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St. George Island is a 28-mile long barrier island along the coast of Florida's Panhandle. It is 4 miles off the mainland, with Apalachicola Bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. The best beach fishing can be found on the Gulf of Mexico side, where there are 25 miles of uncrowded beaches.
Types of Fish
Flounder, whiting and redfish can be caught from St. George Island year-round. Sea or speckled trout, pompano and occasionally Spanish mackerel can be caught during the warmer months, when the water temperature rises above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
In order to fish from the beach on St. George Island, you will need a saltwater fishing license. This applies whether you are a Florida resident or a nonresident. You can get a fishing license at the county tax collector's office or at a retailer that sells hunting and fishing licenses, such as a sporting goods store. Fishing licenses are also available online at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.
To successfully catch fish when you are beach fishing, you need a surf fishing rod. The most affordable rods are made from a composite of graphite and fiberglass, which makes the rod durable and lightweight. Keep in mind that the weight of your rod is proportionate to the power of the rod; the heavier the rod, the bigger the fish you can catch without breaking the rod. You'll also need lures, hooks and bait. The most common bait for surf fishing is salt-cured or frozen shrimp that you can purchase at a bait shop. Most sporting goods or bait and tackle shops in the St. George Island/Apalachicola area can help you get set up with the gear you need for fishing.
Rules and Regulations
You must follow the state rules for the fish commonly caught from the shores of St. George Island. Part of these rules are the sizes of the different types of fish and how many allowed to keep per day. The rules change regularly, so be sure to confirm limits with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission before fishing.
Considerations and Tips
Before fishing from any beach, check out the tide charts for that beach. You can catch fish at either low or high tide. The key is to knowing what the recent fish feeding patterns have been, the water temperatures and the current patterns can help you find the best spot to catch fish.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer on topics including lifestyle, education, and business. She is the author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), and her work has appeared in Lewiston Auburn Magazine, Young Money, USA Today and a variety of online outlets. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.