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A guide to: The perfect fishing trip in Florida

It is no secret that the fishing possibilities in Florida are endless: from deep sea fishing with charters to freshwater fishing, in this region, you can find it all. In this article, we will guide you through the perfect fishing trip to Florida so you can know everything you need before enjoying all that the "Fishing Capital of the World” has to offer.


Orlando's amusement parks and the excitement of Miami are two of Florida's top attractions. However, this American state is not just about that: the region is home to beautiful beaches, wild-looking areas, and cities as unfamiliar as they are charming.

Considered the “Fishing Capital of the World”, there is no doubt that fishing in Florida is the dream of many anglers, whether for its magnificent structure for fishing or for the variety of species, or for the diversity of modalities that can practiced and, of course, for the care and preservation of the sporting species. It is no wonder that the United States raises billions of dollars from sports fishing alone; the sport is taken very seriously here. For this, and someone other reasons, Florida is an unforgettable fishing destination for any angler.

In order to help you get all the information you need before going fishing in Florida, we made all the research ourselves so you can know where you can go bass fishing in Florida, how to book a fishing charter, how to get a fishing license and even what to do between fishing sessions.

Step 1: Things to consider before booking a fishing trip
Step 2: Choosing fishing spots in Florida
Step 3: Packing for a fishing trip in Florida
Step 4: Getting a fishing license in Florida
Step 5: Choosing where to eat
Step 6: Exploring Florida beyond fishing
Step 7: Finally booking your fishing trip



Ready?

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Step 1: Things to consider before booking a fishing trip


When it comes to booking a fishing trip there are many things you should consider, even if you have already decided to go to a famous fishing destination such as Florida. The type of fishing is one of the points you should think about. Do you prefer inshore or offshore fishing? Or maybe you are a big fan of night fishing? The type of fishing you want to practice will make a big difference when choosing the location, the gear, and charter.

How many people are you traveling with?

The group size is another point to keep in mind. If you are having a family vacation, for example, you should consider going fishing in spots that are easily reachable. In this case, inshore fishing will probably be a good choice since it is more family friendly. When going for offshore trips you and your fishing group will have to commit to at least 12 hours of being away from the coast.

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What would you like to catch?

You should also consider the species you are aiming to catch. That will not only determine the fishing spot and technique but also the time of the year you should go on your fishing trip. Thinking about this detail will avoid you losing your time trying to catch certain species when they are across the world.

For how long would you like to travel?

The trip duration is also a crucial thing to consider when booking a fishing trip. Of course, the longer you spend on the water, the greater are the chances of not only catching more fishes but also of catching bigger ones. But, obviously, the duration of your trip will depend on your fishing group, fishing location, and chosen technique.

To sum up: the time you have available and the group you are going on the fishing trip with will determine many aspects of your trip, such as fishing spots and fishing techniques you will be using. So don’t forget to have all these factors in mind when choosing the fishing location.

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Step 2: Choosing fishing spots in Florida


There are so many different options when it comes to fishing in Florida that you will have trouble closing only one fishing spot. But relax because we have listed the best spots for you.

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What we suggest:

Key West
Key West is a well-known touristic spot in Florida. But what many people don’t know is that the region is also an extraordinary fishing spot. Word has it that even Ernest Hemingway used to be a known angler in the region for a long time. Here you can fish both from the shore and offshore, what makes Key West a perfect place to get an assortment of fish, including tarpon, bonefish, marlin, and other saltwater species. Key West also has many other water-based attractions, which means that this spot is a perfect location to visit with the whole family. And when it comes to renting a fishing charter in Key West there are plenty of options, but we personally recommend the Key West Pro Guide. January is a great time of the year to go fishing in in this region.

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But you can also go fishing at:

Key Largo
Angling specialists and local people will argue that Key Largo isn't just the loveliest place to go fishing in Florida but it is also one of the best spots when it comes to quality of fishing. Key Largo is the first of the famous Florida Keys and it is an energizing spot for an angler to explore, here you'll locate a bright assortment of fish, including bonefish, tarpon, and snook. Key Largo is loaded up with dynamic angling options due to the number of sweeping pads and mangrove timberlands, from reef to offshore angling. If you are traveling to Florida around January, Key Largo should be on your list fishing spots!

Jacksonville

Jacksonville
Jacksonville is perfectly situated along the Atlantic Ocean in upper east Florida. The region is a haven for anglers searching for a non-expensive yet an extravagant destination. The "River City by the sea" flaunts in excess of 20 miles of wide and uncrowded shorelines, near 40 miles of the peaceful Intracoastal Waterway canal, and the longest stretch of the excellent St. Johns River, which is a haven for redfish. The months of September and October are the best time to visit the region.

