It’s mid-December and fishermen are still catching the mackerels, king and Spanish at the Okaloosa Island Pier. Also pulling lines are flounder, bonito, redfish, whiting, and, yes, pompano. The latter three also should be available to surf fishers. There was no mention of bluefish. The water at the pier was characterized as stained, at least as of Monday.
If bonito are at the pier and, probably, off the beach, they’re also inshore. Winter bo-bo tend to chase minnows, so throw straw or fly rigs with bubbles. Maybe trolling something like a frozen cig minnow will draw the attention of a king. At the jetties, fish an outgoing tide and look for reds, black drum, blues, and bonito. If Spanish mackerel are at the pier, they might be at the rocks. In the bay, if the weather stays warm, consider fishing for speckled trout around and above deeper sea grass beds. Specks also will be in holes and, possibly, bayou mouths. Of course, river and creek mouths this time of year hold them, too. Reds tend to hunt the same type of turf as specks, so they’re a possible catch.
Continued warm temperatures might encourage king mackerel to stick around. Frozen cigar minnows work well. Alewives are softer and less preferred, but a hungry king won’t be choosey. If the water is warm enough for kings and still holding bait, blackfin tuna should be around. If bottom fishing, look for mingo snapper and amberjack.