Florida is the fishing capital of the world. Do you want to go for fishing in Florida? Here are our tried and true picks of expert fishing tips covering a wide variety of species and experiences.
With apologies throughout the rest of the US, Florida has perhaps the greatest diversity of fishing opportunities in the country.
From sailfish and swordfish offshore to tarpon, bonefish and permit on the flats, Florida’s fisheries attract thousands of tourists each year. In fact, if you are halfway serious about fishing, a fishing trip to the Sunshine State is more likely already on your to-do list.
But how do you determine what type of fishing is right for you? And once you know what you would like to catch.
Here are divided into two types of fishing in Florida: Florida saltwater fishing and Florida freshwater fishing.
Saltwater Fishing in Florida
Do you love saltwater fishing in Florida? Whether you prefer to fish from a boat or pier, for gamefish or dinner, Florida Saltwater Fishing has what you are looking for.
When it comes to designing the best saltwater fishing destination, Florida is the ultimate model. Why so? Because its geography offers access to the Gulf Stream, reefs, wrecks, estuaries, bays, inlets and rivers. Added together they provide the opportunity to fish for everything from bonefish to billfish, all in the same day if you wish.
Here’s a rundown of these popular Florida saltwater fishing spots and successful techniques for what you can find.
It’s deep, it’s blue, and it’s full of large fish that can turn the shape of a reed into a pretzel. Incredible fighters such as blue marlin, wahoo, sailfish, dolphin, kingfish, swordfish, yellowfin and blackfin tuna, and sharks longer than the width of some boats. Fly fishing offshore is the best option, although fly fishing offshore has increased in popularity.
It is amazing how a fat bass or redfish can traverse shallow water the length of your hand, but the best results are obtained in water two feet or less deep, particularly with seagrass and bottom contours and sediments conducive to seawater, colonization of crabs, shrimps and others fish munchies. Wading is popular (being careful to slide your feet to protect yourself from stingrays), as is launching from shorelines. The last challenge is first sight fishing from a boat that is being quietly perched by a guide. Unsurpassed lowland fishing is the hallmark of the Florida Keys.
Being relatively shallow and easier on the kidneys than deep sea fishing in Florida, the bay’s waters are teeming with a hodgepodge of favorite fish. Grab a variety of light, medium, and heavy rods and reels to duel with whatever your bait or imaginary bite swallows. Some of the most fishing hot spots are Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, Whitewater Bay, Chokoloskee Bay, Ponce de Leon Bay, Charlotte Harbor, Tampa Bay, Homosassa Bay, Waccasassa Bay, Apalachee Bay, West and East Bays (Panama City) and Pensacola Bay.
Look for concrete or rocky jetties that line both sides of a chosen location like Sebastian Inlet. Many inlets are suitable for fishermen, providing access and facilities. Jockey to find a good launch site for shots of tarpon, snook, redfish, horse mackerel and mackerel that congregate during tidal changes Release a floating live crab or shrimp with the current or cast a lead head jig or lure the current and work with you again.
Night fishing is the best, especially in the full moon phase. Throw a jig with the tip of a shrimp upstream and jump back onto the pile. You will lose some gear on the rocks, but you will also catch more snook and tarpon than anyone else. Many of the bridges in the Keys are perfect for this, as is the Sunshine Skyway in front of Tampa. Some bridges offer walkways and other facilities. Some bridges don’t allow fishing, so follow posted regulations.
No boat? No problem. Just walk into deeper water. Pier fishermen regularly catch mackerel, snook, tarpon, sheepshead, redfish, trout and other stars of the fishing world. The piles themselves serve as attractants and the lights that show up in the water at night become fish magnets. Excellent fishing can be found off the docks in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, as well as the Panhandle.
Islands, beaches and even rocky coastal areas can be fished with good results. Move silently, as the fish can hear the slightest noise or even see you. Dip a bait to the bottom or cast parallel to the beach to tempt snook or reds that hunt in feeders for chews.
Mangrove shorelines and overhanging trees provide fish with respite from direct sunlight. Sail along promising shores and dump shore edges and near dead tree branches, stumps, and other obstructions. Anchor in a promising spot and launch upstream to work your offer past destination points.
