Pensacola Fishing: A Guide for Visiting Anglers

Studying Time: 9 minutes

Pensacola is a real “want you had been right here” vacation spot, identified for its sunny climate, heat seas, and white sandy seashores. For many individuals, that’s the place the holiday ends. However you’re totally different. You take a look at this subtropical paradise and assume, “I’m wondering what fish I can catch.” Good for you, as a result of Pensacola fishing is just out of this world.

On this article, we’ll cowl each facet of fishing in Pensacola. Study what you possibly can catch and the best way to do it. Get sensible information on fishing spots, seasons, and way more. In a couple of minutes’ time, you’ll have a working data of Pensacola’s numerous fisheries and know the best way to profit from them.

Why Pensacola?

The place can we even begin? Town’s surrounded by bays and beachfronts that maintain a who’s who of inshore sport fish. It’s also called the “Crimson Snapper Capital of the World,” so you realize you’re in for a feast. Then there’s the deep sea chunk. Oh boy, the deep sea chunk. It takes some time to get to the very best waters, however when you do, you possibly can hook into some actual apex predators.

It’s not simply the fish that make Pensacola particular, although. Town has a big constitution fleet and a number of piers to moist a line from. You can even participate in angling occasions and competitions just about all 12 months. In brief, every thing about this nook of Florida is ready up with fishing in thoughts. All you should do is present up and revel in.

Prime Catches in Pensacola

Each city has these signature species that you just simply should catch whenever you go to. Right here, that’s principally every thing. Pensacola is residence to most of the nation’s high sport fish, in spite of everything. Fortunately, you possibly can break them down into three clear teams based mostly on the place they dwell.

Inshore Sport Fish

The shallows round Pensacola are stuffed with Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Flounder. These are the a number of the hottest inshore species within the nation. However in Pensacola, they’re simply the baseline. Sporting anglers additionally goal large Pompano within the surf. These kinfolk of Allow are stong, cussed, and could be nearly unimaginable to identify. And sure, they style nice.

There’s one species that it’s a must to bow your head to whenever you point out Pensacola’s inshore chunk: Tarpon. That is fairly merely the proper sport fish – large, sturdy, and tremendous spooky. Tarpon spend their summer time breaks lounging within the shallows. They present up in large teams and crowd for house alongside the seashores. They’re a little bit like us, when you concentrate on it.

Scrumptious Reef Fish

The reefs round Pensacola are residence to some significantly good consuming. Near shore, you’ll discover tasty treats like Triggerfish and small Snappers. There might also be greater fish like Cobia and King Mackerel, relying on whenever you go to. As you enterprise farther out, you begin to see all the massive names in backside fishing.

So what are you able to catch? It’s an extended checklist. Crimson, Lane, Mangrove, and Vermilion Snapper all dwell on Pensacola’s reefs, as do Crimson, Gag, Scamp, and Black Grouper. And don’t neglect the trophy-sized Amberjack. That is the “Crimson Snapper Capital of the World,” however even out of Snapper season, you’re in for a mighty wonderful meal after a day on the reef.

Deep Sea Monsters

Really feel like getting your hooks into one thing greater? Don’t fear, Pensacola has all of it. Bluewater anglers can battle their fill of Mahi Mahi and Wahoo, in addition to Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna. These are true large sport predators they usually’re additionally nice to eat. Take a look at your abilities and fill the coolers? Sounds just like the definition of a win-win.

The enjoyable doesn’t cease there, although. Head far sufficient, and the Billfish come into play. Pensacola has entry to a number of the favourite looking grounds of Sailfish, White Marlin, and Blue Marlin. You’ll be able to even discover Swordfish if you realize the place to look. Secure to say, you should come effectively ready when taking over these majestic beasts.

How one can Fish Round Pensacola

So you realize what you wish to catch, however how do you get to it? The 2 predominant methods to fish in Pensacola are chartering a ship and making an attempt your luck from shore. Each can earn you a tasty meal and a barrelful of enjoyable. Right here’s a abstract of the professionals and cons of every possibility.

