Winter Fishing in Panama City Beach

If you’re pulling your snow shovel down again, because the fourth storm in as many weeks has once again filled in the narrowing path to your front door and you’re looking longingly at that saltwater rod, wishing your sore muscles and aching back were due to hauling in the big one—well then it’s time to head down to Panama City Beach, where fishing isn’t just a sport—it’s a way of life!

Novice and experienced anglers enjoy the diverse population of game fish and table fare that are found in the Gulf of Mexico. You can bring your own gear or rent from a local charter company. Day and week Florida licenses are also available for non-residents.

Pier Fishing:
There are 4 great fishing piers in Panama City Beach where the people are friendly and the fish are biting. Russell-Fields Pier (City Pier) and MB Miller Pier (County Pier) have a small fee, but you’re welcome to fish all day all year round. Daily fishing licenses, fishing gear pierrental and bait can be purchased at the local bait shop. St. Andrews State Park on Shell Island also has two fishing piers which can be used by visitors to the park.

During the winter months, bonita, a great eating fish when prepared well, are cruising the surf, just off the piers and sandbars along the beaches. Look for birds congregating over schools. From the piers, many anglers are see good numbers of whiting, sheepshead and redfish, with a few pompano.
Near Shore and Bay Fishing:
This is a great time of year to book a fishing charter with Aquatic Adventures as winter rates tend to be lower than the high season. Our experienced inshoreanglers will guide you and your friends to great fishing spots where the fish will most likely be found.

Though speckled trout are found in deeper water this time of year, fishing around bridges, deep holes or channels or around boat docks with live shrimp, pinfish or croakers will bring the most success.

Redfish are plentiful this time of year, with the bull reds found in the passes, deep water bridges and channels. Trolling for bull reds with live shrimp, pinfish or croakers makes for a great day of catch, photo and release fishing.

Bottom-dwelling flounder move to the Gulf this time of year, but you can find some hanging around the bay. They’re best caught with a Carolina rig on the bottom near docks and bridges with sandy bottoms. But you’ll find the best flounder fishing near shore reefs and just outside the passes.
Deep Sea and Bottom Fishing:
January and February is a great time to enjoy a deep sea fishing charter. Aquatic Adventures has Coast Guard approved boats that can hold up to 6 passengers for a morning or afternoon fishing adventure. There are lots of fish out in the Gulf. This time of year you’ll find plenty of amberjack hanging out in 50’ to 400’ foot waters, generally around wrecks rather than natural bottom. Successful anglers use a Carolina rig with extra long leaders, but amberjack love large swim baits and butterfly rigs as well.

Scamp grouper spend the winter months at depths of 75’ to 400’, generally over a natural bottom, but they’ve also been known to congregate on wrecks. triggerfishLive cigar minnows, pinfish or frozen mackerel make a great bait on a Carolina rig.

If you’re looking for a tasty fish that’s easy to catch, use circle hooks no bigger than a nickel, baited with 1-inch chunks of mackerel, squid or bonita to catch trigger fish. Though there is a two bag limit per day and a 14 inch minimum, triggerfish are great table fare when prepared well.

Many anglers also enjoy catching the day’s limit of vermillion snapper also called mingo snapper. Ranging in size from 1 to 3 pounds, these bottom dwellers can be hooked with a bottom rig baited with fresh bonita, squid or mackerel.
Sore muscles and an aching back from hauling in the big catch sure beats exhaustion from shoveling snow any day. Why not enjoy the quieter months and book your fishing trip? Aquatic Adventures prides itself in offering you and your friends and family the best fishing experience in Panama City Beach. Located at Lighthouse Marina on N. Lagoon Drive, we’re easy to find and booking your fishing adventure is as easy as picking up the phone or reserving online using our convenient calendar feature.