Fishing Charters in Pensacola
Pensacola, Florida is a fantastic place to fish year-round with fishing charters, but the weather conditions and what’s biting changes drastically from one month to the next. Pensacola is situated in Northwest Florida on the Florida / Alabama state line, so we don’t have year-round warm weather like south Florida cities Miami, Key West, and Fort Lauderdale. If you’re looking to take your catch home to eat, that also determines what we fish for, considering that many of our species have open and closed seasons.
As you might expect, January is cold in Pensacola, but if you catch the weather right, there’s still some good fishing action. Inshore fishing is one of the best months of the year for speckled trout fishing. They congregate in the bayous, river mouths, and canals. Offshore fishing in January is a good time to make a fishing trip out to the deepwater oil rigs on one of Pensacola fishing charters boats in search of yellowfin tuna and wahoo. Still, you really have to catch a good weather window.
February is much like January, it’s still cold and the wind blows hard pretty often. Sheepshead usually starts showing up sometime in February around the bridges in the upper bays. Pensacola fishing charters fish for them using light tackle and live shrimp or fiddler crabs. Fishing for vermillion snapper, also known locally as mingos or beeliners is typically pretty good this time of year. They’re caught fishing natural and artificial reefs out of the Gulf of Mexico anywhere from sixty to two hundred and thirty feet of water.
March is when things start heating up, both weather wise and fish. Pompano start showing up along the beach as they migrate from south Florida. The first cobia of the year is also typically caught sometime in the last week of March. Sheepshead really picks up and becomes the star of the show for everyone looking for inshore fishing charter action in the month of May. Triggerfish ordinarily open in the month of March, so you can add those to your cooler of fish if you’re bottom fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
April is when you can expect the cobia and pompano fishing to get good in your fishing trip. Both of these species migrate down the beach in the Gulf of Mexico. The pompano can be taken on small jigs or live sandfleas, while cobia are typically caught on large bucktail jigs, eels, or fish baits. Most of the time, gag grouper opens in April also, so that’s something else you can target when heading offshore to bottom fish. Speckled trout fishing peaks sometime in April or early May, especially for big ones.
May is when we start seeing a decent number of mackerel, both king and Spanish. Spanish are caught both in Pensacola Bay and out in the Gulf of Mexico, while kings are primarily caught out in the Gulf of Mexico this time of year. The good news for anglers looking for offshore fishing in May is that amberjack opens, so you’ll be able to keep amberjack, gag grouper, and triggerfish in the month of may in addition to the vermillion snapper that is open year around.
Red snapper season opens in June and that’s Pensacola’s most prized species. Nearly everyone who fishes in the Pensacola area goes fishing when red snapper opens. Typically, red snapper season opens somewhere in the first two weeks of June, but triggerfish and amberjack both close. Inshore fishing the speckled trout can be found on the grass flats and good numbers of redfish can be found around the bridges and deep water docks in Santa Rosa Sound.
If you’re fishing in July you better be ready to sweat because it’s hot, but the fishing is very good. Red snapper continue to be the most sought after species, but king and Spanish mackerel arean’t too far bedhind. The red snapper fishing can get a little tougher from all the pressure, but you can still find them. Inshore fishing in July you must start early if you want to have any success. Once the sun gets up and it gets hot it’s hard to find a hot bite.
August is another smoldering hot month and most kids go back to school so you see a lot less boats on the water. Red snapper season is now closed, but the good news is that amberjack and triggerfish season opens back up. Redfish and speckled trout fishing is tough, but usually there’s a good number of both Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper in Pensacola Bay. You’ll find the mangrove snapper around structure, while the Spanish will be roaming in schools on the surface.
Sometime in September is when we start getting a little relief from the heat and fishing is pretty steady. Triggerfish, amberjack, and gag grouper are usually open in addition to vermillion snapper, so there’s plenty of action to be had bottom fishing out in the Gulf of Mexico. Speckled trout, redfish, and flounder action will be hit or miss, but its defintely worth giving a shot. There’s still plenty of Spanish around in September, so that’s a pretty sure bet.
October becomes a pleasant time to fish both inshore and offshore. Schools of bullredfish start showing up in Pensacola Bay and are an absolute blast to catch. They’re schooled up on the surface in Pensacola Bay eating bait and you literally get to chase them around with the boat. Flounder fishing can get pretty good this time of year as well, they are caught using light tackle and live bull minnows around structure like bridges, rock piles, and other deep water structure.
November is still a good time to look for the big schools of redfish, but sometimes at this point they’ve moved out into the Gulf of Mexico up and down the beaches. Amberjack, triggerfish, and gag grouper all remaind open this time of year as long as the quota for the year has not been reached. Depending on the weather conditions speckled trout will be making their way to the backwater area, but the bite around the river mouths is often very good this time of year.
December is when we start seeing some strong cold fronts and it’s really starts getting cold. You’ll have to watch the weather and catch a good window, but bottom fishing can be great in December. Redfish and white trout will show up in big numbers around the Pensacola Bay Bridge for those looking for inshore action. Speckled trout will have made their way to the bayous, rivers, and canals, so that’s where you’ll want to look for them through the month of December.
Angler Up Charters is an inshore / nearshore charter fishing company located in Pensacola, Florida. We have a year around fishery that peaks during the spring and summer with migrating species and the opening of red snapper season each June.
Inshore / Nearshore charters operated in Pensacola Bay, Santa Rosa Sound, and the Gulf of Mexico. Our boats licenses allow them to fish up to nine nautical miles out in the Gulf of Mexico. Weather and what’s biting typically dictates whether we fish in Pensacola Bay or are able to get out into the Gulf of Mexico.
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Angler Up Charters uses twenty-four foot bay boats with 4-stroke outboard engines. All of the boats are rigged with Garmin Electronics and Minn Kota iPilot trolling motors that have the spot lock feature.
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