If you’re visiting Pensacola or Pensacola Beach and looking for something fun to do with your family and friends a fishing charter is a great option. There’s lots of great captains and charter boats in the area, so just do a little homework and find the one who you think might be the best fit for your family and friends. All boats coming and going from the Gulf of Mexico must travel through Pensacola Pass, but charters are available daily in Perdido Key, Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and Navarre.
There are a few different types of charters / trips to choose from including inshore, nearshore, and offshore. Prices will range widely, just make sure you’re comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges when comparing trips. You’ll also want to make sure you take a look at the charter companies reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Google.
The most popular fishing charters for people looking to go fishing out of Pensacola or Pensacola Beach is what we call an inshore / nearshore fishing charter. These trips are operated on twenty-two to twenty four foot bay boats and tropically range in price from $500-$650 for up to four anglers depending on how long of a an outing you’re looking to take the family on.
Most of the inshore / nearshore trips are either 4, 5, or 6 hours. On these trips you may fish in Pensacola Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, or quite often both. Considering the size of the boats used the weather must cooperate in order to get out into the Gulf of Mexico, but the good thing even if it’s a little windy or rough your trip isn’t typically cancelled, you’ll just fish inshore.
If you get out into the Gulf of Mexico you can expect to catch red snapper, triggerfish, vermillion snapper, amberjack, bonita, cobia, king mackerel, sharks, and a variety of other species both bottom fishing and trolling. A lot of our species have open and closed seasons, so what you can keep will depend on the time of year. Red snapper are usually open thirty to sixty days during June and July.
On those days when it’s too rough in the Gulf of Mexico or your captain feels like you’ll have a more productive day fishing inshore waters of Pensacola Bay, Santa Rosa Sound, or Big Lagoon you can expect to catch species like redfish, trout, flounder, sheepshead, and Spanish mackerel. One plus on these trips is you get a lot more time fishing because travel time getting to the spot is much shorter.
The other type of charter you’ll hear people refer to is an offshore fishing charter. These types of trips are divided up by either six-pack or multi-passenger. Six-pack charters are operated on boats that can legally only take up to 6 anglers, plus a captain and mate. A multi-passenger trip is on a boat that has a certification from the Coast Guard to take a certain number of passengers, from seven to sixty.
You’ll find that most six-pack charters are operated on thirty something foot boats, both center consoles and cabin boats. They typically range in price from $1,200 to $1,400 for a 6- or 8-hour trip. Longer trips are available of course, but the price on those will range widely depending on the length and targeted species of the trip.
Multi-passenger charters will be priced depending on the size of the boat and number of passengers going on the trip. Several boats in the Pensacola and Pensacola Beach area are priced at $1,600 for an eight hour trip for up to ten anglers and 10% extra for each additional passenger. There are a very limited number of these boats in the areas, so it’s a good idea to book in advance.
On both the six-pack and multi-passenger 6 and 8 hour fishing charter in Pensacola or Pensacola Beach you will go into the Gulf of Mexico to bottom fish for species like red snapper, vemillion snapper, triggerfish, and white snapper. If you’re looking for species like marlin, wahoo, tuna, dolphin, or swordfish you’ll need to book a longer adventure.
All fishing charters should include fishing equipment, fishing license, bait, tackle, ice, fuel, and fish cleaning. Fishing charters available year around in Pensacola and quite often some of the best fishing is in the spring and fall, outside of the busy summer season. If you’re not sure what type of trip is the bet fit for you give Hot Spots Charters a call at (850) 449-5555.