⚠ Before you head to the water check the latest COVID-19 updates. We encourage you to follow CDC recommendations.
Finding the Best Fishing Spots in Florida
With an abundance of great fishing spots in Florida, it can be challenging to pick the right one for your next adventure. Fortunately, that’s a good problem to have and one that’s easily solved!
When you’re looking for Florida fishing tips, one of the best places to start your search is online. For insight into specific species of fish, try the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website, which provides a chart with peak fishing seasons as well as top fishing destinations by species. Another good place to try are state and local tourism sites or fishing forums, where you’ll find suggestions for hot spots to try for both saltwater or freshwater fishing in Florida. Online versions of local fishing magazines are also a great tool.
Another valuable source of inside intel is the local fishing community. Friendly anglers are everywhere! Chat them up at local bait and tackle shops or on docks or bridges. Or turn to technology and try an app that lets you connect virtually about fishing activity.
Some apps will even identify the latest hot spots based on weekly fishing reports on what’s biting. Others will provide you proven locations and their GPS coordinates.
Top Places to Fish in Florida
Ask an angler to name the best fishing spot in Florida, and each will likely have a unique opinion. That’s because there’s something for everyone in the state. Here are some of the most popular destinations that will probably make anyone’s list:
- Destin: Located in the Panhandle, this popular locale boasts species like snapper, triggerfish inland and sailfish and tuna farther from shore.
- West Palm Beach: With intercoastal waterways, lakes, and easy access to the Gulf stream and canals, West Palm Beach offers variety aplenty. Head offshore to catch big game species like mahi mahi and blackfin tuna.
- Stuart: After sailfish? Try Stuart on the eastern seaboard, known for as the sailfish capital of the world. It also has plenty of options for fishing from shore for added convenience.
- Lake Okeechobee: This largest freshwater lake in the state, measuring 730 square miles, is an ideal spot to catch largemouth bass and black crappie, among other species.
- Lake Tohopekaliga: Located close to Orlando, this idyllic and convenience spot near some of the state’s biggest tourist destinations is home to trophy-size bass.
- Florida Keys: The Keys offer plenty of fishing opportunities, from bridge fishing on the Boca Chica Channel Bridge in Key West to fishing the shipwrecks near Key Largo, where you’ll find grouper and snapper, plus other species.
- Islamorada: For sport fishing, there’s arguably no better spot than Islamorada, where anglers can experience the thrill of catching saltwater gamefish.
- Panama City Beach: Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Panama City Beach is known for its variety whether you’re inshore or deep-sea fishing, like mackerel, flounder, mahi mahi, trout, tuna and lots more.
Check Local Fishing Regulations
Once you settle on a spot to wet your line, be sure to check the state’s fishing regulations, which can change as often as semi-annually. The rules contain information on when certain species are in season, any size and take restrictions on the fish you’re after, and guidance on acceptable methods.
Staying Safe Wherever You Fish
Depending on the time of year, it can be important to watch the weather to avoid any unsafe and even extreme conditions such as lightning storms and hurricanes. Consult the National Weather Service for weather warnings. It’s also critical to stay hydrated and take precautions to avoid heat stroke. And use sunscreen since the sun is strong enough year round to cause severe sunburns.