What in the heck is Inshore Bay Fishing? Technically, it means fishing inside the lines of demarcation that delineate waters upon which mariners shall comply with International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea and Inland Navigation rules. Aren’t you glad you know that now?
Basically, when we are fishing in the Bay or Sound, we are fishing inshore, aka Inshore Bay Fishing. When we are in the Gulf of Mexico, we are fishing “nearshore” or “near coastal”. Some people call Gulf Fishing “Deep Sea Fishing”, but it’s not really that deep, and we’re really not in the Sea. Now that we have that cleared up…
Inshore bay fishing offers multiple and productive opportunities for us, including the ability to find calm water, pretty much regardless of the wind direction or intensity. If the wind is blowing too hard for us to fish productively and comfortably, we’ll reschedule! Inshore fishing includes:
Shallow water fishing on grass beds and sandbars with artificial baits, live baits, and flies. If we are fly fishing, much of this will be sight-fishing, just like in the Bahamas. If we are spin fishing, we will either sight-fish or work known areas with top water plugs, spoons, or live bait. Targeted species depend upon time of year, but Redfish are almost always on the list. When they are around, we’ll be ready for Jack Crevalle as well. We will generally be in a Flats skiff for this style of fishing, but we may wade fish or walk the beach with fly tackle if the conditions are right.
This means we’ll fish around docks, rock jetties, markers, pilings, pretty much anything in shallow water that gives baitfish a place to hide. Much like Flats fishing, here we will target Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Spanish Mackerel, Ladyfish, Bluefish, and others. We will always be prepared in case a school of Jack Crevalle comes by.
Over the years we have discovered multiple places in Pensacola Bay where structure holds bait. With bait comes predators, sometimes large ones, hanging out looking for lunch. Some of these spots are sunken boats, crashed planes, ballast from old sailing ships, man-made reefs, natural bottom, and more. When we hit these spots we hope to catch Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Gag Grouper, Red Grouper, Bull Redfish, Cobia, Sharks, and more. Pretty big fish that pull HARD.
Pensacola Pass is one of the deepest natural passes on the Gulf Coast, with depths reaching and sometimes exceeding 70 feet. With fast-moving tides, uneven natural bottom, and more structure, the Pass holds a LOT of fish. You may be surprised at what we catch in the pass. Some sample species have been Red Snapper, Gag Grouper, Flounder, Redfish, Mangrove Snapper, Cobia, Bonito, Spanish Mackerel, Sharks, and more. You just never really know what will take your bait in the Pass. And if we’re lucky enough to fish the Pass when the Blue Angels are practicing, you’ll have your own private airshow just overhead. Always good.