Damn good fishing guides in Florida

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Top fishing trips in FL

Everything to Know About Booking a fishing charter in Florida

What are the best fishing charters in Florida?

Our Damn Good Guides currently offer 768 trips in Florida, and the most popular trips in the area are Inshore Trip - 24’ Hydra-Sports center console guided by Justin, Key West Slam - 24' Sailfish guided by Justin, and Tavernier Backcountry Fishing guided by Ben.

Our guides in Florida are rated a 5 out of 5 based on 612 verified reviews on Captain Experiences.

All guides on Captain Experiences are licensed, insured, and vetted by our team. You can access their reviews, click through trip photos, read bios to get to know them, and preview trip details like species, techniques, group sizes, boat specs and more.

What types of fishing charters are common in Florida?

Inshore fishing is the most popular in Florida as well as nearshore fishing, offshore fishing, and flats fishing.

The most commonly sought after species in Florida are: 1. king mackerel / kingfish, 2. redfish, 3. speckled trout / spotted seatrout, 4. mahi mahi / dorado, and 5. gag grouper.

The most common fishing techniques in Florida are light tackle fishing, bottom fishing, and heavy tackle fishing but trolling and live bait fishing are popular as well.

How much do Florida fishing charters cost?

in Florida prices can range anywhere from $50 to $3,000 and up, but the average price for a half day in Florida is $716. The average price for a full day in Florida is $1,669.

When is the best time to go fishing in Florida?

The most popular season for fishing in Florida is summer, and most anglers book their trips 21 days in advance.

Where can I get a Florida fishing license and what are the bag limits in Florida?

See here for more information on fishing licenses in Florida, bag limits for target species, and fishing season regulations in Florida. When in doubt, your fishing guide will always know the right rules and regulations in Florida.

Fishing in the Sunshine State

Florida is known as the “Fishing Capital of the World,” and for good reason: with some of the best sport fishing year round in the Gulf of Mexico, incredible access to the continental shelf along the Atlantic Coast, and over 30,000+ lakes, Florida houses the most diverse set of species and the best fishing in the United States.

Fishing Florida's Coasts

**Florida Inshore Fishing**

Inshore fishing in Florida includes everything within one nautical mile along either the Gulf or Atlantic coast. This will give you access to estuaries, bays, intercoastal waterways, and saltwater flats all along both coasts. The diversity of bays and flats across Florida make it a world-class inshore fishery. Beginners and experts alike flock here for everything from a family friendly redfish outing in the bay to a chance at a permit on the fly.

**Florida Nearshore Fishing**

Nearshore fishing in Florida will take you out to deeper waters with bigger fish, but remaining within sight of the coast. These warm waters are some of the best Florida has to offer where fish of all sizes can be found among the wrecks and reefs. Staying nearshore will reduce the travel time and increase the time you can spend fishing. Florida’s state waters are a great spot to bottom fish for snapper and grouper, fish the surf for pompano, and even troll for spanish mackerel, kingfish, cobia and more.

**Florida Offshore Fishing**

Heading offshore in Florida takes you into the deep blue, federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or the Atlantic Ocean depending on which coast you’re on. If you’re staying in the Keys, you’ll even have access to both, making Florida very unique. Commonly, good fishing begins anywhere from 20 to 30 miles away from the coast. The blue waters of Florida are some of the best places to be able to catch a multitude of trophy fish migrating through such as tuna and sailfish, as well as other seasonal fish like mahi-mahi.

Top Saltwater Catches in Florida

**Inshore Target Species in Florida**

**Snook Fishing in Florida**

The warm coastal waters of Florida provide the perfect fishing for snook as they prefer water above 60 degrees. They can be found cruising the saltwater flats, patrolling rivers, and even right off the beach or under bridges.

**Tarpon Fishing in Florida**

The silver kings of the sea, tarpon, are a prehistoric fish that have been around for 125 million years, and now reside in the warm waters of Florida's shoreline. These beautiful, metallic fish are known for being stubborn, strong, and highly acrobatic, and will test any angler’s skills.

**Bonefish Fishing in Florida**

Bonefish, or gray ghosts, are elusive fish that are highly regarded by anglers in their difficulty to catch. Florida, especially the Keys, are one of the most renowned locations to fish for them, as they cruise the flats at up to 40 mph.

**And more!**

Florida’s coasts are full of a diverse range of fish, giving you access to permit, pompano, mangrove snapper, and more.

**Nearshore Target Species in Florida**

**Grouper Fishing in Florida**

There are several species of grouper that live in Florida, including the black and gag groupers. They are stocky, stubborn, and often territorial. Florida water’s are a perfect environment for them to hide amongst rocks, reefs, and wrecks waiting for some bait to drop by.

