Lack of bait/salinity in the bays - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 07-09-2014, 09:33 PM   #1
Ruby Red Lip
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Navarre
Posts: 61
Default Lack of bait/salinity in the bays

Hey all,

I've noticed this year that there is little to no bait in the back bays (east bay and backwater bay mainly). Last year you could walk across the menhaden schools about midmorning through most of the summer. This year I have yet to see a menhaden period and no schools. I also used to go out and catch sail cats in east bay in the afternoon for something to do while drinking a beer or two and I haven't caught one of those yet, only channel cats. I also have noticed that I haven't seen a dolphin anywhere east of Garcon Pt compared to consistent sightings at least every other trip out last year. And the red/trout fishing has been fairly awful of course as well.

Anyone have any thoughts as to the lack of bait/sportfish? I wouldn't think that the floods from this spring would still have an effect on the salinity. Kind of at a loss here.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:51 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 141

I can tell you that when I arrived in May just 3 days after the floods, Choctawhatchee Bay was a wet wasteland with nothing in it. By 3 days after that, porpoise, bait, and BIG trout were everywhere. In trips since, I've seen both extremes and everything in between, including my last trip last week.

There is no general lack of salinity and/or bait. It comes and goes.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:57 PM   #3
Young Pier Rat
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Gulf Breeze, FL
Posts: 510

I had my best day of redfishing less than 5 days after the floods, so I can't complain about it. I have also seen more dolphins this year than last and I'm only fishing half the time than I did last year
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:11 PM   #4
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Cigar Minnow
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 20

north and west bay in panama had this dilema after the monsoons. Have not fished north recently...but west bay is bouncing fishing is good ....trout is picking up ....but have not seen the big schools of bait like last year....nor the dolphins in the places I normally fish ...which are not on the main body.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:10 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 227

Tides should keep the salinity fairly regular and stable, except when there are sustained downpours. But that should be a short-lived situation. There are salinity guages available and they should not be really expensive. It may be temperature or water quality/clarity or dissolved oxygen levels - or a combination of these factors. I was astounded one year to see acres of ballyhoo being torn up by spanish in the bay (not the back bay) one year. I've also seen large groups of squid in the bay. I'm sure that they move in there to try to get away from predation and that the schools move around, in and out, up and down the bay. The back bay fish will be back, I'll betcha! Late July and all through August is usually a great time to catch sail cats (what a great fighting fish!). I'm looking forward to getting my line slimed and pole bent double! They'll be back!
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:59 AM   #6
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Cigar Minnow
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 22

you are right about the theory is that the flood killed off some of the grass causing the bait to go least in the sound side at johnson beach.worst surf fishing in 30 years....go figure.
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