Variety Makes Fishing Appealing for All in Panama City

Anglers can enjoy casting from a kayak, trolling on the bay and searching for the big ones offshore

Panama City, Florida | I-10 Exit Guide

Serious anglers know Panama City, Florida, as a prime location for fishing along the central northern Gulf Coast. Located between Pensacola to the west and Tallahassee to the east, Panama City is home to top-notch offshore and inshore fishing, year-round. While it is popular with seasoned anglers, fishing here is enjoyable and accessible for visitors of all ages and any skill level.

From its protected spot on the waters of St. Andrews Bay, Panama City offers an uncommon variety of fishing options. Inland waters meander into creeks and bayous offering an excellent opportunity for those who enjoy the challenge of kayak fishing. From pine-lined shorelines to submerged grass beds, these waters are teeming with redfish, trout, flounder and more. There are plenty of public access spots for those with their own gear and guided trips are also available with Sunjammers (1129 Beck Avenue, Panama City, Florida 32401; 850-235-2281).

Picturesque St. Andrews Bay spans 68,000 acres with more than 20 miles of shoreline. Its abundant waters are popular fishing grounds, both for those who choose to bring their own boat and those who take advantage of one of the area’s experienced inshore guides. They pull in healthy catches of redfish, speckled trout, drum, sheepshead and more. On a trip with Fly Times Charters (511 South Bonita Avenue, Panama City, Florida 32401; 850-775-8119), anglers can try their luck fly fishing in the flats or use conventional rod and reel. For offshore excitement, they also guide fly fishing for tarpon trips.

One of the most popular ways to enjoy fishing in Panama City is to take an offshore trip with one of the many experienced local charter captains. Trolling for cobia and king mackerel, dropping a line for grouper and red snapper or hunting down mahi and game fish, there are plenty of opportunities, any time of year. Offering every option, from four-hour to multi-day trips, there are charter services to make the most of any fishing experience. One of the most versatile charter services is Family Tradition Charters (3151 West 10th Street, Panama City, Florida 32401; 850-819-4610). Offering trips on several vessels, this business is owned and operated by a family that has been working on the waters here for five generations. And speaking of families, Old Town Charters (3151 West 10th Street, Panama City, Florida 32401; 850-814-5289) specializes in family trips, both inshore and offshore, ensuring that young anglers experience the excitement of a day on the water and come home with lasting memories.

Public boat ramps are available for those bringing their own boat. And for those looking for a spot to dock and dine, there are a half-dozen locations for that. Options range from the rustic, over-the-water experience at Bayou Joe’s (112A East 3rd Court, Panama City, Florida 32401; 850-763-6442), with its “old Florida” appeal to the modern coastal atmosphere of Harrison’s Kitchen & Bar (5 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, Florida 32401; 850-979-5550), serving seafood and Southern dishes, overlooking Panama City Marina and St. Andrews Bay.

If you go to Panama City…

For those looking for some non-fishing time on the water, there are several other activities to enjoy in Panama City:

Flippin’ Awesome Adventures (112 East 3rd Court, Panama City, Florida 32401; 850-276-4796) specializes in family adventure and offers a chance to get up close and personal with local marine life on specialized tours lead by a trained marine biologist.

Visitors can captain their own trip with a pontoon boat rental from Papa Joe’s Rentals (4601 US-98 BUS, Panama City, Florida 32404; 850-695-1958). They also offer charter trips to Shell Island and sunset cruises.

Heritage Excursions (312 Bay Shore Drive, Panama City Beach, Florida 32407; 850-387-6265) offers snorkeling and dolphin watching tours, Shell Island adventure trips and more. For the hunters in the group, duck hunting trips are also available.

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