Happy Fishing! Check out this weekend's Big Bend fishing report

·11 min read
Matt Lanier holds a beautiful redfish caught this week in 2’-feet of water.
Matt Lanier holds a beautiful redfish caught this week in 2’-feet of water.

APALACHEE BAY

Otto Hough (Facebook @myhometownfishing) says, ”Ma Nature certainly offered up some interesting weather patterns over the first part of week with overnight boomers streaming inland to the west of the Ochlocknee during the morning hours, then waves of boomers popping up in the eastern portions of Apalachee Bay by early afternoon before pushing onshore. It's been a stretch of days where the windows of opportunity have been slim before the pop-up boomers begin firing up. Hopefully, these next three days during the full moon period will be kind to anglers, boaters, kayakers and scallopers.

"With full moon tides in the weekend mix, there'll be moderate mid-to-late morning lows followed by significant late afternoon flood tides with lots of water leaving after the tide turns going into the evening hours.  Major solunar feed periods will be closely tracking the last three hours of those afternoon rising tides.

"Trout fishing has been a bit of a challenge given the hit or miss marine weather conditions. When conditions allowed, early morning topwater plugging was producing well. With the water falling out through the morning hours over each of these next three days, if weather permits early on, work topwater with One Knockers, Skitterwalks, Super Spooks or Moonwalkers, by walking the dawg. I have all my favorite bone colored lures rigged with single inline 2/0 hooks that allow the ability to work them somewhat successfully in areas of floating grasses. The trout continue to be actively feeding on the schools of greenies in the skinny waters of the Big Bend. As the day moves along, look to find those trout slipping outside into 5 to 7 feet of water in search of a little cooler conditions. Those areas of rock grass are holding good trout utilizing the grasses for ambush locations. Shift the approach from topwater to work some subsurface hardbaits with a hint of chartreuse in lures like the MirroDines and Catch 2000s. I have my favorites in each of these style plugs rigged with inline 1/0 front hooks, with a 2/0 as the rear hook. And as always, the softbaits are producing well too, especially the five inch Z-man,  Saltwater Assassin and Gulp jerk shads rigged on a weighted 1/16th ounce wide gap worm hook to work further down in the water column.

"As for the reds, they've been roaming in close all along the coast from Aucilla on westward to Turkey Point on further to the docks in Lanark. With the reds, find an active school of feeding mullet, then work the area with topwater plugs. This approach in the early morning hours has been producing quality reds, with a number of anglers getting a chance to catch some fine overslot reds.

"Outside, questionable offshore marine conditions have been such that few anglers have been making the trek to Federal waters to chase the gags. If seas, winds and lessened rain chances permit this weekend, live bait presentations over live bottom in 50 to 70 feet of water will provide the best chance to garner a boat limit.

"As always, practice safe boating, by making certain required PFDs are readily accessible to all on board. Better yet, have all wear a auto-inflatable PFD, especially when motoring. Also, though bow riding appears to be fun, it's can become a deadly endeavor if the bow rider is thrown overboard. Don't bow ride! Boat safely, just FISH!"

Did someone say scallops? Big Bend area hasn’t produced like years past. The “Keaton kids” had no problem filling buckets in their area. We all may need to look further East for those tasty little shellfish.
Did someone say scallops? Big Bend area hasn’t produced like years past. The “Keaton kids” had no problem filling buckets in their area. We all may need to look further East for those tasty little shellfish.

ST GEORGE ISLAND

Captain Russ Knapp (850-653-5072) reports, “The weather forecast for the weekend is a bit deceptive as it is calling for winds only 5 to 10 mph and seas of 1 foot or less, BUT there is a 70% chance of rain Saturday and 40 % on Sunday. The issue is that that the rain is coming in strong fast-moving squalls that appear out of nowhere and have winds up to 40 mph which makes condition go from great too scary in a matter of minutes. Temperature is going to be in the high 80's which becomes a heat index of close to 100 degrees so as always be sure to stay hydrated. As for the tides at the Cut this weekend, look for mid-morning lows of around a foot followed but late afternoon highs in the 2-foot range.

