30A Fishing

Our scenic settings and variety of fish are sure to lure you in. Whether you’ve been fishing your whole life or are taking up the sport for the first time, you’ll have an unforgettable experience fishing on 30A.

3 Tips for Fishing on 30A

1. Start your day early.

What’s a better reason to rise with – or before – the sun than a day of fishing ahead of you? Fishing shortly before dawn or in the early morning improves your odds of success at catching many kinds of fish. It’s also a great occasion to watch the sunrise over the water, one of the most scenic sights 30A Florida has to offer.

2. Take advantage of local expertise.

If you’re only visiting our spectacular beaches, why not get some advice from the locals who live and breathe the 30A fishing lifestyle all year long? If you’re taking a charter, your guides will gladly offer tips and techniques to help you catch the most fish. Otherwise, strike up a conversation with the staff at the nearest bait and tackle shop. Whether you’re looking to catch a certain fish, wondering what’s most common where this time of year or interested in trying your hand at a new technique, our local fishing community is a valuable resource to tap into.

3. Focus on the experience, not just the catch.

Our 30A waterways boast some pretty big fish, but ultimately, it’s not the size of your catch that you’ll remember. It’s the experience of being on or along the natural wonders of the Gulf and the dune lakes and the time you spent with family or friends. Fishing requires patience, but some of the best moments happen while you’re waiting to reel in. A trip to 30A is all about unwinding from that hectic daily routine and relearning how to really be present – so don’t miss a moment!

Types of Fishing on 30A

If you’ve ever gone fishing before, you know that there are more than one type of fishing technique and vessel. The sky – or rather, the Gulf – is the limit when it comes to the variety of fishing experiences the Florida Panhandle has to offer.

There’s truly something for everyone here, including:

  • Fly fishing
  • Surf fishing
  • Kayak fishing
  • Pier fishing
  • Deep-sea fishing
  • Inshore fishing
  • Bay fishing
  • Lake fishing
  • Bow fishing
  • Spearfishing
  • Kite fishing
  • Guided group charters
  • Private boats for rent

Whether you want to fish just for the fun of it or keep and cook your catch, you have plenty of options for fishing 30A.

What Will I Catch?

30A Florida is home to many kinds of fish, both freshwater (in Choctawhatchee Bay and our coastal dune lakes) and saltwater (in the Gulf of Mexico). Which species you’re most likely to snag depends on precisely where and when you go fishing, but some of the fish you may find here include:

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain
  • Cobia
  • Redfish
  • Speckled trout
  • King mackerel and Spanish mackerel,
  • Grouper
  • Red snapper
  • Tarpon
  • Flounder
  • Mullet
  • Triggerfish
  • Blackfin tuna
  • Mahi-mahi
  • Sheepshead
  • Bonita
  • Jack Crevalle
  • Amberjack
  • Barracuda
  • Southern rays and cownose rays
  • Sailfish
  • Gar
  • Bass
  • Pompano
  • Shark

If you have your eye on a certain kind of fish, call a 30A charter or bait and tackle store to find out what gives you the best odds of catching it. You may want to take a specialized fishing trip or choose your stay date based on your fishing opportunities.

Fishing License 30A

Before you start planning your 30A fishing trip, you need to know what’s legally required of you. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission requires residents and visitors to attain a fishing license relevant to their intended activity – saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing or both – prior to setting off on a fishing excursion.

Visitors can purchase three-day or seven-day saltwater or freshwater fishing licenses online here or from many of our local stores that specialize in selling fishing gear, bait or other water sports equipment.

Before you purchase your fishing license, you’re going to want to figure out what kind of license you need and for how long. If you’re planning to take a fishing charter or purchase a package from one of the many local fishing tour companies nearby, find out what exactly is needed. Some packages include the cost of your fishing license in the price or are set up so that the guides, not tour participants, provide the license.

