The Fort Pickens Fishing Pier is the type of location that is ideal for not just fishing but also relaxing, watching the sunrise, or spending time with friends. It’s a clean, well-maintained pier that juts out into the water. It’s a part of the Fort Pickens Aquatic Preserve and located just a mile from Fort Pickens, a historical treasure that pays homage to Old Florida.
For those who love to fish, though, there are plenty of reasons to visit Fort Pickens Fishing Pier. The pier isn’t overdone – it’s simple and basic, but that is what anglers need here. There are a few benches along the pier for those who are visiting, but many people bring their chairs and gear, pull up along the sides of the pier, and cast their lines. The pier itself isn’t excessively long – it spans about 180 feet out into the water – but it can get crowded some days. Yet, many fishing the area note the importance of getting their early not just for a spot along the pier but also to ensure they catch the best fish.
The area has some strict rules, though. Anglers can only fish while the surrounding park is open, which means from dawn to dusk. More so, while there used to be night passes available, the Gulf Islands National Seashore, the organization that manages the pier itself, is no longer issuing them. Individuals have to leave once the sunsets. The only way around this is to stay at one of the Fort Pickens campgrounds located nearby – those guests are able to use the pier longer into the night.
However, when it comes to fishing at Fort Pickens Fishing Pier, the area has plenty to offer overall. The area is known for its flounder and redfish, though it is possible to find other fish here as well.
The area does have a few problems that can limit access from time-to-time. Specifically, the roadway into the area near the pier can close due to drifting sand as well as damage from storms. It has been closed in the past for the removal of graffiti and damage from vandalism, as well. It’s important to know that the pier is one that is not manned or protected. Rangers will come through the area from time to time, but they do not provide an overall high level of monitoring of the area. This does allow for mother nature to have its way with the area often – creating inaccessible areas and creating clean up needs.
There is no requirement to have a fishing license at Fort Pickens Fishing Pier. That is because the pier itself maintains a license that allows people entering the park to use the pier without obtaining a separate license. Also, note there is a fee to enter the park itself.
Though a basic pier, it offers everything anglers need to enjoy fishing in the waterfront’s calmer waters. For those hoping to fish from sunrise to sunset, this is an excellent choice overall.
The Fort Pickens Fishing Pier is at the Pensacola Bay near the Inlet. There are several hiking trails nearby that take hikers through the sand dunes. It is also close to the area’s white-sand beaches of Santa Rosa Island. There’s a nearby, larger parking lot.
– The pier can sometimes be inaccessible on a random basis. That is why it is best to call the location at 850-934-2600 before you arrive to ensure it is available on the day you plan to arrive.
– The calm waters here make for a great place to teach kids to fish. This family-friendly area is where many anglers learned to fish when they were kids, too.