It is not difficult to see why saltwater fishing is exciting and strong in Florida. The best fishing places in Florida won’t allow anglers to be short on opportunities for capturing inshore saltwater fish the whole year round, whether they use a Garmin fish finder or not. Even Captains and fishing veterans prefer the inshore fishery on the Gulf Coast around the waters in the Crystal River section.
That said, the other parts of the state are also ranked highly for providing an exceptional fishery for spotted sea trout, tarpon, snook, redfish, and cobia.
The premier saltwater fishing destinations in Florida can be divided into the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast, which are described in the following paragraphs.
‘Big Mouth’ in Spanish, Boca Grande is readily the planet’s Tarpon Capital. From May to July, the 90-day season boasts an average tarpon catch of 5,500. Nowhere else in the world can a fishing destination boast such a record.
Boca Grande has plenty of fishing opportunities that ensure it remains a premier fishing destination in the world. Boca Grande does not only produce Tarpon for inshore fishing, it also delivers good Redfish fishery. What’s more, almost all year round, Speckled Trout and Snook can also be caught here.
Those are in addition to Bluefish, Sheepshead, and Spanish Mackerel that can be caught offshore. The largest Tarpon population is available from April through August.
Boca Grande has plenty of offshore artificial and natural reefs, which means trolling and bottom fishing along them will give you good catches of a wide range of reef fish. They include Mangrove, Red Snapper, Lane Snapper, Gag Grouper, Yellowtail Snapper, Kingfish, Red Grouper, Sharks, Barracuda, Amberjack, and Wahoo.
Around Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island are many seagrass flats into which the shallow waters of the Banana River Lagoon flow. This area is known for harboring sea trout. The mangrove swamps on the lagoon are snook havens.
Home to such a diverse fauna, the Banana River Lagoon systems hold a remarkably varied saltwater fishing environment. Aside from a large number of shorelines, there are roughly over 30 acres of shallow grass flats as well as several canals. All of these have served as home to countless resident and migrating fish.
A great number of fishers have increasingly done stalking of snook, black drum, speckled sea trout, redfish, ladyfish, tarpon, and jacks, among many others. Anglers have the option to use fly fishing and light tackle for the various inshore species. It is easy to access the Banana River flats. You can easily pull off the road or skim over the river in a flats boat during the early morning.
A huge number of experienced inshore guides provide services both to residents and visitors. To round out the ultimate Space Coast experience, you can also catch sight of wildlife such as dolphins, manatees, and bird life.
Most of the few quality flats fishing charters in the area can accommodate 1 to 3 anglers. They assist them with tackle, fishing gear, and licenses. A few pontoon boats are also on the Banana River. They provide private fishing charters to take up to 6 people and offer sufficient room to shade and spread out, ensuring a relaxing fishing experience.
Only a limited number of Captains provide guided SUP and kayak/paddle-board fishing trips. They are usually booked in the 1,000 islands of the Banana River or the awesome ‘No Motor Zone’. All the sites can boast wildlife and fish at times. Although there will be times when the fish don’t bite, those who go on fishing trips can depend on the guides who share their local knowledge of the bountiful natural beauty of the Space Coast.
The river has only a single outlet to the Atlantic Ocean via Port Canaveral.
Westward of the port, the lagoon system connects via the Barge Canal to the Indian River. A large variety of marine species make the marine grasses, oyster bars, mangrove swamps, drift algae, salt marshes, and spoil islands their home.
Jacksonville boasts a number of favorite fishing destinations. They include the Nassau Sound Fishing Bridge, which is one of Northeast Florida’s prime fishing spots. Spanning Nassau Sound, the mile-long fishing bridge can be accessed via Amelia Island State Park and enables you to capture Drum, Jack, Whiting, and Tarpon.
The Guana River Wildlife Management Area is a protected spot that provides access to exceptional surf fishing. It features Lake Ponte Vedra or Guana Lake, recognized for its harvest of redfish, flounder, black drum, and sea trout.
The Mayport Jetties is another favorite saltwater fishing spot at the mouth of the St. James River and the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy a day of inshore and offshore fishing for speckled trout, redfish, flounder, bonito, dolphin, sea bass, tuna, cobia, wahoo, and barracuda.
The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve offers a spectacular location for freshwater fishing. It is ideal for light tackle and fly fishing.
4. St. Augustine
Those who are on vacation in St. Augustine can book the best fishing excursions/charters for inland waterway fishing, deep-sea fishing, and a lot more. One of the most popular inshore spots for redfish is Salt River.
Encompassing the area from Sebastian South to Hobe Sound, Stuart gives access to some of the best inshore gamefish including Permit, LadyFish, Pompano, Sea Trout, Pompano, Redfish, Snook, Snapper, Sheepshead, and Sea Trout. Offshore and nearshore targets include grouper, flounder, barracuda, blackfin, bonito, blacktip shark, cobia, dolphin, jack crevalle, sailfish, and Spanish Mackerel.
The Big Bend area, which extends from Cedar Key to Homosassa, has consistently been recognized for having a high concentration of redfish, which inhabit the limestone bottom and shelves of the coastal waters. The Crystal River area is where fly fishing records for tarpon have been set for a long time.
The majority of inshore charters can expect to sight speckled trout, flounder, redfish, black drum, and the occasional triple tail. The spring-fed rivers also keep plenty of big snook around.
Another of the best Florida fishing spots in the Atlantic Coast include Chassahowitzka. The eastern three miles of the Chassahowitzka River is the section where anglers are likely to bag sheepshead, mangrove snapper, bluegill, and largemouth bass.
Meanwhile, the western half of the river, with its fluctuating tides and expansive views, offers saltwater fishing where the catches include red drum redfish, a sprinkling of inshore snapper and drum species, along with snook. Those who are serious enough to venture to the Gulf of Mexico will have potential not only for those saltwater fish but also cobia, tarpon, Spanish Mackerel, jack crevalle, sharks, pompano, and spotted sea trout.
Everglades and Keys
The Everglades and Florida Keys offer prime tarpon season from May to June. Tarpon can be fished anywhere from the coast of the Glades to the oceanside and bridges. There are enormous opportunities for silver kings, as well. Fishing for reds in Florida Bay as well as snook fishing starts heating up from the middle to the end of May. Those who love casting topwater plugs will hit paydirt during the last days of May or first days of June.
Annually, the Ten Thousand Islands area provides large quantities of sea trout in the Everglades. Another prime destination includes the Chokoloskee area, where snook, cobia, trout, and redfish can be fished. For tarpon, the Florida Keys, particularly along Islamorada and Marathon, deliver good fishery.
Acclaimed for its big trout potentials, the mouth of the St. Marks River in Panhandle provides anglers an exciting experience. All the way to Louisiana, the whole coastline is popular for catches of big redfish, big trout, and cobia. Up to 100 redfish can be caught per day in September.
Enjoy terrific snook fishing in the flats of Tampa Bay’s southern section. Various species can be caught also in various parts of the year and they include amberjack, pompano, red grouper, black drum, sea trout, snook, redfish, cobia, barracuda, sheepshead, shark, jack crevalle, Spanish Mackerel, King mackerel, permit, ladyfish, bluefish, little tunny, and trout.