Biscayne Bay, Florida, United States

About

Miami-area Freshwater Canal System

This South Florida water systems is comprised of canals and is a massive civil works project. It was built to control water levels and move water to aid in drainage, flood control and navigation. The system also helps sustain lakes, wetlands, rivers and estuaries. It has over 1,300 water control structures and dozens of control pumps. It boasts over 2,500 miles of freshwater canals.

Everglades National Park

This is the biggest sub-tropical wilderness reserve in the US. It’s diverse with fresh and dark waters, bays, and deep coastal waters. Its habitat naturally supports a wide variety of fauna and flora. Situated on the Florida Peninsula on the East side of Cape Sable, it’s home to the biggest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere. It also has the most massive stand of sawgrass prairie and facilitates breeding for numerous wading bird species. It offers vast fishing opportunities and is an angler’s dream come true.

Main Species of Fish 

The Everglades

Everglades National Park holds numerous fishing opportunities for avid anglers. It’s ideal for boat fishing. You can catch lots of freshwater game fish like largemouth bass, pickerel, peacock bass, bowfin, and gar. You can also find numerous saltwater fishing species like tarpon, redfish, ladyfish, jack, snapper, bonefish, grouper, permit, cobia, sharks, black drum, tarpon and seatrout.

Miami’s Urban Canals

There are lots of fish in the canals —including many non-native species. It’s unique, because many of the fish are species native to South America. You can find native and non native fish such as largemouth bass, tarpon, snook, jacks, Mayan cichild, spotted talapia, jaguar guapote, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, pickerel, knifefish, bullseye snakehead, and oscar.

Where to Fish

Where to Fish Offshore 

Greater Miami offers some the best offshore fishing opportunities in the country. It has a wide variety of amazing fish to catch. It’s a melting pot of awesome fish species. You can catch an array of species like tuna, kingfish, swordfish, kingfish, shark, mani mahi, and and sailfish all within a few miles radius. The best way to fish its waters are with an experienced charter captain.

The Urban Canals of Miami

Within the Broward and Dade Counties you can find excellent fishing opportunities. Peacock bass are the most popular target species in this area. They were introduced to the region nearly 50 years ago to help control the fish population. They’re very colorful and aggressive.

There are also plenty of largemouth bass, midas cichlids, pacu, clown fish, carp and spotted tilapia. You an also find tarpon, snook, and jacks. If you like kayak and canoe fishing, these canals are an ideal place to fish. There are even ideal places to fish from the bank.

Everglades National Park 

Flamingo Camping Center is a key access point within the Everglades National Park. It has a marina, boat launch, and camping center. From there, you can gain access to The Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay —plus other remote backcountry areas.

Flamingo offers multiple hiking trails and canoe trails as well. It boasts over 300 species of birds. You can also see crocs and manatees in the marina. You can rent camping supplies, boats, plus there is a small aea in the marina as well. Keep in mind that there’s currently no lodging options at Flamingo during this time —although RV and tent camping is allowed.

The fishing opportunities here a plentiful. Take your pick from the mangrove islands, shallow bays, creeks, and flats. Flamingo is also a great place to fish with a kayak or canoe.

You can paddle into Florida Bay, or into Coot Bay. And if you’re an opportunist, then feel free to take advantage of all the places to fish along the highway. There are plenty of places to camp as well. But keep in mind that the fishing opportunities along these spots are limited.

To be smart, make sure you understand the fishing rules and regulations within the area so you can abide by the rules while fishing Ever glades National Park. They cover things like no fishing zones, poll and troll zones, and no power boat zones. And remember, the smartest thing you can do is check the Everglades National Park website prior to fishing at https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/index.htm.

Tackle and Gear

Spinning Tackle

When it comes to the best lines, rods and reels here’s what works. Use medium to fast action rods in the 8 – 20 pound range. Make sure you get a reel with a solid drag that can easily handle 150 yards of braided line. For small to mid-size catches use a 10 pound outfit. It’s ideal for fish like baby tarpon, snook, snapper and small sharks. For bigger sharks and adult tarpon we recommend using a 20 pound outfit.

Fly Tackle

When using a fly rod you’ll want to go with a fast action ranging from 6 – 10 pounds in weight. Make sure it’s capable of holding 150 yards of backing. For small to mid-size fish like redfish, barracudas and snooks go with an 8 weight. Depending on the wind, you can opt to go wiyj a 6 to 10 weight. If you’re targeting adult tarpon and sharks, 10 – 12 weight rods are ideal. You will likely use a floating line the majority of the time. But an intermediate tip will come in handy as well.

Lures

Locals say to use soft plastics. Jerk baits, fish imitations, paddle tails, Gulp shrimp and plastics shrimp are said to yield the best results. You’ll also want to try plugs ranging from 3 to 6 inches in length. Spoons and bucktail jigs work well. Deep diving and top water lures alike will catch fish.

Bait 

You can find live bait at the majority of tackle shops in the area. Use shrimps and crabs, they’re the most effective. You’ll catch a number of fish species using them. Also try using worms, shiners, and crickets for fresh water canals.

