Saltwater fishing in Pensacola, Florida is a fantastic way to spend time with friends and family. The Gulf of Mexico is filled with tons of different species of fish that provide an exciting challenge on the water. Whether you are looking for redfish, trout, or anything else, there will be something out there waiting for you!
Booking a charter fishing trip is a great way to enjoy a half-day (4 hours) or full-day (6 hours) of fishing in the Florida panhandle.
My family and I booked a trip with Captain Dave Yelverton through GulfBreezeFishing.com. He’s a local Pensacola fishing expert and is available for both private charters as well as group trips.
Captain Dave offers both inshore fishing charters and nearshore fishing trips. Inshore fishing trips take place in the bay and nearshore fishing trips take place further out. (Nearshore fishing would probably be what you think of when you think of Deep Sea Fishing.)
My family and I booked a half-day inshore fishing trip and met Captain Dave in Pensacola. Captain Dave grew up fishing in the Gulf Breeze area and has years of spin fishing, fly fishing, etc. under his belt.
Our trip was booked just prior to the Colonial Pipeline hack which caused a temporary shortage of gasoline – while we at the beach! Being that we were driving over from Orange Beach and would have to take a circuitous route thanks to the three-mile bridge in Pensacola being out, Captain Dave graciously offered to meet us at the Bayou Texar boat ramp.
We met Captain Dave and were apprised of safety measures. We then set a course for the water of Pensacola Bay. On our way out, we went under Pensacola’s “famous” Graffiti Bridge. (It has quite the cult following and is a sight to see.)
Benefits of a Chartered Trip
Some of the advantages about booking a fishing charter with Captain Dave are 1) that you don’t have to go to a tackle shop and guess what bait or lures to purchase, 2) you are covered under his fishing license and you don’t have to go purchase one, 3) he makes it fun and you’ll have a good time.
Captain Dave started off by preparing the live bait (shrimp) on our fishing rods and casting them for those of us who are fishing novices. (The man has the patience of Job.)
We had a great time catching spotted seatrout (speckled trout) using shrimp.
When we ran out of shrimp, we started fishing with various lures and then moved to deeper water to try our hands at catching bigger fish.
I think that fish knew that we were coming and they were on to us. We would get some big bites and start the fight and then the fish would swim among the rocks at the bottom to get away.
We had a great time, though, winding in the big ones and seeing who could catch the largest fish. (Don’t worry – these fish were treated well and released back into their natural habitat.)
There’s no better way than fishing with someone who knows this area so well, not just as an angler but also as a lifelong resident of Pensacola who has fished his whole life here. That was really cool since we were visiting from out-of-towners looking for a day on the water!
Best Fishing Months
The best time for saltwater fishing in Pensacola, Florida, can vary depending on the season and your target species. Here are some of the prime fishing times and the corresponding catches:
March to May: Redfish, Spanish Mackerel, Cobia, Kingfish, Trout, Pompano
June to August: Amberjack, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Red Snapper, Tarpon, Sailfish, Shark, Sheepshead
September to November: Redfish, Wahoo, Flounder
December to February: Grouper, Black Drum
Note: Keep in mind that local regulations and catch limits can vary, so always check the latest fishing guidelines and consider local advice from charter captains or bait shops to maximize your fishing experience in Pensacola.
Booking with Captain Dave
If you are interested in learning more about deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, check out Captain Dave’s website. If you are staying in the Pensacola, Fort Walton, Destin, Gulf Shores or Orange Beach areas, you will only be a couple of hours away from some of the best fishing in the Pensacola Beach area.
Chartered Fishing Trip Cost
When you get ready to go, be sure to read all of Captain Dave’s fishing trip tips. Inshore fishing trips start at $400 for four hours for 1-2 anglers. Nearshore fishing trips start at $700 for a full day (6 hours) of fishing fun.
While in the Florida Panhandle, be sure to check out nearby Panama City, where there are more fun things to do and good places to eat, like g. Foley’s and Bayou Joe’s. If heading to the Florida theme parks is your jam, check out the DoubleTree Resort in Orlando post and Orlando in October.