The Florida Keys

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Top 10 Fishing Destinations in Florida

Florida is an Atlantic and Gulf state that is bordered by Georgia and Alabama to the north, the Straits of Florida to the south, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. It is the southeastern-most state. Florida extends over 170,300 km (sq.) and has a population of 21,312,211. Tallahassee is the state’s capital, and the Miami metropolitan Area is its most populous urban area. Florida's $1.0 trillion economy is the fourth largest in the United States, with exports amounting to around $55 billion in goods made in the state – making it the 8th highest among all states.

Florida Culture

The culture of Florida is similar to the rest of American culture, but as a coastal state, Florida’s culture has been influenced by immigrant populations, especially those from northern states like New York, and the Caribbean. The state's proximity to the ocean influences many aspects of its culture and daily life. The Miami area especially has been culturally influenced by Latin American and Caribbean immigration. In 1988, English was affirmed as the state's official language in the Florida Constitution, although Spanish is also widely spoken, especially as immigration continues from Latin America.

Florida Fishing and its effect on the Economy

The fish that grow and live on coral reefs are a significant food source for people worldwide. In the United States, about half of all federally managed fisheries depend on coral reefs.

The expansive state of Florida has plenty to offer anglers, especially in the colder months when the rest of the country is frigid or even frozen. In addition to the value that Florida Bay provides to recreational anglers, expenditures by these anglers impact the regional and state economy by generating income, jobs, and tax revenue.

Fishing has a tremendous impact on Florida’s economy - $9.7 billion per year to be exact. In fact, the fishing industry in Florida has generated 127,000 jobs, making it the leading nation for saltwater anglers. Over $47 million in revenue has been generated from fishing licenses sold in 2015 and 2016 in Florida, making it a region with the highest economic impact from saltwater recreational fishing in the U.S.

License for Fishing in Florida

Non-residents who are 16 years of age or older are required to have Florida licenses and permits to participate in hunting, freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing. If you cast a line or catch and release, you need a license. 

Fishing Types

Following is a list of what’s being caught by this fishing industry:

  • Pink shrimp

  • Stone Crab

  • Spiny Lobster

  • Conch

  • Fish; Grouper, Snapper, Mackerel, Dolphin fish, Snook, Flounder, Mullet, Pompano

  • Mussels

  • Clams

  • Scallops

Types of Catch Available

raindbow trout

Rainbow Trout

brown trout

Brown Trout

yellow perch

Yellow Perch

Largemouth Bass

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Yellowfin Tuna

Atlantic Salmon

Bluegill

Peacock Bass

Bluefin Tuna

Wahoo

Yellowtail Amberjack

Swordfish

Bonefish

Skipjack Tuna

Tarpon

Blue Marlin

Sailfish

Crappie

Mahi Mahi

Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish

White Bass

White Bass

Grouper

Halibut

Carp

spotted bass

Spotted Bass

Striped Bass

c

Mackerel

State Fishing Records

Top 10 Fishing Spots Across Florida

Choosing the top fishing spots in Florida is a difficult task. However, with its mild climate, these spots are great all year long. These places are all about big fish, tasty dinner, the beautiful outdoors, and are a top choice for anglers all year round. Plus, they are a short car ride away from many major Florida attractions. Gathered below are the best destinations that are available with all their beauty, for every angler to exploit.

Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach takes the incredible fishing of the nearby Panama City to a whole new level. Here, you will find stretches of sandy white beaches and excellent inshore game fishing. Crowds of anglers come here year after year, eager to explore endless fishing opportunities. You can scout the bay waterways and get redfish, flounder, speckled trout, and sheepshead.

But there’s a lot more. sight fishing for tarpon is a popular pastime, though fly fishing enthusiasts also chase these mighty fish. You can explore natural and artificial reefs and target Spanish mackerel – also, sharks won’t be too far away.

Panama City Beach is also a popular launchpad for offshore charters that head to the Gulf of Mexico. Sailfish, mackerel, grouper, snapper, wahoo, and mahi mahi all await in the blue waters.


Tampa

Tampa

Tampa is well known among anglers for its excellent inshore fishing. You can get scores of redfish, black drum, spotted seatrout, crevalle jack, and sheepshead along the coastline. However, it’s really only the beginning. Snook are a must when fishing these waters – after all, they make for a fine evening fishing trip.

The waters of Tampa have excellent fly-fishing opportunities. Tarpon swims around bridges during spring and summer and display incredible acrobatics. You need to see them to believe just how tough these fish are!

Travelers with limited time usually choose to stay inshore, but they come back to explore the offshore fishing Tampa has, in the hopes of landing amberjack, grouper, snapper, cobia, mahi mahi, and king mackerel.


