April 13, 2024

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Apalachicola: A Complete Guide to Fishing

Reading Time: 9 minutes

What can an angler expect from a journey to the “Forgotten Coast” of Florida? The short answer is, everything they could have dreamed of. Fishing in Apalachicola is a good example of this. In this town, every aspect of everyday life is shaped by the rhythm of the tides. Each local has a fish story to tell, while the air carries the aroma of the seafood restaurants wherever you go.

Some might say that Apalachicola has an aquatic heart, and it’s hard to argue with that. From the freshwater realm of Bass to the offshore playgrounds full of Cobia and even Sharks, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about this Panhandle town and its angling opportunities. You’ll learn about the most interesting freshwater and saltwater species, discover the most productive spots and techniques, and much more. Are you ready? Let’s get started

What can I catch while fishing in Apalachicola?

From freshwater Bass to offshore Wahoo, the angling opportunities in Apalachicola are practically endless. You can explore as many spots as you wish, test your angling skills, and grow as an angler after just one trip to the local waters. Here are the stars of the show…

Freshwater

The Apalachicola River, along with the St. Marks and East Rivers pour into the Gulf just a stone’s throw from the Apalachicola itself. There are various freshwater species you can catch in the town, but one target definitely keeps anglers busy –– the mighty Bass.

Bass

Photo taken by Okaloosa Freshwater Excursions

Late winter through spring is the best time to take advantage of the Bass spawning season as they feed in the shallows. The peak season sees Largemouth Bass anglers equipped with their weapons of choice, ready for some bountiful action. Topwater lures, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits all work well in the area.

In and around Apalachicola, there’s a labyrinth of rivers, lakes, and estuaries where you can lure Bass. Look for Lake Wimico, Jackson River, and the Apalachicola River.

Saltwater

So you’re warmed up by Bass, now it’s time for the serious stuff. The saltwater realm in Apalachicola is impressive. There’s the bay with its Redfish, Flounder, and Black Drum. Then, there’s the inlet with Cobia and Pompano. Finally, there are offshore grounds with large Sharks and Tuna, with reefs full of Snapper, Grouper, and Amberjack on the way.

Redfish and Spotted Seatrout

A teenage boy holding a Redfish aboard a fishing boat in Apalachicola on a sunny day, while an elderly man stands bihind him smiling towards the camera
Photo taken by Caught Up Charters

Inshore fishing in Apalachicola is as good as it gets. The flats, estuaries, and salt marshes thrive with Redfish. St. George Island, East Bay, and Apalachicola Bay are the best spots to find them, while the most fruitful Redfish season begins in late summer and goes until early winter. This is when Reds gather in schools to feed.

The seagrass meadows and oyster bars of Apalachicola hold good numbers of Spotted Seatrout, too. Anglers look for them in the waters of St. Vincent Island, East Bay, and the mouth of the Apalachicola River. The warming waters increase their appetite, so the best time to fish for Seatrout is spring through early summer.

Snapper and Grouper

A family of anglers back at the dock in Apalachicola, holding and posing behind a number of Mangrove Snappers caught while fishing
Photo taken by Hooked Charters

If you book a reef and wreck trip, you’re in for a treat. The Snapper world of Apalachicola’s offshore waters consists of Red, Vermilion, and Mangrove Snapper. These bottom dwellers are among the most popular catches near offshore wrecks, around St. George Island and Cape St. George.

Pair those with Gag, Red, Scamp, Warsaw, and Black Grouper and you’ve got the perfect combination. Some of these species require heavy tackle and large baits, and promise to test your angling skills.

The best thing is that you can target both Snapper and Grouper on the same trip, depending on which exact species you’re after. The most productive Snapper season goes from late spring to early fall, while the Grouper season ranges from late spring to early winter.

Cobia and Kingfish

A female angler in a blue cap sitting on the bow of a fishing boat, holding a large Cobia on her lap, which is being supported by two men either side of the woman
Photo taken by Anchors Aweigh Fishing Charter

Wrecks and reefs, along with other structure, aren’t reserved for Snapper and Grouper, though. The enigmatic Cobia also bite well in these areas, especially during their coastal migration from late spring to early fall.

If you focus your efforts around St. George Island, Cape St. George, and offshore wrecks, you can also come across King Mackerel – also known as “Kingfish.” These royal creatures patrol the coast in search of food around the same time Cobia do, and anglers use it to their advantage. We suggest you do the same!