Flies

Flies work well for bonefish and permit. Go with the fly patterns that works best. Patterns like mantic shrimp, spawning shrimp, clousers, kwans, gotchas, and crabs also work well.

Clothing 

Make sure you wear tropical clothing made of fast drying fabrics. Stay away from cotton. Wear long sleeve shirts and pants. Bring a hat for UV protection. Also you may want to bring polarized sunglasses, sunscreen, a mosquito head net and mosquioto spray.

 

 

Miami Beach, Florida, United States

About

Miami-area Freshwater Canal System

This South Florida water systems is comprised of canals and is a massive civil works project. It was built to control water levels and move water to aid in drainage, flood control and navigation. The system also helps sustain lakes, wetlands, rivers and estuaries. It has over 1,300 water control structures and dozens of control pumps. It boasts over 2,500 miles of freshwater canals.

Everglades National Park

This is the biggest sub-tropical wilderness reserve in the US. It’s diverse with fresh and dark waters, bays, and deep coastal waters. Its habitat naturally supports a wide variety of fauna and flora. Situated on the Florida Peninsula on the East side of Cape Sable, it’s home to the biggest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere. It also has the most massive stand of sawgrass prairie and facilitates breeding for numerous wading bird species. It offers vast fishing opportunities and is an angler’s dream come true.

Main Species of Fish 

The Everglades

Everglades National Park holds numerous fishing opportunities for avid anglers. It’s ideal for boat fishing. You can catch lots of freshwater game fish like largemouth bass, pickerel, peacock bass, bowfin, and gar. You can also find numerous saltwater fishing species like tarpon, redfish, ladyfish, jack, snapper, bonefish, grouper, permit, cobia, sharks, black drum, tarpon and seatrout.

Miami’s Urban Canals

There are lots of fish in the canals —including many non-native species. It’s unique, because many of the fish are species native to South America. You can find native and non native fish such as largemouth bass, tarpon, snook, jacks, Mayan cichild, spotted talapia, jaguar guapote, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, pickerel, knifefish, bullseye snakehead, and oscar.

Where to Fish

Where to Fish Offshore 

Greater Miami offers some the best offshore fishing opportunities in the country. It has a wide variety of amazing fish to catch. It’s a melting pot of awesome fish species. You can catch an array of species like tuna, kingfish, swordfish, kingfish, shark, mani mahi, and and sailfish all within a few miles radius. The best way to fish its waters are with an experienced charter captain.

The Urban Canals of Miami

Within the Broward and Dade Counties you can find excellent fishing opportunities. Peacock bass are the most popular target species in this area. They were introduced to the region nearly 50 years ago to help control the fish population. They’re very colorful and aggressive.

There are also plenty of largemouth bass, midas cichlids, pacu, clown fish, carp and spotted tilapia. You an also find tarpon, snook, and jacks. If you like kayak and canoe fishing, these canals are an ideal place to fish. There are even ideal places to fish from the bank.

Everglades National Park 

Flamingo Camping Center is a key access point within the Everglades National Park. It has a marina, boat launch, and camping center. From there, you can gain access to The Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay —plus other remote backcountry areas.

Flamingo offers multiple hiking trails and canoe trails as well. It boasts over 300 species of birds. You can also see crocs and manatees in the marina. You can rent camping supplies, boats, plus there is a small aea in the marina as well. Keep in mind that there’s currently no lodging options at Flamingo during this time —although RV and tent camping is allowed.

The fishing opportunities here a plentiful. Take your pick from the mangrove islands, shallow bays, creeks, and flats. Flamingo is also a great place to fish with a kayak or canoe.

You can paddle into Florida Bay, or into Coot Bay. And if you’re an opportunist, then feel free to take advantage of all the places to fish along the highway. There are plenty of places to camp as well. But keep in mind that the fishing opportunities along these spots are limited.

To be smart, make sure you understand the fishing rules and regulations within the area so you can abide by the rules while fishing Ever glades National Park. They cover things like no fishing zones, poll and troll zones, and no power boat zones. And remember, the smartest thing you can do is check the Everglades National Park website prior to fishing at https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/index.htm.

Tackle and Gear

Spinning Tackle

When it comes to the best lines, rods and reels here’s what works. Use medium to fast action rods in the 8 – 20 pound range. Make sure you get a reel with a solid drag that can easily handle 150 yards of braided line. For small to mid-size catches use a 10 pound outfit. It’s ideal for fish like baby tarpon, snook, snapper and small sharks. For bigger sharks and adult tarpon we recommend using a 20 pound outfit.

Fly Tackle

When using a fly rod you’ll want to go with a fast action ranging from 6 – 10 pounds in weight. Make sure it’s capable of holding 150 yards of backing. For small to mid-size fish like redfish, barracudas and snooks go with an 8 weight. Depending on the wind, you can opt to go wiyj a 6 to 10 weight. If you’re targeting adult tarpon and sharks, 10 – 12 weight rods are ideal. You will likely use a floating line the majority of the time. But an intermediate tip will come in handy as well.