Fort Myers

Fort Myers

It’s no secret that Fort Myers has a lot to offer to inshore fishing lovers. Scores of anglers come here to try their hand at landing the backcountry slam (that’s spotted seatrout, redfish, and snook in a single day). If you’re up for a game of hide and seek, check out grass flats, mangroves, and channels where feisty fish are. You can enjoy excellent fly fishing here as well. The best of Fort Myers fishing comes in the shape of tarpon who make their run northwards each spring, passing just outside Fort Myers. They swarm the inlets and not only make for a beautiful sight, but also a mighty opponent as well


Marco Island

Marco Island

Marco Island is the right place to fish if you love the breathtaking scenery. You will find some of the best fishing in Florida right here, with schools of redfish, tarpon, black drum, speckled trout, and ladyfish. And that’s backwaters only. If you want an action-packed day without big waves, then stay inshore and try light tackle or fly fishing. It will certainly do the trick. If you’re into adrenaline, you must head offshore to explore the reefs, or go deep sea fishing far beyond. You can get mackerel and mahi, tuna, and wahoo. While you’re at it, try bottom fishing to get juicy snapper, grouper, and amberjack.


Florida Keys

Florida Keys

If you want to go on a road trip to angling paradise, take a ride from Key Largo, and drive along the 100+ miles of concrete that span all the islands of the Florida Keys. You must try fishing in IslamoradaMarathon, and Key West. These vast fisheries are second to none, and you can get bonefish, tarpon, permit, snook, and a variety of snapper, while still standing on dry land

.Moving into the Atlantic or towards the Gulf, you’ll encounter really big fish. Think mahi mahi, mackerel, tuna, sailfish, and marlin. Moreover, if you want delicious meat, you can always find snapper and grouper. You can get all these praised fish on a half day trip, but most times it’s best to go full force and hire a day charter.


Miami

Miami

Fishing in Miami can be a real challenge as there is so much to choose from. The city has a stellar reputation among anglers as you can get sailfish with the Miami skyline still in the background. Now, that’s a sight! Miami offshore fishing is what everyone is talking about: mahi mahi, wahoo, amberjack, tuna, and king mackerel are a common sight even on half day trips. The city is buzzing with tourists and locals who line down the harbor to hop on one of the boats and head out. If you’re looking for some fast-paced action inshore, you can battle tarpon during the night. Night fishing trips are quite trendy here. Go around the bridges with the night lights of the metropolis guiding your way, and you will see what ‘fishing on fire’ truly means.


West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach has some of the best fishing in Florida – and enough evidence to prove it. Inshore, you can explore rich fisheries of canals and lakes and get peacock bass. They are especially prolific during summer, so look out. If you want to stay near dry land, there are many guides who organize kayaking and canoeing tours. Of course, the Intracoastal Waterway is another praised fishery that often produces redfish, snook, and tarpon. Just a quick boat ride to the north, and you can find excellent reef fishing. Snapper and grouper swim there in large numbers. These trips are favorite among less experienced anglers.


Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach has excellent numbers of big, spotted sea trout, popularly called ‘gator trout.’ They are one of the most popular fish to catch here, as they bring a lot of action. If you’re planning a half day trip, inshore waters will give you a good bang for your buck. You will stay close to the shore, with a lot of space to explore. There is also a healthy stock of mangrove snapper, black drum, snook, and sheepshead. The Banana River offers plenty of chances to target tarpon, mangrove snapper, redfish, and crevalle jack. You will find oyster beds and grassy marshes filled with solid fishing action throughout the year. Also, don’t overlook the Thousand Islands – these waterways will have you spoiled with abundant choices. If you crave the thrill of the chase, the Atlantic Ocean will give you scores of insane fish – mackerel, pompano, mahi, tuna, and marlin.


Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach fishing has a lot to offer, just like the city itself. It’s one of the reasons that many families come fishing here. You can stay around the peaceful waterways of the Halifax River, or head far out into the ocean to hook impressive specimens. You can fish for largemouth bass around the Halifax River, or head south towards the Mosquito Lagoon. There, you can winch up snook, red and black drum, sheepshead, and speckled trout. For anglers who love speed, chasing wahoo in the Atlantic Ocean is a big deal. These fish are ferocious, and luckily only the tip of the iceberg. You will often come across sailfish, amberjack, triggerfish, and mahi.


Jacksonville

Jacksonville

Jacksonville is where you come to get kingfish. These mackerel grow massive and make for a tasty meal. You don’t have to be a professional angler to catch them, but you could sure use the help of a local guide to get the big ones. Want to spend a relaxing day with your kids and avoid the choppy seas? Our advice is to stay inshore. There are plenty of fisheries near the coastline where you can get redfish, spotted seatrout, flounder, and sheepshead. Here, backwater fishing is legendary. You can get all the excitement within walking distance of downtown Jacksonville. If you fancy a bit of a longer boat ride, head out to snatch some sailfish, wahoo, mahi mahi, and tuna. These offshore and deep-sea trips can end with an impressive catch. You don’t need to have the gear, nor the moves, as local charter captains will put you on top of fish in little time. 


Seeking for what the best of the Gulf, the Atlantic and the Caribbean have to offer? Then high-tail it down to Florida - for family tourist adventures, as well as epic fishing expeditions on lakes, rivers, shorelines, and the open ocean.

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