16101 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32413-2514
AVERAGE USER RATING
Fish for cobia, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, flounder, red fish, pompano, and much more at this 1,600 foot concrete pier ... More
Dan Russell Municipal Pier
Fish for cobia, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, flounder, red fish, pompano, and much more at this 1,600 foot concrete pier which is the longest pier on the Gulf Coast and is open year round. Rod rentals, bait, and tackle are available on site.
it was a blast the first few days caught nothing untill the dude at the bait shop said "u should just try the suduku rig which is met for cathing cigar minoes so we tryed it the next day we caught like 40 what we did was when we catch them put them on the rod then throw it out then if we catch any more get a knife and cut there side let the blood come down then throw them in the water i had 40lb line and when i threw the mino it took it and broke my line in under a flash then we got another mino and we hook a 50lb red fish it took me 15 minutes to catch it we had to bring it all the way around the pier to the beach then when we caught it the guy in the bait shop said that we could keep it then the guy who takes your money to get on the pier said know that we would have to pay a 500 $ fine because it was already dead oh i was pissed and the place were u can catch alot of fish is the 1 hump then go about 15 20 feet later that day i heard at the end 2 people caught 8 foot hammer head sharks and of course they got to keep that they weighed over 350lbs i think u should buy the suduku rig it is worth 4.99
The original Dan Russel city pier had character and soul to it. I fished the city pier from the time it first opened back when I was only nine years old. I'm 43 now and had caught many a fish off that pier. Kings, cobia, shark, big bonito, mahi, etc. I recall one hot July afternoon, years before there were any regulations, catching a cooler full of 4 and 5 pound amberjack on live 'popeye's' The jacks were schooled up on the 2nd sandbar. Back in August of '97, I hooked a sailfish just on the other(gulf) side of the old bathrooms.It cut me off after about a 50 yd. run and a good head shake. I couldn't believe it. My fishing buddy spotted him first and thought it was a big gar(he was a greenhorn as far as saltwater fishing went). "Hey, look at this huge gar coming down the sandbar" he said. I had seen several freshwater gar from the beach before while surf fishing. They will occasionally tolerate saltwater for a while as they head from one river or estuary to another. But, hearing the excitement in his voice, I raised my head up out of my tackle box and glanced over the railing. What I saw made my sides hurt from the rush of adrenaline that suddenly hit me. About 100 yds. out was a full grown billfish casually cruising along towards the pier from the west. My voice cracked and I stuttered as I told my friend that what we were looking at wasn't a gar. I glanced over at my pier rig which at the time was a Diawa 5000c spinning reel which had about 300 yds. of 20Lb. pink Ande. It was coupled with an 8 1/2 foot rod I had built from a blank scope.Hanging from the end of the line was a dead cigar minnow that had stopped swimming about an hour or so earlier. It's guts were already starting to push through it's belly but it was all that I had at the time. Live bait was hard to come by that day. We were both rigged for kingfish with the usual 41lb. Milan wire leader. Quickly, I grabbed the black rod and flipped the bail open on the 14 year old reel. Stepping up on the second run of railing, I got a bearing on the fish that by now had turned and was swimming parallel to the pier towards the open gulf. His sail was visible now as it was about halfway up. Reaching back, I whipped the mushy cigar minnow out towards the eight-foot fish. I just prayed that the bait didn't fling off as it soared through the air. As nervous as I was, I can't recall ever placing a bait as well as I did that one. It landed with a slapping sound about 5 yards in front of the fish. Immediatly, he shot towards it. I didn't even expect to get a glance from him, but he quickly scarfed the cigar minnow down from his right side. I thought it odd that the fish kind of turned onto it's(left)side in order to eat the bait. But, I had never actually seen a sailfish feed before. Seeing the bait disappear, I didn't freeline problably because I was so nervous and just forgot to. Like most larger fish I had caught, you sometimes have to let the fish enjoy it's meal before setting the hook. This time I didn't wait. As soon as I felt the weight, I rocked him several times.The sound of the line paying out got the attention of everyone within earshot. My heart beat faster than it had in a long time and I got sick to my stomach. Suddenly, the sailfish stopped and stuck it's head out of the water and shook it violently. I had never hooked a billfish before so I didn't really know what to do. I just kept the line tight. Then, as he took off on another run, the line just went limp. It was over. When I reeled the broken line in, the end was all curled up and pigtailed as if a razor blade had been raked across it. Guess the mono had gotten around the bill somehow. I was a bit shaken up and we left not long after. I needed a beer or two. Eventhough it was a loss, I really enjoyed that day. It was another memory that had been made on this pier. A month or so later, I heard that someone had landed a sailfish off of the pier. I wonder if it had a piece of wire leader hanging from it's mouth?
