St. Pete Beach Fishing: The Ultimate Guide for 2024

St. Pete Beach Fishing: The Ultimate Guide for 2024

Table of Contents

St. Pete Beach fishing continues to be one of the top destinations for anglers in Florida in 2024. With a variety of fishing options such as wrecks, rocks, piers, and the Gulf of Mexico, St. Pete Beach offers a wide range of fish to catch right in the heart of the Sunshine State.

If you’re looking to fish in St. Pete Beach this year, it’s important to know the rules and regulations and what type of fish you want to target. Here’s a guide to help you make the most of your fishing experience:

How to Go Fishing in St. Pete Beach in 2024

Fishing with a Charter

One of the best ways to experience fishing in St. Pete Beach is by booking a fishing charter. Fishing on the open water offers a unique experience, allowing you to breathe in the fresh ocean air and get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

In Florida, you can only go out on a licensed fishing boat, which means using a private fishing charter. This allows you to head out with an experienced Captain who knows the best fishing spots in the area and provides all the necessary gear and bait.

Our experienced YachtFish Captains are experts in the waters around St. Pete Beach and Tampa Bay, ready to guide you to prime fishing locations. Our charters cater to various skill levels and ages, offering short trips for kids and full-day deep-sea experiences for avid anglers.

Pier Fishing (Pier Must Be Licensed)

Piers remain a convenient choice for immediate fishing access. Positioned far enough out to steer clear of swimmers and boat traffic, piers provide an ideal spot to cast a line.

St. Pete Beach boasts the renowned Merry Pier, a popular destination for both experienced anglers and novices. While you can reel in decent smaller catches here, for bigger fish, a private fishing charter is recommended.

Additionally, the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park stands out as the longest pier globally, stretching 4 miles for an unparalleled fishing experience.

Wade Fishing (License Needed)

For a more immersive experience, consider wade fishing or surf fishing along the beaches of St. Pete Beach. This can be a fun and low-key way to enjoy fishing in the area.

Kayak Fishing (License Needed)

If you like taking to the open water while kayaking, then kayak fishing provides a unique option for St. Pete Beach fishing. Weedon Island Preserve is an ideal location to paddle your way to your new favorite fishing spot.

Where to Fish in St. Pete Beach

St. Pete Beach, St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, Madeira Beach, and Treasure Island are renowned as some of the top fishing destinations globally, offering prime opportunities for a successful catch. Key spots to consider in 2024 include:

The Gulf Pier: Extending over 1,000 feet within Fort De Soto Park. The Gulf Pier is a premier location for pier fishing.

Pass-A-Grille Beach: This picturesque beach with white sands is popular for wade fishing and also boasts a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options.

Devil’s Elbow: Serving as a departure point for our St. Pete Beach fishing charters, Devil’s Elbow is an ideal spot for inshore fishing or embarking on a deep-sea fishing adventure. Situated amidst restaurants, beaches, and shops, it offers a convenient and scenic setting for anglers.

Do I Need a License to Fish in St. Pete Beach?

In 2024, under Florida law, a saltwater fishing license is required unless exempt based on the following criteria:

– Fishing on a for-hire boat with an operator possessing a valid fishing license.

– Fishing from a fishing charter boat where the Captain holds a fishing license.

– Being under 16 years of age.

– Being a Florida resident over 65 years of age.

– Being a Florida resident or a member of the armed forces (not stationed in Florida) returning home for a period of 30 days or less.

– Participation in ‘Free Fishing Day’.

– Fishing from a pier with a fishing license obtained upon entry.

Types of St. Pete Beach Fishing

Inshore Fishing Trips

Inshore fishing involves casting closer to the shore compared to deep-sea fishing. Boating at shallower depths of approximately 30 meters or less, anglers can target calmer fish than those found in offshore waters. Kids and beginners often prefer this type of fishing due to its shorter and less physically demanding nature.

Inshore fishing typically requires smaller tackle, capturing more fish, albeit usually smaller in size compared to deep-sea species. Despite the size difference, inshore fishing trips can offer thrilling and adrenaline-fueled experiences for anglers of all skill levels.

Deep Sea Fishing Trips

Deep-sea fishing involves heading out to the depths of the Gulf of Mexico in search of large marine creatures. Anglers fill buckets with bait, aiming to catch impressive fish that make for great photos or delicious meals.

