The Comprehensive Year-Round Guide to the Florida Fishing Seasons
Florida Fishing is unlike any other. The state is renowned for being a hub of fishing in the United States, famous for being home to the “Luckiest Fishing Village in the World” and the “Sportfishing Capital of the World”. The diverse fishing options from the flats and bays to the reefs and deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as numerous freshwater opportunities, make Florida an angler’s paradise. We bring you a thorough guide detailing the fishing seasons in Florida to assist you in planning your trip effectively.
This monthly guide will help you understand which fish species are active throughout the year, ensuring you make the most of your Florida fishing experience.
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Florida Coasts for reference…
The Florida Keys are an excellent choice if you’re seeking sunshine. January sees fewer crowds, making areas from Key Largo to Key West worth visiting. The fishing opportunities range from exploring the shallows in Biscayne Bay for Bonefish and Tarpon to offshore pursuits for Tuna, Sailfish, Wahoo, and more.
For a more interactive experience, visit the Panhandle’s flats and bays, which are teeming with fish. Select a trip out of Pensacola, Panama City Beach, or any spot in between to potentially land Redfish, Flounder, Speckled Trout, and Sheepshead. There’s also an opportunity to spot manatees in Homosassa!
The fishing scene in February is not much different from January. Post-holiday season, Florida becomes one of the quietest places to visit. Why not consider a serene, romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day?
The Gulf Stream is an excellent destination for deep-sea fishing. Charters run from Miami to Jacksonville, providing you opportunities to target Cobia, Kingfish, Groupers, Wahoo, and Sailfish. Additionally, Florida’s Sun Coast offers bountiful inshore fishing with Redfish being the catch of the day, while Flounder, Trout, and Sheepshead serve as delightful bonuses.
March signals the beginning of change in Florida’s fishing landscape. With the arrival of spring in the southern regions, new opportunities emerge. However, early booking is advised due to the influx of spring breakers.
Inshore fishing becomes attractive in the Keys and Everglades, with the “Silver King” (Tarpon) offering a memorable fishing experience. The reefs and inshore areas in the Panhandle also light up with activity as Triggerfish join the party. Moreover, this month marks the start of the freshwater fishing season, with Largemouth Bass hitting their stride.
As spring reaches its peak across the state, spawning season for several species, particularly in freshwater bodies, begins. Anglers should make the most of this time by visiting the St. Johns River and Harris Chain of Lakes for exciting Largemouth Bass action.
In terms of saltwater fishing, the arrival of Amberjack and Marlin in the Gulf of Mexico increases the thrill. For inshore anglers, expect Redfish, Snook, and Speckled Trout to provide engaging action in the bayous and lagoons.
May ushers in some of the best fishing in Florida, owing to rising temperatures that drive fish into a feeding frenzy. The month marks the opening of the Snook season on the Gulf Coast and the start of the Grouper season across the state.
Inshore action continues to be lively in the Everglades and around the Keys, with Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit leading the pack. May also begins the height of deep-sea fishing, with Marlin, Sailfish, and Mahi Mahi making a strong showing.
With summer in full swing, June sees Florida at its fishing peak. Offshore, Red Snapper season usually opens on the Gulf Coast, making locations like Pensacola and Destin ideal fishing destinations.
Anglers also encounter Blackfin Tuna, Wahoo, and Blue Marlin in the Atlantic waters. Meanwhile, inshore fishing remains exceptional, with species like Tarpon, Snook, and Redfish being readily available.
July offers an abundance of offshore action in the Gulf of Mexico. Anglers can expect to catch Red Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, and King Mackerel. Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) and Wahoo also make their presence known around this time.
Inshore fishing on the Gulf Coast is dominated by Redfish, Snook, and Trout. On the Atlantic side, the Canaveral National Seashore is a hotspot for Snook, while the flats of the Florida Keys continue to offer great Bonefish and Tarpon action.
In August, the inshore fishing scene in the Florida Keys comes alive with Permit and Bonefish, whereas Snook continue to roam the Gulf Coast’s mangrove-lined shores.
As fall begins, the fishing scene in Florida changes. The number of tourists decreases, making it a perfect time to take advantage of uncrowded fishing spots. The Snook season reopens on the Atlantic Coast, providing fantastic fishing opportunities in areas like Miami and the Keys.
Offshore, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, and Blackfin Tuna continue to provide action, while Grouper and Red Snapper remain staples in the Gulf.
October is a great month for inshore fishing. Redfish, Snook, and Speckled Trout are in abundance around the mangroves and flats of Tampa Bay, Mosquito Lagoon, and the Indian River.
Offshore, the Mahi Mahi bite continues to be strong on the Atlantic side, while the Gulf remains a hub for Red Snapper and Grouper. Additionally, fall signals the start of the Flounder run, making St. Johns River a must-visit destination.
As the weather cools down, fishing action shifts to the Southern regions of the state. The Florida Keys become the center of attention, with Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit still very much in the picture. In addition, the first cold fronts usually trigger a fantastic Sailfish bite off the coast of Miami and Palm Beach.
In the north, St. Johns River provides excellent action for Largemouth Bass and Crappie.
December is the perfect time for anglers to target Sheepshead around bridges and piers across the state. As these awesome fish come close to the shore to spawn. Spotted Seatrout, Redfish, and Snook also make a strong showing in the south, particularly around the Everglades and the Keys.
Please note that fishing regulations and seasons can change based on conservation needs. So it’s always a good idea to check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for the most up-to-date information. Happy fishing!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Spring is spawning season for several species. Largemouth Bass in freshwater bodies are particularly active. Saltwater fishing sees the arrival of Amberjack and Marlin in the Gulf of Mexico, while Redfish, Snook, and Speckled Trout are prevalent inshore.
June, July, and August in Florida are abundant with fishing opportunities. Red Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, and King Mackerel are common offshore catches in the Gulf of Mexico. Inshore species like Redfish, Snook, and Trout are also active. You can expect to see Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, and Wahoo on the Atlantic side.
In the fall, with reduced tourist crowds, you can enjoy a quieter fishing experience. Snook season reopens on the Atlantic Coast in September. Offshore catches of Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, and Blackfin Tuna continue. October brings an abundance of Redfish, Snook, and Speckled Trout inshore, and Mahi Mahi are still biting offshore.
Winter moves the fishing action to the Southern regions. Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit are active in the Florida Keys. The first cold fronts usually trigger a Sailfish bite off the coast of Miami and Palm Beach. Sheepshead become a prime target as they spawn near bridges and piers.
Offshore fishing in Florida offers opportunities to catch Red Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, King Mackerel, and various species of Tuna and Sailfish. Inshore fishing will have you casting for Redfish, Snook, Trout, and Tarpon, among others.
Absolutely. Freshwater bodies like the St. Johns River and Harris Chain of Lakes offer exciting opportunities, particularly for Largemouth Bass.
Yes, fishing regulations and seasons can change based on conservation needs. Always check with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for the most up-to-date information.
As the weather cools down, fishing action in Florida shifts to the Southern regions of the state. The Florida Keys become a hotspot, especially for Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit. The first cold fronts usually trigger a fantastic Sailfish bite off the coast of Miami and Palm Beach.