Travel information about fishing in Florida

With 1,800 miles of coastline, in addition to nearly 30,000 lakes and numerous rivers, Florida is a fishing paradise.

Florida fishing

More than 250 fish species can be found along Florida’s canals, lakes, ponds, and rivers. Bass may be the most sought after, but bluegill, crappie, bream, and sturgeons are also superb selections of freshwater fish. Freshwater fishing is at its finest at Tamiami Canal, where cane poles, fly rods, and spin gear can reach across the canal. Visit Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s “liquid heart”, where bass are plentiful. Also, don’t forget to stop by the fish-filled rivers including the Peace, Withlacoochee, Suwannee, Apalachicola, and St. John’s rivers.

Fly, deep-sea, pier-fishing or whatever types of saltwater fishing your heart desires are accessible in Florida. A variety of saltwater fish are lurking around every bend. Some of these fish include blue marlin, wahoo, sailfish, dolphin, kingfish, swordfish, yellowfin, blackfin tuna, redfish, and many other inhabitants. Visitors can access the Gulf Stream, reefs, wrecks, estuaries, bays, inlets, and rivers.

Having a more competitive spirit is widely accepted in Florida. All types of tournaments await you and whether you like spin, plug, fly, or deep-sea tackle, tournaments are available year-round. The Ocean Reef Club-Bonefish and Tarpon Unlimited Backbone Classic is an extravagant event held in Key Largo. The World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament is where you can win more than $67,000 for the biggest catch. The Light-Tackle Invitational Sailfish Tournament is one of the biggest boat competitions in the nation. Or try entering the Destin Fishing Rodeo, where more than 35,000 anglers gather. 

In Florida, any of these places and events will deliver great fishing experiences so enjoy your visit to the “Fishing Capital of the World.”


Destin/Fort Walton Beach
Located on the upper Gulf coast of Florida, Destin is known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village". The Emerald Coast offers a fish-filled experience complete with deep-sea and inshore fishing excursions, lessons from old salts who know the Gulf waters like the back of their hands and cooking tips from seasoned chefs at authentic seafood joints.

Fishing enthusiasts will find plenty to do in the bays, beaches, and bayous of Pensacola and the Gulf of Mexico. Cast your line from a canoe surrounded by pines in the Blackwater State Forest, or spearfish for your supper off a sunken freighter in the Gulf. The emerald Gulf waters provide hours of fishing pleasure with 120-pound cobia running less than a mile off the beach. Three popular bays - Pensacola Bay, Escambia Bay, and East Bay - provide ample quantities of flounder, speckled trout, and mullet. .


Whether angling for fresh- or saltwater catches, visitors to the Tallahassee area find hours of fishing excitement along spring-fed lakes, marsh-lined rivers and salty bay inlets. Local lakes are famous for record-breaking and trophy-size catches. The site of many bass tournaments, Lake Talquin is a local favorite, offering outstanding bass, shellcracker and bluegill fishing. Anglers can also test the waters of Lake Seminole, where a 100-foot fishing pier gives even landlubbers the chance to reel in the big one. Nearby, the Apalachicola River regularly produces record-size hybrid striped bass and flathead catfish. Deep-sea fishing excursions in the nearby Gulf of Mexico yield grouper, red snapper, king mackerel and cobia.


St. Augustine/Ponte Vedra Beach
Exceptional deep-sea and freshwater fishing can be enjoyed year-round in the St. Augustine/Ponte Vedra Beach area. Six competitive fishing tournaments are held annually at local Intracoastal marinas. Surf, jetty and pier fishing are also popular in the area. St. Johns County Pier, Lighthouse Pier and Vilano Beach Pier offer ample onshore fishing opportunities. The area is well-equipped to host visiting anglers with six full-service marinas and seven boat ramps. Individual full day and half-day charter boat and group fishing tours (including fishing tackle) are available at each of the marinas.


The Clearwater Marina is home to the largest fishing fleet on the west coast of Florida with both party and charter boats available. Across the street, Clearwater Beach's Pier 60, open 24 hours a day (except Christmas), offers a full service bait house with gear rental and sales, live bait, snacks and beverages. A Florida fishing license is required by non-Florida residents 16 years and older.

