Best Fishing Spots in Florida

Small dock that lines the shore of a fishing spot in Key West Florida.
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Florida offers an array of prime fishing spots that cater to both the casual angler and the seasoned fisherman. Whether you prefer the tranquil freshwater lakes or the briny depths of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, the Sunshine State provides ample opportunities to reel in a variety of species. With its diverse ecosystems ranging from lush mangrove forests to expansive flats, Florida has carved out a reputation as a top destination for fishing enthusiasts. As you explore Florida’s fishing destinations, you’ll find that each area presents unique challenges and rewards.

The Florida Keys, with their series of bridges and channels, provide exceptional fishing right from the shore, making it an accessible option for those without a boat. The Gulf of Mexico offers exceptional offshore fishing experiences where species like redfish thrive, especially during the fall season. For freshwater aficionados, the inland lakes and rivers are teeming with bass and crappie, contributing to Florida’s fame among freshwater anglers. Every visit promises a different adventure, making Florida a must-visit for any fishing enthusiast.

Florida Keys

In your quest for prime fishing locations, the Florida Keys offer an abundant array of spots that cater to anglers of all skill levels. From flats fishing, commonly sought after in Key West, to the excitement of offshore challenges, you’re sure to find a fishing haven that matches your preferences.

For those who enjoy flats fishing, Key West provides a serene environment where you can pursue species like tarpon, bonefish, and permit. The calm, shallow waters are ideal for sight fishing, granting you a clear view of your quarry in the crystalline waters.

Venture out to the Marquesas Keys for bottom fishing, where the ocean floor habitats nurture a diverse fish population. Snapper, grouper, and various reef fish are plentiful in this area, offering both sport and reward for your efforts.

Bridge fishing enthusiasts will revel in the opportunities presented at Bahia Honda State Park. Here, you can fish directly from the old bridge, enjoying not only the sport but also the stunning views.

  • Land-Based: Bahia Honda State Park
  • Flats: Key West
  • Bottom Fishing: Marquesas Keys

The Gulf Stream, flowing north from Key West along Florida’s coast, is another hotspot, particularly for those looking to hook into mahi-mahi, marlin, and more. This fast-moving current brings rich feeding grounds that attract a plethora of game fish.

When you’re planning your next fishing trip, keep these diverse Florida Keys destinations in mind for a memorable experience. Whether you’re casting from the flats or trolling the deep sea, the Keys have something to offer every angler.

Everglades National Park

When fishing in the Everglades National Park, you’re immersing yourself in one of Florida’s prime fishing destinations. This vast network of waterways boasts remarkable biodiversity and offers a spectacular fishing experience.

Popular Fishing Spots:

  • Flamingo: Accessible via the Main Park Road, it serves as a hub for anglers at the southern tip of mainland Florida. Near the Flamingo Visitor Center, you can launch your pursuit of both freshwater and saltwater species.
  • Florida Bay: Known as “the backcountry,” with shallow waters ideal for flats fishing. Here you can navigate through mangrove islands and expansive flats teeming with sportfish.

Key Fishing Information:

  • Freshwater fishing is celebrated for its largemouth bass, often found in the park’s canals running towards the Tamiami Trail.
  • Saltwater fishing promises encounters with tarpon, snook, redfish, and more.

Conservation Rules:

  • Collecting wildlife, including fish for anything other than catch and release, without a proper permit is strictly prohibited to protect the park’s ecosystem.

Fishing Tips:

  • Shallow water pursuits require a flat-bottomed boat or guided charters, which can be booked locally.
  • For saltwater sports fishing, head towards Florida Bay or the park’s outer keys.

Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee, often referred to as Florida’s inland sea, stretches across a vast 730 square miles, making it the state’s largest lake and the second-largest freshwater lake contained within the United States, excluding the Great Lakes. Its sheer size and varied habitats make it a fishing haven for anglarians like yourself seeking the thrill of the catch.

Species You Can Catch:

When planning your fishing expedition, consider the climate nuances—the lake maintains a comfortable water temperature ranging between 70°F and 80°F, with seasons slightly influencing your fishing strategy.

Best Fishing Spots:

  • Inlets and creeks around the lake for bass.
  • Near Belle Glade and Grassy Island for productive spots.

