Fish Types

Trout

Speckled trout are found inshore around seagrass beds, deep holes, channels and above oyster bars. They can be sight fished on the flats using shrimp or small bait fish. They can also be caught in great numbers as they migrate toward the rivers and bayous in the winter time.

When to Catch

January 1 – December 31

Red Fish

In winter, redfish are found over seagrass beds, over muddy or sand bottoms, or near oyster bars or spring fed creeks. Redfish are also caught in the pass and in large schools around baitfish. These fish can also be sight fished over grass beds or caught on live bait as they hold up under docks and other deep structure.

When to Catch

January 1 – December 31

Flounder

Gulf flounder are found inshore on sandy or mud bottoms and are often found in tidal creeks. They may also be caught occasionally on nearshore reefs. Live minnows or a gulp shrimp are the favorite bait for these big flatties.

When to Catch

January 1 – December 30

Sheepshead


Sheepshead are an inshore species and are commonly found around oyster bars, seawalls, and around pilings. They move nearshore during late winter and early spring for spawning. Live shrimp, fiddler crabs, and oysters are what they want.

When to Catch

January 1 – December 31

Snapper

Red Snapper are commonly caught on nearshore and offshore wrecks and reefs. These fish can also be caught in deep holes inside Pensacola Bay. Red Snapper can be caught and released year round, however the season typically starts June 1st and runs through the middle of August.

When to Catch

June 1 – August 31

Grouper

These fish are offshore species. Adults are associated with rocky bottoms, reef, and drop off walls in water over 60 feet deep. Gag grouper can also be caught in deep holes in the bay. Gag Grouper can be caught and released year round, however the season typically runs from April to September. Other species of grouper may be kept year round.

When to Catch

Spring – Fall

Amberjack

They usually have dark stripes extending from nose to in front of their dorsal fins. These fish can be caught offshore around wrecks and reefs. These fish can be caught throughout the summer. June and July are a closed season for them which means the action is fast come August. Large live baits are the key.

When to Catch

Spring – Fall

King Mackerel

King mackerel are found both nearshore and offshore, often around piers. They may occasionally be found in deep water. These fish can also be caught inshore especially in the Spring and Fall. Trolling live baits around nearshore wrecks are the best way to catch these toothy critters.

When to Catch

April 1 – December 31

Spanish Mackerel

Spanish mackerel are prevalent throughout Florida waters: inshore, offshore and nearshore. They are frequently found over grass beds and reefs. Spanish Mackerel will begin to show up in large numbers in April depending on the water temp and be abundant throughout the summer. Flashy, fast moving jigs are the best way to draw a strike.

When to Catch

April 1 – November 31

Pompano

Florida pompano are common in inshore and nearshore waters, especially along sandy beaches. They are often caught in the Spring and Fall using pompano jigs or set rigs baited with sandfleas or shrimp.

When to Catch

Spring – Fall

Cobia

Cobia are found in nearshore and inshore waters with inlets and bays. Cobia are frequently found around buoys, pilings and wrecks. These fish are predominantly fished for in March through May sight-fishing along the beaches as they migrate to the west. A lot of patience followed by a burst of controlled chaos is the name of the game in cobia fishing. Large bucktail jigs, live eels, and any type of live bait fish will usually draw a strike from these big brown fish.

When to Catch

March 1 – May 31

Take a look at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website for official Florida Fishing Regulations.