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Cedar Key
The small town of Cedar Key is an interesting old Florida excursion spot – one that offers dazzling shorelines, many angling options, and rich nature. The region has less than 1,000 residents, and it's a place that is short on traffic lights and long on unwinding. On the south of Cedar Key is Seahorse Reef, a known spot for the seasoned Gulf Shore anglers. Here you can catch gamefish such as spanish mackerel, spotted seatrout, and the king mackerel. If you are a fan of fly-fishing you should definitely visit the region since tarpon fly-fishing in the Crystal River have set world records. August is one of the best months to go fishing in the region.

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Daytona Beach
If you enjoy pier fishing, beaches such as Daytona, Cocoa and Jupiter Inlet can be a great alternative. In this region, you can find predators such as mackerel, tarpon, cobia, bluefish, and even sharks. Keep in mind that the water flow will impact which side of the dock you can fish to avoid tangling, while the mid-stages, otherwise known as "slack tides", enable you to angle specifically under the pier. Fish are regularly less aggressive when the current decreases, however, the angling can still be rather successful if the line is cast properly.

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Lake Okeechobee
Also known as Florida’s inland sea, the Lake Okeechobee is the second-largest freshwater lake in the United States and it has become famous to be a great spot to catch freshwater fish in Florida, especially for bass fishing. Here you can practice some freshwater fishing and catch the mythical largemouth bass and speckled perch beside the catfish and black crappies. Trust us, you will not be disappointed to visit Okeechobee and catch one of the biggest fishes of your life. The best season to catch fishes in Lake Okeechobee is from January until early April. Other options for freshwater fishing in Florida are the Tamiami Canal, Lake Trafford, and Lake Istokpoga. You can even go fishing in Disney World! The two lakes inside of Disney have a big population of bass. Keep in mind that it is not possible to go on your own, but boats with guides are available.

To sum up: We definitely suggest going fishing in Kew West. It is a great location if you are going fishing with your family and there is plenty to do. But you have the chance you should also going fishing in different locations such as Key Largo, Jacksonville, Cedar Key, and Daytona Beach. For those anglers that enjoy firewater fishing, the Lake Okeechobee is a great option for freshwater fishing in Florida.

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Step 3: Packing for a fishing trip in Florida


Like with anything throughout everyday life, an arrangement is fundamental to an effective fishing trip. Set aside some opportunity to go over what you ought to bring on your trip before you take off to your adventure. Bringing the correct things guarantees that you'll have an awesome time.

The first thing you should do when packing is checking the weather forecast so you can be prepared. Keep in mind that summers in Florida are long, rather warm and humid. Thunderstorms by the end of the afternoon are common during summer. Winters are mild with an occasional cold breeze.

The weather in Florida

And when it comes to packing, remember: Florida is considered the “Sunshine State", therefore, sunglasses, preferably polarized ones should be in your list together with a hat and sunscreen, after all, the climate is the most important natural resource in Florida. You should also bring water-resistant shoes, raincoat and, of course, a camera to register this amazing fishing trip.

When it comes to fishing gears, most guides provide rod, bait, tackle, etc. But there is no problem with bringing your own rod and tackle if desired.

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Fishing gear

If you are bringing your own gear, there are some things you should consider. We recommend bringing at least two fishing rods per person. It is also important to bring a variety of bait, tackle, and chum. Fishfinders can also very useful. Likewise, an extra spool of fishing reel can be handy.

When it comes to hooks we highly recommend using circle hooks which are best used with natural bait, both live and dead. The circle hooks are more likely to hook the fish from the mouth instead of the stomach. Of course, you should know that hooking a fish from the mouth reduces harm and facilitates dehooking. Besides, fishes hooked in the corner of the mouth are more likely to fight less. The non-stainless still hooks can also increase survival rates of fish since they are less toxic.

Gear for deep sea fishing

If you plan on going deep sea fishing, venting tools are important too to have a low fish mortality when angling. These instruments are used to treat barotrauma. When fish are brought quickly from deep waters to the surface, gas in the swim bladder can expand, what can result in a bloated appearance. This can keep the fish from returning to a comfortable depth. A range of venting tools is available, such as hollow instruments such as a hypodermic syringe with the plunger removed. Keep in mind that knives are not venting tools since they will not allow the gases to escape from inside of the fish body.

Descending devices are also essential in deep sea fishing. They descend fish back down to a depth where the water pressure will be comfortable for the fish. There is evidence that using descending devices can significantly increase the survival rate of fishes.

Obviously, buckets and knives are also very handy when fishing, so don’t forget those at home!

