With an extremely short list of things to do through March and April many locals took to fishing and boating, the waterways often looked like the 4th of July weekend and it was great to see people out enjoying themselves.
Hopefully life as we know it in the Florida Panhandle can get back to normal in May and we can have a fun and enjoyable summer. May, of course, is a great time to go fishing. It’s not smoldering hot like July and August and typically fishing is pretty good, especially with amberjack opening up May 1.
Speckled trout fishing is typically great in April but has not been all that stellar lately. Usually in May you can find them on the grass flats and around shallow water structure like rock piles or docks. The good news is that croaker fishing has been great in the bayous, which is the best bait for trout.
Redfish can caught around the residential docks in Santa Rosa Sound and on around the local bridges, especially the Pensacola Bay Bridge and Bob Sikes Bridge. If you’re going to give the docks a try just use live shrimp and hit them around the middle of the day.
Spanish mackerel will be a popular species amongst inshore anglers throughout the month of March. You will likely have to look for them from one day to the next, they may be up in Pensacola Bay one day and down the beach out in the Gulf of Mexico the following day.
Amberjack season is open the entire month of March so everyone will definitely be looking for them. Your best bet is to hit the big public wrecks for them with either live bait like hardtails or vertical jigs, but quite often its hard to find keepers using jigs.
Triggerfish closed at the end of April, but if you’re looking for something else to do after catching some amberjack, vermillion (mingo) snapper is a great option. These great tasting little snapper are typically pretty easy to find and catch, just make sure you have some squid or northern mackerel on board.
Offshore trolling action will start to heat up throughout the month of March with wahoo, dolphin, and billfish. This is highly determined by water quality offshore, some years the fishing is great 30 miles from Pensacola around the Nipple and some years blue water is 80 miles away
Piers & Beaches
Anglers on the Pensacola Beach Gulf Fishing Pier and Navarre Beach Fishing Pier can expect to see king and Spanish mackerel begin showing up and possibly an occasional cobia or pompano. If you’re heading out to one of the piers take a cobia jig, king mackerel leader, cigar minnows, and a Gotcha Lure.
The Pensacola Bay Fishing Bridge is currently closed, so Bob Sikes Bridge and Fort Pickens Pier will both be very crowded for a while. A mix bag of species can be caught at both of those locations, but live shrimp will work for just about everything you can catch out there.