BlogJuly 2016

7 Things to Know About Fishing in Florida

7 Things to Know About Fishing in Florida

By Debbie Hanson

Jul 29, 2016

Florida fishing offers a diverse range of both saltwater and freshwater fish species, as well as other exotic wildlife. A local angler shares several tips to help you have a successful fishing adventure. 

If you have plans to go fishing in Florida, you certainly aren't alone. According to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, over 3 million anglers went fishing in the state of Florida during the previous year. The diverse range of both saltwater and freshwater fish species found in Florida offer an abundance of angling opportunities. There are a few things you may want to know before you wet a line in the Sunshine State.

Florida Fishing Tips

1. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offers freshwater and saltwater license-free fishing days each year so that new anglers can try out the experience of fishing in Florida. Or you can get a Florida fishing license online.

2. There are several exotic freshwater fish species that can create unique fishing experiences for Florida anglers. The butterfly peacock bass, clown knifefish, jaguar guapote, bullseye snakehead, and Mayan cichlid are just a few examples of exotic fish species that anglers can target in Florida.

3. Largemouth bass fishing fans may be interested in knowing that Florida strain of largemouth bass generally grow faster and larger than northern largemouth bass. 
4. When fishing in Florida, be very aware of your surroundings at all times. Educate yourself on the wildlife that may be present in the area where you plan to fish, such as alligators and different species of snakes. Read safety tips that will help you know what to do if you encounter wildlife.

5. You can read Florida fishing reports online so that you are informed about the conditions and have an idea about which baits or lures to try for your target species.

6. If you plan to go saltwater fishing in Florida, don't forget to check a tide chart first. Tides will influence fish feeding habits since steady incoming or outgoing tidal movement helps to create an increase in baitfish and crustacean activity, both are prime food sources for predatory game fish.

7. One of Florida's most popular and pursued game fish is the tarpon. While tarpon are not valued for food, they are known for their acrobatic leaps and fighting ability. Boca Grande and the Florida Keys are two parts of the state that are known for being tarpon hot spots.

Now that you have some helpful information about Florida fishing, you can start planning a trip. Use the Places to Fish and Boat Map if you need help finding a good fishing spot.
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.