Florida Fishing Seasons: Spring

Updated on August 8, 2022

The spring months are a great time to go fishing in Florida The weather is warming up and the fish are biting. Whether you're fishing, freshwater, inshore, nearshore, or way offshore, there are plenty of great catches to be had. Fish migration patterns change as the weather warms, so it’s important to know where to head out. Many species spawn in the springtime, so spring is a great opportunity to hook fish while they feed.

Freshwater

Spring is a great time for freshwater fishing because popular sunfish species move up from the depths to the warm shallows, where they are easily targeting by anglers. Bass and Bluegill return to their constructed beds, which are typically found in shallow waters with sandy bottoms near vegetation. It is especially important to release fish quickly if you are practicing catch and release. Freshwater fish are vulnerable during spawning season and should be returned to water soon after you make your catch.

Inshore

If you're inshore fishing in Florida during the spring months, you can target a variety of species such as Snook, Redfish, Trout, and Tarpon. Snook and Redfish spawn during the springtime, so they are actively feeding and always looking for a bite. Snook can be found around mangrove areas and narrow inlet passes. They can often be caught from the shore or the deck of a small bay boat. Redfish will be in large schools around reefs and grass flats. Speckled Trout spawn later in spring, but they will be schooling up around deeper channels and bridges in preparation for spawning season.

captain will tarpon

Captain Will and a massive scaly Tarpon

And of course, Tarpon season runs from late March to early June. The “Silver Kings” are a bucket list fish for many anglers and are famous for their powerful runs and spectacular leaps. Many anglers crown the shallows around beaches trying to catch these amazing armored fish.

Nearshore

Nearshore fishing during the spring season can be some of the most fun and productive activities because there are so many options. Many fish are feeding on the surface during this time like Tarpon, and Jack Crevalle. There are also schools of Cobia and Kingfish available. Snook, Redfish, and Trout can also be found nearshore. If you find any type of nearshore cover, you’re in for a treat. Reefs, wrecks, rock piles, and piers are swarming with snapper, Sheepshead, and Flounder. Bottom fishing is a common technique for these species, which can be very productive.

Offshore

Offshore fishing in the Florida spring is dedicated to huge pelagics, mostly found in the Gulf. The waters of the Gulf warm faster than the Atlantic, so the west coast is where most offshore guides set out from. There are some windy days, but Grouper and Amberjack are often caught when the weather permits. In the spring grouper move closer to shore than other times of the year, but Amberjack are found on deeper reefs. Spring is the best time to catch King Mackerel as they move north from the Keys. Offshore fishing charters can troll for a day and pull in a ton of Kingfish.

If you head out early in the spring, you might catch the tail end of Sailfish and Wahoo season. However, these are only caught in very deep waters and rarely after February.

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