Today, Florida is a gorgeous tropical wonderland, the site of many a family vacation or retirement escape. But once upon a time, the state was an undeveloped swampland of near-worthless real estate. Those two descriptions combine to make Florida one of the prime destination fishing spots on the planet. Filled with inland lakes and streams and surrounded on most sides by oceanic waters, Florida is a paradise where anglers can hardly go wrong. Check out our seven species to fish in Florida:
1. Largemouth Bass:
Living in a year-round warm climate is an advantage that Florida anglers take often when it comes to the pursuit of trophy-winning largemouth bass, which can be caught in waters around the state during almost every month on the calendar. Prime bass fishing season is either at the beginning or end of the year, and Florida’s map is perforated with lakes where you are likely to land a winner. Take a look around on Google for a good lake near your home or vacation destination.
Photo via BassMasterGuideService.com
If the fall and winter belong to largemouth bass anglers, fishermen looking for tarpon own the spring and summer months in Florida. Game and Fish Magazine advises tarpon anglers to hit the Boca Grande Pass – arguably the world’s finest tarpon habitat – in early May before destination anglers flock to the spot for a summer vacation. Schools of tarpon begin arriving at the area in the spring, and an angler in the right place at the right time can easily score a trophy in the neighborhood of 200 pounds.
Photo via Blackwater Charters
3. King Mackerel:
Mackerel are one of Florida’s finest treasures when it comes to fish, so ditch the inland lakes, rivers, and streams in the late spring or early summer and head to the ocean in search of a “holy mackerel.” These fish are especially receptive to fishing boat trolling.
Photo via Spotted Tail
4. Spotted Seatrout:
April is a tough month for some Florida anglers, as largemouth bass finish up their spawning periods and become harder to catch. At the same time, that’s precisely when big spotted seatrout start biting lines around Jacksonville, so don’t hang up your fishing gear just yet.
Photo via Natural North Florida
Fall tides can turn Florida’s coastline flats into a refuge place for these lightning-fast little buggers. Take a flats boat out in September and see what you can find. The fish aren’t big – between three and five pounds is the average – but the challenge is enough to make the expedition worthwhile.
Photo via Biscayne Bay Fishing
Another fish species that flocks to the flats – though cobia do so a bit earlier in the year than bonefish. Cobia are also considerably larger than bonefish, so if you want your trip to the flats to net you a 50-pounder, a cobia in mid-summer is your best bet.
Photo via Florida Sportsman
Florida even named its Major League Baseball team after this big game species of fish, and if you are vacationing in or around the Florida Keys, you have to spend at least one day on a rented fishing boat or a private big game fishing tour searching for a trophy-sized marlin.
Photo via Outcast Charter Fishing
Featured photo via Florida Sportsman