Lures

Locals say to use soft plastics. Jerk baits, fish imitations, paddle tails, Gulp shrimp and plastics shrimp are said to yield the best results. You’ll also want to try plugs ranging from 3 to 6 inches in length. Spoons and bucktail jigs work well. Deep diving and top water lures alike will catch fish.

Bait 

You can find live bait at the majority of tackle shops in the area. Use shrimps and crabs, they’re the most effective. You’ll catch a number of fish species using them. Also try using worms, shiners, and crickets for fresh water canals.

Flies

Flies work well for bonefish and permit. Go with the fly patterns that works best. Patterns like mantic shrimp, spawning shrimp, clousers, kwans, gotchas, and crabs also work well.

Clothing 

Make sure you wear tropical clothing made of fast drying fabrics. Stay away from cotton. Wear long sleeve shirts and pants. Bring a hat for UV protection. Also you may want to bring polarized sunglasses, sunscreen, a mosquito head net and mosquioto spray.

 

 

Miami, Florida, United States

This South Florida water systems is comprised of canals and is a massive civil works project. It was built to control water levels and move water to aid in drainage, flood control and navigation. The system also helps sustain lakes, wetlands, rivers and estuaries. It has over 1,300 water control structures and dozens of control pumps. It boasts over 2,500 miles of freshwater canals.

Everglades National Park

This is the biggest sub-tropical wilderness reserve in the US. It’s diverse with fresh and dark waters, bays, and deep coastal waters. Its habitat naturally supports a wide variety of fauna and flora. Situated on the Florida Peninsula on the East side of Cape Sable, it’s home to the biggest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere. It also has the most massive stand of sawgrass prairie and facilitates breeding for numerous wading bird species. It offers vast fishing opportunities and is an angler’s dream come true.

Main Species of Fish 

The Everglades

Everglades National Park holds numerous fishing opportunities for avid anglers. It’s ideal for boat fishing. You can catch lots of freshwater game fish like largemouth bass, pickerel, peacock bass, bowfin, and gar. You can also find numerous saltwater fishing species like tarpon, redfish, ladyfish, jack, snapper, bonefish, grouper, permit, cobia, sharks, black drum, tarpon and seatrout.

Miami’s Urban Canals

There are lots of fish in the canals —including many non-native species. It’s unique, because many of the fish are species native to South America. You can find native and non native fish such as largemouth bass, tarpon, snook, jacks, Mayan cichild, spotted talapia, jaguar guapote, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, pickerel, knifefish, bullseye snakehead, and oscar.

Where to Fish

Where to Fish Offshore 

Greater Miami offers some the best offshore fishing opportunities in the country. It has a wide variety of amazing fish to catch. It’s a melting pot of awesome fish species. You can catch an array of species like tuna, kingfish, swordfish, kingfish, shark, mani mahi, and and sailfish all within a few miles radius. The best way to fish its waters are with an experienced charter captain.

The Urban Canals of Miami

Within the Broward and Dade Counties you can find excellent fishing opportunities. Peacock bass are the most popular target species in this area. They were introduced to the region nearly 50 years ago to help control the fish population. They’re very colorful and aggressive.

There are also plenty of largemouth bass, midas cichlids, pacu, clown fish, carp and spotted tilapia. You an also find tarpon, snook, and jacks. If you like kayak and canoe fishing, these canals are an ideal place to fish. There are even ideal places to fish from the bank.

Everglades National Park 

Flamingo Camping Center is a key access point within the Everglades National Park. It has a marina, boat launch, and camping center. From there, you can gain access to The Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay —plus other remote backcountry areas.

Flamingo offers multiple hiking trails and canoe trails as well. It boasts over 300 species of birds. You can also see crocs and manatees in the marina. You can rent camping supplies, boats, plus there is a small aea in the marina as well. Keep in mind that there’s currently no lodging options at Flamingo during this time —although RV and tent camping is allowed.

The fishing opportunities here a plentiful. Take your pick from the mangrove islands, shallow bays, creeks, and flats. Flamingo is also a great place to fish with a kayak or canoe.

You can paddle into Florida Bay, or into Coot Bay. And if you’re an opportunist, then feel free to take advantage of all the places to fish along the highway. There are plenty of places to camp as well. But keep in mind that the fishing opportunities along these spots are limited.

To be smart, make sure you understand the fishing rules and regulations within the area so you can abide by the rules while fishing Ever glades National Park. They cover things like no fishing zones, poll and troll zones, and no power boat zones. And remember, the smartest thing you can do is check the Everglades National Park website prior to fishing at https://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/index.htm.

Tackle and Gear

Spinning Tackle

When it comes to the best lines, rods and reels here’s what works. Use medium to fast action rods in the 8 – 20 pound range. Make sure you get a reel with a solid drag that can easily handle 150 yards of braided line. For small to mid-size catches use a 10 pound outfit. It’s ideal for fish like baby tarpon, snook, snapper and small sharks. For bigger sharks and adult tarpon we recommend using a 20 pound outfit.

