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Florida Fishing Vacations

imageThe Florida Keys

The Keys are the home of world-class deep-sea fishing where the catch is prized big-game trophy fish such as marlin, sailfish, and tuna. Islamorada, in the Upper Keys, is known as the sport-fishing capital of the world.

For the angler with a budget that does not extend to the big game fish charters, there is plenty of reef fishing for great tasting snapper and grouper.

The Florida Keys also provide great opportunities for backcountry fishing for the fighting tarpon, bonefish and other saltwater fish.

Numerous charter and fishing boats operate from marinas all along the islands with Key West having the largest marina. Big prize money is available in several annual tournaments with anglers competing for the trophy species of marlin, sailfish, wahoo and kingfish.

Seven-Mile Bridge links the Lower and Middle Keys and is known as "the longest fishing bridge in the world".


imageLake Okeechobee

Numerous visitors to the Treasure Coast on the eastern Atlantic seashore come for the fishing.  The miles of Atlantic shore and the inland rivers provide plenty of opportunity for the angler seeking variety. One of the most popular freshwater fishing destinations is Lake Okeechobee, Florida's largest lake and well stocked with excellent table fish.

The lake has an average depth of just 9 feet (2.75m) and a maximum depth of 17 feet (4.3m), covers an area of over 730 square miles and once supported a prosperous commercial fishing industry until a ban on net fishing all but eliminated the industry. As a result, the lake is now largely the domain of sporting anglers who visit from all over the world.

imageStuart

Stuart is an angler's haven located in the center of the Treasure Coast on Florida's eastern seaboard. Miles of wide waterways dominate the surrounding environment. With a sailfish as the city emblem and a jumping sailfish dominating the town square fountain, it's not hard to figure out that this is the "Sailfish Capital of the World". 

The town and surrounding area is home to 15 marinas that provide mooring for the fishing and charter boat fleets. Angling is year-round, although peak months are December through March and June through July.

imageBoca Grande

Located between Gasparilla and Cayo Costa islands offshore from Fort Myers in Florida's south west, lies Boca Grande Pass. This is one of the many Florida fishing grounds that harbor the mighty tarpon.  (FYI... the largest tarpon caught in Florida waters tipped the scales at 243 lbs (110kgs). Boca Grande's local Fishing Guides Association boasts over 50 members all willing to introduce visitors to the "silver king of the seas."

In times past, President Teddy Roosevelt and fishing pals came to Boca Grande to bag tarpon in these waters. In July every year, anglers from all over the world converge on Boca Grande to compete in the world's richest tarpon tournament.

imageDestin

This small Panhandle town is located at the top of the Gulf Of Mexico in Florida's north west. Calling itself the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village", it's the home port for Florida's largest charter-boat fleet. Over 140 vessels cater to anglers attracted to these Gulf Of Mexico waters in pursuit of grouper, amberjack, snapper, mackerel, cobia, sailfish, wahoo, tuna, and blue marlin.

A boat is not essential for fishing in Destin and several species of sport fish are caught the from the jetty and beach pier. This type of fishing is best between April through October. Inshore trolling will often put a 100lb. Cobia on a 20lb spinning tackle for an experience that stays in the memory.

This is one of the most exciting catches for any angler. Inshore trolling also provides excellent catches of King and Spanish Mackerel, Bonito and Schoolie Dolphin to name just a few of the local species. The season runs from March through November and begins with the Cobia run in spring. The Destin fishing fleet specializes in deep sea bottom fishing which is excellent all year round yielding catches of Grouper, Amber jack, Scamp, Trigger fish, Snapper and Cobia.

Offshore trolling takes place beyond the 300 feet line which lies about about 27 miles southwest of Destin. This trolling area yields catches of Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Dolphin and Wahoo. August through October are the most productive months for landing billfish.

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Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission - Official website of Florida Fisheries

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