Any of these game fish entanglement locations and techniques will produce successful Florida saltwater fishing trips. Be part of the fun, but remember to just stick with the fish you will eat that night and drop the rest. That will help ensure healthy fishing in the future for both you and your children.
Freshwater Fishing in Florida
Florida’s freshwater fisheries comprise 3 million acres of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, and approximately 12,000 miles of rivers, streams, and canals that can be fished in, with no closed seasons. The recreational fishing resources in these waters alone provide entertainment to more than 1.2 million anglers annually, who enjoyed 25.7 million days recreationally fishing in Florida’s fresh waters (National Recreation Survey Associated Fish, Game, and Wildlife-2011) .
Best places for fishing in Florida
Fishing enthusiasts from across the country flock to Florida not only for its top beach destinations, but also for the variety of fishing opportunities that appeal to all ages and skill levels.
Whether you want to fish offshore or prefer to cast a line from the dock, you can catch a bass one day and a panfish for dinner the next. Pack your fishing gear and get ready for an adventure, as these are some of the best fishing vacations in Florida.
Fishing experts and locals alike claim that Key Largo is not only the most beautiful place to fish in the state, but also one of the best. An exciting place for anglers to explore, you’ll find a colorful variety of fish in the area here, including bonefish, tarpon, and snook. You have many options not only in its idyllic setting, but also in the number of sprawling plains and mangrove forests, from reefs to deep sea fishing in Florida, as Key Largo is full of vibrant fishing opportunities.
Cedar Key is one of Florida’s loveliest small town gems with less than 1,000 residents, nestled among a group of quiet little islands. With a long history as a fishing village, visitors will find ample places to cast a line. South of Cedar Key is Seahorse Reef, a popular area for seasoned Gulf Shore anglers. Covered with long, lush seagrasses, Cedar Creek is considered one of the best launch points in the Big Bend area. Filled with shallow backwaters of the Gulf of Mexico, fishermen are often seen catching a variety of gamefish such as Spanish mackerel, spotted seatrout, and king mackerel in these parts.
Key West, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Florida, is also considered one of the best places to fish. A tourist-friendly location, even Ernest Hemingway was known to be a regular in the fishing community for many decades. With low-lying and deep-sea fishing, Key West is an ideal place to catch a variety of fish at any time of year, including shad, bonefish, marlin, tuna, and other saltwater fish. With an abundance of guides and boat charter captains and a variety of other land and water attractions, Key West is an ideal destination to visit with the whole family.
Stuart is a legendary bass fishing area, located in the center of the Treasure Coast on the east coast of Florida. Surrounded by wide waterways, this city is an ideal fishing destination in the spring and summer months. Nicknamed the “Sailfish Capital of the World”, the city’s emblem is even a sailfish. A large fountain with a leaping sailfish stands in the town square, which marks the centerpiece of the 15 marinas in the area, ready to carry out fishing and charter boat fleets. While the peak season is from December to March and June to July, fishing is a popular activity throughout the year.
Steinhatchee, known as “The Gateway to Florida’s Natural Coast,” is a charming fishing village that resembles Florida’s early settlements. The fishing potential of this coastal town is abundant, as its unspoiled natural beauty is attractive to those seeking tranquility on the water. Spring is the most popular season for catching underwater treasures, as the seagrass grows wild these months, making it an ideal time to spot redfish, speckled trout and ram. Due to its popular fishing community, there are a variety of guides ready to show you their best-kept fishing spots.
Dubbed “The Luckiest Fishing Village in the World”, Destin is a great place to go on a fishing excursion. Home to the largest fishing fleet in the entire state, visitors often come here and charter a boat to fish the high seas in groups. With more than 140 vessels serving fishermen, you have the opportunity to catch grouper, horse mackerel, snapper, mackerel, sailfish, wahoo, tuna, and even a blue marlin in these emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Those looking for a more laid-back experience can drop a line from the pier, as this city combines a laid-back vibe with pristine beach areas.
Long Key State Park
Another great place in the Florida Keys, Long Key State Park is known for its fishing opportunities and facilities for families. With 60 campsites overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this park is perfect for a weekend fishing getaway. Spend the night under the stars before waking up to explore the area, as it is known for having the best bone fishing in all of the Keys. It’s also a great place to go fly-fishing and kayaking, and if you’re with the kids, you might want to check out a chance to hand-feed shad at nearby Robbie’s Marina, just a few miles from the park.
