FROM the CAPTAIN’S DECK: The best fishing is in the summer

If you really like to fish in saltwater, and if you like to catch big fish, summer is your time of year down in the Florida Panhandle.  What makes the summer so special is that water temperature gets up above 70 degrees in the spring and goes even higher in the summer, which brings the bait fish into the Gulf from south Florida.   The best and biggest of the game fish will follow the bait right into the Gulf and anglers can expect lots of great action and excitement.  To put it simply, fishing is on fire right now. 

image1-3Summer is also the time of year when the restrictions and regulations open up to allow fishing for grouper and red snapper which are restricted in other times of the year.   But rules change and are complicated, so make sure you know them before you go fishing.   

Big game fish like wahoo, mahi- mahi, king mackerel, tarpon, cobia, gag grouper, red snapper, red grouper, grey snapper, and yellow fin tuna are all available for catching in the summer.   Sailfish are caught as well at this time. 

Big game fishing means big fish, heavy tackle, and strong arms and legs on the angler.   Why strong arms?  Cobia can get up to 135 pounds, wahoo at 180, tarpon can go to 280, King Mackerel up to 90, mahi-mahi up to 40, red snapper up to 50, black grouper up to 124, yellow fin tuna at 440 pounds, gag grouper to 80, and a goliath grouper up to 680 pounds.  All of these can be caught off of Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe right now.  Amberjack is usually on the list but their season closed on June 1. 

If you have your own boat and trailer, the docking and ramp facilities are excellent around this area and the parking is ample as well.   There are plenty of charter boats for hire if you need a boat and want to go offshore while you are in this area.  Mexico Beach Community Development Council lists charters on its website at and Port St. Joe has them under its Tourist Development Council website at  The best fishing is right now-come on down and lets go. fishing.

Ryan Kelley

Southbound Charters

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