Fly Tackle

When using a fly rod you’ll want to go with a fast action ranging from 6 – 10 pounds in weight. Make sure it’s capable of holding 150 yards of backing. For small to mid-size fish like redfish, barracudas and snooks go with an 8 weight. Depending on the wind, you can opt to go wiyj a 6 to 10 weight. If you’re targeting adult tarpon and sharks, 10 – 12 weight rods are ideal. You will likely use a floating line the majority of the time. But an intermediate tip will come in handy as well.

Lures

Locals say to use soft plastics. Jerk baits, fish imitations, paddle tails, Gulp shrimp and plastics shrimp are said to yield the best results. You’ll also want to try plugs ranging from 3 to 6 inches in length. Spoons and bucktail jigs work well. Deep diving and top water lures alike will catch fish.

Bait 

You can find live bait at the majority of tackle shops in the area. Use shrimps and crabs, they’re the most effective. You’ll catch a number of fish species using them. Also try using worms, shiners, and crickets for fresh water canals.

Flies

Flies work well for bonefish and permit. Go with the fly patterns that works best. Patterns like mantic shrimp, spawning shrimp, clousers, kwans, gotchas, and crabs also work well.

Clothing 

Make sure you wear tropical clothing made of fast drying fabrics. Stay away from cotton. Wear long sleeve shirts and pants. Bring a hat for UV protection. Also you may want to bring polarized sunglasses, sunscreen, a mosquito head net and mosquioto spray.

 

 

Pensacola, Florida, United States

There is a wide array of fishing possibilities in Pensacola. Pick from your choice of top Florida fishing locations, such as Ft. Morgan, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Perdido Key, and Pensacola Beach. You can even gain access to Orange Beach, Alabama. They’re all family-friendly fishing locations and make ideal vacation destinations.

As far as inshore fishing options, you’ll have Big Lagoon, Old River, Perdido Bay, Escambla Bay, East Bay and pensacola Bay. The most revered areas to fish are

the bedded, grassy areas of Old River and Big Lagoon. They’re fed by several or more creeks and rivers. The flats by the coast are said to be prime fishing territory. Also, The dock areas hold plenty of speckled trout, redfish and flounder.

If you’re doing some Alabama fishing from the Florida border, you can access plenty of man made reefs. They hold lots of fish. You can find snapper and grouper in fall and summer. Cobia are really active in these areas during spring. Mackerel are more active during the summer. Anglers catch the most when they troll close to the coast. If you’re looking to catch big game fish, target billfish and tuna during winter months.

Main Species of Fish 

There are numerous fish species. If surf fishing is your forte, then you’ll have access to plenty of redfish, flounder, pompano, ladyfish and sharks. For inshore fishing options there are speckled trout, Jack Crevalle and sheephead.

Nearshore you’ll have your pick of cobia, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel. There’s also plenty of bottom fishing options like mangrove snapper, snowy grouper snapper, black snapper, amberjack and triggerfish. Or you can go offshore fishing and catch wahoo, mahi mahi, sail fish, swordfish, marlin and tuna.

Best places to Fish in Pensacola

The grass flats of Big Lagoon and the dock lights of Old River offer some of the best speckled trout fishing in all for Florida. Hit the lagoon during the day, and the docks at night. Try hitting the the bridge pilings and rocks in the pass between Perdidio and Orange Beach. For good winter fishing in Pensacola be sure to hit these same exact spots for sheephead.

November is the best time to go floundering in the eastern point of Perdido Key. You can find boat ramps in the Cotton Bayou on the eastern side of Orange Beach. Hub Stacies is another place where you can find a ramp. It’s located just off Innerarity Point.

Ft. McCray and Perdidio Pass are the two main gateways to the open water.

As far as water boundaries go, it can be a bit tricky. Fort McCray is located in Florida, whereas Perdido pass is in Alabama territory. Old River is laterally split in half by the state line. It’s a smart idea to locate and target structures while fishing in this area. Visit with Alabama Marine Resources and get a map. If you’re bottom fishing, stick with the Alabama coast. To access public boat ramps for deepwater angling, use the National Sea Shore in Pensacola Beach.

Best Fishing Gear for Pensacola 

First things first —wherever you fish, make sure you bring a waterproof jacket. It ends to rain a good bit in Pensacola. Having said that, if you’re looking to do some inshore fishing, then use live bait for the best results. You can find all the live bait options you need at Grays Tackle Shop or Tops Gun Tackle. The locals there can tell you what’s working best.

For bottom fishing, use cut bait on a hook. Be sure to bring  plenty of chum and cut bait. Because there is debris on the wrecks, use thick leaders. Make sure you bring a bat as well do deal with the remoras.

If you’re heading out to do some offshore fishing, make sure you use a big boat filled  with plenty of gas. It can take a lot of gas to seek out blue water and troll for gamefish like marlin, tuna, and swordfish. Make sure you bring a wide variety of trolling rigs, and check with local guides and anglers before heading out on the boat. And always know the weather forecast for Pensacola before you head out to fish.

