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Best Fishing Florida Gulf Coast

author
Elaine Sutton
• Sunday, 27 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.

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

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.

Neoprene or insulated waders keep you comfy in the winter, but during the warm season, simply walk in with lightweight clothing and enclosed shoes. 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.

gulf fishing coast spots summer fl marathon charters mexico fishingbooker
(Source: fishingbooker.com)

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.

fishing gulf mexico florida bay charter trip keys charters offshore trips
(Source: alllitupcharters.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. The Bay pier has a lovely view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the Element Key.

There is also a play area for the kids and crafts and entertainment every night at 6-9pm. Check out some amazing homes for sale in Clearwater: www.ClearwaterBeachCondoSales.com This historic Pier is a world-famous fishing and boating destination.

You can expect to catch flounder, snapper, shook, redfish, and many others. Rod, tackle, bate and bicycle rentals and sales are available.

Where: 170 Johns Pass Boardwalk, Madeira Beach, Florida Reading Time: 12minutesEach year about 3 million people go fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

fishing gulfport summer gulf coast spots redfish ms
(Source: fishingbooker.com)

Make sure to keep an eye on the horizon, since storms can develop quickly and ruin your trip. Work these patches with ballyhoo early in the morning and the game fish won’t be able to resist.

For a delicious meal with your family, head towards the Lower Keys to pull up some Mutton Snapper and Grouper. It can get too hot during the day, though, so many anglers recommend fishing during the nighttime or early in the morning.

Or if you want a blast, test your luck with deep dropping and target monster Swordfish. The Sword bite is on fire at this time of the year and nothing beats the feeling of pulling them up from the seafloor.

Afternoon thunderstorms can provide a bit of cooling, so you can hit the water for some fine evening fishing. Another backcountry fishing delicacy, Speckled Trout, will hide in shallow waters, near flats and areas with a lot of structure and grass.

For the best chances of landing the “Silver King”, set out early in the morning or after sunset. Your kids are going to love fishing for Redfish and Shook, while you can catch a big Tarpon.

fishing trout florida gulf saltwater coast fish flats conditions
(Source: captrichknox.com)

This is the hottest month of the year, so either hit the water early in the morning or try night fishing for Shook and Tarpon. There are many artificial reefs a couple of miles from the shore, where you and your friends can get Grouper, King Mackerel, Snapper, and a variety of Sharks.

Head 20 miles out into the Gulf to catch Amber jack, Barracuda, massive Grouper and Snapper, Mali, and Yahoo. You can expect the days to be hot and wet, so make sure to stay hydrated and fish either early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

If you want to explore nearshore reefs, you can target Mackerel, Jacks, and Bluefish, and some Blacktop Sharks as well. Start by chumming and let the bait descend, then switch to flashy jigs and wait for the bite to come.

Not only can you get a good deal of reef fish that live near the surface, but you can also get some Mangrove and Lane Snapper. For lovers of offshore bottom fishing, head out some eight miles west of Marco Island to get Gag and Red Grouper.

If you want light tackle action for you and your little ones, stay in the bay and fish for Shook and Redfish. You can also find a lot of Specks (Speckled Trout) and Reds (Redfish) around grass flats, while the open waters of the bay will produce Spanish Mackerel and Mangrove Snapper.

gulf florida coast anderson fishing mike report august coastal capt magazine angler
(Source: coastalanglermag.com)

If you like speed and ain’t afraid of a big fight, leave the bay and fish the offshore fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico. Tarpon, Sharks, Mackerel, and Jacks are present in good numbers, so make sure to explore Tampa Bay to the fullest.

Pensacola gets pretty crowded in July and fishing trips sell like hot cakes. Thousands of families come here for their traditional summer trip and go bottom fishing for Snapper and Grouper.

Late July is also a great time to get deep-water treats like Tile fish and Scamp Grouper. Further out, Yahoo, Yellow fin Tuna, and King Mackerel are all present in large numbers, and with some luck, you can get Blue Marlin and Sailfish.

You can catch Sleepyhead, Grouper, and Snapper, as well as Redfish, Spotted Sea trout, Black Drum, and Bluefish. Dauphin Island fishing charters have access to hundreds of Alabama’s artificial reefs where you can catch Red Snapper and Gag Grouper throughout July.

Just make sure to bring insect repellent, as the mosquitoes can give you a nasty bite. Explore inshore fisheries to will also come across Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Black Drum, Jack Crevasse, and some Sleepyhead.

florida gulf fishing coast report anderson mike november capt coastal magazine
(Source: coastalanglermag.com)

You can also get Redfish, Bluefish, Black Drum, Flounder, Sleepyhead, and Spotted Sea trout in inshore waters. This is a perfect time to come to Mississippi’s Gulfport : you can enjoy the heat of the summer and go back home with a tasty dinner.

If you charter a boat to take you farther offshore, you can fish for numerous Grouper species, including Gag, Red, and Black, but also for other fish, like King Mackerel, Cobra, Amber jack, Mahi, and Yahoo. You can even test your skills against Yellow fin Tuna around offshore oil rigs.

You will find big Redfish, Black Drum, Flounder, Triple tail, Sleepyhead, and Jack Crevasse hiding around grassy areas near the shore. Inshore fishing trips around New Orleans are perfect for families with young kids.

You will stay in shallow parts of the bay and have access to good fishing not far from dry land. Days are hot, but a sudden storm can take you by surprise, so make sure to pack some rain gear and talk to your captain about the weather before you head out.

A pumpkin patch is a body of shallow water, with grass and a horde of Redfish swimming around. It is a month of solid inshore fishing, with bull Reds and Speckled Trout taking the spotlight.

trout speckled redfish
(Source: greatdaysoutdoors.com)

These bottom fishing trips around coral banks sell fast as families and friends head out to fill their coolers with juicy flesh. If your kids aren’t too young, these trips are a great way to spend a summer day outside.

Fishing stays top-notch throughout August, as Arkansas and Corpus Christi Bays continue to produce limits of Speckled Trout and Redfish. You can spend the day on beaches and swim these calm waters, then go fishing around the bay, jetties, and flats for Redfish and Speckled Trout.

Other species, such as Black Drum, Sleepyhead, and Flounder, are also large in numbers and make for a great family trip and a fine dinner. Once you’ve explored fishing opportunities around the bay, turn towards the Gulf of Mexico and take an offshore charter.

South Padre Island is popular among fly anglers and folks who love wade fishing. Make sure to go wading with a local guide as they know the good spots and will put you on fish.

It’s the start of Speckled Trout high season, and Flounder are also biting with full force. You will find Red Drums in the Laguna Made, and if you fancy fly-fishing this is some of the best there is.

fishing florida gulf coast fl trip flats
(Source: captrichknox.com)

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Sources
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2 keywestcaptconch.com - https://keywestcaptconch.com/how-to-catch-grouper-in-the-keys/
3 www.robertsonhunter.com - https://www.robertsonhunter.com/grouper-fishing-regulations-florida-keys-key-west/
4 www.bradenton.com - https://www.bradenton.com/sports/outdoors/fishing-boating/article248093150.html
5 fishmonster.com - https://fishmonster.com/blogs/fishmonster-magazine-1/wintertime-shallow-water-grouper-fishing
6 www.reelfishingguru.com - http://www.reelfishingguru.com/how-to-fish-for-grouper/
7 flfishingspots.com - https://flfishingspots.com/florida-keys-fishing-spots-grouper/
8 greatamericanwildlife.com - https://greatamericanwildlife.com/fishing-for-red-grouper-in-southwest-florida/