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Best Fishing Florida East Coast

author
Earl Hamilton
• Monday, 07 December, 2020
• 11 min read

Some will also offer the opportunity to slide a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board into the water, but all include plenty of space to fish from shore, or wade into coastal shallows. The prominent paved jetty pier on the north side, complete with safety rails offers a safe, spacious platform for reaching the surf zone or the deeper water of the inlet.

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Contents

Incoming tides always bring a push of activity, but when the fall mullet run piles an enormous biomass in and around the inlet, anglers have a field day with bull redfish, giants nook, tarpon and the occasional cuber snapper. Mangrove snapper, jacks, sleepyhead and black drum add to the mix; while the shallower end, along with the smaller south jetty may yield pompano, whiting and craters.

Species mix includes trout, weakfish, redfish, black drum, flounder and sleepyhead with the occasional striped bass. Several pull off spots provide casting access to the St. Johns River, or you can take one of the interior roads through the campground to fish the Fort George Inlet on the north side.

The mix here includes flounder, redfish, black drum, pompano, whiting, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and sharks. Deploying live baits off the deep end often yields king mackerel, tarpon, sharks and barracuda.

Tarpon often run this area anglers soaking live baits or sight casting big swim baits might put one in the air. From the metered parking area to the pier is a bit of a hike, but it’s a straight shot down the walking promenade running along the cut.

Both provide spacious access to a wide range of Keys favorites like snapper (mangrove, lane, mutton and yellowtail), tarpon, grouper, yellow jack, shook and porgies. 1) Fort DeSoto Park in south St. Petersburg leads the list on Florida ’s left coast.

snook florida fishing most coast east popular
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The gem of Pinellas County, this 1,136-acre park comprises Madeleine, St. Jean, St. Christopher, Bone Fortune and Mullet keys and complements an impressive angling menu with campgrounds, picnic shelters, bathroom/shower facilities, concessions, bait shop, dog park and historical significance. Expect a good mix of shook, trout, redfish and flounder, along with mackerel, cobra, pompano, sharks and mangrove snapper at the piers.

Boardwalks over the protected dunes offer access to the redfish, flounder and trout waters on the marsh side, but surf fishing is the big attraction. From whiting, pompano, bluefish and mackerel; to sharks, cobra and bull reds, this is one of Western Florida ’s premier shore fisheries.

The main causeway bridge and the smaller one right before the island offer sleepyhead, black drum, shook and snapper opportunities. The piers light attract bait fish, so expect everything from shook, to trout and the occasional bluefish to stake out these feeding spots.

With beach shallows, the coastal Gulf and deep channel waters within easy reach, anglers find a steady mix of the inshore regulars, along with passing tarpon, king fish and sharks. Summer is prime time for big shook staging for their spawn; while fall sees voluminous bait fish schools exiting the inner bays, with several predators in pursuit.

Empty lots and bridge pull-offs may be convenient and cost-efficient, but a cursory scan for questionable types who clearly not fishing might offer a safety/vehicle security clue. Tip: Local businesses rarely budge on the “restrooms are for customers only” thing (many have signs posted), so don’t expect any mercy, no matter how much you grimace and squeeze your knees together.

coast east florida fishing inlet caught map fishipedia
(Source: www.fishipedia.com)

Commercially produced aluminum pier/bridge carts with wide wheels will easily transport your rods, tackle bag, cooler and live bait well over pavement, rocks or sand; but for casual duties, a garden utility cart (some models fold) will suffice. Waiting until you feel that cool downdraft can leave you and your gear exposed and out of options; so know where the nearest shelter lies and have a bug-out plan just in case.

It starts with respectful spacing, so if you approach an area where others are fishing, take note of where their lines are set (short, long) and allow reasonable buffers. Enduring precious little action save for the intermittent splash of a leaping mullet or squawking of a gull, I began wishing I was home fluffing up my pillow when suddenly the bomber disappeared from view.

A small gallery of anglers formed behind me to watch the show, including one annoying fellow who barked out play-by-play updates to no one in particular whenever the berserk fish changed direction or broke the surface. After enjoying about 15 minutes of the shook's acrobatic jumps, slashing head shakes and powerful runs, I worked the fish to the bridge net and someone hauled it upwards.

Anglers from Amelia Island, Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Daytona Beach will enjoy winter shots at trout, redfish, black drum, sleepyhead and pompano, with cobra and Yahoo offshore. In summer, be ready for permit, shook and tarpon, plus offshore battles with Yahoo, dolphin and an occasional blue marlin.

Truth be told, this doesn’t even begin to cover a fraction of Florida ’s amazing fisheries. With such a large state surrounded by two major bodies of water, it’s impossible to include all of Florida ’s hottest fishing destinations in one article.

gulf fishing mexico west mahi key caught crystal coastal magazine angler coastalanglermag fullsizerender
(Source: coastalanglermag.com)

Some areas you should definitely check out are Mill Cove, Nassau Sound, and Amelia Island State Park. No matter where you go, you can expect a day full of action, targeting Cobra, Redfish, Black Drum, and King Mackerel.

Located directly on the Intracoastal Waterway, this historic town offers a wide range of angling opportunities right on its doorstep. Combine targeting them with going for Trout and Flounder, and you’ll earn yourself a Northeast Florida Slam.

Travel outside the inlet, and you’ll find lots of Snapper, Grouper, Amber jack, Cobra, King Mackerel, and sharks. Whether you’re a competitive angler or you’re just getting started, this area’s got plenty of charters that will show you an amazing day on the water.

