Fishing in Pensacola Beach
Get your tackle box ready—all sorts of fishing opportunities are waiting for you in Pensacola Beach. Our beautiful weather and pristine coastline make this a premier destination for both first-timers and veteran fishermen alike. Everyone has their favorite spot, and with so many exceptional options to pick from, you’re certain to find one that’s just right for you. You can charter a boat out to sea, or throw your line out from the Bay Bridge or Gulf Pier. Or, if you want some solitude, you can kayak out into the Gulf or head down to one of our first-rate beaches and do some surf fishing right off the coast. Best of all, our waters are home to a huge variety of fish species, from Redfish, Pompano, and our famous Red Snapper, to bigger catches like Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and King Mackerel.
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Pier & Bridge
In Pensacola Beach, pier and bridge fishing is one of the easiest—and most affordable—ways to get your line water. The county covers the saltwater fishing licenses for all of Pensacola Beach’s major piers and bridges, so you won’t need your own. Just bring your rods, lures, bait, and maybe a cooler for everything else. If you’re visiting for business, or didn’t bring your gear along, you can always rent what you need from one of the many local shops—there’s even one right at the entrance to the famous Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier.
You have a number of choices when it comes to pier and bridge fishing. If you’re interested in the main attraction, you’ll want to head to the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier, which is one of the biggest piers in the state, measuring nearly 1,500 feet long. The Gulf Pier is right in the heart of Pensacola Beach, so you can’t miss it. You’re also only a quick walk away from some impressive restaurants, bars, and all those miles of sugar-white sand. For a more rustic change of scenery, you could head out to the pier at Fort Pickens, the historic military fort on the western edge of the island.
As for what you’re gonna catch? For bigger fish, you’re looking at mainly Cobia and King Mackerel. You’ll want to go down toward the end of the pier and the deeper waters to get to them. The Gulf Pier has an unspoken “first spot” rule with Cobia, where the person who first notices it gets the initial cast. For smaller catches, you have Redfish, Flounder, Sheepshead, Pompano, and Spanish Mackerel, among others, which you’re likely to find closer to the shore. And don’t feel self-conscious: if you hook something big and can’t pull it in, ask for help! There’s sure to be a seasoned regular around who knows the drill.
In fact, on a busy day, the piers of Pensacola Beach are buzzing with regulars and visitors alike looking to land that great catch. You’ll find long stretches of quiet and calm, where everyone is just taking in the sunshine and the salty breeze. Then, suddenly someone gets a bite, starts running down the pier, and battles with nature itself to reel in their catch. Seeing someone land a massive Cobia or King Mackerel is something you won’t soon forget. But even just watching a parent teach their kid to fish can really warm the heart
Inshore & Deep Sea Charter Fishing
If you’re planning a trip to Pensacola Beach and have at least half a day to spend fishing, consider booking a charter vessel. While chartering a boat is pricier than fishing off the pier or surf fishing on the beach, it has many benefits, especially for visitors who don’t already have a lot of gear or want more of a guided experience. Most charters include everything you’ll need for a full day of fishing, and they provide access to a highly knowledgeable crew that knows exactly where the best spots are depending on the time and season. Chartering an excursion out on the water is like customizing a fishing trip just for you. Getting out to sea, watching the crystal-clear water flow past, the thrill of trying to hook a Sailfish—it’s hard to put into words just how exhilarating an experience it can be, so you’ll just have to try it for yourself!
There are a few options at your disposal. If you’re an old hand with a rod and reel, looking for a more affordable experience, you can seek out a walk-on charter or one of the many large “party boats” frequenting the waters. Or if you need a bit more flexibility than a potentially busy chartered boat—either because you’re still a beginner or because you’re looking for a very specific kind of trip—you’ll want to consider hiring a private boat so you’re the captain’s sole concern. The right captain can make all the difference: they’ll guide you out there, give you tips, keep your lines in the water, and clean your fish at the end of the day so you can have them for dinner back at home or your hotel or campsite. If you ask your captain, they can even recommend some restaurants that will cook your catches for you.