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Top Fishing Charters in Apalachicola

Fishing in Apalachicola

Treat yourself to an Apalachicola fishing experience and you’ll never overlook Florida’s “Forgotten Coast” again. Here, saltwater and freshwater fishermen alike can indulge in a year-round fishery, from the backwaters and the bay to the Gulf of Mexico. Add to that some renowned small town charm and local hospitality, and you’re sure to come away with a catch that is anything but forgettable.

Known For

If visitors know one thing about Apalachicola, it’s the town’s reputation for great seafood. Oysters abound in the bay nearby, accompanied by a variety of fish throughout the seasons. With such superb fishing to be had, it’s no wonder why this destination is known for its longstanding maritime culture and some of the best seafood in the country.

More than merely tasty, the fish in these waters make for great sport, too. Here you’ll find some of the most popular game fish in the state, from Tarpon and Redfish to Largemouth Bass. Bays, barrier islands, creeks, pristine beaches, and a relatively low number of tourists all make this destination an ideal place to cast a few lines.

Apalachicola Fishing Spots

Apalachicola fishing charters could take you along the flats, into the bay, or far offshore into the Gulf of Mexico. Many trips depart from the City Dock and surrounding waterfront directly off the US Highway 98 Bridge, where the bay meets the Apalachicola River.

Apalachicola Bay

Shielded from the Gulf of Mexico by St. George and St. Vincent islands, the waters of Apalachicola Bay make for a productive fishery. Here you can find Redfish, Speckled Trout, Bluefish, Sheepshead, and other inshore species on a regular basis. Redfish are abundant near the oyster bars, peaking in spring and autumn. Speckled Trout tend to favor the grass beds scattered throughout the bay.
In spring, you’ll see Spanish Mackerel and Pompano emerging near the passes between the bay and the Gulf. Cobia start moving through in April, followed by King Mackerel and Jack Crevalle. The infamous Tarpon make their entrance in June and July, flooding Apalachicola Bay and others in the area by the hundreds.

Fishing Apalachicola Bay involves more than casting lines with a rod and reel. A popular way to spend some time inshore is Flounder gigging on the flats, typically done at night. This species can be found in the local waters year-round, with peak seasons in spring and fall.

Other Local Bays and Passes

Depending on where the bite is best, your captain might take you through St. Vincent Sound and west to Indian Pass, Cape San Blas, or even St. Joseph Bay. Heading in the opposite direction, you might fish the East Pass to St. George Sound. All of these protected waters offer year-round opportunities for Redfish, Speckled Trout, Sheepshead, and other inshore species.

The Gulf of Mexico

For bigger fish, set your sights on the Gulf of Mexico. A quick trip to the nearshore waters will have you fishing for King Mackerel, Cobia, Snapper, and more. As you venture past state waters (more than 9 miles out), the fish keep getting bigger. But don’t let that give you the wrong impression: you’ll enjoy superb fishing even just 5 miles from the coast.

Full day trips to the Gulf might take you up to 20 miles offshore, where you can bottom fish for Snapper,Grouper, and Amberjack, or troll for King Mackerel, Barracuda, Mahi Mahi, and Sharks. To make the most of Apalachicola’s deep sea fishing, book a trip between spring and fall when most of these species are in season.

Apalachicola River

The freshwater angler will find an overlooked but thriving fishery in the waters of Apalachicola River. Starting at Lake Seminole, this river flows 106 miles south before emptying into Apalachicola Bay. On the lower portion of these waters you’ll find some of the best fishing on the river.

Cuts, creeks, and marshy flats along the lower Apalachicola River are home to a wide variety of Bass species, including Largemouth Bass, Stripers, and Hybrids. In October and November, Largemouth fill the creeks as they feed on migrating Shrimp. Winter is a great time to cast some lines in the lower river as Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Sheepshead make their way inland.

The best fishing spots change throughout the year, but locals say to keep your eye on the daily tides at the river mouth, since these provide good fishing opportunities.

Shoreline and boating access to the river are both available at the City Dock under the Hwy 98 Bridge.

How much will it cost?

Apalachicola Bay fishing charters run from $350-$400 for a half day trip and $500-$600 for a full day. Booking a full day trip gives you the advantage of exploring various honey holes and catching more fish.

Flounder gigging trips usually last 3-4 hours and cost $300-$400.

Half day trips to the Gulf cost $700-$800, and may take you either nearshore or offshore. For a full day trip of 8-10 hours, expect to pay between $800 and $1,100. Longer trips are generally recommended so you can spend more time fishing after you reach the offshore fishing grounds.

