Learn more about the inshore fishing in the Cape San Blas / Port St. Joe area.
St. Joseph Bay is located in Gulf County and it is between Apalachicola and Panama City. The bay is formed by a 17 mile long barrier peninsula called Cape San Blas. The bay is known for its excellent fishing, scalloping and shallow water, which is great for wading.
Fish the Grass Flats
The bay is shallow and there is plenty of grass throughout the bay. Anglers will fish these grass flats mostly for redfish and sea trout, but other species of fish will be around these grass flats too. Fishing during the tidal change will result in much better fishing, but make sure you know your surroundings so you can navigate your boat out of these areas when the tide drops.
Fish the Deeper Water Near the Flats
Many anglers will describe the better spots to fish as potholes. Image large potholes on the road and you will find lots of spots like this throughout the bay. You may have a small depth change near a grass flat, but even a small area that is just a foot deeper can hold some quality fish. During high tides, you may see a lot of fish move up onto the flats, but the deeper water around these grass flats are great spots to fish. During a low tide, many fish will be forced into these deeper spots, so learning where the deeper water is located on these flats is key to putting a lot more fish in the boat here.
Fish the Mouth of the Bay
The mouth of the bay brings plenty of food in and out during tidal changes. This is also where the migratory species have to enter or leave, so there will be plenty of anglers searching the mouth of the bay for diving birds or any fish activity that can help them find schools of feeding fish. The tip of the peninsula will also help create a big current break while the tides are moving water in or out. This can be a great ambush spot for game fish.
Fish the Deeper Water In the Bay
While this bay is known for its excellent shallow water flats fishing, there is plenty of deeper water in the bay that is home to a variety of fish. Look for birds or feeding fish on the surface out in these open water areas and you may run into some excellent fishing. The navigational markers will also hold fish in the deeper parts of the bay.
In nearby Apalachicola, there is also some excellent inshore fishing available. You have bridge fishing, passes, flats and more. There is a lot of awesome water to fish in Apalachicola if you want to make a trip to the next town over.
Popular Fish Caught Inshore
Below you can find some of the most popular fish that you can catch in the inshore waters of Amelia Island. There are also pictures and some fishing tips to help you catch more fish on your next visit here.
Black drum are found throughout St. Joseph Bay and you can catch them year round.
Black Drum Fishing Tips
Spring and fall are popular times to target black drum because they head into the bays and inlets to spawn. They feed on the bottom and some of the best baits are clams and crabs.
Visit our Black Drum fishing page to learn more.
Flounder a popular fish to target inshore here. You can find plenty of flounder in St. Joseph Bay and these fish are here year round.
Flounder Fishing Tips
Flounder can be caught with artificial lures, however, for many anglers, live bait or natural baits are considered the norm when fishing for flounder. Flounder love hanging tight to the bottom, so pick out your favorite bottom rig and pair it with a bull minnow, finger mullet, pinfish or shrimp and you should catch some fish.
Visit our Flounder fishing page to learn more.
Jack Crevalle are common in the bay during the warmer weather months. When these fish are around, it makes for some exciting fishing since they are known for biting a variety of artificial lures including topwaters.
Jack Crevalle Fishing Tips
Jack Crevalle are a very popular species for inshore anglers, although, they are commonly found offshore as well. These fish are extremely powerful and capable of making long runs, especially if you are using light tackle. Their average size ranges from 2 to 5 pounds, but in most areas fish up to 10 pounds are plentiful. Some people eat these fish, but most people would rate them as very poor-tasting.
Ladyfish can be a fun fish to catch, especially for younger anglers. They do not get very big, so the more experienced anglers usually see them as bait for bigger fish. Ladyfish are an excellent bait both alive and dead as cut bait. There will be plenty of ladyfish in St. Joseph Bay during the warmer months of the year.
Ladyfish Fishing Tips
Ladyfish are cousins of the much larger tarpon. They have a long, slender body and are fairly small, averaging 2 to 3 pounds. They are fun to catch for young anglers, but for most adult anglers, ladyfish are used for bait. Ladyfish can easily be caught with a small hook, weight and live shrimp, small bait fish or cut bait.
