Pensacola Inshore Fishing Report By

Captain John Rivers


Hot Temperature Means Hot Fishing in Pensacola

For the past few weeks, the wind had made fishing tough, but now that June is here, the weather has been picture perfect.

Fishing has been off the charts for Kings and Spanish mackerel. With the seas much calmer, especially with the milder wind, we were finally able to get out and go after some drag-screaming kings.  And the kings were ready for the taking!  Not only are the kings running good, we are seeing some big Spanish mackerel in the same areas where we are hooking up the kings.

A little closer inshore we are catching some quality speckled trout, with some reaching close to 3 – 4 lbs.  Skipjacks and bluefish are plentiful and are great fun to catch on light tackle. The rest of this week looks great, and with temperatures in the upper 80’s to lower 90’s and variable winds, it should make for great fishing along the Panhandle.

If you’re looking for some great light tackle action, give me a shout and we’ll get you hooked-up on a Smoker King!
See you on the water.
Capt. John

Mega-Bite Inshore Charters


Fishing this past week was as good as it gets along the panhandle of Florida. 

I’ve been catching a fair amount of specks on a lot of my morning trips. We have even seen some big schools of Redfish working menhaden in the bay. King and Spanish mackerel are here, and the bite has been very good. Most of the Kings are still being caught just offshore, but it won’t be long till they are in the pass and in the middle of the bay feeding on small cigar minnows and threadfin herring bait schools. Spanish mackerel are everywhere along the coast and in the bay, and respond well to small jigs and spoons. 
The pompano bite has been off the charts this season. Shore-bound anglers and those in boats are getting their limits in just a few hours. While casting for Pompano from a boat, keep a close eye out for large schools of Jacks cruising down the beach. Just a few days back, I spotted the biggest school of Jacks I had ever seen; well over 200 fish. I had two 30lb class rods rigged with large top-dogs ready to entice a hungry jack. We followed the school, and hooked 11 and landed 8. At one time, we had 4 jacks on at once and landed all four for a great photo. 

As you can see, the fishing in mid-May is very good, and it’s only going to get better in June.

 The bait is arriving more and more every day, and along with the bait comes the fish,

 so grab your favorite rod and reel and go catch that fish of a lifetime. 
I had a day off a few days back and went out and hooked my first every 

Wahoo, topping the scales at 45lbs – 50lbs, and measuring well over 60” long.


Two words all anglers like to hear are FISH ON!

Well, the weather has definitely turned for the angler’s benefit. This week, as it was last week, the forecast looks great for fishing, with light and variable winds and temps in the low to mid eighties.
The speckled trout bite has really started to heat up on the flats.  We had some rain last week, and that helped push the trout out onto the flats, and it even mudded up the water a bit. I find that this helps with the bite, as the clearer water spooks ‘em and they get leader shy. I’ve been catching some nice redfish in the same areas as the specks, just slow down your presentation, and you’ll be sure to hook up. The sheepshead bite has slowed down a bit; they are still around, but most have already spawned in the gulf and are making their way back to the rivers and inlets where they will hang out the rest of the summer.

The big story the past week is the abundance of Spanish mackerel in the bay and pass. I’ve even caught some while trout fishing up in the sound on the flats. The other big thing with the Spanish is their size!  They are running big; most of the fish are well over 20”, which is big for early spring.  If you venture out along the beaches of Pensacola in search of more Spanish mackerel, keep a close eye out for the brown clown, better known as Cobia. The annual run is still going strong, but should start to taper off in the next two weeks, and then most of the cobia will be caught while bottom fishing as they will hang out on offshore reefs. The red snapper bite has also been very good the past few days, and seeing that the seas are going to be less then 2ft all week, I’m sure that a few will be sitting pretty in the ice box.  I plan on making a trip or two out to finally bring home some of that red snapper that my wife has been craving.  Perhaps I will hook into a cobia, too!  Yep, that’s what springtime fishing in the Panhandle is all about!  Get out there soon and enjoy yourself!



Last week was cold and windy, and this week the sun heated things back up, but here we are again, and it’s cold and windy. I’ve been able to sneak out a few times, and when we were able to get out on the water the fishing was great. We boated some big Spanish mackerel and few big specks.

The big story is Red Snapper season, which opened up on April 15th in state waters, and will open up on April 21st in federal waters. Check with FWC to see what the new limits are on Red Snapper, as they have undergone some new management with NMF and FWC.

The sheepshead bite is still going strong in the pass and along the rock jetties. Up in Santa Rosa Sound we are catching good numbers of slot Reds and the speck bite has really started to pick up, too.