Types of Fishing

You can fish the shallow waters of the bay by spinning, baitcasting, fly fishing, and much more. When it comes to Tarpon fishing, your guide might recommend any bait from soft plastics to dead Pogy.

Flounder gigging usually calls for a special boat designed to light up the shallow waters of the flats while drifting seamlessly through the night. Much more akin to hunting than fishing, this technique will have you scanning the sandy bottom for Flounder and spearing them with a gig.

While fishing offshore, freelining live Pogies will entice King Mackerel. You can also bottom fish using this bait to attract Amberjack. Bottom fishing with a wide variety of other baits and lures will help you catch Snapper, Grouper, and other fish near the seafloor.

Trolling is the primary method for catching Barracuda, Mahi Mahi, Cobia, and other pelagics.

Need to Know

All licensed charter boats in Apalachicola provide fishing licenses for customers. Saltwater anglers fishing from shore and freshwater anglers can purchase a Florida fishing license online.

While many charter operators allow customers to keep their catch, bear in mind that some species are not always open to harvest. Seasonal closures vary from year to year and they may be different depending on whether you fish in state or federal waters.

Likewise, size and bag limits apply to species caught in the Apalachicola River. The bag limit for Hybrids, Stripers, and White Bass is 20 fish per day. Your captain will help you fish according to regulations.
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Apalachicola Fishing Seasons

Early in the year, your luck is best in the backwaters and creeks, where Redfish and Speckled Trout are escaping the cold waters of the bay. 

With temperatures ranging anywhere from 45-65°F, you can expect to have the most success while fishing inshore for Sheepshead or casting lines in the river for Redfish and Trout.

Spring marks the arrival of many migratory species, with early Spanish Mackerel and Pompano arriving first. Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Flounder will be heading back into the bay to join the party soon.

Fish the bay for Pompano, Spanish Mackerel, Redfish, Flounder, and the first of this year’s Cobia. King Mackerel and Jack Crevalle aren’t far behind, as the fishing offshore starts to heat up, too.

With temperatures ranging from 61-83°F, this is a great time to start exploring the waters beyond the bay. Fish the nearshore reefs for Snapper and Grouper or scan the flats for Redfish, Flounder, and more.

Come June, it’s all about Tarpon, Tarpon, Tarpon! Local bays will be swarming with the Silver King. Plenty of other bruisers are biting too, including a variety of Sharks and big game fish offshore.

Redfish and Speckled Trout hit their low season in July, but there’s still plenty of fish to keep you preoccupied. Fish for Mackerel, Tripletail and Sharks nearshore, or charter a deep sea trip!

No matter where you drop your line, chances are you’ll hook into a hard-fighting catch. Tripletail, Sharks, and Tarpon are all fair game. Offshore you’ll find Triggerfish, Amberjack, Mahi Mahi, and more.

The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of great fishing here in Apalachicola! Amberjack, Mahi Mahi, and Jack Crevalle are still at their peak and your chances of landing almost any other species are very good, too.

Redfish and Speckled Trout are back to steal the spotlight inshore. Catch yourself a Flounder and make it a slam! Nearshore, the reefs are teeming with Snapper and Grouper.

November sees large numbers of tourists flocking to Apalachicola for The Florida Seafood Festival, an annual 2-day event dedicated to this great fishery and local seafood. 

Some local fishing charters may shut down at this time of year, but you’ll still be able to fish for Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Bass in the river. Temperatures range from 45-65°F, so be sure to bring layers. 

Apalachicola Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Apalachicola

"We'll get 'em next time!!"

Jeff N. fished with Second Nature Charters on October 10, 2019

In October you never know what the weather will be like. But, there's no place I'd rather fish!!

"August fishing trip"

Brenda S. fished with Second Nature Charters on August 14, 2019

August is usually very hot and was today, but trip was fun and we caught fish!!

"Half trip, bayside"

Andrew H. fished with Capt JB’s Charters on June 27, 2019

Patience, find the shoals and trust your Capt.

"half day bay fishing with Captain Greg"

Lesley P. fished with Big’Un Charters on June 26, 2019

I am not an experienced fisherman but I really enjoyed catching fish!

What would you recommend to anglers fishing in Apalachicola, Florida for the first time?

Top Targeted Species in Apalachicola









King Mackerel (Kingfish)

King Mackerel (Kingfish)



Black Drum

Black Drum

Speckled Trout

Speckled Trout

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