 

 

Treasure Island, Florida, United States

You’ll find some of the best fishing opportunities in the world, right here in Tampa Bay Florida. It has a wide variety of waters with many different species of fish. You can hit backwater estuary systems, or venture into offshore blue water. This West Central Florida spot has enough fishing options to keep you busy for weeks.

Inshore Fishing 

Fishing inside Tampa Bay and hitting the smaller bays, rivers, backcountry and beaches is what many anglers prefer. Some anglers tend to use light spinning gear. Others opt to go with fly tackle —using artificial lures, flies and live bait.

Offshore fishing

Places off The Gulf of Mexico, west of the demarcation line are considered offshore fishing. Lots of the offshore fishing at Treasure Island is done trolling or bottom fishing over limestone edges and wrecks. Light and heavy tackle can be used for offshore fishing.

Main Fish Species on Treasure Island

Tampa Bay has an array of fish species you can catch onshore and offshore. Certain fish migrate here seasonally —during spring and fall. Other fish species reside here year-round. There are so many target species here it could take all day to list them all. With an abundance of diverse fishing areas like backcountry haunts and deeper structures offshore, you will have your choice of species to catch.

Best Places to Fish in Tampa Bay 

You can reference numerous books, online information, and maps that will show you the best inshore and offshore fishing areas Tampa Bay has to offer. But if you want to discover the best spot, the only way is to get your feet wet and sit the various locations until you find a honey hole or two.

Experiment, and fish through the various tidal phases while on vacation. Get a feel for the habitat and discover the best fishing patterns. One easy piece of advice is to look for birds hovering the water. It usually means there are lot of baitfish, which indicates the presence of fish as well.

If you’re inshore fishing, you’ll likely be in the hallow grass flats, and/or the mangrove shorelines. It’s easy to locate and access these backwater areas. While fishing these areas you’ll catch redfish, snook, and trout. If you’re fishing for tarpon, you can find them along most any stretch of the beach. If you venture out to the underwater structures and reefs, you’ll likely catch flounder and Spanish mackerel.

As far as offshore fishing concerned, it’s mostly done over limestone structures like caves and ledges. Because they’re submerged, these structures are a bit harder to locate. You’ll have to rely on a bottom sonar map and GPS coordinates. It’s well worth it, seeing as how there’s lots of snapper, grunts, hogfish, and grouper below. You’ll also find barracuda, kingfish, goliath grouper and bonito around these artificial wrecks and reefs.

Best Fishing Tackle and Gear for Treasure Island

First things first. Bring plenty of sunscreen. You’ll need protection from the potent UV rays. Wearing lightweight long sleeve shirts is ideal as well. You will also need some sunglasses —ideally polarized shades —to protect your eyes and help see into the water.

You’ll want to put together a complete ravel bag, but it’s easier said than done due to the diversity of the area. Your best bet is to have something for everything. You’ll need various rods, reels, and fishing lures to target the various species of fish.

When it comes to fly fishing in Tampa Bay, make sure you bring 8 – 10 weight fly fishing rods. They will cover a wide variety of target fish. However, if you’re fishing for tarpon make sure you bring a 12 weight fly rod. Sink tip lines and spools of floating line are also important fishing tools for this area. It’s good to have abrasion resistant tapered leaders as well. Some lures that work like a charm are flies with streamer patterns, and white and chartreuse colored clousers.

For inshore fishing, you’ll likely want to go with a 7 foot rod with a spinning reel. We suggest using 8 – 15 pound line. Use leaders ranging from 20 – 30 pounds for the best results. Keep in mind that hard body plugs work quite well for these waters. Soft plastic jigs are effective too. Go with natural colors for the lures. Locals say that hot pink works like a charm.

If you’re going offshore fishing, 20 – 30 pound class tackle is ideal. Come prepared with conventional rods and spinning gear. Make sure your leader material is 30 – 80 pound test, and make sure to bring trolling lures and gear. Locals say planers, spoons, heavy jigs, and diving plugs work best. Be sure to bring a wide variety of colors —including some bright ones. And if you’re going to be fishing with live bait, bring a cast net plus some sabiki rigs and live shrimp.

 

 

Big Pine Key, Florida, United States

The flats that run between the Marquesas and 7 mile bridge are prime fishing territory. Big Pine Key draws in numerous anglers, and it’s quite easy to get here. You have 2 options. You can fly into Miami or Ft. Lauderdale and drive 2 hours on the overseas highway. Or you can fly directly into Key West.

If you’re staying in Key West, then flying into the Key West International Airport is likely your best option. However if Marathon or Islamorada is where you will be staying then you should opt for the Miami Airport. We recommend renting a car after you’ve arrived. It makes it easier to hit the top Florida fishing locations more quickly, and bring the best/appropriate gear.

As far as places to stay in Big Pine, there are many nice Bed and Breakfasts. We recommend The Sugar Loaf Lodge. Many anglers stay there so they can fish for big permit. You can also find housing located on Little Torch Key. For family vacations, we recommend renting a house in the Big Pines area. Or perhaps Summerland or Sugar Loaf Keys.

