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Capt’n Jerry’s Blog


Fishing season about to take off

Well, it looks like we may just have an early spring after all. The water temperatures in the gulf are nearly 5 to 8 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year. That is music to my ears, because this means fishing is going to be great in the near future.

These warmer water temperatures will bring in lots of baitfish earlier than normal and you know what that means. Species of all kinds are just behind the bait and that in turn produces some great fishing. The most popular inshore species here along our coast for the next month or so is the sheepshead. These fish will begin their annual migration back into the bays. During this process they will be in very large schools and can be found on structure in and around the Pensacola Pass.

Enlarge Map

These fish can range in size from 3 to 10 pounds and are very good eating. They love live shrimp and fiddler crabs, which can be purchased at most local tackle shops. A small spinning outfit with a 2-ounce egg weight and a 1/0 hook will produce a pretty dang good fight.

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Bruce Smith and family on their annual spring break fishing trip all the way from Hastings, Michigan.<br />
Photo courtesy of Capt Jerry Bruce Smith and family on their annual spring break fishing trip all the way from Hastings, Michigan.

The most sought after near shore fish is soon to show up as well. That would be the cobia. These fish will also begin their annual migration from east to west and can be found traveling parallel to the beach within two miles of shore.

Fishing for cobia is all sight fishing and one can compare it to deer hunting. A boat with a tower is necessary, because height gives you a much better advantage to spot and locate these fish. If you do not have access to a boat, the local gulf fishing piers would be your best option.

These cobia resemble a large catfish or shark in the water. They are brown in color and can range in size from 30 to 100 pounds; they can be caught on artificial jigs and live bait as well. The perfect live bait of choice is an eel and they too can be found at your local tackle shops in the spring.

Further offshore on the bottom, things are heating up too. Although red snapper is closed, the vermilion snapper bite remains steady. These snapper are our staple fish and are open year round. They are red in color and range from 2 to 5 pounds and are very good eating. The limit is 10 per person and it is not difficult to catch your limit on every trip.

Also on the same structure that snapper can found will also be gray triggerfish and greater amberjack. These are also some local favorites and they both put up quite a fight. The size limit on greater amberjack just went from 30 to 34 inches from the lower jaw to the fork of the tail. It takes a 30-pound fish to be legal now and that’s a fight.

So fishing here along our coast is about to take off wide open and I hope that you will experience some of it. Maybe there’s a fishing trip in your future and you want more information, check us out Fish where the locals fish and as we always say aboard the Entertainer “may the good fishing be yours!”

Splash! Magazine – 2014

From the July edition of Splash! Magazine, click here to go directly to the article. The link will open a new window so you can continue here when you’re done.

The waters along our coast are beginning to look like the Gulf Coast is supposed to, rather than the Mississippi River. The 26 inches of rain fall last month really fowled up the fishing near shore.

Things are on fire now. The speckle trout are biting well inland around the bridge fenders and around a lot of the larger docks. There have been a lot of fish in the five to seven pound range caught using live bait. The grass flats are producing nice fish as well.

Off shore the water has really cleared up. The dolphin and wahoo fishing is also heating up. There are a lot of large weed patches with a lot of bait showing up in the 25 to 35-mile range. Captain Chaz Heller recently caught a nice sailfish inshore while fishing for red snapper last week.

The federal red snapper season was a whopping nine days long and was very good. There were a lot of fish hitting the docks in the 12 to 18-pound range. For those who are not federally permitted, they can still harvest red snapper in state waters through Monday, July 14.

The offshore bottom bite is on fire as well. The larger vermilion snapper are showing up in large numbers and the daily bag limit is 10 per person. Most everyone is limiting out on there catch daily.

Live baiting the bottom in 200 to 300 feet of water has been the ticket. The scamp, red grouper and yellow edge groupers have been showing up in large numbers.

Fishing is great, and you need to get out and wet a hook. If you need help booking a fishing trip, check us out on the web at, and as we always say aboard the Entertainer, “may the good fishing be yours!”

From the May edition of Splash! Capt’n Jerry’s fishing report for May, 2014, Click here for a direct link to the article, or simply continue below… Splash! has a lot of content that certainly warrants a bookmark and a monthly read, check for deals around the Pensacola area too !

Without further ado…

~I think we have all waited long enough for this weather pattern to change. Finally some 80-degree temperatures and sunny days have arrived here along our Gulf Coast. This means there is a lot of great fishing in the months to come.

May is usually a great month overall for all species of fish here along the northern gulf. There will be large schools of baitfish such as cigar minnows, threadfin herring and menhaden traveling down the beaches and migrating into the local bays and bayous.

This large movement of bait will in turn bring us larger fish that depend on these bait fish for survival. These may include the pelagic species such as King and Spanish Mackerel, Tuna, Mahi-Mahi and Wahoo. There are a lot of reef fish that will move around according to the bait source as well. These may include the greater amberjack, grouper and snapper.

So far this season, the Cobia fishing has not been up to par due to the colder water temperatures. Generally the run is over by the end of April, but I think we may see them trickling through well up into the month of May.

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Bruce Smith and family from Michigan on a recent overnight trip aboard the Entertainer<br /><br /><br /><br />
Photo | Capt Jerry Bruce Smith and family from Michigan on a recent overnight trip aboard the Entertainer. Photo|Captain Jerry Andrews

Off shore on the bottom, the fishing has really changed during the past week. Most of the larger wrecks have had a large movement of vermilion snapper and gray Triggerfish. These fish can be found on wrecks from near state waters to well offshore.

