Trips start at $250.00
Max guests: 6
Trips start at $475.00
Max guests: 2
Trips start at $400.00
Max guests: 6
Trips start at $400.00
Max guests: 8
Trips start at $450.00
Max guests: 3
Port St. Joe, FL
Trips start at $300.00
Max guests: 4
Located on the western edge of the Big Bend just about where the Florida Panhandle begins, “Apalach,” as the locals call it, offers fishing opportunities for everyone. Apalachicola Bay is one of the most fertile and diverse bays in North America. In summary, that means the fishing is awesome.
Fishing can start just outside the marina. Soft body jigs, with or without shrimp or squid tips, bounced around the walking docks are likely to catch schooling reds. If the water is running right, brackish water largemouth bass can also be found here.
Fishing really gets hot out in the bay. Apalachicola Bay is famous for its oyster beds. Reds can often be seen “tailing” over the oysters, which refers to feeding over the oyster beds with their top and tail fins exposed. Sneak up on them, flip a gold spoon, a jig or a shrimp or crab patterned fly toward the school and hang on. Thanks to the restrictions on redfish, some true monsters now inhabit these waters.
Sikes Cut, the channel that split St. George Island into Little St. George and St. George is another red hotspot. The rip rap provides plenty of hiding space for prey species, which means the reds are lying in wait.
Your Apalachicola fishing charter captain will also know the spots where the “gator” trout hang out. Although the actual size that deems a speckled seatrout a “gator” is debated, the designation is reserved specifically for the larger specks. He’ll take you to the honey holes scattered across the Bay. A big live shrimp below a popping cork is a dinner bell for these hungry fish.
You’ll probably see the famous oystermen working the beds out in the bay. If you see one culling his catch, that’s the place to be. As he sorts the oysters and tosses the undersized ones back, the water beneath his boat will be aswarm with all kinds of fish. Expect to see, and catch, plenty of sheepshead. These hard fighters often fall to a live fiddler crab, scooped right off the bayside beaches, but will also hit shrimp and cut bait. When you find one, you’ll find more.
Apalachicola fishing charters can hit near-shore and inshore on the same trip. Depending on the time of year, what you can expect to catch will vary. Whiting or croakers are common on the beach side of St. George. Small hooks, a bit of bait and just enough lead to hold the line steady are all you need. These fish are plentiful and easily hooked, making it a favorite for families with younger children.
As summer moves in, so do the big mackerel; kings and Spanish. Watch for schooling mackerel chasing baitfish, often called pokeys, at the surface. Pretty much anything silver pulled through the school will deliver a hookup. Jigs tipped with cut bait are also excellent. If you can find one of the shrimp boats culling a catch, that is ground zero for monster mackerel. Casting something into the discard guarantees you to connect with something.
Thanks to the wonderful work of the Organization for Artificial Reefs (OAR), nearshore and offshore reefs are common and supplement the existing bottom structure. Grouper are common year-round. In summer, the piscatorial submarines known as Cobia move in. Cobia grow big. They are tough and require stamina to land. Word of warning: when you hook up a cobia, your charter captain may intentionally scare it off on another run once you get it close to the boat. Really. You need to let the fish wear out on the line. Putting a “green,” or non-fatigued, cobia in the boat is a recipe for broken fishing rods, tail-slapped tackle boxes, and just an overall mess.
The better news is they hang out in groups. Your Apalachicola fishing charter captain will let one person hook up a cobia and then turn to another angler. As soon as everyone has one on the line, it’s time to start hauling them in. Cobia are delicious when grilled.
Anglers looking to tangle with offshore pelagic species will head out to blue water and look for an algae line. This is where grass, algae, and other natural debris accumulates. The shade and nutrients attract baitfish, which in turn attract tuna. If you tie into a tuna, hang on. Among the fastest fish in the ocean, they typically make one massive, line-stripping run. If you can keep one on the line through this initial run, your chances of landing the fish go up significantly.