**Snapper Fishing in Florida**

Red snapper, vermillion snapper, lane snapper, yellowtail snapper, if you want snapper, Florida has them. With over 12 species of snapper around the state, there are plenty to choose from. Although they can often be found among the reefs and wrecks in statewater, different species will travel both inshore and offshore, so if there’s a particular species you’re seeking, it’s important to check where they’ll be at that time of year.

**Tripletail Fishing in Florida**

Tripletail can be found in great numbers in the nearshore waters of Florida gathering around free floating masses in the water such as grass mats and even trash. This makes them great for sight casting, and will put up an acrobatic fight full of long runs.

**And more!**

Although these three make up the nearshore grand slam for Florida, there are some other great fish to be found along the reefs and wrecks like Spanish mackerel, kingfish, cobia, and more.

**Offshore Target Species in Florida**

**Mahi Mahi Fishing in Florida**

Mahi mahi literally means “strong strong” and when you get hooked on a line with one, you’ll discover that first hand. In the late spring and summer months, Florida is the place to find these dolphinfish, dophin, dorado, whatever you want to call them, you’ll find them.

**Sailfish Fishing in Florida**

The cheetahs of the ocean, sailfish, are a highly prized target for trophy fishing in Florida. Atlantic sailfish can be found cruising the deep waters as they migrate along the Gulf and Atlantic coast November through February, and sometimes even as late as April.

**Wahoo Fishing in Florida**

Wahoo are fierce predators, favored by anglers for their leap, jumping clear out of the water when on the line. They are even known to make last minute attacks on lures right at the edge of the boat. Wahoo can be found around the coasts of Florida year round, but are best in the summer months. It is rumored that they thrive after a full moon, giving you the chance to say you really caught a monster.

**And more!**

Catching these three big guys will give you the title of the Florida deep water grand slam, but there’s plenty more to catch out there. From amberjack, tuna, and more there’s plenty of water to search and big fish to be found.

**Top Freshwater Catches in Florida**

**Peacock Bass**

The lakes and canal banks of Florida are one of the few places that give you access to some exotic freshwater fish like peacock bass and clown knifefish. These bucket list fish are prime at dusk and dawn, and will give you a chance to see their golden halos shine in the sunshine.

**Hybrid Striped Bass**

Hybrid striped bass, or stripers, are another bucket list fish that have been stocked in freshwater lakes and rivers across Florida. They can be found in deep water of the lakes, and cruising river channels throughout the day, depending on the time of year, and are a finicky fish but well worth the reward.

**Largemouth Bass**

Largemouth bass are an iconic freshwater fish of the United States, and are known to Floridians as the “Florida bass.” They don’t claim these bass as their own for no reason, Florida is home to some excellent largemouth fishing, and tend to be much larger than their northern brothers.

Best Places to Fish Florida’s Saltwater

**The Emerald Coast**

**Destin**

Some of the best fishing to be done in the world is in the Panhandle of Florida, and Destin is the perfect location to seek it. Originally founded by fishermen, Destin is known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” due to having a wide selection of fish variety, access directly to the Gulf of Mexico, and having one of the nation’s largest commercial fishing fleets. The “100-fathom curve” is just 12 miles offshore, which is some of the deepest of the Gulf. With year round fishing for snapper, shark, tarpon and more Destin offers everything from inshore fishing to offshore, as well as plenty of tourism activities to enjoy if you can get yourself off the water long enough.

**Pensacola & Pensacola Beach**

Pensacola and Pensacola Beach (PCB), are known for excellent reef fishing, with both natural and artificial reefs providing the area with plenty of grouper, snapper, triggerfish, sharks, and more. In fact, it was once known as the “Red Snapper Capital of the World,” only now beaten by Orange Beach, AL. With access to the river channel, three bays, and the Gulf of Mexico, there are many different ecosystems to explore inshore, nearshore, and offshore fishing.

**The Gulf Coast**

**Tampa**

The Tampa area has hot summers and moderate winters, making for excellent weather with a year-round bite. From half-day Tampa flats fishing, to multi-day deep sea trips, and everything in between there’s plenty of fishing to be done once you escape the crowds of the theme parks.

**St. Petersburg & Clearwater**

St. Petersburg is considered to have a medley of fertile flats, mangrove-lined shores, canals, and barrier islands that provide excellent inshore fishing. Further to Clearwater adds all of these and shallow bayous. When you combine this amazing inshore fishing, to the area’s access to the Gulf and remote reefs, a prime fishing spot is created.

