sea trout, flounder, snook and tarpon are the most sought-after game fish in the
Bluefish are plentiful early in the year, followed by cobia, Spanish
mackerel and snook.
The 42 islands that make up the Keys can be divided into three
distinct sections - Upper, Middle and Lower. The Upper Keys from Key Largo to
Lower Matecumbe contain the area's fishing hub, Islamorada, known as "the
fishing capital of the Keys."
Both inshore and offshore fishing is excellent. Sailfish reaching weights of 60
to 80 pounds are around until late spring, along with blackfin tuna and 30- to
40-pound wahoo. Dolphins appear in April, followed by blue marlin in May, which
can be found within 10 miles of shore.
Bonefish are literally everywhere throughout the Keys. If you're looking for
something with a little more fight, the permit makes the powerful bonefish look
like a weakling. You'll find this fish in large numbers in the Content Keys.
Sailfish is the name of the game along Florida's southeast coast. The
live baiting method common off Miami, Pompano and Palm Beach is becoming
commonplace in these waters for catching sailfish. Late winter is a good time
for the gulf stock of king mackerel if the weather stays mild, and tarpon and
snook are abundant in Miami's Haulover Inlet and Bear Cut. By June, snook
fishing moves to the inlet scene.
From the Ten Thousand Islands to Sarasota Bay, the king of fish is the
tarpon. First showing its silver scales in March, tarpon fishing only gets
better as the weather warms, particularly near Boca Grande and off the beaches
from Marco to Pinellas County.
The Butler Chain of Lakes near Orlando are widely known for bass
fishing. Lake Okeechobee boasts incredibly productive waters, but keep in mind
that there is a five bass bag limit and all bass from 13 to 18 inches must be
released. One bass over 22 inches may be kept.
The speckled trout symbolizes inshore fishing in west central Florida. A versatile catch, you can snare them from a boat, bridge, pier or while wade fishing. During winter months, this fish will find warmth in tidal rivers and bayous like the Little Manatee in Hillsborough County. As the weather warms, they escape to the grass flats.
Bass fishing between DeLand and Lake Harney is considered the best its been in years. The season begins in February, with prime fishing in the main creeks feeding into St. John's River. The Withlacoochee River, over 100 miles long, also houses largemouth bass along its stretch, and the Ocala National Forest is great canoe and wade fishing territory with its 600 lakes.
The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) between Jacksonville and Ponce Inlet
offers more than 100 miles of sheltered inshore fishing for trout and redfish.
Founder and king mackerel become strong in May, and the St. Augustine area is
home to bluefish, tarpon and Spanish mackerel.
Just say "the cobia are in" and anglers everywhere get ready
to reel in this spring/summer catch. Most of the fishing occurs in eight to 15
feet of water within 50 yards of shore.
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