These fishing excursions can last for several hours or even full days, offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Many people choose deep-sea fishing as a way to bond with others or take a break from their everyday lives. Traveling out to prime fishing spots allows anglers to appreciate the diverse wildlife along the way.

St. Pete Beach remains an excellent choice for deep-sea fishing, given its proximity to restaurants, major cities, and the Gulf itself. Fishing at depths exceeding 100 feet, anglers have the opportunity to reel in remarkable species like Barracuda, Grouper, Sailfish, and Sharks.

To embark on an unforgettable deep-sea fishing adventure, consider contacting a St. Pete Beach private fishing charter for a memorable experience on the water.

What Fish Can You Catch in St. Pete Beach?

The waters around St. Pete Beach provide an abundance of fish species ranging from small bait fish to trophy-sized monsters. The variety of fish is so extensive that it is impossible to list them all in a single blog. Here are some of the most sought-after and popular fish species:

Most Popular Inshore Fish to Catch in St. Pete Beach

Tarpon

The “Silver Kings” are highly coveted fish in Florida, known for their impressive size and powerful leaps. When hooked, these fish often make vigorous runs, providing anglers with an exhilarating challenge. They are recognized for their stunning silver bodies, which can reach lengths of up to 8 feet and weigh over 240 pounds!

Snook

Snook are excellent fish for anglers of all skill levels, offering excitement with their shiny bodies and strong fighting spirit while fishing inshore. These fish are also among the most delicious catches in the Gulf. Snook can grow up to 48 inches in length and reach weights of up to 38 pounds!

Trout

Trout are a favored choice among inshore anglers for their vibrant colors, size, and exciting fight. These fish provide a challenging yet manageable experience without being overpowering. Additionally, trout are highly sought after for their delectable taste. They can reach sizes of up to 25 inches and weigh up to 3 pounds.

Redfish

Fishing enthusiasts in Florida will undoubtedly relish the experience of catching a Redfish! These formidable fish found in shallow waters are known for their spirited nature, quick swimming ability, and delectable meat. Catching a Redfish is sure to provide an enjoyable and exciting adventure! They can grow up to 61 inches in length and weigh as much as 50 pounds.

Snapper

When fishing in St. Pete Beach, Snapper is a common catch across various locations. Known for their scrumptious, moist, and subtly sweet flavor, Snapper is a favorite among anglers. Red Snapper, in particular, are highly favored for their striking appearance. These fish can reach sizes of up to 11 inches.

Most Popular Deep-Sea Fish to Catch Near St. Pete Beach

Grouper

Looking to reel in the formidable creatures of the Gulf of Mexico? Explore the world of Grouper and its diverse species. These heavyweight contenders are exclusive to deep-sea fishing excursions. As bottom-dwellers, you’ll have to venture out to sea to hook these powerful monsters.

Species such as Black Grouper, Scamp Grouper, Snowy Grouper, and the exceptional Gag Grouper await eager anglers. Gag Grouper can reach sizes of up to 8 feet and weigh a massive 1,000 pounds.

Tuna

Tuna boasts a diverse range of species, each offering a distinctive taste that serves as a gratifying reward for the thrilling battle during the catch. Renowned for their remarkable speed and strength, Tuna present a challenging yet exhilarating fishing experience.

These prized fish are not easily caught, but the pursuit is undeniably enjoyable. Tuna can weigh anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds, showcasing their impressive size and power.

Cobia

Cobia are readily accessible and identifiable, often resembling small sharks (although they are not related). These fish are commonly located near structures like rocks and wrecks, making them easier to target. In addition to being easy to catch, Cobia are known for their delicious taste.

Cobia can grow up to 6 feet in length and reach weights of up to 100 pounds, showcasing their impressive size and appeal to anglers.

Shark

Sharks are undeniably among the most coveted deep-sea catches in Florida waters. Hooking a shark can be both a dream and a thrilling challenge, causing your heart to race and your eyes to widen with excitement. Our private deep-sea fishing charters departing from St. Pete Beach frequently encounter a variety of shark species, including the Black Nose Shark, Fine Tooth Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Shortfin Mako Shark, and Thresher Shark.