Mahi Mahi and Wahoo

A youthful angler holds two Mahi Mahis aboard a boat back at the dock in Apalachicola after a successful fishing trip on a sunny day
Photo taken by Anchors Aweigh Fishing Charter

The warm Gulf Stream waters, along with Cape St. George and St. George Island are the perfect playground for Mahi Mahi fishing in Apalachicola’s open waters. These acrobatic fish have a generous season, too, spanning from late spring to early fall. This is when Mahi Mahi migrate along the coast.

The offshore waters are also home to the swift Wahoo. Sport anglers know that these fish are ideal to get you to master the art of high-speed strolling, especially with rigged ballyhoo or diving plugs. The Apalachicola Wahoo season generally runs from late summer to early winter, as the fish follow the warm currents.

Where can I go fishing in Apalachicola?

A view along a fishing jetty in Apalachicola near sunset, with the hetty on the right of the image and the sea on the left

Now that you know what fish species you can catch both freshwater and saltwater, it’s time to talk about exactly where you can land them. We’ve already mentioned some serene inshore estuaries and vast offshore playgrounds, but let’s take a closer look at the myriad of fishing spots in Apalachicola for you to discover…

  • St. George Island. This is a pristine barrier island with sun-kissed beaches and azure waters. You can enjoy inshore fishing by targeting Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, and Kingfish. Then, you can move to the offshore grounds for some Mahi Mahi and Wahoo. Alternatively, you can cast a line right from the sandy shores.
  • Apalachicola Bay. This sprawling estuary is famous for its impressive fishing menu. You can traverse the shallow flats, oyster bars, and grass beds that hold good numbers of Redfish and Spotted Seatrout. As well as that, you can move to the deeper channels that Bass and Snapper call home.
  • St. Vincent Sound. St. Vincent Sound is actually a part of Apalachicola Bay. This productive area is known for its inshore and nearshore fishing opportunities, where anglers can hook into anything from Redfish and Trout to Flounder and many other fish species.
  • East Bay. The waters of East Bay are incredibly calm, with lush seagrass meadows and oyster reefs full of Seatrout, Redfish, and even the occasional Cobia. Some locals call East Bay a hidden gem, nestled within the area’s estuarine system.
  • Lake Wimico. Any Bass lover should consider booking a trip to explore Lake Wimico. Cast topwater lures, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, or just simply experiment. You’re sure to get the Bass to bite. Plus, the chances are you’ll get to enjoy some solitude while looking for your next catch.
  • Apalachicola River. This river is home to Largemouth Bass, Redfish, and Catfish among other species, depending on where you go. Explore the river from the upper reaches to the delta, and fish everything in between.
  • Cape St. George. Cape St. George is a remote spot that lures anglers with the promise of unspoiled fishing grounds. Inshore, you can catch Redfish and Spotted Seatrout, while Grouper, Snapper, and Kingfish bite if you move further from shore.

How to Go Fishing in Apalachicola

So we’ve got two of the most important bits out of the way, but there’s still something missing. How exactly to get your hand on all the aforementioned creatures, of course. You won’t really get to know Apalachicola’s waters without trying out a range of fishing techniques and methods. Bottom fishing, trolling, jigging, Bass fishing, fly fishing… everything is possible here.

One of the best ways to uncover the secrets of this town is to hire a local charter. Booking a trip with a local guide allows you to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the adventure. Experienced captains and guides will not only help you land your target, they’ll also share their wealth of knowledge about the fishing itself and Apalachicola’s fishing culture. Win-win-win!

Apalachicola Shore Fishing

A guide assists an angler with a large fishing rod on a beach in Apalachicola. FL, while two other men look on
Photo taken by Xtreme Off The Beach Charters

If fishing from a boat isn’t your main priority, don’t worry. There are plenty of shore fishing spots for you to explore. You can keep your feet on solid ground and check what’s biting on a local beach or head to a fishing pier to cast a line from there. Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Flounder are all in the cards for shore anglers.

One of the best spots for surf casting and sight fishing for tailing Redfish is the bay with its grass flats and marshes. Make sure you have your license prepared ahead of time, though, and follow all the local rules and regulations regarding the seasonality and bag and size limits. But more on that later.