Sarasota

With access to Sarasota Bay, full of grass flats, oyster bars, and mangrove shorelines, as well as Big Sarasota Pass and New Pass that lead to the Gulf of Mexico, there are a variety of fish to be caught in Sarasota. The mix of salt and freshwater creates an estuary that is prime for both bait and gamefish to flourish.

**Fort Myers**

Way down yonder on the Caloosahatchee, the prime inshore waters of Fort Myers can be found, with just a short boat ride to the Gulf of Mexico. With the Caloosahatchee River, Estero Bay, miles and miles of canals and intertidal creeks, combined with great weather, there are some excellent fisheries to catch tarpon, snook, shark and more.

**Florida Keys**

**Islamorada**

Islamorada is about one third of the way down the Keys, and is considered the “Fishing Capital of Florida.” Being next to Florida Bay, as well as having access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean gives anglers in Islamorada the advantage of being able to fish nearly every species that swims. The Gulf Stream is also only around 10 to 20 miles offshore, bringing sailfish, marlin, tuna and more closer to shore.

**Key West**

The Gulf Stream also travels close to Key West, making deep-sea fishing easily accessible from there as well. However what’s really special about Key West is the gathering of Atlantic tarpon, the silver kings. When waters warm during the late spring, tarpon will make their yearly migratory stop. This is the perfect time to get the Key West grand slam - tarpon, bonefish, and permit.

**Key Largo**

Key Largo is a great place to fish because it is a great place for fish. This is because warm, nutrient-rich water from the Caribbean Basin, mix with water flowing from the Everglades and Florida Bay. Key Largo is also the unofficial entrance to the keys, being only an hour away from Miami, making it an easy fishing destination to go to.

**Marathon**

The ability to go fishing year round in Marathon is just one of the reasons that fishing there is so popular. With beautiful, warm weather year round the fish are always biting. The other big draw is the ease of fishing in so many different environments. From fishing flats for tarpon and bonefish, to heading offshore for everything from mahi-mahi to sailfish, Marathon has it all.

**Gold Coast**

**Miami**

Usually when people first think of Miami they think of the big city with high-rise condos and a booming nightlife, however just a short boat ride away there’s an escape from the busy city into the blue waters of the Atlantic coast fisheries. Between Biscayne Bay and the Bahamas only an hour away, there’s plenty of fishing to be done inshore and among the reefs offshore. Spend the day in the bays and flats for snook and redfish, or head out to catch the current sailfish cruise.

**Fort Lauderdale**

Fort Lauderdale is a special spot for fishing because within a 20 minute drive, you can fish both fresh and saltwater. The Atlantic waters surrounding Fort Lauderdale are teeming with life, and heading right off the beach or Hollywood Boardwalk into the crystal waters to do some inshore fishing snook or tarpon, or offshore for some billfish is the perfect place to start.

**West Palm Beach**

There is great fishing both inshore and offshore in West Palm Beach, however one of the biggest highlights is the direct access to Sailfish Alley. Sailfish Alley is a submerged canyon where billfish cruise right by West Palm Beach and is the best hotspot to hit to target your trophy. Mahi, wahoo, and more can also be found here and in the surrounding waters, making your day sure to be action packed.

**Space Coast**

**Cocoa Beach**

Cocoa Beach has great fishing in the Intercoastal Waterways and deep water for kingfish, marlin, and more, however the real gem is the access to Indian River Lagoon System. This system is made up of the Banana, Indian, and Mosquito Rivers and are prime for targeting many inshore species, but especially redfish. It is also right on the northernmost border of the snook population.

**Riviera Beach**

Whether you’d like to deep drop along the reefs and wrecks, or go kite fishing for trophy billfish, Riviera Beach is the place to go. It is a sport fisherman’s paradise for targeting big fish like tuna, sailfish, and more.

**Melbourne Beach**

Melbourne Beach is one of the world’s premier locations for surf fishing. While relaxing with your toes in the sand, you can wet your line and have direct access to snook, pompano, shark, and more. With over 15 miles of pristine beach, there’s plenty of space to find the perfect spot and catch your next personal best.

**Palm Beach**

Palm Beach has excellent inshore fishing for snook, tarpon, and more, but what makes it special is also its namesake. Palm Beach is named after the Providencia, a ship that wrecked with over 20,000 coconuts that washed ashore and grew into palms. That wreck, along with other sunken boats, reefs, and rocks make it an excellent place to fish for amberjack, barracuda, and more.

Best Places to Fish Florida’s Freshwaters

**Fort Lauderdale**

Although Fort Lauderdale is known for their sailfish fishing, it also provides access to a plethora of lakes and waterways of the Everglades and more full of bass, including the exotics. Whether you’re after a giant Florida largemouth, or the opportunity to make memories, Fort Lauderdale has it all.