Spring and fall are typically the best times for fishing on Lake Okeechobee, both for weather comfort and fish activity. Keep in mind, Florida’s summers can be intensely warm, possibly affecting your experience.

Upon arrival, immerse yourself in nature’s beauty, surrounded by a serene expanse. Regardless of the kind of angler you are, whether seeking solitude or the excitement of a potential trophy catch, Lake Okeechobee’s waters are a genuine source of endless fishing tales.

St. Johns River

Your journey for prime fishing in Florida is incomplete without exploring the St. Johns River. Stretching over 310 miles, it is a haven for both freshwater and saltwater anglarians. You have the chance to reel in an array of species, making every trip unique and exciting.

Best Spots

Utilize the St. Johns River Fishing Map to locate the top fishing areas across its three main basins:

  • Upper Basin: Primarily freshwater, ideal for largemouth bass.
  • Middle Basin: Brackish waters, good for both freshwater and saltwater species.
  • Lower Basin: Saltwater species thrive here, such as redfish and flounder.

Best Time to Fish

For optimal catches:

  • Red Drum: Go during an incoming low tide when they feed on exposed oyster bars.
  • Crappie: January, February, April, and November are your best months.

Species You Might Catch

Fishing Tips

  • For redfish, adhere to Florida regulations: one red drum per day, between 18 and 27 inches.
  • A boat enhances your access, but ample public spots along the river provide opportunities for those without.

Tampa Bay

When you set your sights on Tampa Bay for fishing, you discover a blend of urban accessibility and abundant fish populations. Tampa Bay’s waters offer a variety of fishing locations suitable for both saltwater and freshwater anglers. Here are some noteworthy spots that you can explore:

  • Rowlett Park: This freshwater haven is your go-to for tranquil fishing away from the bay’s saltwater. It’s a prime spot for catching a diverse range of freshwater species.
  • Edvard Medard Conservation Park: Known for its sunshine bass, this park combines scenic views with excellent fishing prospects.
  • Fort De Soto Park: Target the elusive redfish in the park’s expansive waters. With multiple piers and vast shorelines, fishing here is both rewarding and scenic.
  • Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge: A renowned spot for seatrout, Egmont Key also offers unique wildlife viewing opportunities alongside your fishing adventure.

One must-visit freshwater location nearby is Lake Tarpon, praised for its bass fishing. It’s recognized as one of Florida’s foremost bass lakes, ideal for those seeking trophy catches. Whether you prefer casting from the shore or venturing out by boat, Tampa Bay accommodates all fishing preferences with aplomb.

Indian River Lagoon

The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is a prominent fishing destination on the east coast of Florida. It provides exceptional kayak fishing opportunities and is known for its diverse catch which includes redfish, known to reach an impressive 50 pounds. Stretching from Ponce Inlet in New Smyrna to Jupiter Inlet, this extensive water body encompasses three key areas: Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and the Indian River itself.

When fishing in the Indian River Lagoon, consider these tips:

  • Shallow Flats: Ideal for spotting redfish and trout. Sight fishing can be thrilling in these areas due to the clear shallow waters.
  • Deep Water Channels: Home to a variety of species, such as snook and tarpon, that enjoy the deeper waters adjacent to the flats.
  • Mangrove-Lined Shores: Search for snook lurking in the shadows of mangroves.

Preparation is key:

  • Gear Up: Light to medium rods and tackle is recommended for the variety of species you might encounter.

For trips by boat—like a 25-foot Sea Fox—launching from Titusville municipal Marina grants access to several productive fishing spots. Around the Haulover Causeway, you may witness majestic manatees while on your way to your next fishing hole.

Whether you’re on a kayak or a larger vessel, the Indian River Lagoon offers a rich fishing environment. With an experienced guide like Captain Frank Catino, or by exploring on your own, you’re poised to have a memorable experience on the water.

Miami Beach

Miami Beach offers an array of engaging fishing experiences suitable for both novice and seasoned anglers. As you explore the fishing prospects in this sun-soaked city, you’ll find a variety of spots that cater to your preferred fishing method.

Shore Fishing:

  • 79th Street Pier: This is a popular destination offering an easy-to-access fishing locale with stunning views of the ocean.
  • Sunny Isles Beach Pier: Great for casual fishing. You can rent gear on the spot and spend a tranquil day trying to hook a variety of fish.

