2 Great Locations for Your Next Fishing Trips in Florida
Florida is a peninsula state that’s part of the southeastern region of the United States. It is home to a population of 21 million people, making it the third most populated of the fifty states of America. Florida’s cities, such as Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, and Orlando alone have populations of more than a million. Florida also has an economy of $1 trillion ($1,000,000,000,000) USD. If it were a country, it would be the 16th largest economy in the world. Remember the mention of Florida being a peninsula? Well that’s part of why fishing trips in Florida can be such amazing experiences — it’s almost entirely surrounded by ocean!
The fact that Florida is so close to the ocean is reflected in its way of life as well. In fact, tourism is a major part of its economy, and a lot of it has to do with activities that are possible because of its proximity to the water.
This closeness to the ocean also has an impact on the climate of the region. The weather is mostly humid and subtropical, as expected. However, for most people, it’s nothing too unbearable. Florida rarely experiences any snowfall and is often nicknamed as “The Sunshine State”. That being said, I suppose it’s worth noting that Florida sunsets are among the most gorgeous in existence. Here, at Holiday Nomad, there’s an article about these beautiful sunsets. You may want to check it out once you finish with this one. Click here to read it.
Florida is also home to the only living coral barrier reef in the United States. This reef also happens to be the third-largest in the world. It’s home to various beaches, sports, and a culture hub, making it a great place to visit during vacation.
Besides being “The Sunshine State”, Florida has also been dubbed “the fishing capital of the world.” The fact that it’s won about 900 world records is a testament to the fact that fishing is taken quite seriously there. In fact, because of its 2276 miles of tidal shoreline, 7700 lakes, and 10,550 miles of rivers, Florida is the best place to head for your next fishing trip. All of this is why I say that fishing trips in Florida can be such amazing experiences. Imagine all the marine life you’ll interact with.
In terms of fishing, there’s so much to explore here. There’s the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Coast, the Keys, and everything in between. These places are all teeming with marine life and full of all kinds of fish. Whether it’s the swamps, the mangroves, the flats, the reefs, the mysterious wrecks, or the deep water, there’s a whole host of fish and other creatures, swimming around out there! There are also many islands, jetties, lagoons, and seagrass beds. You can even fish off of bridges!
Are you a beginner who’s concerned about your first fishing trip? Anxious to get the best catch but afraid you lack the experience? No worries! Florida also holds multitudes of fishing charters, all there to help you through your first and / or next fishing trips in Florida.
It’s no surprise that anglers and fishermen from all around the world come to Florida to find their next great catch. Anglers have options to fish on land, on boat, on a pier, in saltwater, in freshwater, you name it. Common fish you can hope to catch on your next fishing trip to Florida are the Tarpon, Sailfish, Snook, Red Drum, Grouper, Snapper, and Mackerel.
With so many fisheries spread in every corner of the state, it can be hard to pick a spot. Unfortunately, vacation time is usually short, and you want the biggest and juiciest catch, along with the best Florida vacation experience there is. We’ve got you covered. Without further ado, here are two great locations for your next fishing trips in Florida.
Recommended Place for Great Fishing Trips in Florida: Destin
Located close to the Gulf of Mexico and the East Pass, Destin is known as, “the world’s luckiest fishing village.” That’s right, folks, it’s globally considered a lucky fishing location. What better place for your next fishing trips in Florida than Destin?
It started out as a small fishing village but is now one of the most significant gulf fishing hotspots that thousands of anglers and casual fishermen visit each year. Hundreds of fishing charters have also been established so as to make the best of your fishing trip. Destin is also well known for its white powdery sand beaches and breathtakingly emerald waves.
What’s more, it hosts the Dustin Fishing Rodeo every October. This event is attended by more than 30,000 people each year. These people have the opportunity to earn thousands of dollars as well as unlimited bragging rights! So, October might be an excellent time to plan your next Florida fishing trip.
Alongside all of that, it’s home to many, many world-class resorts, with quite a few rentals available too. There are some of the best malls and shopping as well as dining opportunities in this “village” as well—something for everyone, even the non-fishermen in your life. And the cherry on top is the Northwest Florida Regional Airport. This makes Destin easy to travel to at any time of the year.
Destin has terrific fishing opportunities that are a divine mix of inshore and offshore fishing. Your targetted Florida fish would be the Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, Triggerfish, Mahi Mahi, Tarpon, Tuna, and even some sharks when it comes to offshore fishing!