30A Fishing Stores

For experienced fishermen, leaving your gear at home when you go on vacation is unthinkable. If you’re new to fishing, you might not have any gear of your own. Whether you need to pick up some fresh bait or purchase or rent new gear, here are some of the best fishing stores in our area:

Bay Baits
24295 US Highway 331 South, Unit B
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 278-6292

Old Florida Outfitters
30 Watercolor Blvd N, Ste 101
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459
(850) 534-4343

Stinky’s Bait Shack
5994 West County Hwy 30A
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 622-2248

Yellowfin Ocean Sports

30 Herons Watch Way
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 231-9024

88 WaterColor Way #111
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 231-2440

32 East County Road 30A
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459
(850) 231-1717

Image Source: Pixabay

30A Fishing Charters

When you sign up for a fishing charter, you leave the logistics to the professionals so you can focus on the fun. Our 30A fishing guides are knowledgeable, friendly and eager to share their favorite pastime with your crew.

Whether your group is seeking relaxation or competition, guided fishing charters offers a different experience ideal for any vacation.

Here are some of our favorite fishing charter 30A Florida options:

Shallow Water Expeditions
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 534-4349

Offering bay fishing, beach fishing and (out of Panama City Beach) fly fishing, Shallow Water Expeditions offers guided charters on flats boats and bay boats. Depending on the type of your excursion, your trip can last from a few hours to a full day, with a two-hour kid trip option available. Fishing charters launch primarily out of Choctawhatchee Bay.

Santa Rosa Charters
105 Hogtown Bayou Ln
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
(850) 865-4222

Santa Rosa Charters offers bay and inshore fishing trips, along with bow fishing charters and two-hour kid trips.

30A Guide Service 
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
(850) 687-0572

30A Guide Services offers 30A inshore fishing charter trips in the Choctawhatchee Bay suitable for participants of all levels of experience. Gear and tackle, including live and artificial bait, are provided, as are licensing and fish cleaning services.

Grayton Beach Charters 
3648 W. Scenic Highway 30-A
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 855-2534

Captain Scott leads this family-run fishing charter that launches from Grayton Beach. As a bonus, he’ll even clean your fish, so all you have to do is cook it up and enjoy.

Dead Fish Charters 
108 Silverleaf Ln.
Santa Rosa Beach, Fl 32459
(850) 685-1092

Specializing in bottom fishing, surface fishing and cobia fishing, Dead Fish Charters provides the gear and licenses needed for half-day trips launching from Grayton Beach.

Shallow Minded Charters
128 Whispering Shores
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 376-4938

With two inshore charter boats, Shallow Minded Charters primarily offers fishing out of the  Choctawhatchee Bay, where participants can expect to find speckled trout and redfish. You can also ask for specialized trips, including fly fishing in the Bay, bottom fishing and trolling in the Gulf and sight fishing and tarpon fishing on the beach.

Captain Phil’s Charters
Grayton Beach, FL, USA
(850) 258-8395

Providing rods, reels, bait, tackle, licenses and fish cleaning, Captain Phil’s Charters makes fishing in the Gulf easy and convenient, launching off of Grayton Beach.

The Best 30A Fishing Spots

If you know how to fish and don’t want the schedules and terms of a charter to cramp your style, you might prefer to rent a boat yourself or fish from a pier.

Where should you commence your fishing trips on 30A? Let us point you in the right direction by sharing our choices for the best fishing on 30A.

Image Source: Pixabay

30A Beach Fishing Right Here in Inlet Beach

If you want to get your fishing fix in without leaving your home away from home, you’re in luck. The relatively calm surf of the Gulf makes it easy to surf fish and even to fish right from the beach a mere 1.5-minute walk from the Latitudes and Attitudes beach house.

Beach fishers in Inlet Beach have been known to catch pompanos, mackerel, redfish and others.

We also love fishing at Lake Powell, our closest coastal dune lake, at Camp Helen State Park. You can catch both freshwater and saltwater fish in the lake, and locals and visitors alike report catching speckled trout, redfish and species.

What’s so special about Lake Powell? Encompassing nearly 800 acres, Lake Powell is the largest of Florida’s coastal dune lakes – a phenomenon that exists only in a few places across the globe – and has been officially designated as an Outstanding Florida Waterway.

You don’t need to go far to reel in a great catch, but if you want to venture out to see all fishing along 30A, here are some of our favorite spots outside of Inlet Beach and the surrounding area.

