When it comes to flats fishing in Florida, it involves a culture unlike any other. Sight fisherman on both fly and light tackle have built a community here that dwarfs that of any other state. When it comes to flats fishing in Florida, you would be looking for fishing what equates to shallow water estuaries. The largest shallow water estuary in the state is located in Tampa Bay. Continue reading “Tampa Flats Fishing”
When you talk about offshore fishing the west coast of Florida, you are talking about offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico has a wide array of offshore species to target. However, these species are located in many different locations and distances depending on your launch point.
In the central west coast of Florida, you will find that offshore fishing the Homosassa area can bring you into the zone for specific big game. Namely, big grouper and big red snapper. But while here, you will also get shots at cobia, kingfish, amberjacks, and hogfish – to name just a few.
As you start wrapping around the state north, you will find the addition of wahoo and some billfish opportunities, and that action extends all the way to the Texas fishery.
Headed south from that point, you run into offshore fishing in places like Tampa and Naples. These areas bring the addition of wreck fishing for species like Permit. Florida offshore fishing is so popular that even the kayak anglers here get into it. This is true from Pensacola Beach all the way around to the other coast in Pomapno.
So, whats the most popular Offshore Fishing in the West Coast of Florida? The middle grounds.
“The Middle Grounds is located in the northern Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles offshore. This popular fishing area has an average depth of 90 to 200 feet. You need heavy tackle to bring in the large Mangrove Snapper, 50 lb Gag & Black Grouper, 16″ Vermilion Snapper, and large Amberjack.
Most fish caught here tend to be large adults including Grouper, Amberjack, Mangrove Snapper, Mutton Snapper, Hog Snapper, Cubera Snapper, King Mackerel, Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), Cobia, Tilefish, Porgies, and Triggerfish. Large live Pinfish is the bait of choice in the Middle Grounds, especially if you want to catch a large Gag Grouper. There are long range overnight trips on chart boats that offer great fishing in the Middle Grounds if you don’t have a very large boat to get there.” Source
Florida is known as the fishing capital of the world, this is in part due to the excellent year round fishing the state has due to its climate & ecology. If you’re into Tarpon, then Florida is the best place in the US to target them. Florida has both resident Tarpon that spend their lives in the many estuaries located along the states coasts – but there is also an annual Tarpon migration that takes the state by storm every year (twice).
Places like Boca Grande are known for Tarpon fishing specifically. Boca Grande is considered the tarpon capital of the world because more tarpon are landed here than any where else on the planet. Nearby fisheries also reap this benefit, such as Tampa Tarpon fishing.
What’s cool about Tampa is that it has an excellent fishery for all of the other famous inshore species Florida is known for, including resident Tarpon. For Tampa fishing guides targeting Tarpon, this opens the opportunity to guide people not only into the large migration every year, but to also fish for the more elusive resident Tarpon as well.
But even on the exact opposite coast, you still find an excellent Tarpon fishery. Again resident fish are to be found, but with the addition of a huge yearly mullet run, Tarpon are sure to be chasing the tails of these massive bait pods. For instance Palm Beach tarpon fishing is some of the best on the East coast. This also includes most places along that coast, even down into Biscayne Bay.
But by far my favorite place to fish for Tarpon is the fishery located in the Everglades National Park. In “the park” you can find Tarpon on the ocean side of the Flamingo ramp, as well as all the way up into the backcountry areas. These resident Tarpon can be monstrous, while juvenile Tarpon are also abundant.
So, when you add all of this up, Florida is the worlds leader in Tarpon fishing.
When it comes to catching “big fish” I think everyone has their own thoughts on what these should be. Anything from sharks to marlin my come to mind, but regardless- big game species can be found globally in nearly every body of water. In Florida for instance you can get monstrous Goliath Grouper anywhere from local passes to offshore fishing areas.
In Topsail Beach, NC you can find huge Kingfish and big Bluefish in just 50 foot of water. While going further out for Mahi can be on the agenda, as well as trips out into the “blue water” where you can find many species of billfish. Another consideration is going after Tuna. Tuna are aggressive fighters that can reach insane weights.
To find a local guide you can venture into well known fishing directories. From here you can lock down someone who specializes in your exact big game bucket list fish, or just take you out for an adventurous day on the water.
I think one of the most important factors to big game fishing regardless of where you do it, is to consider doing your part to keep the fishery sustainable. Trophy big game fishing is not supported by this site or most responsible anglers. Meat fishing is fine, but keep “your share” respectable. I’d like to say my kids had the same opportunities to fight big fish just like you – but that will not happen by itself.
So, in the end, no matter where you are, there is a big game fish waiting just for you. Find the right Captain, be a responsible angler, and think about impacts as you make your way towards your next big game species.
Probably one of the biggest decisions you can make during a vacation is hiring a fishing charter service. It becomes important to make sure that you are going to enjoy the style of fishing you are going for, that your guide is the best for you, and that you do your due diligence to research a bit before making a decision. I think that all fishing guides are good, but not all guides are good for specifically you. Thanks to the internet, you can make the match with much better research tools than you had 15 years ago. Continue reading “Fishing Charters”
When thinking about Orlando, Florida you might go right to thoughts of Disney and Universal, but what many soon begin to realize is that the fishing in and around Orlando is some of the best on the planet. Being nestled close to both coasts of Florida, as well as having quick access to various freshwater fishing spots – you may really want to consider bringing out your inner angler on your next Orlando vacation. Continue reading “Orlando Fishing”