Panama City Beach, FL Fishing: Enjoy the Panorama

Panama City Beach, FL Fishing: Enjoy the Panorama
Published: Monday, May 17th, 2021
Updated on: Monday, May 17th, 2021

Sunshine, white sands, brine. If this breezy mix is what you’re after, then come visit Panama City Beach in Florida. Boasting 27 miles of white sands brushing against turquoise waters where St. Andrew Bay and the Gulf of Mexico converge, this charming place remains one of the most visited attractions in the US. Add to that some 320 days worth of sunshine and what you get is a perfect vacation destination.

Panama City Beach is famous especially among adrenaline-lovers and adventurous families for its state parks, namely, St. Andrews State Park and Camp Helen State Park. If you wish to watch the sea intermingle with some naturally lush flora, then come to St. Andrews Park, where you can also enjoy some water sports, nature trails, and camping grounds. 

Perhaps another reason why this place is eternally loved is how people can simply sit and watch the sun sink below the horizon before their eyes. Since its coastline is angled toward the west, you can get a daily dose of sunset here. 

Panama City Beach, FL Fishing

As part of the Florida Panhandle, Panama City Beach takes pride in its waters and fine white sands. Covering a significant part of the Gulf of Mexico, Panama City features thrilling nearshore and offshore fishing. Moreover, it is also home to dozens of coral reefs that line the shore, making it a treasure to the eyes of diving enthusiasts. 

If you feel like fishing from the docks, you can try doing so from St. Andrews Bay. It has two fishing piers, one facing the Gulf and another in the Grand Lagoon. You can reel in some blackfin tuna, bonito, trout, flounder, vermillion, white snappers, gag grouper, and sheepshead. If you want some redfish, Spanish mackerel, trout, and ladyfish, you can try capturing them off the County Pier and City Pier. 

Panama City Beach is densely packed with anglers, especially during its Billfish Tournament, usually held around the middle of the year.

As a fishing paradise, some of the most interesting species that Panama offers are redfish, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, blackfin tuna, and trout.

Also known as red drum, redfish is a common game fish prized for its lightly flavored meat. This species loves swimming in shallow waters along lagoons, bays, coves, and oyster reefs with abundant vegetation. 

Interestingly, this precious fish can grow as old as 40 years, making it all the more rewarding to catch. However, it must be noted that redfish is a protected game fish; those who wish to catch it recreationally may still do so as long as they keep the regulations in mind.

The Spanish mackerel is a highly carnivorous species prized by recreational and commercial fishers. This is the primary fish used in the Japanese raw dish called sushi. As one of the fastest swimming creatures in the sea, the Spanish mackerel is adrenaline-inducing, making it one of the most wanted species of all, not only by sports anglers but also by consumers.

More popularly known as skipjack, or simply, John, ladyfish are also considered the “poor man’s tarpon” due to their pike-like and silvery-scaled body. This thermophilic species is highly adaptive; despite its resilience, ladyfish is considered “trash fish” by some anglers. Sadly, its meat is only regarded as second-rate despite its almost limitless population.

Blackfin tuna is lauded as one of the most important fish for recreational and commercial fishing industries. As fierce fights with delicious meat, this species is popular among anglers; its meat is marketed fresh or even processed and canned. This fish is caught best by seasoned anglers who use the hauling method.

The anadromous sea trout is considered typical table fare; its meat is also processed and frozen. Caught commonly by fly fishing, this species is most popular among freshwater anglers. Apart from that, Sea Trout is also dubbed as the most highly rated fish by anglers. 

Top 10 Fish Species in Panama City Beach, FL

The top 10 fish species in Panama City Beach are tuna, marlin, speckled trout, ladyfish, cobia, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, redfish, king mackerel, and amberjack.

Panama City Beach, FL Fishing: Enjoy the Panorama Fish species
Lesser Amberjack 

Habitat: Nearshore, Offshore

Weight: 8 - 12 Pounds

Length: 19" - 27"

King Mackerel

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck

Weight: 10 - 20 Pounds

Length: 19" - 72"

Spanish Mackerel

Habitat: offshore, onshore, nearshore

Weight: 8 - 120 Pounds

Length: 20" - 72"


Habitat: Onshore, Bay

Weight: 1 - 3 Pounds

Length: 12" - 39"


Habitat: Onshore, Flats, Backcountry, Nearshore

Weight: 10 - 45 Pounds

Length: 30" - 61"


Habitat: Nearshore, Onshore

Weight: 3 - 15 Pounds

Length: 15" - 51"


Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck

Weight: 10 - 80 Pounds

Length: 24" - 79"

Blackfin Tuna

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 2 - 20 Pounds

Length: 7" - 43"

Panama City Beach Seasonal Fishing

The year starts with vast populations of amberjack from January through March; this saltwater game fish is one of the most popular of its kind due to its huge size reaching up to 6 feet. The season for this recreational fish resumes from November to December.

Cobia delights many consumers due to its excellent flavor. This solitary fish can be found in abundance in Panama City from March through November. The best months to ensnare this aggressive predator would be April, September, and October.

Luckily for light-tackle anglers, ladyfish is present all year round (their population is at its lowest in October). Due to its vast population, this is considered a species of least concern.

Redfish or red drum love to congregate in shallow waters from March to December. The best period to look for them upstream would be from April to May and September to November.

King mackerel, a migratory species, can be caught off Panama City throughout the year except June to August. Anglers would be jubilant to hear this since king mackerel is one of the most sought-after game fish due to its impressive speed.


Find the Best Water Activities in Panama City Beach

1. Fishing Charters

Being practically surrounded by emerald green waters, Panama City Beach offers a memorable fishing experience, especially with its several fishing charters to choose from. 


2. Dolphin Watching

If you are the kind who gets mesmerized watching Mother Nature’s friendly creations found deep in the ocean, then visit Paradise Adventures and enjoy a splendid journey under the sea with the company of dolphins.


3. Kayaking and Other Water Sports 

With its seemingly boundless waters, Panama City Beach offers a lot of water sporting activities, including sailing, kiteboarding, diving, snorkeling, and of course, kayaking! The best tourist spot to do all these is Shell Island.


4. St. Andrew’s State Park

Camping, beaching, and nature-viewing are features you can afford to experience in one place! This place offers over 6,000 vacation rentals to choose from; each caters to different occasions.  

Fishing Techniques
Fly Fishing