Updated on August 4, 2022
When it comes to fishing, Florida is a top destination. With more than 1,000 miles of coastline, there are plenty of places to cast your line. Whether you're looking for a quiet town with a laid-back atmosphere or a bustling city full of nightlife and activities, you'll find what you're looking for in one of Florida's many fishing towns. These are the best destinations in the Sunshine State.
“The Luckiest Fishing Village in the World” is an obvious candidate for fishing in Florida. Seriously, that’s their town slogan. Located on the Emerald Coast, this town is home to the largest fleet on the Panhandle. This town bleeds fishing, and a variety of awesome saltwater species are hauled into the docks every year. From the fan-favorite Red Snapper to different types of Grouper, Destin embodies everything in a Florida fishing town. The abundance of fish in these crystal clear waters has turned Destin from a sleepy little fishing town into a tourist destination and a hub for fishing charters. Other aquatic activities have popped up like dolphin tours, water parks, and parasailing. Not to mention the boardwalk is full of great seafood restaurants that will clean and cook your catch for you however you want it prepared. Destin is full of great guides ready to take you on your next adventure.
Crystal River may not be the most bustling or well known fishing town in Florida, but it is located on the banks of some of the most productive flats in the world. The Crystal River is a network of brackish mangrove pathways full of Snook, Redfish, and Grouper. The town is perfect for those looking for classic, quaint getaways focused mainly on fishing. Of course, Crystal River is also world-renowned for its scalloping. Every summer, the bay waters at the mouth of the river are flooded with divers in search of these marine easter eggs. There may not be as much nightlife as Miami or Fort Lauderdale, but this quiet little town still draws some of the best anglers from around the state.
In contrast to Crystal River, Fort Lauderdale is a major city in Florida with exciting nightlife. It is a popular tourist destination and vacation spot, but also home to many anglers who fish the Atlantic. While many anglers’ minds jump to classic Gulf fishing when they think of Florida, the Atlantic side is home to some exciting species. Peacock Bass are a beautiful species that put up an incredible battle on the line. They are a bucket list fish for many anglers. You have to think of Tarpon too. The “Silver King” is one of the most sought-after fish for experienced anglers. Known for their spectacular leaps on the line, these armored monsters are plentiful in the flats around Fort Lauderdale. Not only are the fish thrilling, but the nightlife can be an adventure in and of itself. There are many high end hotels and restaurants in the town, as well as more affordable options. Check out some of these amazing trips to Fort Lauderdale!
Located just outside Tampa Bay, Clearwater offers access to the offshore Gulf waters as well as the inshore bay. The offshore waters have some of the best deep sea fishing in the Gulf, with huge pelagic species like Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and the famed Kingfish, which run in the spring and fall. The inshore reefs also offer excellent fishing, and are not that far from downtown Tampa, where there are plenty of exciting activities to do. Clearwater (and the nearby down of St. Petersburg) offer many small restaurants and homely hotels. A lot of the hotels are right on the water, so you can wake up and toss a line in. Like many fishing towns, the restaurants on the peninsula will cook the fish you catch in any capacity.
Deep in the Florida Keys, almost halfway to the Bahamas, lies the small fishing village of Islamorada. Islamorada is a chain of 6 islands in the Keys where fishing is everything. Marine life in Islamorada is truly special, and that includes the fishing. There are small reefs dotted all around the area filled with delicious fish, and it isn’t a far ride to get offshore to deeper waters where massive pelagics are plentiful. Wahoo, Tuna, Marlin, Goliath Grouper, and Snapper are all available. The town of Islamorada has developed around the excellent fishing scene, and so the economy has boomed. Luxury hotels on the water and 5 star restaurants are all around the island chain. While it may be hard to reach, it’s well worth the journey.