By Terry Tomalin
With more than 7,700 lakes, 10,550 miles of rivers and 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline, Florida has no shortage of places to enjoy summer fishing. So it is no wonder that the state has produced more than 900 world records – more than any other state or country for that matter. Here are three species that you must catch this summer.
Sometimes called the "silver king of sportfish," tarpon are highly prized for their fighting ability but not valued as food. One of the state’s most popular gamefish, tarpon can tolerate a wide range of salinities and are found throughout the state’s waters.
Regulations: Two fish possession limit, requires a $50 tarpon tag to possess or harvest.
Hot spots: Lee and Charlotte counties, Florida Keys.
A species that is highly sensitive to changes in water temperature, snook are found in the state’s warmer waters. A strong, voracious predator, the species will rip a fishing line to shreds. Great sport on light tackle, snook are a cagey prey but well worth the time it takes to catch them.
Regulations: Vary from region to region in Florida.
Hot Spots: Tampa Bay, 10,000 Islands, Charlotte Harbor, Jupiter Inlet.
As Florida’s official freshwater fish, the legendary largemouth has an international reputation. Anglers come from all over the world just add a 10-pound bass to their “life list” of big fish. The king of the lakes and rivers, a big bass will eat just about anything, even squirrels or baby ducks.
Regulations: Five bass, only one of which may be longer than 22 inches. Some rules may vary from region to region.
Hot Spots: Lake Tarpon, Lake Toho, Lake Okeechobee, Lake Kissimmee.
For a complete list of summer fishing opportunities, go to www.myfwc.com.