C-MAP Hot Spot: The Nipple

This Gulf of Mexico hot spot will produce a mix of pelagics when conditions are right.
FishTrack Staff
Located about 30 nautical miles off of Pensacola, Florida, the Nipple is a point of structure situated right where the continental shelf begins to drop off. Because it's a relatively short run and can produce a range of pelagics, the Nipple is a favorite with crews in the Panhandle and Orange Beach, Alabama, but to find the contours you need the best cartography available like the 4-D charts offered by C-MAP.
To help you find the best fishing spots, C-MAP shades the designated Fish Havens, most of which are locations where reefs or debris have been dumped to create fish habitats. The shaded regions are easy to spot on the vector charts. With C-MAP cartography you can switch from different charts for navigation and then zeroing in on the best structure.
"The Nipple is really a contour of the continental shelf," says John Dunphy, who fishes the edge for wahoo on his SeaVee 390. "Once you come off the shelf it's a shallow drop to the 131 Hole, then falls gradually to De Soto canyon."
Having a range of cartography on your machine and your home PC makes it much easier to plan out your trip before you leave the dock. By examining the water temps and color, as well as the structure you can really pinpoint the potential hot spots and save yourself time and fuel. Cartography courtesy of C-MAP by Jeppesen.
You always want to keep an eye out for busting fish and bird life. Nine times out of ten, if you find a color break or weed line over the structure you will find signs of life. Photo by Charlie Levine.
"We mostly troll when we fish the Nipple," Dunphy says. "But we will live-bait around there too if we find something in the way of a rip or weed line. The mahi bite can be really good."
You want to use all of the tools available to help you find fish. Chlorophyll charts such as this shot provided by  FishTrack, helps crews locate color breaks. If you find a break on top of or nearby the Nipple, it's a great indicator of where the bait may stack up. "Color changes are always nice spots to find fish," Dunphy says, "especially if it hugs a bottom contour."
Temperature breaks are also indicators of potential bite zones. The water temps in the Gulf of Mexico are influenced by the Loop Current as well as runoff coming out of the Mississippi Delta. Monitoring the water temps and currents will help you stay ahead of the fishing action, a huge advantage come tournament time.
By studying the conditions and locating the structure on your charts, you can maximize your time on the water and enjoy more rides home with a full fish box. Photo courtesy of Angry Bird Charters.

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