If you're ready to hook into the biggest game fish out there, get a load of the deep sea fishing Panama City, FL has in store. This offshore experience will take you somewhere between 30-100 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, where the Bluewater lies.

Out here, you’ll find a whole different breed of sport fishing. Whether you’re trolling for Marlin and Tuna, bottom fishing for Snapper, or deep dropping for Swordfish, the deep sea will make a hardcore angler out of you.

What to Catch and When to Target it

Deep sea fishing in the Gulf starts to pick up momentum in April, when Marlin (Blue and White), Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Tuna, and trophy sized Sharks make their annual debut.

You can target these pelagic fish while trolling 45+ miles offshore, anytime from spring until November. Fishing so far from shore usually calls for an extended day trip (10-12 hours), though you can target some species like Mahi Mahi and Wahoo on a trip as short as 4-8 hours. An overnight charter could take you up to 100 miles offshore, where you’ll find Yellowfin Tuna in summer.

On the other hand, the deep sea offers excellent bottom fishing any time of year. You’ll find a wide variety of large Snapper, Grouper, and Triggerfish biting 30 miles offshore and beyond. Cobia and Spanish Mackerel make an appearance near the wrecks and reefs in spring, followed by large Amberjack. For a chance to catch really big fish, plan on a trip of 6 hours minimum.

If you make it up to 60 miles out or more, you can deep drop for Swordfish in water thousands of feet deep.

Of course, the weather is not always accommodating. Long treks offshore are best planned between May and September, when you can expect safe conditions on the water.

Bear in mind that some species are closed to harvest at certain times, most notably Red Snapper. Seasonal closures can change from year to year, so make sure you’re up to date on local fishing regulations ahead of time.

How to Fish

The majority of deep sea fishing in Panama City involves trolling and bottom fishing. You may also try your hand at deep dropping when targeting Swordfish or bottom fish in extreme depths. These methods allow you to target the deepest reaches of the ocean floor as well as fast, aggressive fish near the surface.

Trolling
Trolling is the standard method of catching Marlin, Tuna, Sailfish, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Sharks, and other high-speed pelagics in open water. Anglers use live bait as well as artificials, depending on the target species. You will also troll for Cobia and Spanish Mackerel near offshore wrecks and reefs.
 
Bottom Fishing
This tactic will help you target a wide variety of bottom fish in the Gulf, including White Snapper, Vermillion Snapper, Lane Snapper, Black Snapper, Red Snapper, Black and Red Grouper, and Triggerfish. Depending on the species, a little jigging may also be involved. Live bait and cut bait such as sardines, mullets, pinfish, and frozen squid all prove effective.
 
Deep Dropping for Swordfish
Deep dropping is the main method used to catch Swordfish, usually between 500-1,000 feet below. Depending on your captain’s preference, you may rely on electric reels or conventional ones.
 
While you can catch Swordfish by day, it’s typical to fish for this trophy at night, often using customized blinker or strobe lights to attract your target. Mullet, squid, and other live or cut bait are all effective depending on the depth you intend to fish.
 
Some fishermen also slow troll (2 or 3 knots) for Swordfish at night, using a downrigger to set their bait 150-300 feet below. For this approach, attach a light stick 15-20 feet in front of your bait.

 

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Top Targeted Deep Sea Fishing Species in Panama City

Snapper (Red)

Amberjack

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Wahoo

What People Are Saying About Deep Sea Fishing in Panama City

"Half Day with Captain Rob"

Virginia Corse fished with Jessica Shoals Fishing Charters on September 18, 2018

By far the best deep sea fishing trip I’ve ever had! The one-on-one attention was wonderful, the weather was gorgeous, and we caught what we were hoping to catch!! Thank you, Captain!!

"August fishing trip"

Debbie Davis fished with Blue Water Connection - Billistic on August 24, 2018

First trip deep sea fishing! Had a blast - James and Brandon were awesome! Caught lots of fish and had a great first experience! We will definitely be back to fish with them again!

"4 Hour Trip Fishing Trip"

fished with Advanced Fishing With JP on August 20, 2018

Took our 3 kids (ages 10/9/6) on their first deep sea fishing trip. They had a blast and was the highlight of the vacation. Will definitely book with Captain James again.

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