The greater amberjack , or as locals call them, reef donkeys, are beginning to show up well offshore on the deeper structures between 150 feet and 250 feet of water. They typically love live bait of any kind, but can often be caught using a spinning outfit with a 6 to 8 ounce jig.

Back in the bay, the Sheepshead are moving from the pass back up into the bay around the local bridges and rock piles. They are still eating live shrimp and fiddler crabs.

There are also quite of few slot Redfish and speckle trout being caught on the grass flats as well.

Stop on by the Pensacola Beach Marina and check out some of the daily catches. Maybe you want to get out and wet a hook, but really do not know much about it. We can fix that. Just check us out on the web at; and as we always say aboard the Entertainer, “may the good fishing be yours!”

Thank you, and check back soon for the next fishing report!

June 2013 Splash

Anglers have been waiting for nearly a year now, and the time is here. Yes, the season for the world famous Pensacola Red Snapper opens Saturday, June 1 in federal waters.

This year’s season is in a lot of controversy between the five gulf coastal states and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Each coastal state has pretty much told the feds that they can manage their fisheries better than the feds can.

This will be the shortest season in history in federal waters. As a result, each state has set its own number of days. Just like most things the federal government tries to manage, generally turns into a train wreck.

The Florida season for red snapper will be 21 days in federal waters beginning on June 1 and running through June 21. The season in state waters, which is out to nine miles offshore, will be extended to July 14.

Now if you travel west to another state, the season will be totally different this year. Politics are wonderful!

Red Snapper and Grouper in the Gulf of Mexico

Red Snapper from the Gulf of Mexico aboard The Entertainer!

The limit for red snapper will be 2 per person per day, with the length being 16 inches or greater. I really find it hard to keep anything under 22 to 25 inches because of the number of big fish out there.

Red snapper are not the only fish in the gulf. The vermilion snapper have been biting like crazy on the larger public wrecks. They too are red in color and I personally think they eat better than the red snapper. The good thing is the limit is 20 per person per day in federal waters and there are no closed seasons.

This year the limit will change for gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico. Beginning June 10 the season will be closed until July 31 and when it re-opens August 1 the bag limit will be two per person per day with the length being 14 inches to the fork.

A little farther offshore in the deeper waters, the scamp and grouper bite have been great. A good live bait and slip sinker down 200 to 250 feet will produce some very good eating fish.

The offshore trolling has really picked up over the last few weeks. There has been a lot a Wahoo showing up in the 250- to 400-foot range. Slow trolling ballyhoo with a skirt or fast trolling a high-speed lure will always produce a Wahoo bite in these depths.

Back inshore, the king mackerel are showing up in large numbers. There was a 63 -pounder caught last week off of the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier and in my book that is definitely a rodeo winner.

Inside the bays and down the Intracoastal Waterway the redfish and speckle trout bite is hot. These fish feed best in the early morning hours or just before dark.

Lets get out and wet a hook. If you do not have access to a boat, maybe we can help arrange a fishing trip for you. Check us out at or stop by the Pensacola Beach Marina and see some of the catches. As we always say aboard the Entertainer, “may the good fishing be yours!”

Gulf Coast Fishing…

Gulf Coast fishing is best in the U.S. during springtime

Just what we’ve all been waiting for, spring weather, is here! If you thought that fishing here along the coast has been good lately, it’s all about to change. Fishing, along our gulf coast for the next two months, is going to be the best you can find anywhere in the continental United States.

The warmer weather, along with warmer water temperatures, will bring in large schools of baitfish of all species. This is the food chain that the larger fish depend on for survival. So with the influx of large schools of baitfish, you will soon enjoy catching species of all kind that will linger just behind the bait.

The cobia will continue to migrate along our coast throughout the month of May. They will tend to move a little further offshore as the water temperatures rise. So far this season has been great for cobia. There have been a lot of fish caught in the mid to high 70-pound range and several in the 80-pound range.

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Atlanta anglers with an 80-pound Yellow fin Tuna aboard the Entertainer<br /><br /><br /><br />
photo/Capt. Jerry Andrews

Atlanta anglers with an 80-pound Yellow fin Tuna aboard the Entertainer photo. Along the beaches and near shore the Spanish mackerel and king mackerel are beginning to show up in large numbers. The Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier is a great place to go experience some of this action if you do not have a boat.

Another favorite local fish is the elusive pompano. Pompano can be caught in the surf or on the local fishing piers along our Gulf Coast. You may try an artificial jig, known as a pompano jig, or live bait. If you enjoy a laid-back type of fishing experience, this is for you.

On the inland waterways, the redfish are showing up really strong. Around any of the local piers and boathouses you may find a washed out area or deeper hole. These holes are always holding several redfish. You may try casting a plug or live bait to see what lives there. You will be surprised at the number of fish you may come upon.

Further offshore, the bottom fishing is on fire. The larger public wrecks and much of the natural bottom structures are holding a lot of fish. Many of these fish consist of various types of snapper, triggerfish, grouper and Amberjack.

May is a great month to get offshore and try your luck. The weather is always great and fish are always hungry.

Maybe you are looking to get out and simply do not have the contacts to do so, give us a shout and we can hook you up on a great fishing experience.

As we always say aboard the Entertainer, “may the good fishing be yours!”

April 30, 2013  ·  by