You’ll find that rental rates are seasonal, and prices fluctuate. If you travel there during the offseason —June through October — priced are cheaper. This is the best time to fish in Big Pine Key due to the consistency of the water temperature.

Fish You’ll Can Catch in Big Pine Key

The most popular fish to catch in Big Pine are tarpon, bonefish, and permit. If you’re targeting tarpon, then September is an ideal time to fish. And if you’re fishing for baby tarpon, hit the waters June through October. Of course, you can find tarpon here year-round.

If you’re looking to catch bonefish, you’re in luck. Bonefishing in Big Pine has recently made a strong comeback. The population has really surged as of late. You can catch then year-round, using the right size fly.

You can also catch trophy size permit in these waters. The lower keys are famous for holding 30 – 40 pound permit. We suggest going after them using a fly or spin rod, with a black tailed devil rigged up. The months of March through October are the best times to catch them.

Where to Fish in Big Pine Key

To fish the majority of the flats, you’ll need a boat. However, you can use a kayak or wade fish in various parts of the lower keys. If you decide you want to go wade fishing, you’ll definitely want to hit Bahia Honda State Park. You’ll find an abundance of young tarpon, permit, bonefish, and snook.

One you arrive at the park, just take the path through the mangroves and you’ll be on the beach where you can fish from or around the sand bank. Try to do so when the tide is low. If the side is high, then cast into the area between the channel and the sandbank. These spots hold large schools of bonefish.

If you’re fishing for permit, hit this exact same spot. We suggest using a 10 or 11 weight fly rod for permit. And remember to fish for them when the tide is slightly higher.

If you’re targeting traps,  try wade fishing during tide change. It’s a peak time to catch juvenile bonefish weighing around 20 pounds. You can catch tarpon in the nearby grass flats as well. Tarpon roll and feed in these areas. The best time to wade for tarpon in these areas is during early and high tide. The best tarpon lure to use here is an olive colored tarpon toad.

When it comes to snook fishing, you can target this same area during fall. Fish in the troughs during high and falling tide. Or you can park in the lot closest to the beach and walk through the troughs. You’ll see a V-shaped spot where you can catch lots of snook. You can snag them casting off to the edge of the V towards the low spot. You can do this when the tide is low, using a fly and spin tackle.

Another ideal spot for wading and kayak fishing fish is called coupon bite. There is a place to launch your kayak from a spot on the beach that will put you directly into coupon bite. Fish in the afternoon to have the most success.

You can find a fair amount of redfish here. Big permit can also be caught. You can actually see their backs out of the water when they’re swimming. Use weedless flies for the most success.

The Ohio Key is also an excellent location for wade fishing. If you take the path near the bridge, and wade straight out onto the water, you’ll find several sand banks. Fish this area during low tide to catch plenty of bonefish. You can hit Long Key State Park around mile marker 67. There, you can catch bonefish on a very low incoming tide. Or you can kayak out to snag lots of redfish.

Best Fishing Gear for Big Pine Key

Before you worry with rods and reels, know that you’ll need a pair of polarized glasses so you can see into the water. Also bring a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes. Go with long sleeve clothing and pants as well to keep the wind and rain off you —plus to protect you from the UV rays. We recommend using sunscreen.

When it comes to tackle and gear for Big Alpine Key, go with fly rods with a weight of 7 – 11. Or you can just go with an 8 or 10 weight rod. For tarpon you should go with the 10 weight rod. And for bonefish, go with the 8 weight rod. Use fly lines when you’re targeting tarpon and permit —especially when it comes to tarpon. Some of the best brands are Airflow, Monic, and Cortland.

If you’re a spin fisherman, bring a 4000 series spinning reel. It should no less than 200 yards of braid. For bonefish and permit you can go with lighter tackle. A 7 foot rod will work fine. They’re perfect for casting crabs. But if you’re drifting crabs you’ll need something little bigger. Also, use fluorocarbon leaders with your fly and spinning rods, plus Cortland clear lines. Yo Zuri brand is our #1 choice. If you’re targeting tarpon, make sure you use 40 or 50 pound for your bit tippet.

 

 

Horseshoe Beach, Florida, United States

Horseshoe Beach is a fishermen’s dream. It holds seven formidable spring fed rivers. They spit out directly into the Gulf of Mexico. The estuary they create draws in anglers from all over Florida. You ‘ll also find hidden coves, amazing islands, and unspoiled flats.

The water clarity in the island areas is optimal. They offer excellent fishing for locals and vacationers of Florida. In fact, fishermen come far and wide to catch trophy redfish, grouper, speckled trout, trip tails, tarpon, black drum, flounder, pompano and permit. You’ll find lots of redfish in the shallows, and speckled trout in the flats. You can also sight cast for lunker tarpon, cobia and drum.