The fishing was fun EXCEPT for some of the rude locals. We go there every year and sometimes twice a year. When on the pier the locals act like the Pier belongs to them and anybody else doesn't belong there. After reading the reviews, I see that I'm not the only one who feels this way.
I am 59 years old and have been fishing the piers in panama city as long as I can remember. I live in Georgia but we go on vacation and fishing trips in panama city at least twice a year. We have spent thousands of dollars their. The one constant I have noticed is the disrespect the locals have. I have been told what I could fish with and where to fish. My brother and and I have been at the end of the pier before daylight several times and locals come up and cast over our heads and our lines. Because of this we started going to Tampa. The Piers make alot of money from tourtist they need to make the locals aware there would be no piers without tourtist.
This is now the longest pier in the panhandle. During the late spring through late summer you can catch a variety of fish including spanish and king mackerel,cobia, redfish, pompano, sharks, tarpon, even the occasional sailfish or mahi.
The pier is open 24 hrs and there is a $6.00 fee for adults to fish or $90 for a one year pass that covers both local piers and a fishing license is not required.
Medium to heavy spinning tackle is reccommended and bottom fishing is discouraged on the end during daylight hours.
Here are a few useful pieces of advice
If you are planning to fish one of panama city beaches 2 awsome piers, first visit one of the local tackle shops (or one of the piers) and ask questions. THIS IS NOT BASS FISHING! If you try to bring your zebco and use it, if a "small" fish doesnt kill it the salt water will. You can rent a basic rod and reel combo at the pier that is adequate for most tourists.
When fishing remember the locals know the regulations if they say your fish isn't legal then dont try to keep it or a visit from game and fish and very large fine will be in your future.
And the most important piece of pier etiquette.. The fisherman with a "fish on " or fighting a fish has the right of way. MOVE. If you continue to fish and become tangled in the fishermans line or are threatening to become tangled don't be suprised or offended if someone cuts your line.
I'm posting this in the hope that it will help the average tourist have a more enjoyable time while fishing and not leave our piers upset because they didn't know proper etiquette or have the right gear.
Years ago back around 1988 my father used to take me to this pier for a week or two(usually in February/March). To this day, I've always remembered this pier and loved every minute fishing off of its massive pilings. If I didn't live so far away now, I'd still visit this pier. The thought of catching whiting, pinfish, remoras, sting rays, gaffosail catfish, cobia, sheepshead, king/spanish mackerel, and sharks are all so appealing these days.
I remember I'd used to fish the first half of the pier for whiting in the mornings and then retire to the end for bonito and king mackerel. I’d never leave! Throughout the day, the elders used to fish for bonito/false albacore for bait because at midnight, they used to grab their Penn Senator 6/0 reels/Internationals and partake in shark fishing at the pier’s T shaped end. I’ll never forget the poor guy in the 12ft aluminum boat that used to motor out to the end of the pier and transport all the baits and lines about 100 yards out into the ocean for the dusky/tiger/hammerhead sharks. What a rush to hear line peeling off of those reels and seeing the chaos of fishermen running to assist! At the end of a PIER no less! I could still remember the smoke/mist flying off of the reel spools when a big shark takes the run… I also remember one of the guys warning me to stand to the side because if his 80lb-100lb line would snap, it could whip back and cause a laceration if I’m too close.
I also recall a cobia fisherman hooking into a monster of a cobia and fighting it for HOURS. After landing the monstrous fish, I saw his whole body go limp from exhaustion. I also recollect my first battle with a monster catfish off of this pier – my first significant catch of my lifetime. It was my first time using live shrimp for bait at which time a 25lb catfish or more I think engulfed the bait and I fought this fish nearly to the point of dropping my rod over the side. I remember cranking my spin casting reel with my rod on the pier rail screaming for my father’s help. I eventually landed this massive fish and knew my life was complete since the fish was nearly as long as I was tall. The fish was given to a local who gaffed it for us – wish I remembered his name.