Southern Living and Travel + Leisure have highlighted the wonder of our little section of the Florida Panhandle, naming Inlet Beach among the top “beaches that look like the Caribbean” and South Walton County a “trending destination” for 2022. Read more about what they had to say.  

Best 30A Flats Fishing

If you’re keen on fishing the Choctawhatchee Bay without a charter, the Hogtown Bayou and ramp of Santa Rosa Beach, off of Highway 393, is a great launch point to get you started. Look for speckled trout, crappies, redfish and others – including some fairly massive catches. The flats and shallow waters here are also ideal for kayak fishing. About 20-30 minutes’ drive from Inlet Beach.

Best 30 Fishing Piers

For dock fishing, try the CR395 dock at the Tucker Bayou stream. One of the top fishing piers on 30A, this Point Washington hidden gem has been the site of some large catches, including some impressive black drum and red drum. You could also hike the Tucker Bayou trail in nearby Eden Gardens State Park if you wanted to make a day of it. About 15 minutes’ drive from Inlet Beach.

Best Surf Fishing 30A

For surf fishing on 30A, check out Western Lake, the 100-acre coastal dune lake in Grayton Beach State Park. Depending on the time of year, you might find redfish, bass and other catches in this primarily freshwater lake. About 20 minutes’ drive from Inlet Beach.

Gulf, Bay or Lake?

What makes fishing in 30A so unique is the variety of fishing locations available.

  • Head out into the Gulf for some deep-sea fishing fun.
  • If you’d rather stay inshore, you can either keep toward the coastline of the Gulf or take a trip into Choctawhatchee Bay.
  • We can’t recommend enough setting out on a fishing trip in one of the coastal dune lakes, like Lake Powell (here in Inlet Beach) or Western Lake in Grayton Beach State Park. Fishing in a coastal dune lake is a rare experience, since our area of Florida is one of only 5 places in the entire world where this natural phenomenon occurs.

Deep Sea Fishing 30A Florida

Deep sea fishing, also known as offshore fishing, generally means any fishing that takes place more than 9 miles from the shore. 30A offshore fishing trips take you far out into the Gulf, where you’re more likely to catch larger fish. The deep sea fishing on 30A experience is ideal for experienced fishing enthusiasts who won’t get bored after a few hours on the water.

Inshore fishing charters are considerably more popular among visitors, since they tend to be more family-friendly and their shorter duration appeals more to novice fishers. Some of the deep-sea fishing near 30A charter options include Hook’em Up Charters in Panama City Beach and Reel Deal Fishing Charters at the St. Andrews Marina in historic Panama City.

Inshore Fishing 30A

Most of the fishing charters on 30A offer inshore fishing trips, which can take you into the Gulf of Mexico or out onto Choctawhatchee Bay. You can’t go wrong, with both bodies of water offering unbeatable scenery and variety of fish.

Although you might think the Gulf would host more species than the Bay, there’s plenty to see and catch in the Choctawhatchee’s waters, including speckled trout, redfish, flounder, mullet (white and striped), shrimp, oysters and much more. Guests have even been known to spot dolphins leaping through the Choctawhatchee and get a glimpse of the endangered giant gulf sturgeon while bay fishing in 30A.

Whether you choose a 30A inshore fishing charter that keeps you along the Emerald Coast or one that takes you into the back bays, you’re sure to have the time of your life on these manageably short, fun expeditions.

Fishing in 30A Dune Lakes

Unless you plan on traveling to far-off Australia, New Zealand or Madagascar, your opportunities to fish in a coastal dune lake are limited. Walton County, Florida, is one of just 2 places in the United States (the other being Oregon) and 5 locations in the world where you’ll find these natural wonders.

Hands down, our favorite fishing lake on 30A is Lake Powell at nearby Camp Helen State Park. It’s a mere 2-minute drive or 20-minute stroll from our ultimate beach house – a can’t-miss opportunity we recommend to any guest with an interest in fishing.

Another of the fishing 30A lakes that is popular with both visitors and locals is Western Lake in Grayton Beach State Park.

30A Fishing Report

The weather, the current and which fish are presently in season means that every 30A fishing experience is different. There’s always something new and exciting for the guests who stay here at Latitudes and Attitudes. For the best fishing on 30A, check with your charter or local bait and tackle shop for the latest fishing report.

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