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For those that are inshore fishing in Santa Rosa Sound... I'm in the Navarre area, fishing the North side of the sound. What artificials are working right now? I want to catch some redfish but I'm only coming up sporadically with trout.
I have had a little success with the gold spoon (mainly bites, but no hook ups or only trout no reds) and a little success with the top water (same, only trout). I have been throwing a mirrodine and some matrix here and there as well.

What am I missing? any help is appreciated.
 

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I catch them on a redfish magic spinnerbait or a popping cork and a gulp on a jighead. Ive also had luck with that gold spoon you used. When have you been going?
 

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What depth are you fishing and what time of day, what tide?

I have had some luck lately in the bays finding reds where I find finger mullet, on a rising nearly high tide early in the morning (like between first light and actual sunrise), way up shallow. Just watching for water movement that doesn't look like mullet, or seeing the mullet suddenly start jumping and fleeing, then putting a topwater in that spot. Mine have been on topwater walker baits like a sexy dawg but that may be because that's what I was throwing. Hooked a couple after the sun came up by trolling slowly with an xrap around where it dropped to about 3 feet but that was hit or miss.

On the outgoing or lower tides, I have been striking out.
 

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Pensacola Fishing – Inshore 101
Familiarization:
• Download some type of GPS software to complement the GPS on your boat. I’m cheap and simple, so I’ve chosen to use Garmin Base Camp software and it’s compatible with most, if not all, Garmin GPS hardware. I have my Garmin GPSMap 78 series hand held device with me pretty much everywhere I go – on the water, in the field, and on the road.
• Study the area on Google Earth or Google Maps – look at areas where you see drop-offs (places where there is a dramatic change in water depth), creek mouths, points, or other hidden and submerged areas.
• Make some basic “study points” in your GPS to help you find the area when you’re on the water (HINT: things will look different when you’re on your water versus when you’re sitting in front of the computer.)
• Turn breadcrumb trails on in your GPS and routinely download the GPS data into your computer to study it later.
Tides:
• Incoming tides push bait into shallower areas and into tidal creeks – setup in shallow water and cast into deeper water and drag your baits into the shallow water.
• Outgoing tides suck bait out of shallow areas and tidal creeks – setup in deeper water and cast into shallow water and drag your baits into the deeper water.
• Fish shallow on a high slack tide and fish deep on low slack tide.

Baits & Rigging (NOTE: I solely use artificial baits and I have very little experience fishing live bait inshore.)
• Whether you use braided line or monofilament, you’ll probably benefit from using a fluorocarbon leader. I typically use 10# - 12# braided line tied to 15# fluorocarbon.
• Tie the leader to the mainline using a uni-uni knot or an Albright. Whatever you use, learn to tie it well.
• Tie the lure to the leader using a Rapala (loop) knot or a uni knot. Learn to tie the knot well.
• Baits:
o Topwater – something like a skitterwalk, badonkadonk, spook jr, or the like. Get a few that are white, or bone, colored and some that are dark.
o Suspending – there are others, but a mirrodine just can’t be beat. Get a few that are light/bright colored and some that are dark colored.
o Soft Plastics on a Jig Head – Don’t rule out simple lures like DOA CAL Shads, Mirrolure Provokers (Lil’ John XL) but others work well too. Once again, get something bright like white or chartreuse and something dark like avocado. The Hank Brown hook-up jig heads are my personal favorite – I prefer red or white in 1/8 oz or ¼ oz.
• Presentation – topwater during low light, suspending lures during the transition, and soft plastics when the sun is high. THAT SAID: if your presenting lures to an area where you see fish and they’re not eating your lure, then try something different. Don’t be afraid to try something different if they’re not eating.

Log Book
• Keeping a log book is probably the single most important thing you can do.
• Write down notes about every trip, even the failures.
• Be as thorough or as brief as you need to be, but try and capture things that are relevant to you: tides, time of day, air temp, water temp, what you fished with, and where you fished.
• Before too long, you should start seeing patterns.

Lastly, don’t rule out hiring a guide. Use a couple or three different guides in different areas and in different times of the year. A guide has built a business doing all of the things I mentioned earlier – proper guide selection will exponentially reduce your learning curve.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey everyone,

Thanks for the responses! I admit I haven't been hitting it at the butt crack of dawn and I also admit that I have not paid attention to whether the tide was coming or going. My busy life and schedule dictate the few hours at a time that I can launch the yak. I have fished shallow to deep, around the piers and back again. I generally am able to go between 8:30am to noon or later in the afternoon.
 

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Hey everyone,

Thanks for the responses! I admit I haven't been hitting it at the butt crack of dawn and I also admit that I have not paid attention to whether the tide was coming or going. My busy life and schedule dictate the few hours at a time that I can launch the yak. I have fished shallow to deep, around the piers and back again. I generally am able to go between 8:30am to noon or later in the afternoon.
Since your time on the water is limited, then that's an excellent reason to keep a log book!

There are numerous web sites and apps to use that will tell you what the tide is doing.

Start looking at the tidal information BEFORE you go so you can know what to expect and how to start off.

Pay attention when you're on the water - current direction, wind speed and direction, and temperature.

Make notes in your log book for every trip (successful trips and skunky trips too!)

Things will start to make sense after several logged trips.
 

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Hey everyone,

Thanks for the responses! I admit I haven't been hitting it at the butt crack of dawn and I also admit that I have not paid attention to whether the tide was coming or going. My busy life and schedule dictate the few hours at a time that I can launch the yak. I have fished shallow to deep, around the piers and back again. I generally am able to go between 8:30am to noon or later in the afternoon.

Hate to say it, but the butt crack of dawn til about 8:00 is when you need to be there if you're throwing artificials. Between mid morning and late afternoon, I have the best luck with a carolina rig with a live pinfish in the grass.
 

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Hate to say it, but the butt crack of dawn til about 8:00 is when you need to be there if you're throwing artificials. Between mid morning and late afternoon, I have the best luck with a carolina rig with a live pinfish in the grass.
Keep in mind this tends to change as the weather and water cool off some and the days get shorter. October through December last year was my favorite part of the season. But right now, the crack of dawn is when I have my best fun with redfish... unless Lazy wins out and I stay in bed, which does happen sometimes depending how late I stayed up. :whistling:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
pic1.jpg

pic2.jpg

Thanks, everybody. We made a couple of changes and it helped. We didn't get skunked. both fish were caught on gold spoons.

Sorry, the pics are turned.
 

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See I told you gold spoons work well!
 

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Had my first success on a gold spoon today as well - was a breakthrough for me since I have read they work but hadn't had the success to get the confidence to throw them more, till today.

Grats on your fish, those are nice ones!!
 

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I throw topwater walkers all day from light to 2pm and usually have success with reds and trout throughout the day even in full sunlight. The issue with most is they stop fishing on top after 8 or 9 so of course no fish are caught. Last time out I took the PA14 and had some of my best trout 2-4 lbs and redfish 25-26" on the walker around 1pm. That day it was dead in the early despite a good tide and picked up around 10:15 till after 1. I release all my fish so you can catch them as well.

They travel the flats and can be caught very shallow and on the weed edge in 6-7 ft. Best to mark your catches as waypoints and you may see some areas that produce better. I catch 90% of my reds within 200 yards of each other. Good luck.
 
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