Top Florida Fishing Charters
Captain Conan and Alyssa were excellent. Here is a picture of me, Captain Conan and the giant Jack we caught (we used a blackfin tuna we caught earlier in the charter). He is clearly an experienced captain with an ability to put clients on fish.
Danny F. with Conan Y. of Islamorada, Florida
We all had a great time, seth was awesome and very knowledgeable. He was also great with the kids. We will definitely be back!!!
Nicholas W. with Seth L. of Destin, Florida
Captain Jayme - Excellent trip with Jayme and his mate. Friendly, professional, and went out of their way to make sure we caught fish. Will definitely fish again with them.
Mark M. with Jayme S. of Key Largo, Florida
Great trip with a great guide. Captain Juan got us on fish and created a great experience for our group of 4. Highly recommend him.
Jonathan L. with Juan H. of St. Petersburg, Florida
Beautiful day, water was a little rough, we didn’t catch but a few fish. All in all it was a good trip, got to see some dolphins also.
Brad H. with Larry S. of Pensacola, Florida
We had a great time fishing. John was great knowledgeable and did everything he could to make the fishing trip successful for us. We would reccomend Captain Experience to anybody. We will definitely be booking it again when we go back to Key West.
Eve T. with Mark B. of Key West, Florida
Captain Jason proactively reached out the day we booked to confirm, learn about our fishing interests, and prep us. He texted the night before with all the details for the next morning. He and Blaine were ready and eager to get out and show us a great time. Blaine was awesome giving us instructions and tips to make sure we had success. He worked his tail off for us and had a blast while doing it. Got 2 black fins right away and had an awesome day in the Gulf. Will be telling all our friends from up North to book the Great Escape!
Mark H. with Jason R. of Destin, Florida
Fabulous day! Captain Eric had plan and put right on the fish. What a great experience, everyone had a good fight and landed some great fish. Many Thanks
Whitney S. with Eric R. of Key Largo, Florida
Had a good time only thing wrong with the trip was the wind. had to hide in the mangroves but caught some fish
Danny S. with John J. of Key West, Florida
Dylan was great. Very professional, helped with our girls having a great time. I would highly recommend him.
Robert C. with Dylan H. of Fort Myers, Florida
Everything You Need to Know About Florida Fishing
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....Read More
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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
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.
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 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.
- Apalachicola, Florida
- Bradenton, Florida
- Cedar Key, Florida
- Big Pine Key, Florida
- Boca Grande, Florida
- Cape Coral, Florida
- Clearwater, Florida
- Cocoa Beach, Florida
- Daytona Beach, Florida
- Delray Beach, Florida
- Destin, Florida
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Fort Myers, Florida
- Islamorada, Florida
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Jupiter, Florida
- Key Largo, Florida
- Key West, Florida
- Lake Okeechobee, Florida
- Marathon, Florida
- Miami, Florida
- Miramar Beach, Florida
- Naples, Florida
- Orlando, Florida
- Panama City Beach, Florida
- Pensacola, Florida
- Port St. Lucie, Florida
- Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
- Sarasota, Florida
- St. Augustine, Florida
- St. George Island, Florida
- Tampa, Florida
- West Palm Beach, Florida
- Longboat Key, Florida
- Navarre, Florida
- Port St Joe, Florida
- Punta Gorda, Florida
- Siesta Key, Florida
- Saint Marks, Florida
- St Pete Beach, Florida
- St Petersburg, Florida
- Tarpon Springs, Florida
- Treasure Island, Florida