Pompano are showing up in the bay along with big schools of Spanish mackerel.  Reports of King Mackerel being caught of the Pensacola pier, and I’ve even seen a few sky on bait pods in the bay and pass.

The cobia run is still going strong and should be good until the end of April, and then it will slack off. They are calling for calmer winds the week of the 15th through 22nd, so the fishing should be better. Spring is back, and the fishing should be coming on big time!
Till next time, bent rods and screaming drags!


March madness was all about fishing, and April should be just as good. The Sheepshead bite was off the charts the past few weeks, and should stay hot for the next month or so. Not only has the Sheepshead bite been great, but I’m also catching a fair amount of keeper Redfish and Black Drum, and even a few Pompano mixed in. Speck fishing has started to heat up on the flats in the early morning hours, where we’re using live shrimp and Berkley Gulps on a popping cork. I’ve also caught a few big trout on top water plugs; so don’t forget your favorite popper to entice that hungry gator.

 April is known for many different types of fishing, but our annual Cobia run along the Panhandle has many anglers spending long hours in tuna / cobia towers trying to catch a glimpse of the “ big brown clown,” (that’s what we up in the panhandle call the cobia). This season is starting off pretty good, with a few big Cobias over 60lbs caught over the past few days. Along with our annual Cobia run, Pompano start to be show up on the sand bars, and the word is the bite has already been very good in the early morning hours, and sand flees is the bait of choice.

Large schools of Jack Crevalle have been spotted cruising up and down the sand bars, while working the bait pods.  Spanish Mackerel are busting baits both in the pass and just off the beach in the early morning hours. With the weather warming up and the fishing as good as it has been, I can’t think of a better place to be, than on the water fishing your favorite spot with your favorite lure.


March madness was all about fishing, and April should be just as good. The Sheepshead bite was off the charts the past few weeks, and should stay hot for the next month or so. Not only has the Sheepshead bite been great, but I’m also catching a fair amount of keeper Redfish and Black Drum. Speck fishing has started to heat up on the flats in the early mornings hours, and we’re using live shrimp or Berkley Gulps on a popping cork. I’ve also caught a few big trout on top water plugs; so don’t forget your favorite popper to entice a hungry gator.

Wednesday was a fun day out with a couple my good friends, Corby and Joe.

We only fished about 5 hrs that day and still loaded the box for a good fish fry planned for next weekend.  Fishing with good friends is always fun. 


Another good day out on the water. I met up with Mark from Orlando and his godfather Paul from Minnesota.  The weather could not have been nicer, with calm seas to boot. The bite started off a little slow, because the tide was not moving too well, but as soon as the water started to move a bit, the bite was on!  They both started to hook fish after fish for a good hour or two. Paul was in the lead for the first hour or so, but Mark was not going to be outdone as he started to fill up the box with his own big Sheepies! The last fish of the day for Mark was a nice 25” slot Redfish. What a way to end the day.


I did not like the conditions for fishing today: 12 –15 knots winds out of the SE.

I met up with Brian, Lindsey, and Gene from Arkansas for a fishing adventure and that’s exactly what we got. I fished out of Perdido Key that day and when I came around the point just pass Big Lagoon; the wind slapped us in the face, blowing a good 15 knots. I knew it was going to be rough in the pass, and I told them it was going to be a little bumpy, so it was their call if they wanted to try it anyway. Brian said they were here to fish, so when we got there we had solid 2ft waves with occasional 2-½ footers showing up off and on. We tried to fish but the current and waves made it tough. We had a few good bites, but it was hard to feel them. I motored over to Ft. Pickens to get out of the wind and waves, and that was a good idea as we started to catch some fish, not any sheepshead, but we did manage to bring in two black drum and boat some big bluefish. This went on for a solid two hours and then I noticed that the wind had died down. We moved back to the pass, and what a difference two hours makes! The waves were a little calmer and the current was not as bad. Brian was the first to hook up, and he handed the rod over to his son Gene, who is 9yrs old and had never caught sheepshead before. Was this ever a treat for him, as these fish pull hard. The bite stayed good for another two hours, and Lindsay and Brian were hooking into some big fish, but once again the big fish of the day was Gene’s slot 27” Redfish. I had to double check this fish to make sure it was in the slot with two different tape measures. When it came up, I was not sure if it was going to make the slot, but it did, and when it hit the ice in fish box, little Gene was all smiles.
Brian, Lindsey and Gene fished hard and didn’t let the windy conditions and rough seas deter them from having a good time on the water.

To Book a Trip to Pensacola with Capt John, send me an E-mail

Phone: 850-341-9816
Email: [email protected]