Best Shore Fishing Florida Keys

James Smith
• Monday, 21 December, 2020
• 10 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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(Source: www.mustdo.com)


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.

fishing florida keys dolphin offshore tuna
(Source: floridakeysfishingmarathon.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 florida offshore keys
(Source: www.youtube.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. Even after hosting over 50 fishing tournaments each year, the coastal region boasts a bounty of tarpon, marlin, and much more.

Comprised of six islands, where backcountry and saltwater fly-fishing were first pioneered, this coastal destination is home to bone fish, tarpon, sailfish, and many more species. For fishers looking for a more easygoing excursion, the area hosts everything from dolphin fish to barracuda to blue and white marlin.

A popular site for snorkel and dive excursions, Big Pine Key also boasts excellent fishing. Part of the class of islands known as the Lower Keys, Big Pine is a great destination for small catches (and fledgling fisherman).

Home to an array of imagination-inspiring shipwrecks, the former living place of Ernest Hemingway, and perhaps the most famous island of the Floridness, Key West boasts no shortage of bragging rights. Missing from this list is the area’s abundant sea life, a feature which makes the island a popular pick amongst skilled fishers.

offshore report fishing largo key trip reports
(Source: fishingbooker.com)

For a challenging excursion (and a great story), you can’t beat the tuna, tarpon, and other local game fish found in Key West. Clear water and the presence of bone fish, permit, and more make this area a dependable destination for fishers of all experience levels.

Flowing north from Key West’s Florida Straits along the entirety of the Sunshine State’s coast, the Gulf Stream provides plenty of territory for fishers (and their would-be catches) to explore. A favorite site for offshore fishing in the Floridness, the stream awards anglers with mahi-mahi, blue and white marlin, and more.

As the longest island in the Floridness, Key Largo boasts the biggest indigenous fish population in the region. Here, anglers can nab more than 600 different species of fish, including fan favorites, such as tarpon, bone fish, and permit.

Reading Time: 9minutesThe Floridness are the perfect fishing vacation spot. It takes about 20 minutes to get from the skinny waters of inshore flats to deep offshore canyons.

There are many reasons that make Key West one of the most popular spots in the Straits of Florida. But it’s not only the Hemingway House, water activities, and good food that make the town so popular.

fishing florida shore keys tarpon gulf key west
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Key West is surrounded by a vast surface of flats that hold Bone fish, Permit, and Tarpon. You can start your vacation by scouting the flats and doing a bit of sight fishing, then switch to the fly.

To get to the secret spots with big fish, pair up with a local guide. Many anglers decide to hire a deep sea charter to take them fishing in the Cuban waters.

These skinny waters fish for Shook, Tarpon, Permit, Lemon Shark, and Yellowtail Snapper. You won’t find choppy seas here, only calm waters teeming with fish.

If you want to try something that’s essentially Key West, then book a fishing trip on a small flats boat. Your fishing guide will stand on a casting platform and use a long pole to steer the boat.

These islands don’t have a lot to offer to city lovers but are sheer spiciness when it comes to sport fishing. The water depth around the rock piles on the east side of the islands is between 15 and 30 feet.

fishing florida key west shore charters keys sanctuary states united backcountry excursion experience marine national
(Source: triptelligent.com)

These patches of rocky bottoms are home to an amazing number of Snapper and Grouper. But you will often hook into King Mackerel, Yellowtail Snapper, Barracuda, and Sharks.

Use small minnows, pinkish, sardines, squid, and mullet for the best results. If you’re traveling with kids, this fishing trip is a great starting point for them.

Here you will find a maze of mangrove cuts, flats, and creeks rich in fish. You can explore these waters from a skiff, or if you aren’t afraid of working outs, you can hop into a kayak or canoe.

Before you head into these meandering mangrove cuts, fish for pilchards on the flats. Here you will find clear waters so you can sight fish for Shook, Tarpon, and Permit.

Non-local anglers often overlook this network of flats, mangrove islands, and channels. If you do, you could be missing out on a chance to reel in Snapper, Grouper, Bone fish, Permit, Tarpon, and Jacks.

keys fishing florida bridge map spots bridges go going need plenty obviously there
(Source: fishingbooker.com)

You might come across deep, wide cuts where sunken boats and other debris make it for a hot fishing spot. Plus, these mangrove islands and rich vegetation protect the channels from the wind.

Calm waters make Cuddle Key channels popular among kayak anglers. As for the bait, you will find a lot of mullet, crab, and shrimp around these fisheries.

The channel between the Old Bahia Honda bridge and the Overseas Highway is the deepest inshore fishery in the Keys. The waters drop from 18 to 25 feet and offer some of the best bridge fishing in the Floridness.

There is a lot of food moving between the bridge pylons and the pilings serve as a good shelter for the game fish. As you warm up to get to the Tarpon business, you can hook into Permit, Sleepyhead, Mutton Snapper, and Hammerhead Sharks.

Deep sea fishing is made for these waters, which often plummet to over 500 ft. The Marathon Hump is a seamount, a mountain that rises from the ocean floor.

shore keys fishing florida
(Source: www.youtube.com)

The strong currents of the Gulf Stream push the bait fish towards the surface. These fishing spots are home to Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Yellow fin and Black fin Tuna, Yahoo, and Mali.

If you want a true test of your stamina and strength, sit tight in that fighting chair! If you want to go home with a big, tasty dinner, prepare to pull hard.

Snowy, Strawberry, and Yellow edge Grouper, Tile fish, and Queen Snapper frequent these waters. Islamabad has the nickname “Sport Fishing Capital of the World”, and you shouldn’t miss it.

Try to put your name among the few who have managed to catch Bone fish, Permit, Tarpon, and Shook in a single day. Each of the fish have their own unique features, so it’s a real feat to land them all in a single day.

You will be playing hide-and-seek with the fish around the mangrove islands and flats of Islamabad. A reef patch south of Ta vernier Key holds a good number of Mutton, Mangrove, and Yellowtail Snapper, as well as Gag Grouper.

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(Source: floridakeysfishingmarathon.com)

Duane and BBB are sunken ships that lie a couple of miles from Key Largo. BBB is one of the premier diving sites, with excellent fishing opportunities.

Make sure you tie your boat to the mooring buoy, as fishing is not allowed otherwise. If you wouldn’t like divers to show up in the middle of your fishing spot, it’s best to go out on a local charter.

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