For a relaxing day in the city, explore the streets, visit shops and coffee houses, and don’t forget to enjoy a scenic stroll on the River walk. For a taste of local history and amazing views, head to the Fort Caroline National Memorial.

Head south to Mosquito Lagoon and get ready to hook into a variety of species, including Shook, Red and Black Drum, and Sleepyhead. If you’re looking for a longer trip, book a deep sea charter that will take you trolling for Yahoo and many other pelagic species.

fishing florida coast east river indian snook saltwater fish lagoon
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Daytona Beach also has some of the best Large mouth Bass fishing in the state, which you can explore if you decide to travel inland. Daytona Beach is a popular tourist destination with many activities you can combine with your fishing trip.

And of course, Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, where you can climb up its many stairs for amazing views. With its vast network of flats, sandbars, and seagrass meadows, this is a prime spot for sight casting and fly-fishing.

You can either wade in the shallows or pole your way across mangrove tunnels in search of Redfish, Shook, Sea trout, and Tarpon. There are tons of great spots, such as Stephen’s Point, Big Sarasota Pass, and Siesta Key, that are only a short boat ride away.

Start off with the beaches, take a dip, get yourself a nice tan, and finish your trip with a scenic hike in the nearby state park. Another amazing Florida fishing spot, Naples, is located in the heart of Florida ’s Paradise Coast.

You can pick a guide to take you backcountry fishing where you’ll weave through mangroves and cast over flats to catch everything from Spotted Sea trout to Blacktop Shark. There are lots of excellent inland canals that can make a half day trip extra rewarding here.

fishing sheepshead drum river coast east surf report floridatoday catches tripletail sharks among main fleas sand
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If you’re up for a challenge, fly-fishing can produce lots of great action against the likes of Tarpon, Shook, Permit, and many other inshore species. If you have a few extra hours to spare, you can head offshore and tick some big game fish off of your bucket list.

With so many excellent fishing locations concentrated in this part of Florida, it’s no wonder they call it the Paradise Coast ! Start your trip off with a dip on Naples Beach, take a walk through the Botanical Garden, or go on a hike in Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park.

Shook, Trout, and Redfish flood the waterways between here and Cape Coral, giving inshore anglers the thrill of a lifetime. Other top species here include Goliath Grouper, Tarpon, various Sharks, Mangrove Snapper, Cobra, and the list goes on.

The reason why so many people come to Fort Myers and Cape Coral is its access to an endless amount of fishing opportunities. Some spots you’ll definitely want to check out are San Carlos Bay, Malacca Pass, and Pine Island Sound.

You can head down the famous Sailfish Alley and reel in big pelagic fish with the city’s skyline in the background. If you’re looking to stay closer to shore, the Biscayne Bay is only a short boat ride away and teeming with lots of fish.

east coast fishing florida forecast surf december coastalbreezenews
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This area holds large numbers of Red and Black Drum, Shook, Jack Crevasse, Spotted Sea trout, Sleepyhead, and many more. You can also explore the Florida Middle Grounds for some offshore action and reel in Amber jack, Black fin Tuna, Red Snapper, and Gag Grouper.

With so many options on hand, we have a feeling you’ll be coming back to Tampa Bay several times to check out everything this region has in store. Nestled on the waters of Tampa Bay, the city boasts a unique combination of history, Floridian culture, and modern attractions.

Combine your trip with a dolphin cruise, and a visit to some interesting museums, and you got yourself a perfect Tampa itinerary. Its long stretches of white sandy beach make fishing off the surf a rewarding experience.

For a relaxing afternoon, take a stroll on the Destiny Harbor Boardwalk and enjoy the amazing sunset. If you’ve ever imagined a fishing paradise, chances are you’re probably thinking of something close to, if not exactly like the Florida Keys.

The Florida Keys is a 100-mile stretch of thin islands, surrounded by crystal blue waters and lots of fish. Bone fish take the center stage in the spring but you can also catch lots of (Snook), Tarpon, and Permit throughout various times of the year.

fishing florida gulf kayak coast water salt sportsman
(Source: www.saltwatersportsman.com)

With spots like the Marathon Humps attracting a slew of hungry fish, you’ll experience rod-bending action with very little waiting time between catches. You’ll often find yourself having to take out the heavy tackle as you battle against some of Florida ’s hardest-fighting fish, such as Marlin, Sailfish, and Tuna.

This famous archipelago has something for everyone and once you get a taste, you’ll be hooked instantly, wanting to come back for more! The famous Overseas Highway will prepare you for the time you’ll spend here, with stunning views over the turquoise waters.

Offline, you can get them at any registered retailer including Walmart and bait and tackle shops, but check out our detailed guide for more information. With so many charter options to choose from, you can tailor your trip to your preferences and enjoy one of the greatest fishing states in the world.

Rods, reels, and tackle are usually included in the price and you’ll likely have a cooler on board so you can bring your favorite snacks and drinks for the ride.

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Sources
1 thebookongonefishing.com - https://thebookongonefishing.com/2020/09/best-fishing-spots-near-destin-florida-destin-harbor
2 thebookongonefishing.com - https://thebookongonefishing.com/2020/09/best-fishing-spots-near-destin-florida-north-channel
3 fishingbooker.com - https://fishingbooker.com/blog/destin-fishing/
4 flfishingspots.com - https://flfishingspots.com/destin-florida-fishing-map/