5 Florida Fishing Adventures

By: Terry Gibson

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Surrounded by fish-filled saltwater, and scored with tens of thousands of lakes, rivers and creeks, Florida offers the world’s best and most diverse fishing opportunities.

The possibilities are so endless that it can be tough deciding on a fishing adventure of a lifetime here. But here, whether fresh- or saltwater fishing is your thing, are five trips you’ll never forget, and why.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Nearly 70 miles west of Key West, the 100-square-mile park is so remote that savvy anglers opt for a two- to five-day live-aboard fishing trip via a charter vessel designed for such an adventure. The park teems with reef fish as well as pelagic species. You are virtually guaranteed to catch an enormous variety of species. Favorites include black grouper, mutton snapper and mahi mahi, as well as wahoo. There’s nothing like a sunset over the Gulf, enjoying libations and your fresh catch. Sleep is optional. The crews keep you on fish 24/7. The calmest seas occur late spring through early fall.

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is massive, and between the extensive seagrass flats, the maze of backcountry bays and creeks, and the offshore wrecks and reefs, you could spend a lifetime exploring the place, rod in hand. It’s a sublime wilderness where immersion is the only option. You can camp at a variety of ground sites, beach sites and elevated camping platforms called chickees. Or, rent a houseboat and stay for as long as your supplies hold out, exploring the vast mangrove marshes that fringe Florida Bay. Any option puts you in close vicinity to some of the fishiest water in the world. Species include tarpon, snook and redfish, as well as many species of snapper and grouper, plus cobia and Spanish mackerel. There’s always something biting.

Bassin’ Highway 27

Hitch up the bass boat, and see how many lakes you can fish along the length of Highway 27. Start at the intersection of Griffin Road and 27, west of Fort Lauderdale, at Everglades Holiday Park. This area offers one of the highest catch rates per hour in the country, with lots of big bass in the mix. Guides are available on site, as are boat rentals. Next, stop at the Roland Martin Marina in Clewiston, and test your skills on Lake Okeechobee. The “Big O” has returned to her former glory as one of the nation’s best bass lakes. Even the old timers are saying the fishing is better than ever. Up the road a bit, Lake Istokpoga is Highlands County’s trophy bass lake, and just a stone’s throw from the quaint, hospitable town of Lake Placid. Farther north, spend some quality time on the Harris Chain of Lakes, a real restoration success story. The big bass are back, the water’s clean, and access is easy from towns including Leesburg. Near Ocala, check out the lunker fisheries the Ocala National Forest. And out of Gainesville, don’t skip Lake Lochloosa. These lakes fish well year-round.

Daytime Swordfishing in the Keys

Imagine hooking a 400-pound swordfish in 1,500 feet of water, and seeing it vault through the air within seconds. They’re the baddest fish on the planet. It’s full-blown battle some 30 miles offshore. And there’s no one better at it than the Stanczyk family, owners of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina, in Islamorada. Late summer and fall are best.

Northeast Florida Sharks and Tarpon

These top predators follow the menhaden schools down late summer and early fall. The fish rip through the baitfish, or follow the shrimp trawlers around to feed on their bycatch. It’s not just a fishing trip -- it’s a wildlife safari. Shark species include lemon and blacktip sharks. Other species include false albacore and cobia. The waters between St. Augustine and Amelia Island are heaven for the big-game fly rodder, and the big-game kayaker. Late summer and fall are best.


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You missed one of the best bass fishing lakes in the US in your Highway 27 section. Lake Kissimmee in Lake Wales is always one of the top bass lakes in the US and top 2 in Florida. Crooked Lake in Babson Park is also one of the top Bass lakes in Florida and one of the most beautiful with the surrounding hills filled with orange groves. The entire Winter Have Chain also ranks highly with bass anglers.
If you are fishing in Saltwater and visiting Florida probably the most important aspect to increase your chance of catching fish is Tides. Here is a great article on why Fishing and Tides are related in Florida. Armed with a little bit of knowledge on tides you can drastically improves your chances of catching fish. There is a reason fishing guides catch fish more consistently than people visiting and fishing on their own. This is the main reason. http://www.skifflife.com/1425872/florida-fishing-secrets/
Totally agree, having an accurate knowledge of high and low tides and also a satellite map of the area is the #1 most important thing for catching fish in Florida while on Vacation. Check out our mobile app to get these anywhere on your iphone or Android device. More Info: http://www.nestides.com/florida-tide-tables/
Totally agree, having an accurate knowledge of high and low tides and also a satellite map of the area is the #1 most important thing for catching fish in Florida while on Vacation. Check out our mobile app to get these anywhere on your iphone or Android device. More Info: http://www.nestides.com/florida-tide-tables/
Do not forget about tides, they are the single most important factor for catching fish in saltwater. More info: http://www.skifflife.com/1425872/florida-fishing-secrets/