Cape San Blas Fishing Charters
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Fishing in Cape San Blas
Nothing sums up the best of Florida’s Forgotten Coast like a Cape San Blas fishing experience. Perched at the tip of the peninsula between Port St Joe and Apalachicola, this thin stretch of land cuts right through the heart of the area’s most productive waters.
Everywhere you turn, there’s a thriving fishery to hook into, from the St Joseph and Apalachicola bays to the Gulf of Mexico. The waters surrounding Cape San Blas boast some of the most popular game fish in the state, as well as some unique opportunities. Come aboard and try your hand at Scalloping, Flounder gigging, reef fishing, or some light tackle action on the flats.
On Cape San Blas you’ll find miles of white, sandy beaches, dune formations, and turquoise waves. Add to that Florida’s favorable climate and it’s no wonder why Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman (a.k.a. Dr. Beach) found “the Best Beach in America” (2002) right here at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.
What makes all of the above even better is the fact that you won’t run into many tourists here for most of the year. For anglers, this makes the fishing in Cape San Blas unbeatable. Here you can reel in everything from Redfish to Tarpon without fighting the crowds.
Cape San Blas Fishing Spots
St Joseph Bay
St Joe Bay has some of the finest inshore fishing in the area, and it owes this reputation to Cape San Blas. Stretching for 17 miles, the Cape wraps itself around the bay in a massive hug, creating a protected, thriving fishery.
Here you’ll find Bull Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Tripletail, and much more. Look for Redfish and Speckled Trout on the grass flats, where you can sight fish for them in crystal clear water.
July through September is about the only time of year when these waters grow crowded with tourists, all of them eager to get in on that famous Port St Joe Scalloping. Show up early to beat the crowds and enjoy some fantastic Tarpon fishing while you’re at it.
To the west of Cape San Blas sits Apalachicola Bay, where you’ll find more calm, clear waters full of game fish. World renowned for its Oysters, this bay also boasts superb inshore fishing. A steady supply of Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Sheepshead, and other species keeps anglers busy year round. If you’re one for Flounder gigging, there’s no shortage of opportunities on the flats here.
The passes connecting Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico fill with Spanish Mackerel and Pompano in spring, followed closely by Cobia and Kingfish. Like St Joe Bay, these waters see Tarpon by the hundreds in summer.
The St Vincent and St George Islands
Stradling Apalachicola bay are the islands of St Vincent and St George. Here you’ll find Tripletail—one of the hardest fighting fish you can hook into in shallow water. Oyster bars near St Vincent Island are full of Redfish and "Gator" Trout.
Anglers like surf fishing from the beach on the south side of St George Island for various inshore species and massive Sharks. The 600’ pier just east of the bridge stretching across Apalachicola Bay is another prime location to cast lines without leaving shore.
If you’re ready to push the limits of inshore fishing, just slip into Indian Pass. This gateway to the Gulf draws anglers in search of Tripletail and some serious light tackle action in summer.
The Tip of Cape San Blas
Head to the buoy line off of Cape San Blas to haul in some Spanish and King Mackerel. These fast-swimming pelagics show up when the water gets warm in spring and early summer, and that’s when you’ll see plenty of charter boats heading to the Cape and local passes to hook into them while they feast on baitfish.
Some anglers run from St Joe Bay up to Mexico Beach (about 15 miles north) to chase after Cobia and Spanish Mackerel. The public boat ramp here is also a popular launching point for Tarpon fishing near Crooked Island.
The Gulf of Mexico
For a quick taste of Florida’s big game fishing, you can get your feet wet in the nearshore waters of the Gulf. Trolling within 10 miles of shore during warmer months will bring you King and Spanish Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, and Cobia. Or hit up some artificial reefs for Amberjack, Snapper, and Grouper. Thanks to the numerous structures placed here by the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association, you can target a wide variety of bottom fish just a few miles offshore.
How Much Does it Cost?
Cape San Blas fishing charters head out of multiple ports along the Forgotten Coast, from Mexico Beach and Port St Joe to Apalachicola and the Cape itself. You can expect to pay $400-$500 for a half day inshore fishing trip (4 to 5 hours), and anything from $600-$800 for a full day.
Scalloping trips in St Joe Bay typically last 4 hours, and these cost $225-$350. Bear in mind that these trips are only available for a couple of months, when the Scallop season opens from July through September. This is when tourists flock to the bay for a chance to get in on some of the best Scalloping in Florida, so be sure to book your trip ahead of time!
