Florida Saltwater Fishing Records The FCC strives to increase and diversify participation in fishing throughout Florida via an effort known as R3, which stands for Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation.
The R3 initiative helps create the next generation of anglers who have a vested interest in conserving and managing Florida ’s natural resources. For more information see Florida ’s R3 Fishing Action Plan.
Anglers catch hundreds of brawny, beautiful and delicious species in teeming estuaries, off gorgeous beaches and in the deep blue oceans surrounding the Florida peninsula. The reasons for fishing are as varied as the species and the methods of catching them.
Or, catch bass species that thrive only in North Florida rivers such as the magnificent Suwanee, where class III rapids add serious excitement to a fishing trip on the river between White Springs and the Town of Suwanee, where the river passes through the Lower Suwanee National Wildlife Refuge, pouring out into the Gulf of Mexico. Whether it’s a red snapper caught off Destiny, speckled trout from Tampa Bay, or a mess of crappie from Tallahassee ’s Lake Alcuin, there’s not much more satisfying or delicious than eating fish you caught yourself.
Spring break or summer vacation are both great times for feisty, delicious easy-to-catch fish. The biggest sea trout on record came from Fort Pierce.
While a boat gives you access in Florida to thousands of miles of waterways and coastline fishing, it also presents a host of complications. Berthing it, trailing it, maintaining it and, increasingly, paying the price of operating it are all prompting lots of people to question the wisdom of owning a boat.
Not to worry, there are plenty of opportunities for pier fishing in Florida for people without boats. Many visitors don’t realize just how many species of fish move up and down the coastline and through our waterways within easy reach of a fisherman on shore or on a pier or bridge.
Additionally, there are hundreds of public docks around the state that offer freshwater fishing access to Florida ’s famed black bass and numerous pan fish. It’s just a matter of figuring out where there’s close access to the water and then fitting yourself out to do some laid back fishing.
While I’ve done my share of surf casting and still hit the beach occasionally when the pompano are running, I grew up as a wharf rat, spending many happy hours fishing from the old Jacksonville Beach pier. A college friend who knew I fished a lot once asked to go along on one of my pier expeditions.
Cold fronts in Florida generally aren’t a big deal, but standing on a windswept pier in 45 degrees with just a light windbreaker to fend off a steady drizzle isn’t anybody’s idea of fun. Most of the ocean piers around the state have a concession stand that will rent you a rig and sell you the terminal tackle and bait.
All you need do is show up and pay the fee, which usually includes the use of the pier’s commercial fishing license. If the kids get bored with fishing, they can wander up and down the pier seeing what other people are catching, or they can hit the beach to toss a Frisbee or grab some rays.
They’ve built or bought dock carts that allow them to haul multiple rods and reels, lots of gear and even live bait (not to mention drinks, lunch, a boom box and whatever else they feel they need for a day’s fishing) from the parking lot to the end of the pier. They use one big rod and reel to send a heavy sinker with prongs as far out into the ocean as possible.
The average pier fisherman using simple equipment and dead bait, like shrimp, will most likely connect with whiting and croaked. But be careful, because interspersed with the dinner fish will be the occasional catfish, whose spines can inflict a nasty injury (I know this from experience after getting a dorsal fin deep into my foot).
Lots of bridges spanning salt water inlets or waterways offer fishing opportunities. The old Sunshine Skyway bridge that spanned the entrance to Tampa Bay has been converted into two of the longest fishing piers in the world.
That means if an east wind has been blowing and the surf is up, you’re going to have a hard time getting your bait past the breaking waves. Fishing near jetties or inlets can be good, but what you really want is to find a stretch of beach protected by an offshore sandbar.
But if you wander a nearby beach early in the morning or late in the afternoon, chances are you’ll come across a group of fishermen.