In the bay, Capt. Dan Fortunas (850-980-0101) is catching nice Flounder around the bridge pilings , good Trout in the Cut and on the flats while Tripletail are hanging around most anything that floats. Bounce a fresh shrimp on a #2 J hook along the bottom for the Flounder as they are an ambush feeder and just lay on the bottom waiting for dinner to come to them. Bring your cast net and net some Greenbacks to fish in and around the Cut for "Cut" Trout while the Trout on the flats want clean water and a DOA or Gulp under a Cajun Thunder popping core fished early and late. Tripletail will take both a fresh shrimp or Gulp shrimp under a popping cork but PLEASE if you see that the fish is under sized don't try and catch it! Even the best catch and release is stressful to the fish and may cause it to never become that big one you're looking for or worst yet make more fish.

"Offshore, Capt. Clint Taylor (850-370-6631) says the biggest challenge at the moment isn't catching fish but keeping current with the latest changes to the regulations. Just a few of the recent changes have Red Grouper season closing 8/30/2022 in Federal waters. Cobia as of July 1, 2022, now must be 36" at the fork and a possible closing of Gag Grouper in Federal Waters (past nine miles). Capt. Clint suggests going to the App Store and buying "Fish Rules App." which can be set up for our four-county region and then checking it often as FWC will tell you that ignorance of the law isn't an excuse. It's a confusing mess so spend few bucks and avoid the heartbreak of  enriching the State of Florida.

"Tip of the week -- in a recent tip of the week I suggested getting some Sawyer 20% Picaridin insect repellant to avoid donating blood to the Yellow Fly population and I'm very pleased to announce that both Capt. Dan and Capt. Randy have reported IT WORKS for them. Now if it works for the upcoming biting Black Fly invasion it will be worth its weight in gold. Better living through chemistry!"

On stage for Rock the Dock is the Hough family. Kevin, Cindy and their daughter Kinsey. Kevin’s a great guide as Cindy and Kinsey both finished third in their respective categories.
On stage for Rock the Dock is the Hough family. Kevin, Cindy and their daughter Kinsey. Kevin’s a great guide as Cindy and Kinsey both finished third in their respective categories.

MEXICO BEACH

Capt. Kevin Lanier of KC Sportfishing Mexico Beach, Fl  (850-933-8804) reports” August has arrived and with it our typical daily Thunderstorm pattern has as well. With sea surface temperature hitting 89 now it seems to have put our fishery on the lethargic bus.

The bite the last few weeks since the full moon has been slow with the occasional exception. Our runs have become a lot longer out into deeper water to find more aggressive fish. That being said, there are still great opportunities out on the water.

Recreational Red Snapper season ended at the end of July but our season continues until August 19th. Now, I would argue that more days in August may not be a good thing. Recreational fishermen will get additional days in October and November which makes a whole lot more sense in my book. My personal opinion is that current Federal Red Snapper regulations have very little to do with the fish and more to do with the money generated. Enough said about that.

"When you are headed out be prepared for a slow bottom fish bite. Make your bait sizes much smaller than you did in June. Watch for Cobia and other Pelagic species and be prepared with bait or lures to throw at them. Another tip I would offer is to fish the entire water column. Some of my largest Snapper have come from the upper 30 feet of water regardless of the depth. Early morning is the best time to troll as well. Kings and Wahoo are most active the first few hours of daylight. Until next week be safe and get out there."

Shelly Griffis, fishing out of Steinhatchee, holds up a giant 28”, true gator trout. Big girl weighed in a whopping 8 pounds.
Shelly Griffis, fishing out of Steinhatchee, holds up a giant 28”, true gator trout. Big girl weighed in a whopping 8 pounds.

