Miami is famous for a lot of things but being close to the gulf stream is probably at the top of the list for offshore anglers. Easy access to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream means short travel times to reach prime feeding grounds for some of the most prized sportfish. Almost every big league deep sea fish lives here at some point during the year and makes Miami one of the best places in the country if not the world to catch huge pelagic fish.
While Miami is a vibrant city full of culture, nightlife, and beautiful beaches, fishing has always been a big part of what brought people here. The commercial fishing industry in Miami started in the 1800s and by the early 1900s had become a substantial part of the Florida economy. The 1900s also brought tourists and the start of charter fishing.
Miami and Maimi Beach are located on the eastern side of southern Florida which comes with the benefit of being close to the Gulf Stream. The Gulf stream is an ocean current that runs up the east coast of the United States and ends near Europe. Because the current runs from south to north it transports warm water into areas that would be very cold. The warm water creates the perfect condition for schools of baitfish which attract the attention of larger sportfish. Another big part of the rich offshore fishing is the reefs, shipwrecks, and ledges which are great structures for fish to feed and find cover.
The reefs just offshore from Miami are great for targeting a variety of species including snapper, grouper, amberjack, and Spanish mackerel. Red snapper are the most popular snapper found offshore but there are several other snapper species that can be caught. The three most popular snapper species are cubera, mutton, and mangrove snapper. Mangrove snapper tend to be found closer to shore but will occasionally turn up in the shallower reefs. Several grouper species can be found here as well including goliath, red, and black grouper.
The greater amberjack or amberjack for short is a powerful fish that also inhabits the reefs and shipwrecks. They are commonly caught by anglers targeting red snapper but they put up a much bigger fight. Spanish mackerel are not necessarily reef fish but they tend to hang around the edges of structure to find baitfish. They are a cousin of the king mackerel(kingfish) but are usually much smaller reaching a weight of 10 to 12 pounds.
The biggest fish caught offshore from Miami are swordfish and marlin both of which can easily grow to over 300 pounds. While 300 pounds is large for both fish in this area, the trophy-sized marlin and swordfish have been known to break the 1,000-pound mark. These monstrous fish will test the endurance and will of even the most hardened anglers with fights that can last for hours.
The fastest and sometimes most aggressive deep sea fish are wahoo, mahi mahi. and kingfish. These fish usually patrol the open waters in schools and catch other fish by running them down with a quick sprint. These fish bring the fight with their speed and are capable of making the reel smoke as they take out drag.
As the official fastest fish in the world, sailfish can reach speeds of almost 70 mph. These fish are caught using a special technique called kitefishing. A kite is attached to the line which keeps the bait skipping across the surface which is right where sailfish hunt for food. Kitefishing is an experience like no other and when a sailfish crushes your bait get ready for them to go screaming through the water in the other direction.
There are endless fishing spots in the waters just offshore from Miami but over time there are a couple that have gained a reputation for producing fish.
Bache Shoal Reef is surrounded by wrecks which gives snapper and grouper species the perfect place to feed and find cover. Sailfish are also a popular catch because of the schools of baitfish that take shelter here. Bottom fishing and kite fishing are the most productive approaches while fishing the Bache Shoal Reef. If it’s the middle of the season for tourism you might have to skip this spot because it’s also a popular snorkeling spot.
This old shipwreck has become an artificial reef that attracts and supports a ton of wildlife. This ship is sunk in just over 350ft of water and it holds some of the biggest pelagic species in the area. The Liberty Ship is home to an abundance of swordfish and sailfish which can be caught throughout the year.
Miami has a variety of fish with different seasons which make it great to fish any time of year. There are also some fish that reside in the offshore waters year-round including cobia, jack crevalle, and wahoo. While amberjack have their peak bite in the spring, marlin and mahi mahi are great summer options and are sure to entertain with big blow-ups. Winter also has amazing sportfishing with sailfish, kingfish, and blackfin getting throughout the cooler months.
Just minutes away from the bustling city is one of the largest open water inshore fisheries on Florida's Atlantic coast. Biscayne Bay stretches from North Miami all the way down to Elliot Key close to the Southern Glades which opens up endless options to catch some quality fish. Throughout Biscayne Bay there are numerous islands, flats, cuts, canals, and channels. Here is where you'll find monster Snook, Permit, Bonefish, Redfish, and more.
If you can stand the heat of summer, you'll have a chance at catching Miami's true A-lister: the Tarpon. These Silver Kings hang out in channels, flats, and around bridge pilings as they fill up on schooling Menhaden and other baitfish snacks.
Miami inshore fishing isn't all about the saltwater, however. The city's freshwater canals are full of massive Peacock and Largemouth Bass, which put up incredible fights for landlocked species.
It’s widely known that Miami has it all when it comes to entertainment and things to do. Art museums, professional sports, local cuisine, and unmatched nightlife are sure to keep you busy after you get off the water. Head to Miami Beach for mile-wide white sand beaches, awesome restaurants, and nightclubs. Check out the Wynwood Walls to see works of art on display from world-renowned and local artists. If shopping is important for the group head to the Bayside Marketplace. If you need something relaxing or family-friendly to do head to the Miami Seaquarium and see some incredible aquatic life up close. The best place to get some delicious seafood is Joe’s Stone Crab and we promise you will dream of going back. All of these activities are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding things to do in Miami. You can be sure no matter the group, Miami has something for everyone.