Constitution Fishing

If you wish to catch numerous fish, that is the best way to do it. Fishing on a ship makes you way more agile and opens up a spread of methods that simply aren’t potential from shore. It additionally permits you to get to Pensacola’s well-known backside and large sport fisheries. And that’s simply the boat. On a constitution, you’ll even have a seasoned information and high quality gear to essentially provide the higher hand.

You’ll be able to both constitution a small, personal vessel or board a big “social gathering boat” with different anglers. If you realize your approach round a rod, social gathering boats could be a good option to get to the Snapper grounds on a budget. Nonetheless, full freshmen and severe sport anglers are higher off on personal boats. They offer you way more flexibility, and the crew will have the ability to offer you their full consideration.

Pier and Surf Fishing

“I don’t like boats, does that imply that I can’t go fishing?” Under no circumstances. Pensacola has a number of piers and infinite seashores that you could discover by yourself two toes. Clearly, you’re extra restricted with what you possibly can catch. Inshore species like Pompano and Redfish shall be your predominant targets. Nonetheless, pier fishing can earn you Kingfish, Cobia, and even small Mahi should you’re fortunate.

The distinction between surf and pier fishing isn’t simply the species. The beauty of surf fishing is that, should you deliver your personal gear, you will have full freedom about when and the way you fish. Pier fishing is extra of a one-stop-shop for a number of hours of enjoyable. You’ll be able to roll up, hire a rod, and catch some fish. It doesn’t have the complete “outdoorsy” really feel, although.

Pensacola Fishing Spots

You’re spoiled for alternative with locations to fish in Pensacola. Even on foot, you’ve received a number of piers and infinite seashores to discover. Bounce on a ship, and the sky’s the restrict. In truth, there’s a lot selection that it’s unimaginable to cowl each single spot. As a substitute, listed here are a number of native favorites to whet your urge for food.

Pensacola Seaside Gulf Pier

At nearly 1,500 toes lengthy, you possibly can catch an enormous vary of fish from Pensacola Seaside Pier. Reel in Sheepshead, Flounder, and Drum close to the seashore. Battle Cobia, Kingfish, and even Mahi Mahi on the finish. Heck, folks have caught Sailfish right here previously!

The pier prices $7.50 per angler, with reductions for teenagers, seniors, and army personnel. You’ll be able to hire rods and purchase bait on the pier’s deal with store. In addition they promote snacks and drinks, and there’s a restaurant should you get extra hungry. You’ll hopefully catch your personal lunch, although.

Pensacola Bay Fishing Bridge

For those who’re on the lookout for hassle-free fishing on a funds, that is the spot for you. Drive proper onto the bridge and park up the place you wish to fish. Put out your chair and drop some shrimp. Earlier than lengthy, you’ll be reeling in a mixture of Trout, Redfish, Spanish Mackerel, Sheepshead, and extra. 

You don’t want a license to fish from the bridge. Simply pay $5 per car and $2 per passenger, or stroll on for $2 every. The issue with the bridge is that it’s fairly slim, so it may be robust to show round in a giant truck. That, and the truth that it will get very busy in excessive season.

Replace June 2020: The Pensacola Bay Fishing Bridge has been closed till additional discover.

Johnson Seaside

Searching for some good old style surf fishing? Head to actually any seashore dealing with the Gulf. You’ll discover smooth sands, clear water, and a spread of fish species (assume Redfish, Sharks, and Catfish, in addition to Tarpon and Pompano in season). The primary drawback you’ll come throughout is the crowds.

We selected Johnson Seaside as a result of it tends to be much less busy than most. On high of that, it holds fish fairly constantly. Nonetheless, you need to be conscious that the far jap finish is an unofficial nudist seashore. Don’t fear, you’ll normally discover loads of empty seashore between them and everyone else the place you possibly can forged in peace.

Pensacola Go

Pensacola Go is the deepest level within the bay. It’s additionally the one approach in or out for miles round. This makes it a bottleneck for any migratory fish. For those who’re on the lookout for a dependable place to battle large fish inshore, that is about nearly as good because it will get.

Probably the most iconic time to fish right here is when the massive Bull Redfish come by means of within the fall. Nonetheless, you possibly can just about all the time discover one thing right here. Jacks, Flounder, Trout, Sheepshead – choose any of Pensacola’s inshore species and likelihood is, they cease right here once they’re on the town.

