Trout & Redfish are on the menu - Pensacola Fishing Reports
Capt. John Rivers
May 2, 2016
Pensacola - Saltwater Fishing Report
The last two weeks of April were tough, but typical with all the rain and wind. When we were able to get out on the water, the trout bite wasn't half bad. Most of the fish were around 14 –17 inches with a few over 20. We did get lucky and land three over 24 inches, which was astounding.
I always encourage letting the big girls go so they can reproduce and make more baby trout. Over the next month it's only going to get better. May is one of the best months for trout along the NW region of Florida. The fishing will really fire off when the rain lets up. We've had more than our share of rain this year. The upper bays are muddied up pretty good; this happened two years ago and it pushed a lot of the fish from the upper bay areas to the lower ends of the bay and along the ICW. One good thing about all this rain is that when you do find the trout you'll usually be on a good school of fish.
During the month of May I'll be fishing in the ICW and the lower ends of Escambia Bay for both reds and trout. Like I said the trout bite is usually great in May and usually they are big trout. Tossing MirrOlure's 17 MR (808, 21) are two good colors, soft-plastics like Bass Assassin's Fluke (Bone color), or ZMan's PaddlerZ (Bad Shad color), and don't forget to have a top-water plug tied on, such as Top Dog Jr, or Heldon's Zara Spook).
Let's talk redfish for a minute. Trout fishing isn't the only agenda for the area this time of year; redfish can be found in the same areas as trout, although they tend to be a bit more easily spooked. Try looking for flats with large amounts of mullet jumping. Try depths from 1ft to 3ft; these are depths that have done well in the past during May. If fishing docks, and if you know anything about NW Florida along the ICW we have our fair share of docks, make sure you have your drag cinched down to be able to pull them out or you'll get schooled real quick by Mr. Redfish.
So to sum up what's going on over the next week or two, big trout should be on the menu along with some nice slot reds. Tossing hard and soft baits is usually fitting. But if live bait is your thing, tie on a small finger mullet free lined out and hang on. This is another popular method, but it can keep you in one area longer waiting for that one bite. I'm not big on live bait fishing. I like the challenge of working lures. But there is nothing wrong with live bait if that's your thing, and sometimes you have to cater to what will give the client the best chance of success.
Lastly, Spanish mackerel, Bluefish and Skipjacks should start to show up in our bays over the next month. These fish are a lot of fun on light tackle for all anglers as they pull very hard, and if you've never hooked a Skipjack over 2 lbs, you're in for a treat, as they jump and rip off some drag. They are not an edible fish, but who cares, sometimes it's all about the rod bending and hearing the drag scream.
I'll be out on the flats most of this summer, unless the gulf is calm. But make no mistake, the flats is where I live and when I'm rigged and ready, the fish better be wary as I'll be on the hunt for the next strike.
Till the next adventure,
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