Mahi

Mahi, also known as Mahi-Mahi or Dorado, are strikingly vibrant fish with hues of green, yellow, blue, and purple adorning their bodies. These captivating fish can be found throughout the year and are valued not only for their visual appeal but also for their delectable meat. Mahi are known for their aggressive nature, often leaping out of the water during the catch.

These impressive fish can grow up to 63 inches in length and weigh up to 30 pounds, showcasing their size and beauty to anglers seeking an exciting fishing experience.

When Is The Best Time to Go Fishing in St. Pete Beach?

The summer months are traditionally the prime time for fishing in Florida, characterized by active bites. However, the cooler months offer tranquil waters with fewer fishing crowds and tourists.

– January: Ideal for bottom fishing

– February: Excellent for fishing near wrecks; typically early for offshore pelagic fish

– March: Larger species start to arrive; exceptional inshore and nearshore fishing

– April: Kingfish action heats up; perfect for inshore and offshore fishing

– May: Deep-sea fishing season kicks off; Tarpon fishing is productive with an uptick in inshore action

– June: Red Snapper and Gag Grouper season commences; peak for Deep-Sea fishing

– July: Big game fish like Shark, Tuna, Mahi, and Sailfish are prevalent

– August: Inshore fishing provides a good fight and bountiful catches across various locations

– September: Deep sea season winds down but bottom fishing remains rewarding

– October: Big game fish may be less common, but inshore fishing yields great results

– November: Inshore season thrives with catches of Seabass, Snapper, Grouper, Redfish, and more

– December: Abundant fishing opportunities around wrecks and reefs; enjoyable inshore fishing away from the crowds

Eating Your Catch after St. Pete Beach Fishing

After your successful fishing expedition in St. Pete Beach, you have the option to bring your catch back to shore for a delicious dinner. Numerous restaurants in the St. Pete Beach area are happy to prepare your freshly caught fish, providing you with a genuine taste of the Gulf.

Local chefs can expertly broil, grill, or fry your fish to perfection, ensuring a memorable dining experience for you, your friends, and your family. Embrace the opportunity to savor your own catch cooked to perfection at one of the many dining establishments in St. Pete Beach such as Dead Bob’s or Sea Critters Cafe.

Fishing Tournaments in St. Pete Beach

St. Pete Beach hosts several bi-annual fishing tournaments where you can showcase your angling prowess, including:

King of the Beach: Held twice yearly in spring and fall, this 3-day tournament offers a $225,000 prize!

– Spring Inshore Slam Fishing: Takes place in March

– Johnny Kellar Inshore Fishing Tournament: Scheduled for January

– St. Peter Open Spearfishing Tournament: Event held in August

What to Pack for a St. Pete Beach Fishing Charter?

When getting ready for a fishing excursion, prioritize comfort and protection! Here are the key items to pack:

– Layered clothing to adjust to varying temperatures and weather conditions.

– Non-skid rubber sole footwear.

– Swimsuit for those looking to take a dip.

– Seasickness medication if needed.

– Waterproof bag for personal items.

– Sunscreen, protective clothing, sunglasses, and hats.

While your Captain will supply water, ice, and a cooler, consider bringing along food and snacks for the trip!

Book a St. Pete Beach Fishing Charter Today

For those interested in booking an inshore or deep-sea fishing charter from St. Pete Beach, FL, reach out to YachtFish without delay!

Our experienced Captains have years of expertise and extend a warm welcome to individuals of all ages and skill levels for an unforgettable fishing experience. Join us on the water for the adventure of a lifetime—we promise an exceptional fishing outing awaits!

CALL or TEXT: (727) 433-4200

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About the Author...
Matt Douglas

Matt Douglas

Captain Matt Douglas is the founder of YACHTFISH and is a licensed United States Coast Guard 100 ton Master Captain. Captain Matt grew up on the waters of Tampa Bay and lived and worked in Costa Rica for over 11 years. He has extensive experience in Central America, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Florida. Captain Matt is a tournament-winning captain who has an intense passion for boating, fishing and creating life time memories for his Clients. These passions, combined with his experience, were the catalysts for YACHTFISH. Captain Matt is laser-focused on what he enjoys the most, and knows the best, in Tampa Bay and Costa Rica.
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