An Introduction to Florida Fish Habitats: Docks, Sea Grass & More

    By Terry Tomalin

    If you want to catch fish, you have to do your homework. Knowing how to “read” the water will increase your chances of a hookup. Terrain, along with Tackle, Tactics, Time, Temperature, Tide and Tips, are the Seven T’s to successful fishing and it doesn’t matter if you are fishing in Jacksonville or Key West, Pensacola or Miami.

    All fish are drawn toward structures. A rainbow trout in a North Florida stream will hide behind a rock or in an eddy and ambush prey. The same holds true for every species of fish in Florida, be it blue marlin off the Florida Keys, red snapper near Destin or largemouth bass in the lakes of Central Florida.

    Every species has its preferred topography or fish habitat. Snook like docks. Trout prefer sea grass. Redfish gravitate toward oyster bars. Grouper frequent wrecks, artificial reefs and naturally occurring limestone “hard bottom.”

    Understand how and where a particular species lives, and you will catch fish. On a recent trip in Charlotte Harbor, we scouted the area at low tide and identified all the oyster bars and grass beds, their favored fish habitat. A few hours later, after the tide came in, we caught our limit of trout, redfish and snook.