Fort Lauderdale is a lot of things to a lot of people: An escape for everyone from young adults to Baby Boomers; a luxurious repose; a favorite vacation spot for families with hard-to-please pre-teens. But a fish camp?
Sure, deluxe mega-yachts and worth-more-millions-than-you-can-count mansions line the canals that crisscross the city, but take a closer look and you'll see that more than money pours into these waterways. There's fish, too.
Fort Lauderdale and its environs have no shortage of marinas, so getting on the water is easy - you just need someone to take you to where the fish are. Check with the dock master or ask around to see which guide best suits your needs; Bahia Mar Marina, Pier 66 Marina and Diplomat Marina (in Hollywood) are all good bets since they're attached to major resorts.
Dock your boat at Lauderdale Marina for lunch or dinner at 15th Street Fisheries and Dockside Cafe, a local favorite for more than 30 years. For something a little more casual and less touristy, head to Catfish Dewey's in Oakland Park . Though it's not on the water, this place is so popular they serve upward of 100,000 pounds of catfish a year. Most nights, you may be the only out-of-towner there.
Not just for the younger crew is the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in nearby Dania Beach. The interactive Catch Gallery is most popular, where would-be anglers try to reel in tarpon, sailfish or marlin without the fear of being pulled overboard.
- AWOL Fishing Charters: Capt. Carl Ball fishes inshore and flats for tarpon, permit and bonefish. Leaves from Pier 66 Marina. (A great charter if you have young fishermen with you.)
- Fish Lauderdale: Professionally equipped fleet of offshore sportfishing boats suited for reeling in marlin, wahoo, mahi mahi and more.
- Water Taxi: It's no gondola ride, but an easy way to get oriented to the "Venice of America." Narrated tours.
- Miami Marlins Baseball: National League professional baseball from April to October at Marlins Park.
- Kira-Mar Waterfront Villas: Come by car or by boat; one- to two-bedroom hotel rooms to two-bedroom apartments. Superior Small Lodging property and White Glove Award recipient.
- Bahia Mar Beach Resort & Yachting Center: Marina- and ocean-view rooms available. Mega 250-slip yacht marina on site.
- The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa: This one is sure to please the wife. Plus, the beds are so comfortable they've been trademarked.