Pensacola Surf Fishing Bringing you the latest information on Florida Surf and Inshore fishing with a focus on the Pensacola Beach area
Fish can be caught from Pensacola Beach any time of day, any time of year. Sharks, such as this small bonnethead, are generally targeted in the early morning or evening when swimmers are not around.
 Small Bonnethead Shark Caught On Pensacola Beach

On almost any given day of the year anglers in Pensacola Beach can find action while fishing right from the surf or from the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier. Fishing is often the hottest during the spring and summer months, however many species are readily available year round.  Whether you are a vacationer relying on rented gear on the pier or a permanent resident with a plethora of specialty surf fishing equipment, you should be able to find consistent success. One of the best parts of fishing on the Gulf Coast is that you really never know what you might catch.  It's entirely possible to reel in a small Pompano on one cast and a 30 pound Black Drum on the next, all while using the same bait.

Surf Fishing Pensacola Beach

Surf fishing on Pensacola Beach is an every day affair for those of us that live in the area, but the spring, summer and fall months are when you will see the most rods lined up along the waters edge.  This is due to a combination of there being far more visitors this time of year, and also because there are more species available in the area.  Winter months provide great fishing for surf and pier anglers on Pensacola Beach, but there is a larger variety of migratory species lined up along the surf due to the warmer water temperatures in late spring, summer, and fall. For more information on what's biting when, you can read our seasonal and month to month breakdown on our Pensacola Beach Surf Fishing Calendar.

Bluefish may not be on everyone's dinner menu, but they put up an awesome fight and bite aggressively.
 Fishing Rods in Sand Spikes On Pensacola Beach Sunset

Fishing Pensacola Beach Pier

At almost 1500 feet long, the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier gets you past both sand bars and provides access to much deeper water than anglers are able to reach from the surf.  Getting into the deeper water allows pier anglers to target additional species compared to those on the beach. Fish such as King Mackerel, Cobia, Bonito and even Tarpon or Mahi-Mahi can be reached from the pier as well as all other species that can be targeted from the surf such as Pompano, Whiting, Redfish, etc.  In addition to the extended reach, the pier also provides great views of the marine life from above.  Surprisingly large sharks, rays, dolphins and manatees can easily be spotted from the pier.

Giant Black Drum can be caught from the surf or pier, especially when the water is cooler in fall, winter and spring.
 Fishing Rods in Sand Spikes On Pensacola Beach Sunset

For those just visiting the area or wanting to try fishing from the pier for the first time, rods can be rented right at the bait shop at the base of the pier, and anglers do not need a fishing license while fishing from the pier. Additionally, just about everything you need to spend a few hours on the pier can be bought right at the bait shop as well.  Rigs and bait, such as squid, shrimp, sand flees, as well as frozen cigar minnows can be purchased right at the shop as well.

Prices change yearly, but in general anglers can pay for a day pass, rent a rod, and buy rigs and bait for around 30 dollars. Beverages are also sold right at the shop as well. If you have access to a vehicle, Gulf Breeze Bait and Tackle is just over the bridge in Gulf Breeze and provides a full lineup of fishing gear and bait.

When To Fish Pensacola Beach

During the busy times of year such as spring break, summer break, and early fall before school starts it's best to fish as early as possible and claim your spot. When fishing the surf, we usually put the poles away once the crowds start to take over during mid morning. Pier anglers can have luck throughout the entire day as most swimmers stay clear of the pier. During late Fall, Winter, and Spring when it isn't so busy it's often better to time your trips with the tides, since the both the pier and beach aren't so crowded it should be easy enough to find a spot to fish any time of the day, and larger fish will be closer in during the incoming and outgoing portions of high tide. This is especially true if you're targeting sharks, big or small.

Some of the best times to fish are during the spring Pompano run that generally occurs in late March through April, and during the summer when fish such as Spanish Mackerel will be schooling up and feeding aggressively. For tips on catching these fish, you can read How to Catch Pompano From the Surf and How to Catch Spanish Mackerel from the Surf.

Other Resources

  • Santa Rosa Island Authority Webcams - The Santa Rosa Island Authority provides 3 Webcams located near the base of the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier.  They give you an up to the second view of what the conditions are like on the beach.  They're frequently offline after storms but are generally brought back up within a day or two.
  • Gulf Breeze Bait and Tackle - As mentioned, GBBT is a 5 minute ride from the beach and provides a great selection of bait, gear, and local knowledge. A short trip here can get you set up for a day or a week on the beach.
  • Pensacola Beach Pier Tide Times & Charts - When possible, timing your fishing with the tides can be a huge boon to your success. provides tidal information as well as near term weather forecasts.
  • Pensacola Beach Marine Weather Forecast - Marine Forecast For Pensacola Beach from the National Weather Service.  This provides general sea conditions out to 20 nautical miles.
  • Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier - Get the latest pricing and hours of the Pensacola Beach Pier straight from the source.