Fall into Fishing on Pensacola Beach
By Katie King
Pensacola Beach is famous for our red snapper fishing, but our Gulf, Bay and Sound hold a treasure trove of hard-fighting finned delicacies both inshore and offshore. We even have swimming bulls!
You’re spoiled for choices of places to fish around Pensacola Beach. Even on foot, you’ve got several piers and endless beaches to explore. Or jump on a boat, and the sky’s the limit. Pensacola Beach has a large charter fleet, with angling events and competitions year-round.
And there’s simply no better time to test out your luck than in Fall, when the temps start to cool, the bait is still plentiful and the fish are always eating.
Fall’s cooler weather can only mean one thing for Pensacola’s fishing community: the Running of the Bulls. Redfish have arrived.
Every fall, Bull Redfish make their way through the Pensacola Pass into our bay to breed. Finding them is as simple as watching for predatory birds diving into the schools near the surface or looking for the tell-tale splashing water produced by schools amassing at the top of the surface.
Often found in large schools along the beach, Bluefish are voracious feeders which make them a good target for artificial bait. Bluefish make great fishing for youngsters, as they are more than willing to bite.
Speckled trout and pompano are both prized, tasty fall treats to catch in the flats and inshore areas around Pensacola Bay.
Another inshore delicacy is flounder, which tend to hang closer to the beach in fall — creeping along the bottom in inches of water. You can fish for them at night with live minnows — or wade along the shore with a flashlight and a gig!
Amberjack make for good early fall fishing. These fast, offshore predators often pack a hard-fighting punch and just as much deliciousness.
King mackerel, a.k.a. kingfish, are making their annual run from their northern summering grounds to their winter haunts off the Florida Keys. You can catch these tackle-busters in the waters all around Northwest Florida in fall.
Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna edge closer to the coastline in the fall, within range of shorter charter trips. You’ll know when you see them feeding too. Often, they will bust the surface as the plow through wads of baitfish.
Red, Black and Gag Grouper – fat, deep-lying fish which generally are found on reefs, rocks and the natural bottom floor from about 200 to 300 feet – make an excellent fall fishing feast. Recommendation: once your bait hits the seafloor, pull up two or three cranks to give a couple of feet of leeway once the grouper come off the bottom for the bait.
So, are you ready to test your skills and fill the coolers in Pensacola this fall? Sounds like the definition of a win-win.