**Delray Beach**

Nestled on the Southeast side of Florida between Miami and West Palm Beach, Delray Beach offers saltwater and freshwater fishing. On Lake Ida and the surrounding brackish canals, exotics , largemouth, panfish, and more are just waiting to be caught. All of these combined provide a unique fishing experience only to be found in Delray Beach.

**Lake Okeechobee**

Lake Okeechobee is a world-famous bass fishery covering 448,000 surface acres of water holding some monster largemouth bass. With plenty of vegetation and structure, species like bluegill, catfish, sunfish and more can thrive.

Best Season for Florida Fishing

We can’t say it enough, Florida fishing is where it’s at all year round. While some migratory species (like billfish) will still have peak and ebb seasons, you will find fun on the water no matter when you visit.

Best Guided Fishing Trips in Florida

Captain Experiences is here to help you find the perfect guide to make the most of your time in the Fishing Capital of the World. With hundreds of Damn Good Guides throughout the state of Florida, we can help you find the ideal location and type of trip. Select from our available locations below, head here to browse all trip options, or contact us for help finding the perfect guide.



How are fishing conditions in Florida?

Florida Fishing Reports from Our Damn Good Guides. See more reports for Florida.

    Let the mullet run madness begin! The swell last week pushed the first wave of mullet into the palm beaches. Only downfall has been the rain runoff which has made the water dirty. The intercostal, beaches, and inlets are full of bait schools and the snook are there crashing and feeding on these baits. Find the bait schools and use live baits on jig heads or free-lined to get the strike. Rapala skitter walks and DOA BaitBusters are also great baits to entice the linesiders. Tarpon! favorite beast to target, can be seen exploding on bait schools along the beaches and inside the intercostal. Both sides of the tides tarpon are chewing. Find bait schools and fish the perimeter with live baits or DOA BaitBuster for success. Smaller tarpon can be targeted along mangrove shorelines using live baits, DOA 4" jerk baits and popper flies. The big jacks are starting to invade the intercostal, busting up mullet pods with a vengeance. Rapala skitter walks DOA PT-7 weedless top water and live baits will get the drag screaming. Schooling fish can be seen attacking bait schools making it fun to target and catch fish one after another. Well that is the fishing report for the past week, hope you all enjoyed. Remember you can’t catch them from the couch, so get out there and get hooked up. Tight Lines!
    Let the mullet run madness begin! The swell last week pushed the first wave of mullet into the palm beaches. Only downfall has been the rain runoff which has made the water dirty. The intercostal, beaches, and inlets are full of bait schools and the snook are there crashing and feeding on these baits. Find the bait schools and use live baits on jig heads or free-lined to get the strike. Rapala skitter walks and DOA BaitBusters are also great baits to entice the linesiders. Tarpon! favorite beast to target, can be seen exploding on bait schools along the beaches and inside the intercostal. Both sides of the tides tarpon are chewing. Find bait schools and fish the perimeter with live baits or DOA BaitBuster for success. Smaller tarpon can be targeted along mangrove shorelines using live baits, DOA 4" jerk baits and popper flies. The big jacks are starting to invade the intercostal, busting up mullet pods with a vengeance. Rapala skitter walks DOA PT-7 weedless top water and live baits will get the drag screaming. Schooling fish can be seen attacking bait schools making it fun to target and catch fish one after another. Well that is the fishing report for the past week, hope you all enjoyed. Remember you can’t catch them from the couch, so get out there and get hooked up. Tight Lines!
    Let the mullet run madness begin! The swell last week pushed the first wave of mullet into the palm beaches. Only downfall has been the rain runoff which has made the water dirty. The intercostal, beaches, and inlets are full of bait schools and the snook are there crashing and feeding on these baits. Find the bait schools and use live baits on jig heads or free-lined to get the strike. Rapala skitter walks and DOA BaitBusters are also great baits to entice the linesiders. Tarpon! favorite beast to target, can be seen exploding on bait schools along the beaches and inside the intercostal. Both sides of the tides tarpon are chewing. Find bait schools and fish the perimeter with live baits or DOA BaitBuster for success. Smaller tarpon can be targeted along mangrove shorelines using live baits, DOA 4" jerk baits and popper flies. The big jacks are starting to invade the intercostal, busting up mullet pods with a vengeance. Rapala skitter walks DOA PT-7 weedless top water and live baits will get the drag screaming. Schooling fish can be seen attacking bait schools making it fun to target and catch fish one after another. Well that is the fishing report for the past week, hope you all enjoyed. Remember you can’t catch them from the couch, so get out there and get hooked up. Tight Lines!

Cities in Florida

Species in Florida

Techniques in Florida

Water Types in Florida