South East Coast States

You can use this state-by-state summary as a seasonal resource for the best times to saltwater fish in south east coast states. Water temperature will vary by season, and spawning patterns cause fish to migrate during different times of the year.

From Virginia down to Mississippi, the best times to saltwater fish in south east coast states will depend on a few different factors. First, you will need to decide where you want to go fishing in the southeast. In other words, which state do you plan to visit? Second, you will need to consider the effect of saltwater tides since tidal movement can play a part in determining when to saltwater fish. Third, you will need to consider which species you want to catch since some species are migratory, and there are also may be set fishing seasons for certain species based on the state regulations.

Just remember to check a local tide chart to give you an idea of the specific hours to fish because the best time to go will always be on either an incoming tide or outgoing tide when there is plenty of current.


If you are itching to go deep sea fishing in Alabama, then you should know that summer is one of the best times to plan a trip. The offshore waters are usually calmer during this time of year, and species such as red snapper or king mackerel are active. During the fall and winter months, you may want to focus on fishing the coastal bays and inshore areas for red drum, spotted seatrout and flounder. Once spring arrives, cobia and tripletail are often spotted offshore near structure.


Spring is one of the best times to saltwater fish in south east coast states, with Florida being a popular destination for anglers interested in fishing in the southeast. May and June in Florida signal the arrival of migratory saltwater sport fish species such as tarpon and permit. However, if your goal is to head out on an offshore boat for sailfish, the winter months between December and February will be your best bet. For those who prefer to fish offshore reefs or wrecks for grouper or snapper, summer is often the most popular time of year to go because the offshore waters tend to be calmer during the summer months.


When summer arrives in Georgia, the fishing heats up along with the air temperatures. The summer season is the time to target flounder, Spanish mackerel, cobia, tarpon, sheepshead, red drum, and black drum in Georgia's inshore waters. Species such as vermilion snapper, grouper, and black sea bass can also be found during this time of year on the offshore reefs. During the late fall is when to fish for spotted seatrout or red drum as they begin to migrate up saltwater inshore creeks and rivers.


Wondering when to saltwater fish Mississippi's Gulf Coast? Spring and fall are good seasons to fish inshore for red drum, sheepshead, flounder and black drum. Winter, however, is a good time to focus your fishing efforts offshore. December can be a very productive month to troll for tuna and wahoo. Meanwhile, mangrove snapper and grouper can be found on the offshore wrecks, and reefs.


One of the best times of year to pay a visit to saltwater fishing spots in North Carolina is during the spring. Places like the Outer Banks are hot spots for offshore boats seeking yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, and bluefin tuna. Wahoo, sailfish and dolphin Cobia, amberjack, king mackerel, grouper, and snapper head toward nearshore wrecks, reefs, and structure. If you'd rather know where to fish inshore, you can head to places like Carolina Beach in the late spring and early summer to catch flounder, red drum, and spotted seatrout.


The fall and winter months are the ideal time to go saltwater fishing in South Carolina. Places like Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach offer good inshore fishing opportunities for flounder, trout, and red drum during this time of year. Grouper, amberjack, vermilion snapper, and black sea bass can be caught on the offshore wrecks and reefs while bottom fishing.


Many saltwater Virginia locales, such as Virginia Beach and the Chesapeake Bay, offer some of the best striped bass fishing during the spring and fall months. During spring this species heads north toward cooler waters near New England, and then during the fall head back south toward warmer waters. Peak fishing activity for inshore species such as red drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, and bluefish generally takes place between June and October.

Now that you have a good idea about the best times to saltwater fish in south east coast states, be sure to check the fishing regulations for the specific state you plan to visit and purchase your fishing license online.