Apalachicola Kayak Fishing

An angler in a baseball cap, sunglasses, and neck bluff, sitting on a kayak and presenting a Spotted Seatrout to the camera on a sunny day
Photo taken by Kayak Fishing – Port St. Joe

Hardly anything offers a more intimate connection with nature than kayak fishing. And Apalachicola is no exception. The bay is a good place to launch your kayak, whether fishing alone, in the company of your fishing buddy, or led by a local kayak guide.

Paddle through the calm waters, shallow grass flats, oyster bars, and marshes. The list of potential catches is limited to the inshore waters, although finding Speckled Trout and Redfish at the end of your fishing line can hardly disappoint. Plus, kayak fishing is an eco-friendly approach to fishing. And, you’ll get to explore some spots that larger vessels simply can’t reach.

Apalachicola Nearshore and Offshore Fishing

An angler in a baseball cap and sunglasses casts their line off the side of a boat near Apalachicola on a sunny day
Photo taken by Bounty Bay PSJ Charters

Apalachicola’s nearshore and offshore waters are home to numerous artificial reefs and shipwrecks, making them a haven for a variety of fish species. These include various types of Grouper, Snapper, Amberjack, and Cobia, which are perfect bottom fishing targets.

Of course, you can always venture even further out, leaving the coast far behind. The offshore grounds are vast, and there are various spots where anglers fish on overnight and multiday trips. However, you’ll need to ask your captain in advance if they offer these kinds of packages, and go through the details ahead of time.

Apalachicola Fishing Seasons

A view along a beach in Apalachicola at sunset with the sun visible in the distance on the left of the image and the sea on the right

Think you’re ready to plan your Apalachicola fishing adventure? Well, while we may have let you in on some of the peak seasons for certain species, there’s still plenty to learn. Here’s a run through exactly what’s biting when to help you decide when to come.

If you happen to be in the Apalachicola area in late winter, treat yourself to a Bass fishing trip if the weather allows. Alternatively, you can start the year by fishing the shallow waters of Apalachicola Bay for Speckled Trout and Redfish. These cooler months offer excellent inshore fishing options.

As the waters warm up, Cobia arrive in the local waters somewhere around April. You can chase them in the nearshore waters, keeping an eye on the surface. In addition to Cobia, you can fish for Spanish Mackerel along the shoreline and near local reefs and wrecks all the way up until June.

The Apalachicola fishing season reaches its peak in summer. Tarpon, King Mackerel, Grouper… you name it, they’ll all bite well. Try your hand at sight or fly fishing for Tarpon in the bay or head offshore for Kingfish and Grouper.

Wanting to get away after the crowds have gone? No problem. The period from October through December is the perfect time to fish for Flounder. These delicious creatures make their way into the bay in early fall. Meanwhile, Redfish and Speckled Trout remain active throughout the cooler months once again.

Apalachicola Fishing Regulations

An infographic featuring the flag of Florida and text that says "Apalachicola Fishing Regulations What You Need to Know" on a dark blue background along with the FishingBooker logo

Before we let you go, we have to let you know that there are restrictions and closed seasons for certain species. Make sure to get familiar with the local rules and regulations ahead of time, which you can do either online at the MyFWC website or by asking your captain.

You’ll also want to pay attention to licenses, depending on where you fish. Saltwater charters in Apalachicola cover licenses for all on board, but fish on your own and you may need to get one.

And, if you’re planning a freshwater trip, you’ll definitely need to get a separate Florida freshwater license, whether fishing with a captain or not. Find out all you need to know with our handy guide.

Apalachicola: A Memorable Oasis on the “Forgotten Coast”

A view across a small boat dock in the calm backcountry waters near Apalachicola, with a few boats visible in the foreground on a sunny day

Fishing in Apalachicola is more than your typical Florida experience. It’s easy to see why this charming coastal city attracts so many anglers season after season. Whether you come here to venture out to the offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico or stay in the bay, you’re in for a treat. The city’s rich history, picturesque streets, fresh seafood, and local culture promise to make your experience one to remember.

Have you ever been fishing in Apalachicola? Did you try both freshwater and saltwater angling? Share your fish stories with us in the comments below!

The post Apalachicola Fishing: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Lisa
Title: Apalachicola Fishing: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/apalachicola-fishing/
Published Date: Mon, 29 May 2023 13:13:09 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.hardcoregamefishing.com/enjoy-20-discount-on-marlin-fishing-in-the-galapagos/

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