Artificial reefs are great fishing areas. Lucky for you, Destin is packed with them. There are many shipwrecks offshore, which are teeming with amazing marine life.
Traveling a little further promises more reefs that almost guarantee a bigger catch. The ALE Artificial Reef Network, Destin Vaughn Reef, Destin Deepwater Concrete Reef, Sand Dollar Reef Complex, and the Starfish Complex, are all great artificial reefs to check out for the best catch. You don’t even need to go past the 9-mile official state fishing limit to reach these productive locations and get plentiful catches.
There’s a lot to check out for inshore fishing enthusiasts as well. The coastal catch is just as good as it is offshore. With the warm sunbeams on your skin and crystal cool blue water at your feet, inshore fishing is even more enjoyable here.
Choctawhatchee Bay is the central coastal fishing location in Destin. It is ripe with fish species like redfish, speckled trout, sheepshead, flounder, and black drum. Additionally, there are some fish that are also caught seasonally here. These include the Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, and Jack Crevalle. A lot of these are easy catches, even within three feet of the water. The Gulf of Mexico is close by and may also be an excellent location to check out for a coastal fishing experience.
Recommended Place for Great Fishing Trips in Florida: Tampa Bay:
Tampa Bay happens to be the biggest open-water estuary in Florida. It covers an area of 400 miles and is the perfect fishing hotspot for anglers, beginners and experienced. The catch at Tampa varies from a small 2-pound pompano to a trophy tarpon that weighs more than 200 pounds!
The cities of St. Petersberg, St. Pete, and Clearwater are all located across the shore. They are great spots for all kinds of fishing, including fly fishing and bottom fishing. There’s the Florida Middle Ground for the Offshore fishing fanatic as well. Different charters, half-day and full-day, are available to help you get the best catch that’s out there.
Although offshore fishing is a little challenging in the Tampa Bay, the Gulf of Mexico does boast of quite a few prime angling spots that include wrecks, reefs, and hard bottoms. For those up for the deep bottom challenge, targetted species include the goliath grouper, red snapper, flounder, cobia, gag grouper, and amberjack. Casting your line closer to the surface would result in catches like Kingfish, Permit, Dorado, and the local Barracuda.
When fishing offshore at Tampa Bay, do ask your captain or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission about the open season for the fish that you’re hoping to catch. Some of these species do tend to be seasonal.
When it comes to coastal fishing, a heavier rod will result in a more massive catch, even the world-famous trophy-sized harpoon. Those with a preference for lighter rods would be happy to know about the abundance of seatrout and the snook at Tampa Bay.
Different fishing styles help yield unique catches. These are mostly comprised of the flounder, snapper, trout, lady
gaga fish, grouper, cobia, mackerel, jack crevalle, as well as some species of shark. The good news about inshore fishing at the Tampa Bay is that no matter what time of year you schedule your Florida fishing trip, there will shorely – we mean surely – be some great catch waiting for you.
There’s a lot to do in Tampa Bay for the non-fishing enthusiast that decides to tag along with you. The culture of this location is unique and is heavily influenced by Cuban and Spanish culture. The historical sites here are breathtaking, as are the numerous landmarks that stand here.
There’s something to do for everyone who visits Tampa. This includes the margarita festival, opera at the Straz Center, a large number of beaches, hip bars, and restaurants. For the great adventurer, there are places like Hillsborough River State Park and Lettuce Lake Park that offer hiking, piking, lake paddling, and bird watching.
With lots of museums, Tampa Bay is also the hub of a unique culture. For one, there’s the Tampa Museum of Art that just happens to be located across from the Glazer Children’s Museum. You can already see plans for a family-friendly Florida fishing trip glazing over your eyes. No matter what time of year you schedule your trip or who you go with, Tampa Bay promises to be an ideal fishing location for you and a fun-filled tourist trip for your family.
Another location to check out is Stuart. It’s called “the sailfish capital of the world”, and is famous for its variety. Offshore fishing results in fantastic catches like the wahoo, sailfish, and mahi-mahi. A deep-sea excursion could even get you the yellowfish tuna, blue marlin, and even the valuable billfish. Besides that, there are options for deeper sea and nighttime fishing, too.
You have the Starfish Valley for more coastal fishing. It promises about ten catches of sailfish per single day. Other locations include the Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie, as well as Hell’s Gate. These are all ideal locations for inshore fishing. Species that you could hope to find here are snook, bonefish, flounder, and black drum, among many, many more.