Trips into the Gulf cost around $500 for a half day and $800 for a full day. Book one of these trips in spring or summer for a chance to catch Mackerel, Cobia, or Mahi Mahi.
Types of Fishing
Fishing the flats of St Joe and Apalachicola Bay will have you experimenting with a variety of techniques. It’s common to drift fish with conventional tackle for Speckled Trout and Flounder. Anglers love sight fishing for Reds in these waters.
You can catch Tripletail on light tackle with little or no lead. Try using live Shrimp as bait. When it comes to Tarpon, locals fish with everything from live bait to flies.
Trolling is the main method of catching Mackerel, Cobia, and Mahi Mahi. Try freelining live Pogies to catch King Mackerel or bottom fish with them to catch Amberjack on the reefs.
If you plan on surf fishing in Cape San Blas, bring a 12’ surf-casting rod, or a 7’ spinning rod if you’re casting artificial lures. Natural baits like Shrimp, Crab, or fish strips fished on a bottom rig work well. You can also use soft plastics, plugs, and minnow imitations to catch a variety of species.
Need to Know
All licensed charter boats in Cape San Blas include fishing licenses for their customers. If you plan on shore fishing or casting lines from your own boat, be sure to purchase a Florida fishing license online.
While you can fish in Cape San Blas and the surrounding area year-round, some species are restricted at certain times. The local Scallop season usually opens in July and runs through mid to late September. The open season for Amberjack changes from year to year. You can stay up to date on local regulations online before booking your trip.
Cape San Blas Fishing Seasons
Early in the year, you won’t run into many anglers on the water—but that doesn’t mean you can’t find good fishing. Head to the backwaters of the bays and try live bait fishing for Redfish and Speckled Trout.
The backwaters will continue to be promising in February, with plenty of Reds and Speckled Trout looking to keep warm. Or fish the Bay for Sheepshead if you need a change of pace.
The waters are starting to look a little busier, with early Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Flounder moving into the bays as average temperatures climb toward 62°F.
The passes and bays are bustling at this time of year. Offshore, bigger fish like King Mackerel and Cobia are starting to make their way toward the coast.
May is a great time to hit the flats for Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Flounder. Or head out a little farther and wrestle with a Tripletail on light tackle. Trolling nearshore will bring you Mahi Mahi, Mackerel, and more.
Light tackle junkies will have a field day in June, as Tarpon, Sharks, and Tripletail steal the spotlight inshore. With average temperatures around 80°F, it’s also the perfect time to cool off while trolling offshore.
Redfish and Speckled Trout hit their low season in July, but that’s just as well, cause this month is all about Scallops! Spend your Fourth of July on the Forgotten Coast and revel in historic festivities.
The weather is hot and the fishing is hotter, with plenty of action everywhere from the flats to the artificial reefs in the Gulf. Bring home some scallops or test your skills against Tarpon, Tripletail, and Sharks.
The average temperature is 79°F at the start of autumn on Cape San Blas. Catch the end of Scallop season or head offshore for Mahi Mahi, Amberjack, and more. Inshore you’ll have great success on the flats.
The Scallop tourists have cleared out, just in time for anglers to enjoy a peak in Redfish and Speckled Trout. There’s still time to earn yourself the bragging rights to an Inshore Slam if you catch a Flounder, too!
Inshore fishing is spectacular, with Redfish, Black Drum, Speckled Trout, Sheepshead, and plenty more biting vigorously. Join the crowds in Apalachicola for the annual Florida Seafood Festival this month.
With the height of tourist season behind them, some local charters start shutting down at this time of year. But the avid angler will find plenty of opportunity in the backwaters, fishing for Redfish and Speckled Trout.
Cape San Blas Fishing Calendar
Top Targeted Species in Cape San Blas
- Size 25 to 80lbs
- Food Value None
- Game Qualities Excellent
- Habitats Inshore, Flats, Backcountry
- Size 3 to 12lbs
- Food Value Good
- Game Qualities Good
- Habitats Inshore, Nearshore, Flats, Backcountry
- Size 2 to 16lbs
- Food Value Excellent
- Game Qualities Average
- Habitats Nearshore, Inshore
- Size 1 to 5lbs
- Food Value Excellent
- Game Qualities Average
- Habitats Inshore, Nearshore, Flats, Backcountry