The sunny shores of Florida are home to some of the best fishing found in the United States.
Travelers from around the globe have been known to make their way to the Sunshine State in hopes of snaring some of the local catch. Anglers in these waters can choose from catch and release options or spots that allow them to have their fish and eat it too.
Fresh and salt water specimens are both available and travelers have the option of fishing in either deep or shallow waters as the inclination strikes them.
Without further ado, here are some of the best spots to toss out a line in the great state of Florida.
This spot on Florida’s southwestern Gulf Coast has historically been a popular destination for celebrity anglers. After all, these waters are home to over 250 varieties of fish and numerous catch and release tournaments are regularly held. Tommy Thompson, Executive Director of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, says, “It’s no wonder that fishermen travel from far and wide to this near-tropical, yet civilized, destination to fish for almost all saltwater species.”
Jennifer Huber, Tourism Public Relations Manager at the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau, says the fishing possibilities are nearly endless.
“You can whisper-glide into the cast-demanding mangroves on a kayak, surfcast along Charlotte Harbor’s 830-mile shoreline, or board a charter to search for the ‘muds’ out in the Gulf. Tarpon and Cownose Rays stir the bottom, shoveling for shrimp and crabs to create the ‘muds.’ Further fresh and saltwater challenges are as close as the Peace and Myakka Rivers, Webb Lake, Lemon Bay, and the four barrier islands with their fertile “passes” in between.”
“The area has all the fishing bases covered.” agrees Jimmy Jacobs, the editor of Florida Game and Fish magazine. However, fishing isn’t the only draw to the area. Other popular activities include sailing, golfing, paddle boating, hiking, bird watching, and wildlife spotting. “[It] is a sportsman’s dream.”
A number of local guides in the Charlotte Harbor area, including Captains Ralph Allen, and Van Hubbard, are well versed in showing newcomers the best fishing spots. However, experienced anglers that want to strike out on their own should instead check out the fishing guides produced by local visitor’s bureau.
Those who prove successful in their endeavors can take their catch to Punta Gorda’s Village Fish Market where the chefs will cook up the bounty for them. Of course, one can also try their own hand at turning their haul into a treat if their own accommodations contain kitchen facilities.
Found right at the center of Florida Keys, some believe you can’t find a better location than Hawks Cay. “Hawks Cay is geographically located in the perfect spot for fishing,” proudly states Captain Tom Rowland, cohost of the television show Saltwater Experience and former winner of the Herman Lucerne Tournament. He points out that many World Records for the sport originate in Florida Keys, but states that this spot on Duck Island is his personal favorite. After all, the island is home to more than 50 varieties of fish and the nearby area presents anglers with a wide variety of options.
The resort itself has even received AAA’s prestigious Four-Diamond award and it contains numerous guest facilities such as a full-service marina, a spa, several swimming pools, private villas, and numerous eating establishments.
“From Hawks Cay, Rich and I once won a tournament called the Herman Lucerne. The tournament requires anglers to catch 7 of 8 available species (Tarpon, Bonefish, Snapper, Snook, Redfish, Trout, Black drum or Largemouth bass) Rich and I caught Tarpon, Snapper, Snook, Redfish and Trout on day one and were left with the challenge of catching a Bonefish and a Largemouth Bass in the same day.”
“I honestly don’t know of another place in the world where it would even be possible to catch those two species in the same day, but at Hawks Cay, a quick ride across the Florida Bay into the Everglades it is possible to run far enough to find fresh water and largemouth bass. Bonefish are plentiful and on the way home, we landed a bonefish to secure the win. This is still one of the fondest memories of my fishing career. When I think about this day, I am incredibly thankful that I have been able to spend so much time in this unique and special area.”
Although Miami and Fort Lauderdale are about 35 minutes apart, they are easily combined for an excellent fishing vacation. According to a recent infographic published by HomeAway, Miami is widely considered to be one of the top fishing spots in America. More than 200 varieties of piscine prey are available for anglers to try and catch. Fishers can choose to cast their lures from the local docks or venture further out in order to try their hand at varieties that lurk in much deeper waters.
Miami is located near many other important fishing spots including Fort Lauderdale, Biscayne Bay, and the Everglades National Park. According to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, visitors can choose from a wide selection of fishing excursion operators and supply shops. At All Inclusive Sport Fishing, JP Outfitters Inc., No Vacansea Fishing Charters, and Fish Local Knowledge are all highly recommended. These destinations are known for experienced, qualified crews and abundant outdoor activities.
During the months of May and June, more tarpon fish are caught at this spot than at any other place in the world. One excellent place to stop in town is the Gasparilla Inn & Club, which can accommodate anyone from eager amateurs to experienced anglers. Folks staying here have a good chance of netting large tarpons that can weigh over 100 pounds. Although the resort naturally has a full-service marina, other amenities are also available for guests such as a spa, a golf course, and a private beach area.
This former mining area was left untouched for some 50 years after the sites were abandoned, but it is currently home to a number of fat piscine residents that are just waiting to be ensnared. Until recently, only A-list celebrities and U.S. Presidents were invited to visit the resort, but now the public has the opportunity to try their hands at the excellent catch and release bass fishing found here.
Although this spot has yet to receive the attention it deserves, word is likely to get out soon because most specimens found in the nearby lake average about 6 pounds each. Just ask General Manager Rich Mogensen. “Streamsong already has 13 members in the Florida Bass Fishing Hall of Fame with catches weighing 8 or more pounds.”
“Streamsong is a fisherman’s paradise, especially if you’re angling for freshwater bass. The resort has one of the best bass fishing locations in Florida. The streams and pristine lakes offer unparalleled fishing and outstanding views, with a lakefront fishing dock where guests meet our skilled bass guides and embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What do you think about our list? Tell us your favorite Florida fishing spots in the comments below or on our social channels. Be sure to check out our limited-time deals on lots across the U.S., to see if we have a Florida property that’s right for you.