Saltwater Fishing in Pensacola, Florida

Cast your line into adventure where sandy toes and sun-kissed shoulders take a backseat to the glint of scales beneath emerald waves. Saltwater fishing in Pensacola, Florida, is more than a pastime; it’s a siren song for anglers craving the tug, the fight, and the triumph of reeling in a deep-sea trophy. Whether seeking redfish, trout, or any other exciting challenge, the Gulf of Mexico offers a fantastic way to spend quality time with friends and family. Explore the waters, where every cast is an opportunity for adventure, and memories are made one catch at a time!

Saltwater Fishing Boat in the bay.

Chartered Fishing

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 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.)

Graffiti Bridge in Pensacola, Florida.

Benefits of a Chartered Trip

Some of the advantages of booking a fishing charter with Captain Dave are 1) 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 Yelverton is fishing on his boat.

Captain Dave started 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.)

Jeff holding a small saltwater fish.

We had a great time catching spotted seatrout (speckled trout) using shrimp.

Captain Yelverton holding a saltwater trout.

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.)

Trevor holding a grouper.

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 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.

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  1. Wow! Seems like a fun adventure. I’ve never been deep sea fishing. If Captain Dave puts the bait on my hook and removes the fish, thereafter, then I am game!! LOL! Did you keep and eat any of them?

    1. We did not. I am so grateful that he did all of that work because otherwise, this girl would have only been a spectator!

  2. This sounds like so much fun! I have never visited Pensacola, but my boyfriend loves fishing and fishing in Florida, so I’m definitely sharing this with him!

  3. Been saltwater fishing the Texas coast for over 50 years. Always heard about the great fishing in Florida. Planning on making an extended trip just to see for myself. Thanks for the great information on the Pensacola area. I think it might have to be one of the stops on my tour.

    Thanks again,


    1. If you are in Pensacola, you will have a great time with Captain Dave. (On a side note, if you are looking for some good seafood, I recommend Peg Leg Pete’s.)

  4. I’ve never been saltwater fishing in Pensacola although I’ve been to their beaches many times. Adding a fishing charter to my bucket list!

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