For anglers in the Florida Panhandle catching an inshore slam is a great achievement.
In this part of the state a slam consists of a redfish, speckled trout, and a flounder all caught in the same day. For experienced anglers this can be a fairly easy task depending on the time of year, but let’s focus on catching these tasty fish during the summer months.
The same rod and reel outfit can be used to catch all three of them, which would be something like a 7’0 medium action rod and 3000 or 4000 size reel loaded with 10 to 20 pounded braided line.
The fact that they are definitely the hardest fighting out of the three slam species makes them many anglers favorite fish to target in the inland waters. They are truthfully found all over the place in our local bodies of water. On any given day they can be caught on flats, docks, or bridges in a wide variety of different water depths. If you want to give sight fishing a try your best bet is likely to hit the flats in Santa Rosa Sound or head up to the river mouths at Escambia and Blackwater Rivers.
All sorts of different baits and lures will work, but it’s hard to beat live shrimp if you’re fishing around any type of structure. When your fishing flats it’s often better to use lures where you can cover more ground instead of setting in one spot and soaking a live bait.
They are the easiest catch for most, but it can be a little tougher if you’re going after a big one. Small trout can be found on just about any grass flat in Pensacola Bay, Santa Rosa Sound, or Big Lagoon, but you will find that many of the fish you catch on the flats will not be large enough to keep. Fishing on the flats for trout I would suggest using Berkley Gulp Shrimp or live shrimp. When using the live shrimp you can drift and fish with them under a cork or if the wind isn’t blowing you can free line them out, which is just tying a hook on to the end of the line and hooking the shrimp.
If you want to go after the bigger ones you’ll want to fish in a little bite deeper water with some type of structure. You will also want to use larger live baits like croakers, mullet, or pigfish.
For a lot of people this is surely the hardest one of the three to track down and catch. For one reason or another flounder fishing just hasn’t been as good in Pensacola Bay the last year or two as it was in prior years. To be successful flounder fishing you have couple different options when deciding where to fish in Pensacola Bay or other nearby bodies of water. Many anglers believe in spending their time around structure like bridge pilings, deep docks, and rock piles, while others like to fish drop offs and ledges.
Just like with the other two species you can also use both live and artificial baits. If you choose to use live bait it’s hard to beat live bull minnows. For those who prefer artificial lures Berkley Gulp Jerk Shads and other small swim baits work well.
Pensacola has many great inshore guides who can take you out and give you a great shot at catching a redfish, speckled trout, and flounder all in the same day. Pensacola Beach Marina is the area’s largest charter boat marina and they can be found online at pensacolabeachmarina.com or reached by phone at (850) 449-4750.