July 24, 2020
Visitors to Pensacola Beach have a ton of opportunities for family fun. Of course there’s the beach, where sunbathers and surfers of all ages enjoy the sand, sun, and water. And pretty much any other outdoor adventure you can think of is offered here too: parasailing, eco tours, and of course fishing.
Fishing in Pensacola Beach is a great family activity. If you fish the Intracoastal waterways and bays to the north of the island (including Pensacola Bay) you can hook on a variety of inshore species such as redfish and trout. Or, go south to the bountiful Gulf of Mexico. You can hire a local fishing charter that’s familiar with both… or, if you want to go it alone, consider fishing from a pier. You’ll get in on the action, without the need of a vessel.
The Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier is a main attraction along the beach. Non-anglers love to walk the 1,471ft. pier to see unprecedented views of the beach and gulf. Anglers love it for the access it provides to the fish (and the views aren’t half bad either).
The pier is located just west of the intersection of SR 399 and Fort Pickens Rd on Fort Pickens Rd. There’s a very large public parking lot next to the pier, or you can walk from nearby hotels to get to the pier.
While the pier is open 24/7, keep in mind that there is a fee to access the pier. Pedestrians and other non-fishing folks can walk the pier for a buck and a quarter ($1.25 will get you access for one day). If you’re planning on fishing, they have daily passes ranging from free (for those under six years old) to $7.50 for adults. Youth, seniors, and military personnel all get discount prices. There are also annual and season passes available for all ages.
Make sure to bring your gear for a great day of fishing. If you are a spontaneous type of person, and happen upon the pier without any gear, there’s a bait and tackle shop at the end of the pier that can rent or sell you everything you need for a great day of fishing. The clerks are nice people who are known to also help with an insider trick of what’s biting and how to catch it.
Depending on when you visit the pier will determine what you’re finding at the end of your line. Your fishing spot on the pier also has something to do with what you’re catching. At the end of the pier, where the waters are about 20ft. deep, you could catch some cobia, spanish mackerel, and more. Fishing closer to the shoreline could result in redfish, trout, pompano, bluefish, and tarpon, to name just a few. For those younger or new-to-fishing anglers, try keeping your bait near the pier structure and fish for sheepshead. These black and white striped fish enjoy munching on crustaceans such as shrimp or crab, and live very near the oyster beds of the pier’s pilings. It’s an easier catch for novice anglers who are looking for a memorable day of fishing.
If you’re looking for more pier action in Pensacola Beach, there are two other piers nearby that offer equally great fishing opportunities.
Bob Sike Fishing Pier South is located on the other side of the island and gives anglers access to the Santa Rosa Sound (opposite from the Gulf Pier). Here you can fish for inshore species such as redfish, trout, flounder, sheepshead, and more in calmer waters than the Gulf. This pier runs parallel with SR 399 and is often also referred to as the Pensacola Causeway Fishing Pier. The pier is 1,700ft. long with plenty of room for anglers looking to bend some rods for a day.
Farther west at the end of the Pensacola barrier island is Fort Pickens. Here you’ll find a pier that, although only being 200 feet long, gives anglers a fantastic advantage of fishing the inlet. Anglers know that inlets create fantastic fishing grounds as the tide moves in and out and fish migrate and follow the food. Plan your trip at the right time, and you could be filling the cooler faster than you know!
If you love the outdoors and adventuring, Pensacola Beach is a great place to visit… and live. Twelve months of the year you have great weather and even better fishing. Temperatures do get warm in the summer months, and you’ll need to keep an eye on the Gulf for incoming storms, but most of the time the sun is out and lines are screaming. Fish the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier on your own, or hire a local charter captain to go out farther. Either way, you’ll have a great day of fishing, and at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about!
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