Florida Fishing | Is Florida a Good Place to Fish?

Florida fishing capital

Florida is considered “The Fishing Capital of the World” with more world records for fish catches than any other state or country. You might ask yourself… Why is Florida such a good place to fish? This is due to its great resources, the diversity of fish for sport fishing, habitats, good weather, year-round fishing and an excellent tourist and fishing infrastructure that are second to none.

Do you want to find an irreplaceable and magical fishing place, where you can get to catch the fish of your dreams? We are going to tell all the secrets that make the Sunshine State one of the best fishing places in the world. We will also cover the best places and species that you can fish in Florida.

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Best places for Fishing in Florida

Florida leads all states in economic impacts from its recreational fishing activities and supports one of the top commercial fisheries in the US. There are high quality fisheries throughout Florida among which we can find more than 7,700 lakes, 10,550 miles of rivers, and 2,276 miles of shoreline. We can’t list them all, but you’re always within reach of a place to “wet a line”. We are going to show you why Florida is a good place to fish and list the best places to fish in both saltwater and freshwater, places like no other where you can spend hours enjoying the fishing and the scenery.

Some of the best fishing spots in Florida.

Florida Saltwater Fishing

Florida’s geography offers access to the Gulf of Mexico, a lot of reefs, estuaries, bays, inlets, and rivers. Together, they provide the opportunity to fish everything and all in the same day if desired. We show you Florida’s most popular saltwater fishing spots and successful techniques for what you can use there:

We start with one of the most emblematic fishing spots in the world: The Gulf of Mexico. It’s deep, it’s blue, and has incredible fighters like blue marlin, wahoo, sailfish, swordfish and blackfin tuna that lurk here, and sharks longer than the width of some ships. The best option is to fish for lures and baits, although deep-sea fishing has raised in popularity.

Being relatively shallow and easier, the waters of the bay are teeming with a crowd of favorite fish. We can use a great variety of light, medium and heavy rods and reels to duel with whatever your bait is.

Florida has spectacular shorelines in its island, beaches and even rocky coastal areas. It can be fished with good results. Soak a bait on the bottom or cast parallel to the beach to catch snook or red drums… but the best results are obtained in water two feet or less in depth, particularly with seagrass and bottom contours where crabs, shrimp or similar inhabit. Wading is very popular in Florida.

Piers or jetties. No boat? No problem. Just walk into deeper water. In piers we could regularly catch mackerel, bass, tarpon, sheep, redfish, trout and other stars of the fishing world. The species are magnetized by the lights that show up in the water at night. Also many jetties and piers are suitable for anglers and provide access and facilities.

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In the Gulf Stream we can find incredible fighters like blue marlin, wahoo, sailfish, swordfish and blackfin tuna.

Florida Freshwater Fishing

Along Florida’s highways and roads are canals, lakes, ponds and rivers teeming with a wide variety of freshwater predators. Largemouth bass takes the stage as the biggest star, but anyone who’s ever competed with a bluegill, crappie, or peacock bass knows the challenge and fun of these fish on light equipment.

Florida is a good place to fish because it has incredible places in its countryside, far from the coastlines. Some rivers with overhanging trees provide fish, like crappie, with respite from direct sunlight. Fishing in the lakes and rivers shores and dumping near dead tree branches, limbs, stumps, and other obstructions can be good too. 

Most of the freshwater fishing takes place in great and huge lakes and rivers that cross the entire Sunshine State. Look for water plants where bass and other predators feed. They also pounce on frogs, worms, insects and just any fish smaller than themselves. Soft plastic lures work well.

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Some sunken structures can provide shelter for small species from heat and predators

Top 10 Catches in Florida

Lets get your rod, reel and hit the water. Here are the top Florida fish to catch:

Top Florida saltwater species

Grouper (Epinephelinae). These bottom fishes are important to recreational and sport anglers. During the colder months, they can be caught in shallow water by trawling with artificial lures. You have all the information about this species on our blog post about Grouper Fishing.

Mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla). One of the Floridas’ top ocean predators, King mackerel or Kingfish are the favorite target of tournament angler.

Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) is highly valued for its fighting ability and the challenge of capturing it. This species can tolerate a wide range of salinities and is found in practically all the waters of the Sunshine State.

Snook (Centropomus undecimalis). A strong and voracious predator, this Florida fish will break a fishing line to pieces. These species are found in the warmest waters in the state, due to they are highly sensitive to changes in water temperature.

Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). One of Florida’s most popular sport fish. With two large canine teeth on their upper jawIt, they will feed by almost everything, from top water plugs to saltwater flies.

Sailfish (Istiophorus spp) is the fish that officially represents the State of Florida, this tireless fighter capable of breaking the most resistant ropes, inhabits tropical and subtropical waters. The Sailfish generally travels alone or in small groups, its most outstanding characteristic is the length and height of its first dorsal fin, which makes it very attractive to sport fishing as well as its acrobatic jumps. It is undoubtedly the favorite fish of offshore anglers.

Sailfish officially represents the State of Florida which indicates that it is a good place to fish.
Sailfish officially represents the State of Florida.

Top Florida freshwater species

Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides), the state official freshwater fish. The legendary largemouth has an international reputation. Florida is a top destination for black bass fishing. Find out how to catch a black bass in our post related to fishing for this predator.

Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus). These fish are the mainstay of many inexperienced anglers. Catch these Florida fish with worms, bugs, and spinning baits. 

Crappie (Pomoxis) is lauded by many anglers for a combination of this species’ characteristics that make its fishing it pure fun. So why is the crappie such a popular gamefish for sportfishing? How can we catch them? Don’t miss all the tips, we show you in our post about Crappie Fishing.

Tips for crappie fishing from the lake, thanks to Richard Gene.

Best time for Florida fishing

Good weather and a wealth of resources make Florida the fishing capital of the world. There are perfect conditions for fishing in Florida, which we can find out thanks to features like “Plan your journey” or “FishGuru”, available on WeFish Fishing App.

Temperature and time of day. Usually, especially for freshwater fish, sunrise and sunset tend to be more active feeding periods and also allow them to escape the heat. However, at any time of the day we can expect to fish, if you know where to find them and are patient. If it is very hot and light, the key is to find shade around the structure or cooler and deeper waters. A good time to fish for saltwater fish is when the tide is generally at the beginning and end of the day.

Solunar cycle. The phases of the moon also influence the aggressiveness of the fish and the way in which they congregate, especially in the spawning season. Remember that local variables can play an even bigger role.

Weather. Many species of fish tend to turn off a bit during the sudden barometric changes associated with a storm. If the stormy weather lasts for a long time, the consequences may again bring better fishing conditions when the good weather returns.

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A good time to fish for saltwater fish is the beginning and end of the day.

Florida is a good place to fish and it remains the fishing capital of the world due to its great resources and responsible management. With a wide variety of fish, fishing waters, and fishing techniques to choose from, along with a year-round fishing climate, there is no question that Florida will continue to be the place to fish thanks to the efforts of different local and governmental agencies that promote sustainable fishing practices… Always remember to fish responsibly, through sustainable and legally fishing, getting a Florida fishing license.

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