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I travel all over the US for work and will be in Pensacola, FL during August through October.
I need a crash course on everything in this area... I'll be going out in my 22' center console. I'm comfortable going out 60 miles+ & trolling (I know it's a small boat but I'm fine). It would be nice to go offshore when weather permits and also if possible have close to shore options when weather isn't as kind.

1) What species bite during these months?
2) What points/locations are people finding fish?
3) What max drag size reels are common, rod size, also lb test, etc are you using? I have mainly Penn Fathom 25lb narrow lever drags on Ugly stick 7' 20-50lb currently with 40lb mono (set up for halibut in SG Bay).
4) What methods are you using, down rriggers, outriggers, kite fishing etc?
5) what bait/lures are effective?

We, me and a coworker, are not picky on style of fishing or fish. We just want to experience the fishing in the areas we travel and bend rods :)

Any advice you may have is welcomed... sad we will be missing Red Snapper season.

Thanks!

Wes
 

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I would say you are a little under gunned for blue water fishing. Most troll those areas with 30s and 50s. Kings can be caught around most any structure trolling dusters over cigar minnows and pink stretch 25s. Dolphin around any floating objects or weed lines. Search back over the years on the forum looking at the months you will be here, lots of good info.
 

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it's pretty easy to get to the elbow if you know the coordinates. doesn't take long to find it.
but the nipple, now that's another story. watch your bottom machine and if you come across two large mounds, you'll find both of them. sometimes i find a little resistance in trying to get there but when i do, oh boy, it's on. now the canyon is the hardest area to find since it has a lot of grass along the edge and it's messes with the coordinates but keep your nose in the wind and you can probably locate it by the smell. there are some deep areas i have yet to put a pole in.
jack
 

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it's pretty easy to get to the elbow if you know the coordinates. doesn't take long to find it.
but the nipple, now that's another story. watch your bottom machine and if you come across two large mounds, you'll find both of them. sometimes i find a little resistance in trying to get there but when i do, oh boy, it's on. now the canyon is the hardest area to find since it has a lot of grass along the edge and it's messes with the coordinates but keep your nose in the wind and you can probably locate it by the smell. there are some deep areas i have yet to put a pole in.
jack
I need to take a shower. Haha
 

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@fishen is right. That tackle is a little undersized for that area. It will handle kings and mahi, but a big wahoo, tuna or marlin is going to eat that reel for lunch.

1) What species bite during these months?
August isn't great for the heat, but later Sept/October usually has some of the best trolling of the year. We have had run-ins with blue and white marlin, wahoo, mahi and tuna all during September. This video came from Sept 2018

2) What points/locations are people finding fish?
You named them. The Nipple, Elbow and Spur are some of the more well-known spots. There are some other names to know as well: the 131 Hole, the dumping grounds, etc. More important than that is to find clean water and surface features like weedlines or floating debris. Don't waste your time trolling dirty water.

3) What max drag size reels are common, rod size, also lb test, etc are you using? I have mainly Penn Fathom 25lb narrow lever drags on Ugly stick 7' 20-50lb currently with 40lb mono (set up for halibut in SG Bay).
I would say you need to get 50w reels in order to be comfortable. Like stated above, your Penn Fathom is on the light side for bigger fish.

4) What methods are you using, down rriggers, outriggers, kite fishing etc?
We run a traditional 5 bait trolling spread, short and long rigger, short and long corner and a shotgun bait. We run this spread without outriggers however, it would be MUCH better with outriggers.

5) what bait/lures are effective?
Everyone has different opinions and it depends on what you are targeting, but the universal truth is the blue and white ilander rigged with a ballyhoo.
 

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I am new to the area as well but, what type of chart/bottom machine do you have? I am running a Simrad with a Navionics card. The Navionics chart shows most of the spots mentioned in here and almost any wreck/artificial reef you can ever think of. Also, you might consider hiring a local guide to help you for the first day. A good one will join you on your boat (really he will run your boat for you) and some will bring their own proper sized gear for the type of fishing you will be doing. You will gain a TON of knowledge in a short amount of time. For 300 bucks or so, I can tell you it is money very well spent and you are almost guaranteed to bed a rod or three.

On windy days that you can't get in the Gulf, don't let that stop you. The bay itself is an amazing fishery. Everything from snapper to bull reds, to spanish mack to sharks and more can be found in there.

If you cant hire a guide and find yourself struggling a bit, spend a couple bucks at Outcast Bait and Tackle (you will undoubtedly anyway). I have found most all of the guys that work there are very helpful, knowledgeable and will share information.

Good luck!
 
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