Ever come back from a less-than-stellar fishing trip and hear that tired, old phrase, “That’s why they call it ‘fishing’ instead of ‘catching?’” It may be true, but we’d rather wow folks with our bounty than rest on excuses.
And the way to do that is to know where and when to go and what to use once you get there. Luckily, the Apalachicola Bay area is flush with outfitters who not only have the bait and tackle you need, but the expertise to point you in the right direction to catch one of the hundreds of species of fish we’re blessed with around St. George Island.
When it comes to fishing, our clients traditionally like a mix of experiences. There are so many good charter companies that can take you to destinations more than 50 miles offshore in search of grouper, snapper, cobia, amberjack, and even trophy fish like mahi, wahoo, and mackerel.
But if you want to do it yourself, even rent a kayak to take you into the bay or river, here are the places you want to visit for gear and fresh bait. How else are you going to land the speckled trout, redfish, flounder, pompano, and tripletail that flourish throughout area waters?
The Forgotten Coast Fly Company offers fully customized flies using small-batch artisan materials, right in the heart of downtown Apalachicola. You can find them on the web at forgottencoastflycompany.com.
Right down the street, you’ll find Apalach Outfitters, one of the most popular retailers in town and home to everything from men’s and women’s clothing to light and heavy tackle for experienced anglers and happy kids, alike. You can find them on the web at apalachoutfitters.com.
Located at the south end of the St. George Island Bridge, Fishermen’s Headquarters is owned by Doug McKinney, whose seafood trailer has been an island mainstay for 25 years. Doug knows seafood, and his shop has the saltwater bait and tackle you need. And if you’re staying on the island, they also offer hardware and plumbing supplies. You can reach them at 850-927-4004.
The folks at Survivors Bait & Tackle like to boast that they’re 60 miles from the nearest Walmart and have been supplying anglers on St. George Island since 1983. They offer rod and reel combos at affordable prices and have live and frozen bait and traps for fishing and crabbing, respectively. They can be found on the web at survivorsbaitandtackle.com.
A one-stop shop for lots of gear and rental equipment, Journeys of SGI offers the aforementioned charter tours and guides, and also kayak and paddle board rentals. They also have lures, tackle and other accessories needed when you want to spend hours enjoying the natural wonder that is St. George Island and Apalachicola Bay. You can find them on the web at sgislandjourneys.com.
Another mainstay on SGI that features kayak and paddle board rentals in addition to tackle and clothing is Island Outfitters. They also rent fishing carts, which can be a blessing if you’re sand casting and wanting to make your way throughout the island’s coastline. And if you need frozen or artificial bait, there’s a wide selection to help you land both inshore and offshore species. They can be found on the web at sgioutfitters.com.
One of the newest and most enjoyable shops to offer outfitting services on St. George Island, Island Dog Beach and Surf Shop also offers art and apparel. They specialize in rentals and shopping, so if you need a t-shirt to go along with your fishing cart and/or kayak, you’ll find them all here. You can find them on the web at islanddog.dog.