November 26, 2019
The state of Florida is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit for fishing. The amount of water plus the abundance and variety of fish makes the Sunshine State a top destination for anglers.
Geographically, the state can be dissected into a couple of different regions. Usually the state is divided into three: North, Central, and South Florida. North Florida includes the Panhandle and Jacksonville; Central Florida runs from coast to coast from Tampa to Daytona Beach; while South Florida is everything else. Imagine a line drawn across the state from Sarasota to Fort Pierce, and you’ll have an idea of all that encompasses South Florida. Or trace State Road 70, and you’ve got the right idea.
Included in this section of the state are some unbelievable fishing grounds. Whether you live in the area or are visiting, be sure to check out these Top Ten Fishing Spots in South Florida.
Along Florida’s West coast is a smorgasbord of bays, rivers, and canals. One of the better fishing grounds found near the Fort Myers and Cape Coral areas is the Caloosahatchee River. This 67-mile long river starts at Lake Okeechobee, from Lake Hicpochee, and flows into San Carlos Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, providing fantastic fishing along the way. Depending on where you are in the river will determine what you’re most likely to catch. Closer to the freshwater source of the lake you’ll find largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. As you head towards the mouth of the river and the Gulf you’ll see redfish, snook, and tarpon.
One of our favorite places to fish is the Loxahatchee River, found near Jupiter, Florida. This wild ecosystem offers a variety of fishing options, freshwater, brackish and saltwater depending on where you are on the river. Fish the freshwater creeks, brackish estuaries, or the salty inlet near the Atlantic Ocean; anywhere along the river and you’re certain to see some great fishing. Many anglers will kayak fish the Loxahatchee River, getting close to the mangroves to find snook, redfish, and trout. Tarpon is another top species targeted in Loxahatchee River, especially closer to the Jupiter Inlet.
Whitewater Bay is Florida’s second largest body of water, second only to Lake Okeechobee. It’s located towards the southern end of the Everglades, and many anglers access it from Coot Bay and a small channel that leads to Whitewater Bay. Those fishing Whitewater Bay typically use a skiff or bay boat, something with a shallow hull that can navigate the shallow backwater. Light to medium tackle is sufficient to get you hooked on tarpon, trout, snook, even shark. Head toward the forested shoreline and fish the natural structures (tree roots and grass beds) to find redfish and snook. Whitewater Bay is far from civilization, and is a one-of-a-kind fishing adventure!
Charlotte Harbor is a bit of a hidden gem on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Many visitors will visit Tampa or St. Petersburg and fish the notable Tampa Bay, or head south to Fort Myers and Cape Coral to fish the Caloosahatchee River. Well right in-between those two fishing grounds is Port Charlotte and Charlotte Harbor. The harbor is the meeting place of Peace River and Myakka River and creates breeding grounds for oysters, shrimp, fish, and more. This environment provides a fantastic feeding ground, and therefore fishing grounds. Anglers can look to catch snook, redfish, spotted seatrout, tarpon, cobia, grouper, snapper, and sharks here.
We know “Government Cut” sounds like a strange place to fish, but the fishery is very real. Located in Miami, this channel is a man-made cut near the barrier islands to the Port of Miami. Anglers can fish Government Cut on the southside of Fisher Island and South Pointe Park. There is a wooden pier that runs parallel to the channel and gets anglers up close to the action. Vessels in the water just need to keep an eye out for large cargo and cruise ships that travel through the channel. Spanish mackerel, snook, barracuda, cobia, grouper, and snapper are just a few examples of fish caught here. The deeper waters in the middle of the channel provide a stable enough water temperature to have a shot at tarpon in the winter as well. Live bait or a slow retrieve near the bottom will work best, as tarpon become lethargic in the cooler months.
The cities of Port St. Lucie and Stuart may not be familiar to you, but they should be. These are just two cities that border the St. Lucie River, an 8-mile long coastal river that is part of the larger Indian River Lagoon. All along Florida’s East coast is a river system running parallel with the Atlantic Ocean. This particular section is known as Treasure Coast, referring primarily to a fleet of ships transporting silver that was nearly entirely wiped out by a hurricane off the coast in 1715. Many families enjoy the St. Lucie River for boating, kayaking, nature tours, and fishing. Just past the inlet the river splits in two: a North Forth and a South Fork. This junction is known for some of the best snook and tarpon fishing in the state.
On the westside of the state, where civilization meets the Everglades, you’ll find Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. This chain of islands stretches from Marco Island to the mouth of Lostman’s River, over 40 miles on the edge of the Everglades. The islands are mostly mangrove islands and oyster bars, creating fishing grounds that are hard for anglers to resist. Backcountry fishing at its finest, anglers can go kayak fishing with light tackle, sight fishing on a skiff, or fly fishing in the shallows. Some of Florida’s most desired game fish are found in Ten Thousand Islands, including redfish, tripletail, black bass, permit, spotted seatrout, tarpon, snook, cobia, pompano, and sheepshead, to name a few.
Continuing on the backcountry theme, Florida Bay is another spectacular fishing spot. Located just north of the Florida Keys, this bay is perfectly designed for flats fishing. Tarpon, bonefish, and permit are the top rated species in the area, and many anglers will sight fish the clear waters looking for these desirable sportfish. Anglers fish Florida Bay in a flats or skiff boat with a skinny hull to navigate the shallow waters on the flats. Florida Bay water depths average between 3 and 9 feet. The best of Florida’s wildlife live in the area, including crabs, turtles, manatees, bottlenose dolphins, and a variety of birds.
The best freshwater option in South Florida is the bountiful Lake Okeechobee. Also known as Florida’s Inland Sea, Lake Okeechobee has the best largemouth bass fishing in the state. The lake is 30 miles wide and 33 miles long. Guides on Lake Okeechobee will fish the early morning hours for shiners, then use this live bait to target bass near the shores. Other Lake Okeechobee species include crappie, bluegill, catfish, sunfish, and longnose gar. Anglers access the lake from the southside city Clewiston, or the northern city of Okeechobee.
The #1 spot on our list goes to Biscayne Bay. This is an incredible fishing ground located off the coast of Florida, just south of Miami. Biscayne Bay offers unique topography: Water depths can range from 80 to 200 feet deep and there are a variety of artificial reefs throughout. This creates unparalleled fishing grounds for anglers of all skill levels to enjoy a day of fishing. The fishing is as diverse as the water depths: with a variety of species hooking on angler’s lines. You can fish for tarpon or permit near the shores, snapper or grouper off the bottom, and mahi mahi or sailfish in the open waters. There’s no limit to what your trip looks like when fishing Biscayne Bay.
No matter where you find yourself in South Florida, there’s good fishing nearby. East Coast, West Coast, or the tip of Florida offers so much variety and options – you simply can’t go wrong. Not sure where to start? Let FishAnywhere help. We have professional and experienced guides throughout the country, and can find the perfect South Florida charter for your adventure. Start today!
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