Cocoa Beach is famous for its snook, redfish, jack crevalle, and black drum. It also happens to be only a few hours away from Disney World. Cocoa Beach has been referred to as “the best place to fish in Orlando”, and for a good reason. Its beaches span over 6 miles, the pier is vast and spacious, and there are stretches of blue, crystal clear water.
Offshore catches here include the mahi-mahi, Cobia, and Sailfish. Driving further, about ten to twenty miles also increases chances of catching the grouper, snapper, and blue marlin.
Be wary of the traveling time of these trips, which often do span over a full day. Inshore fishing is where the fun’s really at. There are so many possibilities, from kayak fishing to shark fishing, there are no limits to what you may catch.
Because the beach is surrounded by safer shallow waters, it’s the perfect place for beginners. However, that doesn’t mean that the more experienced angler wouldn’t enjoy this Florida fishing trip too. With a variety of species and such unique terrain, there’s no way you wouldn’t be bored.
West Palm Beach is an excellent destination for your Florida fishing trip if you’re limited when it comes to time and can only visit one location; so much variety ensures that you don’t have to fish the same way twice. There are so many lakes, reefs, and canals, you’re sure to be entertained.
West Palm Beach is the place to go if you’re looking for the biggest charter boats out there. Common catches are the wahoo, mahi-mahi, and blackfish tuna. In fact, a pro here could even catch as many as eighty fish a day!
With saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing, and fly fishing, there are lots of different opportunities inshore as well. Coastal Waterways are known for their Redfish and Snook. Another option is the Palm Beach inlet in summer, where you could run into a prize tarpon.
Going to town afterward would also be a fun plan to unwind. There are so many lakes and canals that opportunities for picturesque walks or kayaking are endless.
Things you should know before you go:
Before you go on your Florida fishing trip, it’s best to familiarize yourself with fishing rules and regulations. There are differing regulations according to different species and water.
For one, you’re encouraged to catch and release fish that bite your line so as to preserve precious marine species. There are also quite a lot of fish that you’re prohibited from catching. Some fish can’t be used as bait, either.
You should also know that chumming is forbidden on the beach.
What is chumming?
A Wikipedia article states that “Chumming (American English from Powhatan) is the practice of luring various animals, usually fish such as sharks, by throwing “chum” into the water. Chum is bait consisting of fish parts, bone and blood, which attract fish, particularly sharks.”
Chemicals, explosives, fish traps, etc. are all illegal; you should not be caught in possession of them. You also need to have a valid and legitimate fishing license. For a complete list and explanation of rules, visit https://www.floridagofishing.com/info-fishing-regulations.html.
There are also separate rules for fishing boats; you’re not allowed to bring a tarpon or goliath grouper onto your vessel, etc. But don’t look so glum, folks, this is for your own safety and for the good of the species. For more boating regulations, go to https://www.floridagofishing.com/info-boating-regulations.html.
Since it’s best to be prepared, you should have a good look at a map of the area you’re visiting so as to familiarize yourself with the place. Check out the tide chart for your chosen location; tides effect the amount and type of fish available. Also make sure to check the weather forecast before you leave. You don’t want to be caught out in a storm!
Things to bring include your fishing license, of course, along with all other forms of identification. You should also carry a cellphone in case of any emergencies. Plenty of water, food, sunblock, and a first aid kit are musts as well. You may want to also take a look at our page that talks about the best survival fishing kits.
After fishing, it’s also common courtesy to leave the place how you found it. Definitely don’t litter or leave fish parts or discarded equipment lying around. Don’t throw anything overboard either; the fish want to live in a clean home!
Now that you’ve read an overview of rules and regulations as well as general ethics, you’re finally ready to go on to enjoy your fishing trips in Florida!
We’ve told you about some of the best fishing spots in Florida. Destin and Tampa Bay are the fishing capitals of the fishing capital! No matter which one you pick, you’re sure to catch a lot of vibrant species and have a great time while you do it.
Whether it’s offshore fishing or coastal fishing, we’ve told you about the best spots to visit for each and all the species you could expect to find there. We’ve also given you non-fishing options in case you’re traveling with other people. Florida doesn’t disappoint with its warm waters and invigorating sunshine. What are you waiting for? Pack up that bait, get that line, slip into your lucky fishing shorts and head to Destin or Tampa Bay for the most exciting Florida fishing vacation you’ve ever experienced.