St. Petersburg/Clearwater
More than 300 species of fish can be caught in the St. Petersburg area waters, noted as one of Florida's premier spots for freshwater and saltwater angling. There are hundreds of fishing charter boats available.

More than 200 species of fish are found in Tampa Bay, including popular sport fish like tarpon, snook, speckled sea trout, redfish, cobia, pompano, permit, triple tails, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, king fish and small grouper.


The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes provides anglers with world-class fishing year-round. Kissimmee’s famed Lake Tohopekaliga hosted the 36th annual Bassmaster Classic in 2006 and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes has been recognized for its record-breaking bass catches.

Opportunities for fishing abound in a region covered by hundreds of fresh-water springs, lakes and the Silver, Rainbow, Ocklawaha, and Withlacoochee Rivers. Area lakes such as Orange, Jumper, George, Lake Weir and the Withlacoochee River are unequaled for bass fishing which is just one of the more than 100 species of fish to be found in the region’s waterways.

Few destinations in the world come close to rivaling Orlando’s incredible year-round outdoor activities and pastimes. With more than 2,000 lakes, springs and rivers for swimming, boating, waterskiing and fishing.


Daytona Beach
The Daytona Beach area is excellent for deep-sea fishing. Record size marlin and other fish are abundant in the Atlantic Ocean. Fresh water fishing is also popular.


Fort Myers
Fishing the waters of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel on the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida can prove a highly productive adventure. The Fort Myers/Sanibel area offers myriad inshore and offshore fishing opportunities, from shorelines, bridges and piers to deep sea casting and backcountry boating. In fact, Lee County is considered one of the greatest areas in Florida for saltwater fly-fishing and light tackle fishing, the fastest growing segments in the industry.

Marco Island
Marco Island is flanked by nearly 100 miles of islands, bays and estuaries that will never be developed. These conditions provide a paradise for anglers. Backcountry fishing reels in plenty of snook, tarpon, redfish, trout, pompano and many more species. Experienced guides are readily available for fishing excursions from Marco Island, Chokoloskee, Everglades City, Goodland and other nearby areas and include backcountry flats fishing and deep-sea charters into the Gulf of Mexico for grouper and snapper.

The Naples area’s many bays, canals and rivers provide a network of waterways for cruising, kayaking, canoeing, fishing or relaxing.

Fishing piers include the Englewood Public Fishing Pier, Ken Thompson Park Pier & New Pass Pier, Osprey Fishing Pier, Tony Saprito Pier, Turtle Beach Pier and Venice Fishing Pier. Choose from 15 area marinas and 12 public boat ramps.


Florida Keys
Want to hunt the skittish gray ghost of the flats, the bonefish? Come to the Keys. Feel like testing your mettle against a reel-emptying blue marlin? Come to the Keys. Want to sit in a beach chair, sipping a cold cocktail while watching your popper dance in the current? Come to the Keys. The tropical weather, nearby Gulf Stream and 120-mile-long arc of islands that comprise the Florida Keys together create a fishing environment unique in the world.

Fort Lauderdale
This is one of the few areas in the world where both freshwater and salt water fishing are within 20 minutes of the angler. In addition to more than 200 freshwater species that can be caught in the county's lakes, there are deep water fishing fleets located in each of the seven cities that line the Atlantic coast, plus four municipal piers.

Key West
For anglers, billfish beyond the reef and permit and tarpon on the flats are just a few of the local game fish that offer spirited and sometimes acrobatic displays of strength.

If you have a passion for fishing, Haulover Beach Marina, home to the largest charter/drift fishing fleet in South Florida is probably on your vacation agenda. It is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Intercoastal Waterway in Sunny Isles Beach.

Palm Beach
Palm Beach County, surrounded by water – the Atlantic Ocean, the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, Loxahatchee River and countless canals – affords plenty of deep sea ocean and fresh water angling.

Photo: Visit Florida

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