Florida just might be the top fishing trip destination on the planet.
It is no secret that Florida offers some amazing fishing opportunities. On the Gulf side, tarpon, redfish, and snook tend to be the fish of choice most fishermen pursue. On the Atlantic side, billfish migrations are the topic of most angler’s conversations.
Down in the flats around the Keys, bonefish and permit tend to take center stage. Of all these amazing ocean fish, it’s often easy for anglers to forget about Florida being one of the single best bass fisheries on planet Earth as well.
It would probably take years for an angler to fish for all these species, besides having an opportunity to catch them all. That is, unless you know how to plan the ultimate Florida fishing trip.
Just like before any trip, preparations need to be made. In this case, the first and most important preparation is money as well as planning the travel. Trying to hit all these species of fish over a long weekend is going to be no small feat and it will require plane flights and hotels. Plan accordingly.
That means budget for food, lodging, and tips because this trip will include the use of guides to put you on fish.
To start this trip out, fly in to Tampa to be ready to start fishing on a Thursday morning sometime in mid-March. In Tampa, tarpon start their migration and flood the waters of Tampa Bay, typically by the end of February, and are being caught consistently through the peak of the season, sometime in May.
There are a ton of charter captains that specialize in these early season tarpon. Here is the kicker though; find a charter that will do a combo, like Inshore Charters. Here, you can go out in the morning fishing for giant tarpon (200+ pounds), then finish the day catching snook and redfish in the Gulf flats. A typical eight hour day is going to be in the $600 to $800 range.
On Friday, considering how sore and tired your body will be after reeling in all those Gulf fish, it’s time to get a rental car and head to Miami. A quick four hour car ride will have you ready to fish sometime in the morning. Miami is considered the sportfishing capital of the world.
Just like Tampa, Miami offers a lot of different multi-species guides. Choosing the right one here can make or break you at this point. One such guide, Captain Mark Giacobba, owner of Glades Outfitters, is an expert when it comes to the Miami area fishing, especially if you enjoy fly fishing.
He can take you on a trip to the Everglades where bass fishing is fast and furious, especially during the low water periods of March. 100-plus fish days are not uncommon. For this part of the ultimate Florida trip, two days will be spent in mostly the same general area for totally different fish.
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For Saturday, you are left with an option of where to fish. Fortunately, staying connected with a multi-species guide, like Captain Giacobba, offers some options.
You can choose to stay in the Everglades but head towards the salty side where bonefish, tarpon, permit, snook, and redfish roam the channels of the national park. Biscayne Bay is also an option to chase permit, tarpon, and bonefish in one of the most challenging but rewarding fishing experiences Florida may offer.
On average, these types of fishing trips are going to cost from $400 to $600 or more per day depending on the time of the year.
Now for Sunday, the last day of the trip. The Miami area is famous for sailfish that migrate to cooler coastal waters over the winter, peaking sometime by the end of April. Sailfish can be caught any time of the year, but timing is everything. Here, just like the other days before, finding a great charter will get the job the done.
Do your own research, but services like Lucky Fishing Charters should be towards the top of your list. Trips for sailfish are normally around $700 to $1000 per day.
If a trip like this is in your budget, make it happen! You won’t be disappointed.