The last report of a king mackerel being caught from the Okaloosa Fishing Pier was Dec. 18. Maybe the most recent cold snap has finally pushed them offshore. Of course, itís supposed to get warm again, so maybe they will be back. Bonito and flounder, as well as an occasional redfish, are hitting around the pilings farther off the beach. The water is clearing. Though there are no recent reports of whiting biting, they should be cooperative. A peeled frozen shrimp tail attached to an egg sinker rig is a good way to catch these sea bottom-skimming fish.
Inshore around local wrecks, thereís still a decent chance to hook flounder. Sink bull minnows. In the winter, fishing around the East Pass jetties during an outgoing tide can be productive. The rocks should be drawing at least redfish. Also possible are black drum, flounder, bonito, and lingering bluefish. Bay bridges might be holding redfish and occasional speckled trout. Small live baits or jigs dressed with softbody plastics work nicely around pilings. Also look for the two species in holes near seagrass beds and at the mouths of bayous, creeks, and rivers. During warmer parts of the day, fish shallower water near, or above, seagrass beds with a small topwater plug or suspending jerkbait.
Reports about the offshore bite are fewer, but amberjack, red grouper, and scamp are hitting. Youíll have to be some 20 miles out in deeper water fishing around structure. Sink live bait, pinfish work nicely, if you can find it. Otherwise, frozen baits work, too.