Explore your inner-angler offshore, inshore, and nearshore – that's The Way to Beach!
Rivers, bays, and bayous rich with nutrients flow into the Gulf of Mexico, luring a bounty of fish species. Redfish, black drum, speckled trout, and flounder cruise the inshore waters and bays. Our beach's sloping shoreline lets you relax while your bait waits for a passing pompano.
Bottom line: you can get your fish on in any of our beautiful waterways.
Charter Fish the Gulf
Our charter captains know how to find the fish. While the season for our famous red snapper is short, its snapper cousins are plentiful and just as tasty. You can hook a variety of snapper, along with grouper, triggerfish, and the powerhouse of the offshore reef: (and sandwich-worthy) the amberjack.
Fish Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens – the Gulf Islands National Seashore crown jewel – hosts numerous fish habitats. The fort’s fishing pier perches on Pensacola Pass, where Pensacola Bay converges into the Gulf of Mexico. During the right conditions, it hosts massive redfish during the fall, and Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, flounder, and other species in the summer. Use live shrimp and fiddler crabs to fish for sheepshead around the pilings. Either side of the pier lets you fish the protected bay waters, or walk around the point to surf-fish for pompano.
Surf Fish for Pompano
Prize fish like pompano move all along the Northwest Florida beaches, so surf fishing is pretty much the same. But Johnson Beach – another part of Gulf Islands National Seashore – juts into the western flank of Pensacola Bay from Perdido Key and provides a quiet spot to drop a line. The pompano, a relative of the amberjack and jack crevalle, puts up a magnificent fight and you can fish from the shore in shallow water. Fishing pros suggest using live sand fleas (available at bait shops or by digging them up in the wet sand).
Fish Pensacola Beach Pier
It’s a one-stop fishing shop. Stop here on your way home from breakfast and fish on one of the Florida Gulf's longest piers. (The pier juts into the Gulf a quarter-mile.) Fishing costs adults about $7.50 and kids under 6 fish for free. The pier offers rod and reel rentals and is licensed, so all you need is sunscreen, your wallet, and some spooled-up fish stories. King and Spanish mackerel, bonito, pompano, and flounder are the most common catches here. Fish for sheepshead around the pilings. Massive cobia cruise through here in the early spring.
Hit inshore spots
Some great fishing spots sit tucked away in protected waterways and even neighborhood bayous. On Perdido Key, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from Galvez Landing through Johnson Beach is chock full of inlets – a haven for redfish, flounder, and speckled trout. Take a kayak, slip along the shoreline and hear the trout and redfish slurping in baitfish. Live bait, such as minnows, shrimp, or lures work best. Speckled trout (we call ‘em specks) love to fish the lights around docks and piers. Try a guided trip on a small boat. Numerous inshore fishing charters from Pensacola Beach to Perdido Key can take you and your family to their secret spots. You’ll be hooked.
Just remember: Before you grab your gear, check license requirements and always check regulations for limits and size requirements. Call 1-888-347-4356 or check the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's site.
Plan Your Fishing Expedition
No need to wait until you get here to start planning. Check out your charter boat and outfitter options below.