Islamorada, one of the largest sport fishing capitals in the world, is a fantastic fishing destination. Not only does it seduce by its beautiful surroundings, but fishing enthusiasts will also delight in its various activities when it comes to fishing, from inshore tarpon to trawling. Located 2 hours from Key West, fishermen have many options for catching these underwater creatures. Fly and spin fishing can get you saltwater fish, while reef fishing is great for snapper and grouper.
With a mouthful of a name, Lake Okeechobee is the largest lake in Florida. At over 730 square miles and 17 feet deep, the lake area is known for being stocked with excellent table fish. Considered the top bass fishing lake in the state, it is often used for large tournaments. With resorts and campgrounds scattered around the lake, visitors can stay overnight. As the area has plenty of guides and charters to direct you to the best spots. A true gem on Florida’s east Atlantic coast, this freshwater fishing destination is a solid choice.
Cortez is an undiscovered gem in Florida, a former fishing village that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a 19th century Spanish settlement. A small town brimming with charm, it offers a well-preserved view of Old Florida. One of the last surviving fishing villages on the Gulf Coast, if you like your fishing excursion to encounter a rich history, Cortez is the place to be.
St. Augustine is America’s oldest city, located in northeast Florida, where it’s easy to get a vacation full of fish. With their variety of charters to rent for both offshore and offshore fishing in Florida, visitors will even find a variety of fishing camp complexes that offer everything they need for their next adventure. For those who prefer stargazing and appreciating the great outdoors, head to Anastasia State Park to find 139 fully-equipped campgrounds that are located along the Atlantic Ocean. With one of the most popular coastal spots for redfish, the plains and streams of the Intracoastal are also meccas for trout, redfish and snook.
Located on the “forgotten coast” of Florida, Panama City has access to both coastal and offshore trophy waters. Less touristy than its South Florida counterparts, visitors here will find an underrated gem with crystal clear waters coming from the Gulf of Mexico. The area is famous for observing a wide variety of colorful redfish, flounder, tarpon and sea trout, and if you venture further offshore. It is not uncommon to see fishermen fishing for mackerel, blue marlin, tuna and cobia. For those who are serious about their fishing adventures, the 3-day fishing tours are a popular excursion for those visiting the area.
With a significant amount of accessibility, Sarasota is a great fishing destination for its variety of public access points to the ocean and the abundance of expert guides and charters ready to take visitors on an exciting day of fishing in Florida. Located on Florida’s southwest coast facing the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota even has a handful of hotels that offer rental guides. Fishing for bass, redfish, trout fish, grouper and dorado is common, while the area’s offshore activities – from its vibrant arts scene to stunning Siesta Key beach – are sure to keep the whole family entertained.
Can you still fishing in Florida?
Fishing and hunting licenses from other states are not valid in Florida. If you are 16 or older and intend to hunt or fish, even if you just catch and release. You must have a Florida Saltwater Fishing, Freshwater Fishing, or Hunting License.
Does Florida have good fishing?
Most of Florida has good inshore fishing. Miami-Dade County doubles, with world-class offshore action as well. The deep reefs are home to red snapper, grouper, tilefish, and more, just a mile or two from the beach. You don’t have to go much further to find big game species like Sailfish, Wahoo, and Mahi Mahi.
Why is fishing in Florida so good?
Florida is the “Fishing Capital of the World” due to its great resources and responsible management. The diversity of sport fish, habitats, great weather, year-round fishing, and excellent tourism and fishing-related infrastructure are second to none.
Can you keep red snapper in Florida?
The waters of the state of Florida go from the coast up to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf of Mexico and 3 nautical miles in the Atlantic. Florida Red Snapper The length of the season varies depending on where the fish is caught with daily bag limit of 2 per person.
Is Fishing a Big Industry in Florida?
Fishing is a $ 5 billion industry in Florida, according to the latest economic comment report from Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan taxpayer research institute and government watchdog. More than half of the $ 5 billion in fishing industry spending comes from non-fisherman spending.