My heart yearns to return to this magical place, but from what I'm reading, the pier has changed which also changes the wonderful memories that I used to have at this wonderful pier about 33 years ago. A part of me will always remain at the Dan Russell Pier and I hope they repair the pier because there are so many more youngsters out there that should experience this place instead of spending every waking moment playing video games. The challenge of catching a cobia or king mackerel is more fulfilling. It’s a shame to hear that such a landmark for Panama City is rusting/crumbling away making way to the younger “Spring Break” generation. I thought it was going to be repaired?
If I hit the lottery, I’d rebuild this pier and being a seasoned fisherman, I’d build it MY way so that my memories could be passed on to someone else fortunate enough to vacation in Panama City just to fish off of this remarkable pier. Being at this pier gave me the drive to seek more advanced fishing throughout my life and it sparked an incredible love affair with the ocean and fishing as well. “All this from a pier?” Ask any 10 year old patronizing this pier with his/her first Zebco 33 fishing rod/reel combo if they are enjoying themselves because the memories acquired at that tender age will last a lifetime. A piece of me will die with this pier, but at least I patronized this pier when it was in it’s prime and now, I don’t think I want to visit because I don’t want to ruin those memories by observing a broken last quarter of the pier and no night fishing lights. If life wasn’t so complicated, I’d return and run this pier and try to repair it with my own two hands just to live within its prime once again. I almost want to shed a tear…BE
me and some of my buddys are coming down for spring brreak in the begining of april i guess im just wondering how the fishing is out there and the best time to be fishing and just any tips any of the locals might have??? greatly appreciate any help
have been fishing of off pier for 33 years and have had wonderful experiences.but no more. Pier is to high and has no lighting over sides for night fishing.too bad that fishermen were not able to help design this pier.old pier just needed to be repaired on end, this would have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of the comissioners must have had a relative in the pier construction business. Tax payers picked up the tab for pier to no where. Will not be going back.
Hi! My name is Tamino, My experience at Panama City Beach Pier is a little different. I live in Georgia, but I am originally from Florida, so I’m not an amateur fisherman. The internet said that the pier was low to the water. The first day I arrived to the pier, it was 30’ above the water, there was no building at the entrance, and so if you had to go to the restroom, you had to walk about a mile to get there. A cast net was useless, which I own, you need 2 ropes to reach the bottom. So I had no bait, but like I said before I’m no amateur. I had artificial bait. I caught a lady fish and used it for bait, but still no luck. The next day, I tried something else. I had an old shi bikki rig to catch bait and caught herring and sardines. Put them in my cooler with an aerator. I’m ready to fish now. I had about a 1 ½ oz and about a #1 or #2 hook. A guy next to me said, “Don’t use a sinker go free style”. I said, “What do you mean”? He said, “Mackerel usual hit from the top of the water”. I said,” Okay, I’ll try it”. Nothing! I tried a lighter sinker to cast out further. Nothing! So, I went back to what I was used to. Then, a Hugh bonito to 8 lbs, when I went for more Bait my reel and rod was lying on the ground with a cut line. Someone told me they cut my, because my rod was unattended. I said, “All you had to do was call for the owner instead of cutting someone’s line”. Then I noticed Redfish following the bait. No one seemed interested in catching them. But, I was. So, I tried, again and again. They were a little strong and popping my line. Until, the 5th time, I kept its head up and brought it to the top. Hugh Redfish, Someone said, “It’s too big”! I said,” What do you mean it’s too big”? They said,” It can’t be over 27”. I doubted them at first. So, I decided to bring it up and check the size. Someone else said, “You can get a fine if it is too big, if you throw it back and it dies”. I hollowed, “Does anyone have a gaff”? Someone else said, “You can’t gaff a Redfish”. I said, “You got to be kidding me”! But, someone had a scoop net with a long rope. Just as the guy was about to get the fish, someone comes over and cut my line saying, “I just save you a $500 fine”. I never got a chance to measure the fish. Twice in one day, someone cuts my line. No one on that pier knew me, from a hole in the wall, but boldly cut my line. I was very angry that day and was ready to leave after what just happened. But, I got over it; I observed a little while and noticed that no one had bait casters reels. Mostly everyone had spinning reels. That was unusual to me. Everyone seem to be doing the same thing. 98 % of the people were using wire liter with no sinker and dead bait fishing on the top of the water. With my experience live bait is better fishing. I started fishing again and caught more fish (Spanish mackerel, King mackerel) but, I wanted to catch something different (Redfish, Snapper, Snook, Cobia, Grouper, Sheepshead). Other than those incidents, fishing was I would say “average”. I tried to do as they say, “As the Romans do”, but it wasn’t working for me. I don’t think I would be back.
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