near shore structure such as the barges and tanks. The spanish mackerel have been absolutely on fire in the surf and near the pass. Trolling small live baits or small plugs or casting bubble rigs and gotcha’s are all techniques that will put fish in the box. The trout and reds are up on the flats in the Choctawhatchee Bay and the large bull reds have been schooling up on the beaches. The big question of the next couple of weeks is how all of this rainwater will effect the bite. We received nearly two feet of rain and some serious flooding so expect the bay, pass, and nearshore waters to look like chocolate milk for a while to come.
The king mackerel are here and they have been hungry! There have been a few days where it has been impossible to even get two baits in the water before you have a fish on. The fish are averaging 10-15lbs with quite a few larger fish thrown in the mix. Slow trolling live baits is my favorite way to target the kings but trolling plugs and rigged ballyhoo on wire will get you connected as well. Don’t forget to put out that flat line bait while bottom fishing for even more mackerel action. I have also heard some good reports of blackfin tuna out along the edge in 180′-300′ of water.
The bottom bite has been excellent. The mingo snapper bite has been extremely good with good catches anywhere from 70′ all the way out to 250′. The biggest mingos have been in the deep water eating small live baits while scamp fishing with most catches coming on cut squid/chicken rig combos. We have also been catching some very nice mangrove snapper in the 5-10 lb range on live bottom in the 80′-100′ zones. The scamp bite has been pretty good as well and with live bait being readily available load up on some small cigar minnows, speedos, or sardines and drop them on live bottom in 200’+ and hold on! The amberjack bits has been excellent with most of the fish preferring live baits right now although there are plenty to be had on jigs as well. Anglers need to keep in mind the triggerfish closure in Federal waters beginning on May 1. Our state water red snapper season opens up on May 24th and I anticipate the red snapper action will be great as usual.
Some consistent reports coming from the rigs of some nice yellowfin tuna in the 60-100 lb class over the last couple of weeks. As usual the blackfin are there and can be caught until your arms fall off. There have been a few wahoo and a couple of billfish caught as well. The water temp is where it needs to be at all the typical trolling areas such as the nipple, spur, elbow, and steppes. The bite hasn’t really been on fire out there yet, but any day could be the day it happens. I will be out there several times over the next couple weeks so a more detailed report on the blue water can be expected in my next report. I am really hoping that all of the rain we have had and all of the ice melting into the Mississippi river will not mess up our blue water season here. The next few weeks should be interesting.
Capt. Adam Peeples
One Shot Fishing Charters, LLC