St. Pete Beach Deep Sea Fishing Charters
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Top Deep Sea Fishing Charters in St. Pete Beach
Deep Sea Fishing in St. Pete Beach
Whether you have an entire day at your disposal or merely several hours, there’s ample opportunity to try your hand at deep sea fishing in St. Pete Beach. Deep sea fishing off the coast of St. Pete Beach might take you anywhere from 20 to 100 miles out, searching for big game fish and a wide variety of bottom species.
What to Catch and When to Target it
In St. Pete Beach, bottom fish are the main attraction of deep sea fishing. While you will find Snappers, Groupers, and other bottom fish within 20 miles of shore, the biggest specimens are lurking 30 miles out and beyond.
If you are intent on catching really large fish, you should plan on taking a full day or extended day trip (10+ hours). These give you a chance to target giant Snappers, Groupers, and even some Amberjack on heavy tackle. You are likely to troll for Kingfish, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and Tuna on your way out and back, giving you a chance to catch some hard fighting pelagic species, too. For the very best of deep sea fishing in St. Pete Beach, you will want to head out more than 60 miles, which means booking a trip of at least 12 hours. It’s worth taking a longer trip to escape the fishing pressure and reel in some massive prizes.
You will have great success bottom fishing at any time of year, but state and federal regulations prohibit the harvest of certain species at various periods. Some species are most active in the winter months, such as Gag Grouper, Scamp Grouper, and Amberjack. However, fishing for Gag Grouper is only allowed from June through December.
In summer, Red Grouper, Mangrove Snapper, Red Snapper, Lane Snapper, Grunts, Seabass, and Porgy all reach their peak seasons. Red Snapper fishing is highly regulated in Florida and can vary from year to year. Open season lasts roughly from early June to early September. In some cases, fishing for Red Snapper is limited to weekends only.
For the best big game fishing St. Pete Beach can offer, you should fish between March and November. This is when King Mackerel, Tuna, and Cobia start to become more prevalent within 25 to 40 miles of shore.
Offshore fishing really picks up momentum in May, when you are likely to catch Sailfish, Wahoo, and Mahi Mahi. These species are biting significantly less by the end of September, though you may have luck with Tuna through November. If you’re looking to catch these big game fish, your chances are best while fishing over 40 miles out. An extended day trip is ideal for those who plan to fish this far from shore. When in their peak season, you may be able to catch Tuna on a standard full day trip.
King Mackerel peaks in spring and again in fall, giving you a chance to land a real “smoker” at either end of the deep sea fishing season. If you go fishing at the right time, you can even hope to catch this species on a four hour half day trip.
How to Fish
Deep sea fishing is mostly a combination of bottom fishing and trolling. Many offshore St. Pete Beach fishing charters are likely to include trolling on the way to and from the fishing grounds, where you will spend most of your time bottom fishing. Many anglers rely on flat lining for King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Sailfish, and Cobia.
Depending on your target species, bottom fishing will include jigging, still fishing, casting, and drifting near wrecks or reefs. Dead bait such as frozen squid, sardines, mullets, or pinfish typically work well when targeting Snapper and Grouper. Small live baitfish may prove more effective when enticing these specimens in heavily fished areas. You can fish for Hogfish with a hook and line or by spearfishing.
Top Targeted Deep Sea Fishing Species in St. Pete Beach
- Size 5 to 20lbs
- Food Value Excellent
- Game Qualities Good
- Habitats Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck