Georgia-Florida Fishing Report Panama City Beach, FL Weather, Navigation, and Reefs
Now we are getting down to the nuts and bolts of fishing the Panama City Beach, FL area. I hope this page will help you to better understand the weather, navigation, and finding reefs, wrecks, and structures both near shore and offshore.
The Georgia-Florida Fishing Report was born from the idea that I had fished these favorite haunts of mine for many years and wanted to help out both the newbie and experienced fisherman who may have never taken the time or had the chance to fish some of these great fisheries.
With today's technology (GPS and Sonar units mainly) it's not nearly as difficult to navigate and find some good, healthy fishing spots wherever you decide to go, but I'll give you some of my fishing tips and techniques for making the most out of your next fishing trip to Panama City Beach, FL.
Panama City Beach, FL Weather:
Let's start with some helpful websites for the area:
Panama City Beach, FL NOAA offshore weather and marine forecast 20-60 NM out.
Panama City Beach, FL NOAA nearshore weather and marine forecast out to 20 NM
Panama City Beach 10 day weather forecast
These 3 websites will give you the scoop on the conditions for the local area weather and the marine forecast. Most of our trips are planned around these 3 tools. NOAA doesn't always get it right, believe me, but if they are saying it's going to be 3-5 foot seas, we don't even attempt to go on the trip and just cancel at the last possible moment.
Here's a photo of a guy in real trouble in the surf as the boat is swamped. I've had waves come over the bow of my boat in only 2-3 foot seas that we were going into at a snail's crawl. This can be downright scary!
We have pushed the limit a few times, but have found that it's not worth going all the way to Florida dragging a boat(s) and then not even being able to get on the water and fish due to weather conditions like wind or rain that create wave heights that are too much for a small boat like mine. The Reef Donkey is an 18 footer and does pretty well in 1-3 foot seas. Anything over that and I'm staying put. It doesn't take but one time to mess up out there and it's simply not worth the risk.
Do your homework on the weather!! It will be time/money well spent (or not spent).
Panama City Beach, FL Navigation:
Again, let me give you some tools to use. Many of the new GPS units are loaded with or puchased as extras with maps of the area. I have a Navionics Gold Chip in my Lowrance unit. It gives you all the navigation information you might need, but prior to owning one of these, I had to depend on these NOAA charts to get me to and from a particular spot.
Somewhere I mentioned in the November Newsletter for the Georgia-Florida Fishing Report that before I bought the Lowrance, I had an older model black and white sonar unit and a handheld GPS unit. They worked fine but it is so much more convenient to have both in one unit with a split screen to see both your navigation and bottom structure when locating a reef or wreck.
Here are the websites for the Panama City Beach, FL area that will help you:
TOPO Maptech longitude/latitude of entire U.S. and Canada
Gulf Coast marine navigation charts
Destin, FL pass marine navigation charts
Panama City, FL pass marine navigation charts
Panama City Beach, FL Reefs and Wrecks:
And finally, I'll give you some great websites I have found and used over the years to find some of the public numbers (latitude and longitude) to plug into your GPS. Remember that these numbers are out there for anyone to see and use so there is a lot more fishing pressure on these nearshore and offshore reefs and wrecks.
Always keep an eye on your sonar when trolling or moving from place to place as you might accidentally find a spot that no one knows about but you. Guard these numbers with your life as they could mean the difference between a good day and a poor day catching fish on the water.
Here are a couple of websites that should help:
Reefs and wrecks of Florida. This website has a world of information that can be used by the avid fisherman. Location and lat/long of most all of the artificial reefs and wrecks of Florida.
Cool tool that will allow you to get the latitude and longitude pretty much anywhere in the world on land or offshore using your mouse to pinpoint a spot.