October Inshore Fishing in NW Florida? - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 07-30-2018, 10:27 PM   #1
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Default October Inshore Fishing in NW Florida?

I have a new bay boat on order and we are planning our first saltwater trip for late October..somewhere around the 20th-27th. I'm from Athens, GA. I'd like to find somewhere that has good, open water where I don't risk screwing a new boat up in too skinny of water. I'd love to find the best fishing I can find that time of year.....flounder, redfish, trout, whatever I can find inshore. But, I would love to bring home some reds and flounder! It'll be my wife, myself and our 3 kids, and I'm really looking forward to that first trip with our kids. I'll be getting used to the boat in North Georgia lakes near home until then. I'm looking at Port St. Joe, Chocktawatchee Bay in Destin and the bay around Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, in addition to Pensacola Bay. For those familiar, where is typically the best inshore fishing in mid-late October? Or, are they all basically the same?

I've done a lot of saltwater fishing via charters, but you never learn anything. That's why I bought the boat. I want to go more often and I want to know what I'm doing without relying on someone to just take me to the fish. I'll eventually get into some very skinny water in Georgia's intercostals and around Hilton Head, SC, as well as in the river systems and flats around Apalachicola. But, I want to learn on something a little more open to begin with, and hopefully catch some good fish while I'm at it. I'd like to steer clear of those places that have huge tidal swings and you risk getting caught on oyster bars if you aren't careful. I want to have a good time, and not have to worry about tearing a new boat all to pieces. As I learn, I'll venture into skinner water. Thanks for any recommendations and advice.

Last edited by mayberry; 07-30-2018 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:39 AM   #2
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You picked a good time to go. The end of Oct. & the 1st part of Nov. is the best time of yr for redfish & trout in my opinion.

I usually fish out of Apalach, Eastpoint area. You shouldn't have any trouble getting on the fish that time of yr.
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Old 07-31-2018, 05:05 AM   #3
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You are getting a new bay boat so skinny water should be no problem. Most bay boats draft shallow 12 inches or less. Is it going to have a troller? You can look for grass beds, drop offs, and you can also fish dock lights at night. You suggested a wide selection of waters (Orange Beach to Choctaw) so that would be alot of water. October is a good time, weather is nice and I hope you and the family have a great time...


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Old 07-31-2018, 08:17 AM   #4
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Here is a picture. She should be here in a few weeks. Can't wait. I looked at boats for a few years and just couldn't find the blend of family/fishing that I wanted. With 3 small kids, I felt like I was looking for a unicorn. Then I ran across a Carolina Skiff 24 Ultra Elite. I never even looked at Carolina Skiff because I thought they just made the old school skiffs. Then, I found this and it was exactly what I've been looking for. I considered Pathfinders, Boston Whalers, and numerous others, that were really good boats. But, the forward seating was always at gunnel height, and there never seemed to be enough room for family days and playing. This boat has a ton of room for its size (23'9"), and I powered it with a Suzuki 250, so it should have plenty of power. Really happy with the layout, and the finish of the boat seemed higher quality than some others we looked at.

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Last edited by mayberry; 07-31-2018 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 07-31-2018, 08:23 AM   #5
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So, would any of those places yield a better trip, or better fishing, in October? I've read it's one of the best times of the year to fish down there, so I planned a trip, since I'm getting the boat in a few weeks and will have a few months on it before taking the trip. Can't wait, but just can't decide where to go. I'm most familiar with Destin (Chocktawatchee Bay), as I've taken a few inshore charters there with my sons during beach trips. But, I am not tied to any one place. I just want to find fish and make the trip enjoyable for the kids.
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Old 07-31-2018, 10:41 AM   #6
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All waters you mentioned "should" be good that time of year. Believe your biggest concern is where that new ride is going to be parked at night.
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Old 07-31-2018, 10:55 AM   #7
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Any where you mentioned you will be able to find reds and trout. Even Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder could find them that time of year!
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Old 07-31-2018, 12:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanaka View Post
All waters you mentioned "should" be good that time of year. Believe your biggest concern is where that new ride is going to be parked at night.

I am hoping to rent a house or condo with dockspace on the water. If I can't find that, I'll rent slip space daily rental at one of the marinas wherever I am. I have no interest in trailering the boat in and out of the water each day while I'm down there. Is this reasonable, or is there a reason I shouldn't do this?

Sorry for the newbie questions. I'm new to this and just learning as I go.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:34 PM   #9
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Searching this afternoon, I've found plenty of suitable places in Pensacola and Port St. Joe, and 2 houses that will work with dock space in Destin. Obviously, Destin has more to do other than fishing, and Port St. Joe is the cheapest with less to do other than fishing. So, the question remains....is one of these better fishing than the others in late October? I'll go to all eventually....just want this first trip to be a success for the family.
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Old 07-31-2018, 04:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayberry View Post
Searching this afternoon, I've found plenty of suitable places in Pensacola and Port St. Joe, and 2 houses that will work with dock space in Destin. Obviously, Destin has more to do other than fishing, and Port St. Joe is the cheapest with less to do other than fishing. So, the question remains....is one of these better fishing than the others in late October? I'll go to all eventually....just want this first trip to be a success for the family.

That's a lot of water! Not sure how many folk are familiar with it ALL to answer that question properly? Knowing your local waters is pretty key. Pensacola folk will likely do better in Pensacola, Destin folk in Destin, etc. If you want to slay a bunch of fish, I highly suggest hiring a guide, even if for a half day (many will work on YOUR boat for a reduced fee). There are some great guides around who know the fishery from top to bottom, inshore to offshore. Note: on a decent day, your boat can easily handle some nearshore action. Don't know about the other areas, but Pensacola has a BUNCH of artificial reefs pretty close to the pass. Lastly, a good GPS and bottom machine are WELL worth the investment. For much of the inshore fishing, a trolling motor is also!
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