Inland Fishing:

  • Blue Lagoon: Renowned for Peacock and Largemouth Bass, especially during the colder months.

Charter Fishing:

  • For an offshore fishing adventure, consider booking a trip with one of the many local charters, such as Top Gun Fishing Charters or Miss Britt Charters. You can also wander to a marina to find available charter boats.

Party Boat Fishing:

  • The Reward Fleet or Kelley Fleet offer party boat charters, providing a more social fishing experience.

Kayak Fishing:

  • Ideal to reach less accessible fishing grounds such as those found at Bill Baggs Cape State Park.

When selecting your fishing adventure in Miami Beach, consider the season and local regulations, as they can influence what you’ll be able to catch. Whether it’s a serene pier fishing experience or an adventurous offshore charter, Miami Beach’s waters are teeming with opportunities for a memorable fishing outing.

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, located in Broward County, Florida, offers a diverse and productive fishing scene. With hundreds of fishing spots, you can target a multitude of species, ranging from freshwater to saltwater fish.

In the freshwater realm, Peacock Bass, introduced during the 1980s to manage tilapia populations, are now a local favorite. The urban canals and lakes provide an opportune environment for you to catch these vibrant fighters.

Notable Freshwater Species:

For saltwater enthusiasts, the historic Anglin Fishing Pier, rebuilt in 1963, extends into the Atlantic providing you with a chance to land various species including snook and tarpon without boarding a boat. Being the longest pier in South Florida, it offers ample space for casting your line.

Popular Saltwater Fish:

Key Fishing Spots:

  • Anglin Fishing Pier
  • Local urban canals
  • Offshore waters accessible by charter

When you’re aiming for offshore exploits, southeast Florida’s waters won’t disappoint. With GPS coordinates available for prime locations, you’re able to pinpoint where the fish are active all year round. Fort Lauderdale’s proximity to the Gulf Stream brings an impressive variety of big game species within reach.

Palm Beach

When you’re planning a fishing trip to Florida, Palm Beach County stands out as a premier destination rich in variety. Here’s how to experience some of the best fishing in the area:

Saltwater Fishing

Palm Beach’s proximity to the Gulf Stream brings a diverse range of pelagic species close to shore. You’ll find the sailfish to be a prized catch, especially during the winter months. Not just limited to sailfish, the warm currents host other billfish, mahi-mahi, and wahoo.

  • Lake Worth Pier: Accessible and provides opportunities to land snook, pompano, and kingfish.
  • Ocean Inlet Park: Known for snapper and grouper around Boynton Beach.

Freshwater Fishing

For freshwater enthusiasts, Palm Beach County offers world-class largemouth bass fishing.

  • Lake Okeechobee: The largest freshwater lake in Florida, with peak bass fishing from November to June.
  • Lake Ida: Another hotspot for bass, providing consistent action.

Tips for Successful Outings:

  • When targeting sailfish, focus on trolling with live bait during cooler months.
  • Nearby fishing piers offer easy access and facilities.
  • Charter services are available for deeper offshore excursions.

Remember, the best fishing spots can change with the migration of fish, so stay informed on local conditions. Whether on a pier, inshore, or offshore, Palm Beach offers an exciting fishing experience for anglers of all levels.

Panama City Beach

Your quest for prime fishing spots in Florida will inevitably lead you to Panama City Beach. Boasting a variety of settings, from serene backwaters and sprawling bays to vibrant nearshore and deep-sea locales, this area promises a rich fishing experience.

Notable Fishing Areas:

  • Local Piers: Visit the Russel-Fields Pier or the piers at St. Andrews Park for convenient shore fishing access.
  • West Beach Drive: Offering a mix of settings for different fishing styles.
  • Surf Fishing: With 27 miles of sandy beach, you’re never short on spots to cast your line from shore.

Popular Catches:

  • Largemouth Bass: Especially around inlets and bays.
  • Red Drum: Commonly found near structures and shallow waters.
  • Spotted Seatrout: Check out grass flats and creek mouths during early mornings or evenings.

Charter Services in Panama City Beach are quite accommodating, whether you’re eyeing a half-day trip or something more extensive. They can guide you to exceptional spots for sailfish and blackfin tuna near the shore, due to the steep offshore drop-off. Bottom-fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the artificial reefs and wrecks for their abundance of gamefish.

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