BIG BEND/PANHANDLE KAYAK

Salt Strong coach Matt Lanier,  (matt@saltstrong.com) tells us, "This past week gave us kayakers some spotty weather, but that was also paired with some great fishing for those of us that made it out. Redfish were found schooled up on the points during high tide, early in the mornings, and moved out to the flats as the sun started to rise.  Once the sun came up, they moved from the grass lines to the flats in the 3’-4’ range in search of cooler waters, and

"All the redfish found this past week were ready to eat topwater, as well as subsurface baits with an aggravating or erratic action (wakebaits and/or spoons) first thing in the morning.  A topwater with single inline hooks (i.e., The Moonwalker) is working best with the floating grass around during these warmer months. Larger size paddletails in the 5” range are starting to produce as well, as the mullet and other baitfish are getting larger in size, but the smaller 3” paddletail profile is continuing to produce solid fish, consistently.

"Trout are still spread out and a bit more difficult to locate on the flats in solid numbers, but can be found in the 4-6 foot depth on the grass flats with depth changes, or submerged structure nearby. Good water movement or current flow is important with trout in these warmer months.  They still have a hard time resisting a good walk-the-dog action from a preferred topwater lure, but once the sun comes up a soft plastic paddletail (or jerk shad), or a subsurface twitch bait, or even a popping cork, will be the ticket for the speckled predators.

"Tripletail are being found around the buoys and channel markers, so be sure to keep your eyes open when cruising by them, as they offer a fancy treat and some solid excitement for any angler. For the upcoming weekend, those looking to wet a hook and get tight lines should have favorable weather if the forecast holds out. There are some chances of showers, but that is to be expected this time of year; so, keeping an eye on the forecast/radar will help when making final plans to get on the water.

"For tight lines this weekend, look to target wind-blown shorelines as that will be where the bait has been pushed. Any windblown point, or shoreline, with good current flow and water movement will be the spots that produce this weekend.

"To get the kids on some fish quickly, a live shrimp under a popping cork is always a solid producer of fish, and the best part is you never know what you’ll get because everything eats shrimp. EVEN ME! If you plan on getting out this weekend, always make sure you check, and double check, your gear. But most importantly… STAY SAFE & HAVE FUN!"

Julie Happersett holds her personal best 32” gag grouper, caught this past week while fishing 65’ of water. “Almost pulled me in” she said.
Julie Happersett holds her personal best 32” gag grouper, caught this past week while fishing 65’ of water. “Almost pulled me in” she said.

LAKE SEMINOLE

Capt. Paul Tyre reports, “The Bass fishing on Lake Seminole this past month was excellent! As predicted, the big Bass where biting and we expect it to continue through August! If planning a trip to Lake Seminole in August there are some baits that you will want to have in your tackle box. Topwater lures like a Heddon Zara Spook and a Rebel Pop R fished along the edges of the grass lines are great choices and both can generate explosive strikes from the big ones.

"For a slower presentation, soft plastics are a must in August on Lake Seminole. A 5” Yum Dinger in June Bug is an excellent choice rigged on a 4/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook fished slow.  For a bigger presentation, I prefer a 10” Yum ribbon tail worm with a light weight, also rigged on a Gamakatsu 4/0 EWG hook, again fished slow along the outside edge of the grass lines.

"The Bream continue to bed in 4 to 6 feet of water and can be caught along the grass lines with crickets and Beetle Spins. We brought in some big Crappie to At Ease Campground & Marina formerly known as Jack Wingate’s Lunker Lodge and Don Fabian the new owner fried them up with all the trimmings and it was AWSOME! We caught those Crappie in 15 to 20 feet of water on Bass Assasin Pro Tiny Shads.

"For a Lake Seminole Fishing Adventure give me a call to check availability at 850-264-7534 , follow us on Instagram @ Capt.paultyrefishing or email me @ paultyrefishing@yahoo.com. "

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Happy Fishing! Check out this weekend's Big Bend fishing report