Visit our Ladyfish fishing page to learn more.
Redfish are very common in St. Joseph Bay. You can catch redfish year round here, however, the fall is when anglers have their best shot at a trophy-sized bull redfish. It is one of the most consistent fish to target here, so if you’re fishing the bay, plan on fishing the grass flats for redfish.
Redfish Fishing Tips
Anglers target redfish with a variety of artificial lures, live baits and natural baits. While you have so many options for targeting redfish, most anglers will keep it simple and use live shrimp, dead shrimp or lures that mimic a shrimp. You can target the smaller reds with medium heavy rods and reels, but if you are going after bigger redfish, you’re going to want to go with medium heavy to heavy action gear to help land some of these huge fish.
Visit our Redfish fishing page to learn more.
You will find plenty of catfish in the bay as well as the passes and out along the beaches. They can be annoying if you don’t want to catch them or exciting to provide some action while other fish aren’t biting.
Catfish Fishing Tips
Catching catfish is easy in saltwater. Once you find them, they will easily bite many different types of cut baits. Just get your bait on the bottom, wait for the bite and then set the hook.
St. Joseph Bay is home to some very good fishing for sea trout and they are available year round. Along with redfish, sea trout are a reliable fish to catch here even during the colder times of the year. Fish the grass flats in the bay and you’ll find some sea trout.
Sea Trout Fishing Tips
Sea trout give anglers lots of options because they can be very aggressive. At times, you can do just as well or even better with artificial lures. For the live bait anglers, you have a variety of live and natural baits that you can use to catch sea trout. Anglers can also get away with using lighter tackle as well since most of the better spots tend to be around shallow water grass flats.
Visit our Sea Trout fishing page to learn more.
Since most of the deep water structure is 40 to 50 miles out, it is a little bit of a boat ride to target the sharks around the reefs and wrecks. However, this area does get good numbers of sharks closer to shore, so if you want to target them, you can catch plenty of sharks along the beaches around the passes and some can be found inshore as well.
Learn More About Sharks on our Shark Fishing page.
Sheepshead can be found throughout St. Joseph Bay. They will be found inshore throughout the colder months of the year. Find some rocks, pilings or oyster bars and you should be able to find some sheepshead.
Sheepshead Fishing Tips
Sheepshead are one of the tougher saltwater fish to catch on artificial lures. It can be done, but using live or natural baits can out fish lures by 10 to 1 or more at times. It is easy to understand why most anglers just go with live bait and they don’t even mess with lures when fishing for sheepshead. Shrimp and fiddler crabs are the most popular baits, but don’t rule out a variety of cut baits, oysters and sand fleas. Sheepshead are known for stealing your bait and they also are a tough fish, so make sure you have a strong enough hook and a solid medium-heavy to heavy action fishing rod or you will lose a lot of fish.
Visit our Sheepshead fishing page to learn more.
Mangrove Snapper are a popular to fish to target in the bay. They are easy to catch and they taste excellent.
Mangrove Snapper Fishing Tips
Mangrove Snapper are one of the most popular snapper to catch because large populations of juvenile fish can be caught inshore where most anglers fish. Offshore, you will find bigger mangrove snapper over the reefs and wrecks. Some of the best baits to use for mangrove snappers are live and dead shrimp, mud minnows, small pinfish, small finger mullet and small crabs.
Tarpon migrate into this area from late spring through fall. The summer fishing usually provides anglers with the best fishing opportunities. Tarpon are found along the beaches of Cape San Blas during this time. If you’re looking to target tarpon inshore, nearby Apalachicola has some excellent inshore fishing available within its bay, near the passes and around the bridges too.
Tarpon Fishing Tips
While many anglers may run into smaller tarpon and catch them without much effort, to consistently target bigger tarpon, you need to make sure you have the right tackle & equipment so things go your way. Tarpon will eat a variety of baits, so you have a lot of options when it comes to live & cut baits or artificial lures. The time of year is very important as well since tarpon will migrate a long way up and down both the Gulf & Atlantic Coasts each year.
Visit our Tarpon fishing page to learn more.