This area is also known for its breathtaking scenery. You can see whitetail deer, bald eagles. and pelicans in the sky. It’s not uncommon to see a bald eagle fly directly overhead. Manatees eating on patches of turtle grass can be seen if you look beneath the boat. Two well known wildlife honey holes are Homosassa and Crystal River. They’re renowned for having great fishing hot spots for families on vacation.

Top Fish Species at Horseshoe Beach

Seven spring fed rivers, several lakes, vast shoreline, and backcountry waters make up The Nature Coast. Within these bodies of water you can catch redfish, largemouth bass, snook and tarpon. Some of the best places to catch a variety of fish species is Homosassa River, Crystal River and Withlacoochee River.

Best Places to Fish in Horseshoe Beach Florida

Fresh Water Lakes

Lake Rousseau is a monstrous man made lake spanning three counties. Part of the lake —the south side section— is actually in Crystal River. You’ll see that a four lane boat launch was just built there.

Lake Rousseau is mainly a bass fishing lake. This is due to its large amount of natural cover and vegetation. Lunker largemouth love its many stumps and structures. You can also find catfish, stump knockers and specs in this grassy, stumpy lake. Fishing is good 365 days per year at Horseshoe.

Another great fishing spot at Horseshoe is Lake Tsala Apopka. This vast lake covers nearly 20,000 acres and has densely vegetated marshes and open water pools. You can catch lots of crappie here. The lily pads give them perfect cover. Plus, you can catch big largemouth bass here —10 pounds and heavier.

Henderson Lake is located about 6 miles from Hernando. This lake is a hot spot for water skiers and jet skiers. However, anglers flock from all around to hit this spot. It holds plenty of big bass. Plus, you can catch bream, bluegill, and catfish.

Inshore flats and backcountry

Crystal River and Homosassa are filled with deep channels that help anglers easily navigate its shallow waters. if you’re looking for backcountry fishing spot, hit Ozello or Chassahowitzka. These areas offer amazing fishing opportunities.

Offshore

If you’re looking to do some offshore fishing on The Nature Coast, then you’ll have lots of opportunities. You can catch amberjack, kingfish, mahi mahi, barracuda, and an array of groupers and snappers.

Best Tackle and Gear for Horseshoe Beach

Spinning Tackle

Make sure to bring medium to fast action rods. They should range from 8 -20 pounds. Also, it’s important that they have good drag that will hold monofilament and braided line of up to 150 yards. If you’re targeting small to medium size species like redfish, baby tarpon, snappers snooks, sea trout, and ladyfish the opt with a 10 pound outfit. For larger fish —like big tarpon and sharks —go with a 20 pound outfit. For lakes, you can downsize to an 8 pound spinning outfit.

Fly Tackle

if you’re going the fly rod route, then use fast action rods with weight ranging from 6 – 10. Make sure it can hold at least 150 yards of backing. For small to medium size fish species such as redfish, sea trout, false albacore and small sharks go with a standard 8 weight. Generally, 6 – 10 point weights are ideal for these target species. You’ll need a floating line and/or a short to intermediate tip. Use fly patterns and types that are best for tropical weather.

Lures

Locals recommend a number of effective types of lures. They say soft plastics work well. This means jerk baits, plastic shrimp. imitation fish, and gulp shrimp. Plugs work great as well —between 3 and 6 inches in length. Use diving and top water lures like spoons and ducktail jigs.

Bait 

You can find live bait at local bait shops in the Crystal River and Homosassa area. The most effective live baits seem to be live shrimp and pinfish. You can find shiners, worms, and crickets if you’re looking to do some freshwater fishing.

Flies

If you’re looking to catch Redfish and trout using a fly rod then go with what works. Flies with patterns such as kwans, Borski shrimp, clousers, gotchas and Merkin grans work well. If you’re targeting tarpons then use toads, Lemay’s Snake, EP Baitfish, and Black Deaths.

For largemouth bass and bluegill go with closer minnow flies. Bait fish imitations ranging from 2 – 5 inches are recommended. Try Gurgles and Seducers as well —they really work.

Clothing 

Be sure to wear fast drying fabrics. Wear long sleeve and pants to protect your skin from the UV rays. Also, bring hats, buffs, and sunglasses. And don’t forget to bring a mosquito head net and mosquito spray.

 

 

New Smyrna Beach, Florida, United States

Located on the east coast of Florida, New Smyrna Beach is a gorgeous place to vacation and catch fish. Many come to fish the Mosquito Lagoon, a 22 mile stretch of water that’s part of the Indian River Lagoon System. It has a reputation for having excellent year-round flats fishing —especially in the shallow draft flats.

Skiff fishing is common in the lagoon areas. Anglers usually propel the skiff over the shallow flats using a pole, rather than paddling with an oar. Light spinning tackle and fly rods are typically used while flat fishing from a skiff. Some fishermen using trolling motors. Whichever you use, it’s important to keep the noise to a minimum to avoid spooking the fish.

You can also see a lot of wildlife at New Smyrna Beach. This makes it ideal family vacationing and fishing. There’s manatees, dolphins, heron, pelicans and more. Plus the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a mere 20 minutes south of the beach. It’s one of the most pristine pieces of coastline in Florida.

