New Year in Panama City Beach
The new year in Panama City Beach, Florida, has brought us less-than-ideal conditions for fishing. As many of you are aware, we were hit with a category F3 tornado this month. Luckily for our family, friends, and property in Panama City Beach, we made it through without major damage. However, many in our community were negatively impacted. Our thoughts are with those in Panama City Beach during this tough time. Aside from the severe weather, it has been windy and cold! Very few days have been optimal for fishing, but we’ve been taking advantage of the few we get.
Those of us who have been able to get out on the few good days, have however been able to find a good bite. The flounder have been on the nearshore reefs and wrecks around Panama City Beach, and we are catching nice size keepers in the 14-to-17-inch range with the occasional 18 plus being caught. Light leader, small hooks, and Carolina rigs produce bites with live bull minnows or small cigs. Artificially, you can use tube jigs as well as several types of shrimp imitations. You have to use heavier weights to fish the deeper depths that these fish find themselves in this time of year. A nice bonus to this type of fishing is the several types of bycatch. We’ve enjoyed catching several out-of-season red snappers and gag groupers, as well as a few nice mangroves for the box, all in the waters near Panama City Beach.
In the bay and on the jetties in Panama City Beach, the sheepshead bite has been consistent. We’ve been seeing nice-sized fish and catching a limit here and there. The critical thing has been bait. Fiddler crabs are our favorite for the sheeps and they have been tough to come by in Panama City Beach! The colder temps have them holed up on the beach and they’ve been hard to track down. But if you can get a hold of a few dozen then you’ve most certainly got a great shot at getting some bites. A couple of tips: If you’re having trouble finding fish, go to the bridges in Panama City Beach. Get a paint scraper and scrape the bridge pilings to chum the fish up. If you’ve got enough fiddlers to crush and use as chum, that’s even better.
We are very much looking forward to the coming months in Panama City Beach! Warmer temperatures and warmer water both bring the promise of spring fisheries! Tarpon, Sailfish, Mahi, are all going to be up for grabs as well as the various reef and wreck species that will be coming into season. Our books are starting to fill up fast and we are looking forward to a busy year in Panama City Beach!