PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla.– Wintertime hookups can be hard to find, but perseverance and patience often reward hardy anglers willing to give it a shot. In Panama City Beach, home of the award-winning fishing and coastal lifestyle television show “Chasin’ The Sun,” anglers of all skill levels are invited to cast a line in its emerald-green waters this winter and experience the destination’s world-class fishery. Capt. Nathan Chennaux, a USCG licensed captain and fishing guide, has some tips for snagging speckled trout and redfish in February.
Many anglers in Panama City Beach have luck finding speckled trout in bayous, creeks or canals near the soft, dark-colored muddy bottom in water depths ranging from two-to-eight feet, typically near transitions to grass or oyster beds. Capt. Chennaux suggests using live shrimp for inactive fish and soft plastic jigs or hard plastic suspending baits, depending on the depth and fish activity. Even though harvest of speckled trout is closed for the entire month of February in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) newly created Western Panhandle Management Zone, anglers can still catch and release them.
“I choose my fishing spot based not so much on the quantity of fish it might hold, but because the area might be well-suited for a certain type of fishing or the lighting might be right at a particular time,” says Capt. Chennaux. “I always encourage people to practice different styles of fishing for the same species of fish because patterns sometimes overlap, and you may be able to use similar baits weighted differently or a different cadence for the retrieval.”
Redfish behavior in Panama City Beach varies in February and anglers can find them widespread from the Intracoastal Waterway throughout the bays, bayous, flats, St. Andrews Pass and along the beaches. Capt. Cheneaux recommends using different tactics and techniques for fishing in the pass or on a structure for big schools of redfish in deep water, compared to poling the backwaters looking at fish with their backs out of the water. Although redfish are open for harvest, Capt. Chennaux encourages anglers to practice catch-and-release as often as possible to preserve this precious resource.
For a different experience, Capt. Chennaux suggests fishing inlets, bridges and other deeper water structures this time of the year where there is more regulated water temperatures and an abundance of life. Anglers can almost always find something to catch in these areas, whether it is redfish, sheepshead, mangrove snapper, flounder, pompano, Spanish mackerel, black drum or even grouper. Capt. Chennaux recommends live baits when drifting the deeper structures, but he has also had tremendous success with all types of soft plastics and heavy bucktail jigs.
These fishing conditions, along with many more, are portrayed on the “Chasin’ The Sun” television program, which showcases the diverse angling, diving and cultural opportunities found in the emerald-green waters of Panama City Beach. Season six sponsors of “Chasin’ The Sun” include Dulce Vida Tequila, Fish Monkey, Grundéns, Half Hitch Tackle, Holiday Inn Resort, Humminbird, Minn Kota and Pirates Cove Marina.
Produced in partnership with Pinfish Media, all new episodes of “Chasin’ The Sun” and Capt. Chennaux’s monthly fishing reports are available for online viewing at www.ChasinTheSunTV.com. Previous seasons’ episodes can be seen on Amazon Prime, Vudu, STIRR and Samsung TV Plus and the show is offered on local affiliate television stations in the Outdoor America and Right Now TV networks. For more information on “Chasin’ The Sun,” please visit or stay connected via Facebook (@ChasinTheSunFishingShow), Instagram (@ChasinTheSunTV) and YouTube.
About Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach is situated on 27 miles of sugar-white sand beaches bordering clear, emerald-green waters where the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay converge. With 320 days of sunshine annually and attractions such as St. Andrews State Park and Pier Park, the region has long been favored by travelers seeking an affordable beach vacation with year-round offerings for families, couples, groups and adventure-seekers. These include championship golf courses, spas, sporting events, award-winning dining and diverse recreational activities. In addition, Panama City Beach’s Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport offers non-stop flights on Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. For more information, call 850-233-5070 or visit the official website of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://www.
Tori Beth Black / Rachael Moss
Lou Hammond Group
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