Native Fish Species

New Smyrna Beach boasts plenty of great game fish. Sea trout, redfish, and black drum can be caught 365 days per years. Redfish and sea trout are by far the two most prevalent fish species in this region. During summer, you should target tarpon and snook. They’re active in the Mosquito Lagoon’s inshore waters.

Towards the inlet there are more fish species. Docks and creeks harbor flounder, sheephead, snapper, ladyfish, grouper, and sharks. If you fish nearshore off the Atlantic Coast you can catch jacks, kingfish, cobia, barracuda, false albacore and more. If you choose to go surf fishing, you can snag pompano, bluefish, redfish, whiting, drum, and mackerel.

Where to fish

For site fishing from a skiff, the central and southern parts of Mosquito Lagoon is the best choice. You can also fish the northern Mosquito Lagoon, and the Ponce inlet areas. Just be prepared to devote more time these areas because they cover a lot of space. And don’t forget to hit key fishing spots along the beach, such as reefs and nearshore wrecks.

Gear

If you’re hitting the flats, use a 7 or 7 1/2 foot medium action rod. We suggest using 10 pound braided line with a 20 pound leader. Use a reel size of 2500 for the most success. Keep in mind, if you’re going after tarpon you should use a 30-50 pound leader.

For dock fishing, we recommend using a stiffer rod. Use 15-20 pound braid, so you can safely pull fish from pilings once they’re on the line. If you opt to go nearshore fishing, then switch to a 4000-8000 size reel, and up the braid to 20-30 pounds. And if surf fishing is your game, then go with an 8-10 foot surf rod with a large reel.

If you’re fly fishing, try a 7 weight rod and floating line. If you’re targeting larger fish, then go with a 9 weight rod —for example big redfish and trout. But keep in mind that average size fish can be caught on a 5 – 7 weight rod.

 

 

Akumal, Yucutan, Mexico

From Akumal south, to Ascension Bay on the Riviera Maya there’s an abundance of fishing spots and entertainment. If you’re looking to take a family vacation and sneak in some fishing on the side, it’s the perfect spot.

You can catch lots of bonefish and tarpon while getting in plenty of quality time with the family. Akumal is a great central location, with lots of fishing hot spots and family activities within close proximity.

The small, serene town of Talum is just south of Akumal. It has many interesting places to take your family. You’ll find some of Mexico’s most well known Mayan ruins there.

South of Tulum is the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve. Covering about 20% of the state of Quintana Roo, it’s one of Mexico’s largest parks. And don’t forget about the Mayan fishing Village of Punta Allen. It’s only 5 blocks of sandy streets, yet has a number of fishing hot spots and fresh seafood markets.

Native Fish Species

Most local anglers love to target Bonefish in the waters of Akumal. Bonefish typically weigh under three pounds but can get bigger —especially near the ocean side flats. The tarpon are much bigger. They can weigh 30 plus pounds when you catch them in the lagoons. The large ones can get up to about 80 pounds. During the summer, you can target adult tarpon migrating along the reef.

There is an abundance of permit on the flats and beaches. Lures with crab and shrimp patterns work best. Snook are usually on the ocean side during winter months, and are found in the lakes year-round. Snooks can reach up to 30 pounds and fun to catch.

Also, Jack crevalle and barracuda lurk on the shores and the flats, mainly in areas holding sardines. If you see gulls and other ocean birds feeding, that typically means sardines are around. So look for them as an indicator
of where you should fish.

Best Places to Fish

The beaches and lagoon flats of Boca Paila offer some of the best fly fishing spots on the planet. There are plenty of lodges and guides on the way to Punta Allen. Guides and locals can show you the best way to fish individual areas in Akumal.

The most effective way to fish Ascension Bay is to rely on local advice from lodges like Pesca Maya or Casa Blanca. If you’re fishing Cancun, venture 40 miles northwest to the Isla Holbox to fish for tarpon. Ask for Mr. “Sandflea” Bega Cruz, the owner of the Holbox Tarpon Club. He will recommend the best tarpon fishing spots in Mexico.

Recommended Gear and Supplies

Your go-to gear for most every fishing spot is an 8 weight rod and floating line. For surf fishing, use an intermediate sink tip line. You can also use sink tip line while fishing deep cenotes in the lagoons. Cenotes are natural water filled sinkholes, formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock.

On the beaches, use bigger and heavier flies than you would on the flats. Try lead-headed spawning shrimp and mantis variations ranging —sizes 4 – 6. For the best results catching lake tarpon use dark flies such as Black Death or black and Purple combo colors. Use a fly with a strong silhouette as well —especially when the water is discolored by rain.

For great results in the lakes, use top water action with gurgler patterns. For flats use flies tied in tan, white and pink. They’ll bring the best results. We recommend Bonefish Candy, Pink Puff, Greg’s Flats Fly, and Clouser Minnows —size 6. You can also fish with spinning equipment and have lots of success.