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Panama City Beach Fishing Report for May 2024

Panama City Beach Fishing Report for May 2024

Welcome back Gulf Coast Sportsman to another Panama City Beach fishing report for May 2024. Contrary to years past, this May has seen more calm and stable conditions, leading to excellent inshore, offshore and surf fishing in the area. Don’t discount the beaches and piers, while Sheepshead are definitely on the way out, Pompano and Spanish mackerel are providing plenty of opportunities.


In the Panama City Beach, FL area, inshore fishing has been primarily focused on fishing dock and bridge structures for redfish, trout, and the occasional flounder. While sheepshead were abundant in February and March, they are now less prevalent. Nonetheless, inshore fishing remains productive using live shrimp and a variety of lures such as twitch baits, top water plugs, and golden spoons. As the month progresses, keep an eye out for trout and larger redfish moving onto grass flats and ledge drop-offs around the bays and intracoastal areas. Position your live baits or lures along the edges of these drop-offs with the help of an inshore guide, and you might just hook into some bull redfish and gator trout.

Nearshore and Offshore

Trolling the nearshore waters around the Panama City Beach, FL area has largely centered around mackerel. Spanish Mackerel have already made an appearance, and king mackerel are not far behind. Fishing around offshore structures such as artificial reefs has also been productive. Additionally, nearshore waters might still hold some cobia, particularly closer to the beach and around Carillon and the 30A area. Keep an eye out for grass mats, sea turtles and floating debris if you’re targeting cobia. May also happens to be an excellent month for bottom fishing. While Red Snapper season does not start until June 1, the greater and lesser Amberjack have proven to provide a strong consistent bit for weeks now, and that season opened on May 1. In addition to Amberjack one can expect to catch Trigger, Grouper and Mingos. There’s also a rare but real chance of encountering sailfish nearshore and around the rigs, your chances of landing a sailfish will increase as the weather heats up. While Red Snapper season is approaching soon, we cannot stress enough the strength of the Amberjack bite this year. On our last offshore trip about a week before Amberjack season opened, we landed a very respectable keeper within the first three minutes of fishing. Ironically that pace continued for the rest of the day unfortunately before the season opened, so now is the time.

Beaches and Piers

Panama City Beach, FL beaches and piers continue to offer action from pompano, whiting, and redfish in the surf. Pompano season started a bit later this year and is expected to last until mid-May. Pompano rigs, fish gum, and live sand fleas or shrimp remain effective. Target larger reds by positioning your rig between the sandbars where they run in the deeper channels. On the piers, Spanish mackerel, hardtails, whiting, and ladyfish are still being caught. Keep in mind while Panama City Beach does provide ample opportunity for shark from the Surf, Florida laws and regulations have changed recently, so be sure to double check before you go. Late afternoons and early evenings are producing the best results for shark so far in Panama City Beach. Heed the local’s advice and take your heavy gear and use bonita for cutbait, which can be either caught trolling offshore or purchased frozen at most tackle and bait shops. Last year saw record breaking numbers in the Panama City Beach area, with that being the case, now is the time to book your summer trips. Feel free to give us a call at (850) 375-2223 to help you find the right fishing captain for the experience you’re looking for.

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Shark Fishing Laws in Florida

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