Escambia Bay

For those who’re large on backcountry fishing, you’ve received to discover the higher Escambia Bay. It’s solely a stone’s throw from the town however it has a number of the greatest shallow-water fishing in Pensacola. That is the place you’ll discover true Gator Trout and large tailing Redfish, in addition to tasty Silver Trout and Flounder.

Some of the productive spots to fish is the marshy space the place the Escambia River meets the bay. You can even discover the bayous on the east aspect of the bay. For those who one way or the other get bored, you possibly can all the time swap issues up by fishing across the bridge pilings for Sheepshead.

Oriskany Memorial Reef

There are loads of wrecks within the waters round Pensacola. None of them examine to the Oriskany. This decommissioned plane service was sunk in 2005 to create the world’s largest synthetic reef. At over 900 toes lengthy, it’s so large it earned the nickname “Nice Provider Reef” amongst locals.

The Oriskany sits roughly 20 miles offshore in simply over 200 toes of water. It holds each tasty deal with you might ask for: Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, and a lot extra. The perfect half? The wreck’s so large that you just’ll discover house even on busy summer time days.

When to Go to

Pensacola is busiest in summer time, however the fish are right here all 12 months!

The overwhelming majority of individuals go to Pensacola throughout the summer time. That is when the town’s in full swing, with large crowds on the seashores and lots of of boats out on the water. Nonetheless, this isn’t some sleepy resort city that shuts up store within the winter. There’s loads to do – and catch – all 12 months spherical.

Pensacola Fishing Seasons

For those who’re after detailed data, you’ll find a full month-by-month breakdown of native fishing seasons on our Pensacola fish calendar. For now, right here’s a tough rationalization of how the fishing adjustments over the course of the 12 months.

In spring and fall, quite a lot of species migrate alongside the Gulf Coast previous Pensacola. Cobia, Pompano, and Spanish Mackerel are the highest targets in spring, alongside Triggerfish throughout their transient open season. The autumn favorites are Bull Redfish, which transfer inshore because the water cools, and Amberjack, which have a brief autumn harvest season.

Summer time is as busy within the water as it’s on land. Inshore, Tarpon, Trout, Sheepshead, and extra fill the bays. Offshore, it’s the proper time to tackle large sport species like Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, and Mahi Mahi. And naturally, the June-July Crimson Snapper season is the very best time of 12 months to go to Pensacola’s reefs. 

Snapper are the summer time favourite, however Grouper fishing is at its greatest in winter. Fewer anglers and colder water means large, hungry fish that received’t assume twice about gobbling up your bait. It’s the same story within the shallows. Redfish, Flounder, and Trout are all holed up within the bay and looking out for a simple meal. This makes it a really perfect time for fly fishing in Pensacola.

Pensacola Fishing Tournaments

A profitable catch on the Pensacola Lionfish Traditional (FWC, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Pensacola hosts quite a lot of fishing competitions annually. Really feel like you possibly can rival the Gulf’s high anglers? The Pensacola Worldwide Fishing Event has been placing folks’s abilities to the take a look at since 1970. It’s nonetheless one of many high tournaments on the town. 

Possibly you wish to assist protect the native reefs when you compete. In that case, the Pensacola Lionfish Traditional is the one for you. This occasion raises consciousness concerning the highly-invasive Lionfish whereas additionally decreasing their numbers. Dive into the water to spear as many as potential, then take pleasure in a giant fish cookout on the finish.

After all, the preferred occasions are the “rodeos” just like the Flora-Bama Fishing Rodeo. These are fun-focused occasions that anybody can be a part of. Purchase a household ticket for 50 bucks and head out to check your luck. Be part of the offshore division for large fish and large prizes. There’s one thing for everyone.

Fishing in Pensacola: Making the Most of Paradise

Pensacola is one in all America’s hottest trip spots – and it’s simple to see why. It is a beautiful a part of the nation with a number of the greatest climate in addition. Look past the wonder and also you uncover one thing even higher: unimaginable angling in each depth of water, with enjoyable fishing occasions all 12 months spherical to maintain you busy. In brief, Pensacola’s fishing is ideal.

Have you ever ever been fishing in Pensacola? Did you catch any of the fish we talked about? Drop us your ideas and fish tales within the feedback under!