Summertime Offshore Fishing in the Gulf
The Gulf of Mexico, just offshore the southwest coast of Florida, is well-known for its calm waters, white sandy beaches, and excellent fishing opportunities. Year-round, there is an abundance of fish for the catching, with excellent inshore and offshore fishing available.
While the west coast of Florida is best known for its inshore fishing with its vast networks of sand bars, flats, mangrove tunnels, and seagrass meadows, the entire Gulf area from the Keys to the panhandle is also a prime area for offshore fishing.
Excellent Habitat for Many Species of Fish
Offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico offers many natural reefs, man-made reefs, and shipwrecks that provide excellent habitat for baitfish as well as large saltwater game fish. Fishing these waters can be extremely rewarding, with many species making our waters their permanent home.
Are Fish Caught in the Gulf Different From Those Caught in the Ocean?
Although many species of fish found in the Atlantic can also be caught here in the Gulf, some species will differ. One factor is water depth.
On the Atlantic coast, the continental shelf drops abruptly only a few miles offshore, offering significantly deeper waters that are more accessible for shorter trips. However, the continental shelf on the gulf coast doesn’t drop off as it does in the Atlantic and is far more gradual. This more gradual descent means shallower waters. Because deepwater species, or “pelagic” fish, tend to live at depths as much as 700 feet, anglers must journey further offshore to find them in the Gulf.
Offshore trips are typically reserved for those who are looking for these deepwater species. While these may require getting offshore 50 miles or more, it’s worth the trip, with offshore catches in the gulf often yielding 15 different kinds of snapper, wahoo, king mackerel, grouper, blackfin tuna, and mahi-mahi.
What Fish Are Available During the Summer?
As the weather heats up, so does the fishing season.
Prime fishing season in the Gulf starts in late spring to early fall with the best months being June and July. Many species are most active during this time, with red snapper, grouper, amberjack, and Mackerel being plentiful. Summer offers a great variety of places and species to target for those wanting a deep sea experience.
Take your own boat or hire one of the many charter companies in St. Pete, and you will never be disappointed with a day offshore in the Gulf. Whether you are a mile or 50 miles offshore, there are many species just waiting for you to drop your line.
St. Pete offers more than 50 different charter companies that offer a variety of trips. Most half-day trips will take you up to 20 miles offshore while full-day trips will generally take you out further. More affordable group charters are also available but tend to only go on shorter and shallower excursions. Our captains are highly experienced offshore fishing guides, pro anglers, and experts in local marine conditions, so they will know what is biting and where to go on any given day.
The Best of Both Worlds
Here in St. Pete, if you are an angler, you get the best of both worlds. Our calm waters and extensive inshore and offshore fishing opportunities are second to none. Nowhere else do you get the vast ecosystems that allow you to catch the most impressive fish possible, whether pier fishing, out on the flats, or 50 miles offshore.
If you’re headed offshore, you’ll need to gear up. At Reef & Reel, we are Pinellas County’s largest fishing tackle outfitter. We offer an extensive line of rods, reels, tackle, apparel, and other products to support your lifestyle on the water. Check out our website at Reefandreel.com or swing by our St. Pete store on Tyrone Blvd. for the best selection of fishing gear and apparel on Florida’s west coast.