To sum up: You should always check the weather before packing. Either way, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a cap should always be in your luggage when going fishing in Florida. When it comes to fishing gear, most guides will provide the equipment, but if you prefer to bring your own don’t forget to bring the fishing rod, a variety of bait and a fishfinder. It is also important to use hooks that will facilitate dehooking as well as venting tools and descending devices. These pieces of equipment will help to increase the survival rate.

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Step 4: Getting a fishing license in Florida


When fishing in Florida both visitors and residents need a freshwater or saltwater fishing license. There are though some exceptions, such as children under the age of 16 and residents who are 65 or older. But keep in mind that officers can ask for proof of age.

As a general rule, anglers need a freshwater license to catch a freshwater fish and a salt-water license to catch a saltwater fish. But when fishing in certain areas in which salt water and fresh water blend and species of both types can be caught this rule can be confusing. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website, the interpretation of the rule is:

  1. You need either a freshwater, saltwater or combination license (or appropriate exemption) to take fish (take is legally defined as taking, attempting to take, pursuing, molesting, capturing, or killing any fish, or their nests or eggs by any means whether or not such actions result in obtaining possession of such fish or their nests or eggs).
  2. If you are using species-specific gear, your license should be appropriate (e.g., freshwater or saltwater) to the species you are targeting, and
  3. Otherwise, you need an appropriate type license to keep your catch and must immediately release any species for which you are not licensed. License requirements follow the species of fish, regardless of where they are caught. In other words, if you only have a freshwater license and are primarily fishing for largemouth bass or bream (freshwater species) in a river, but happen to catch a red drum (a saltwater species), you must immediately release the red drum.

Where to get the fishing license

You can get your fishing license online or at local fishing shops and retailers. Some fishing guides in Florida also sell licenses, so make sure to check with your guide when booking a fishing trip. The license is valid for a year after the date issued.

It is important to say that not everyone on board a recreational fishing boat needs a license. But, obviously, non-anglers should not help with fishing in any way. Also, keep in mind that there is a daily bag limit of how many fishes you can keep depending on the species.

To sum up: Generally, anglers need a freshwater or a saltwater fishing license, depending on where they are planning on fishing. The fishing license in Florida can be easily bought in fishing gear shops or directly with your fishing guide. You should pay attention though to the daily limit and the fishing rules in the area your angling.

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Step 5: Choosing where to eat


When going out to eat in Florida you can easily find a range of culinary influences that takes cues from its tropical climate, along with being the gateway to the Caribbean Islands. Here, fresh seafood, tropical fruit, and citrus-based desserts are omnipresent along the local cuisine, but a number of chefs are putting their own twist on these ingredients, what makes dining in Florida a real experience.

What we suggest:

Blue Heaven, Key West
Located at Florida Keys the Blue Heaven is the absolute must-see restaurant that reflects the mystic scenario of Florida Keys. Serving as a social hub for over 100 years, Blue Heaven's ambiance is full of art, tropical trees, and colorful people. Obviously, the atmosphere is not the only reason why you should definitely visit this restaurant. The menu smartly takes old classic from around the world and gives it a Caribbean-inspired twist. Items such as jerk chicken and Red Stripe deglazed shrimp are a must-try here.

But you should also try:

Trevi Pasta, Orlando
The Italian influence is a big part of the American culture and this little Italian restaurant located in Orlando brings the best of what the Italian cuisine can offer. The restaurant which is run by Michael Falcone specializes in artisan fresh pasta, ravioli, and potato gnocchi, and all the pasta served is made fresh every day. The menu changes almost daily in order to serve only fresh ingredients, but you should not worry, the food here will never disappoint you. Trevi Pasta is opened every day for both lunch and dinner, so if you have the chance, don’t miss the opportunity of trying their delicious food.

Mike’s Galley, Daytona Beach
The restaurant Mike’s Galley is just minutes from the Oceanwalk shops and it can be a great place to have breakfast as they announce in the facade. The restaurant has been around for a long time which proofs its quality. The place is known for its big cinnamon rolls and for its amazing eggs Benedict, but the service is what keeps the clientele coming back every time. And if you are one of those people who like to buy souvenirs, they also have an adorable gift shop with local crafts.

Azurea, Jacksonville
Situated by the bright waters of the Atlantic Ocean, in Jacksonville, dining at One Ocean’s Azurea restaurant can be quite an experience. The menu at Azura combines creative and elevated cuisine in order to match the elegant resort that houses it. One of the restaurant’s famous dishes is the great daily picked scallops with poblano purée and squash pan cotta. The staff is always kind and helpful. Moreover, the place offers a nice outside patio area in which you can enjoy the Florida weather.

To sum up: Blue Heaven in Key West is a great place to try the Caribbean-inspired local cuisine. But if you have the chance you should absolutely try other restaurants around Florida such as Trevi Pasta in Orlando, Mike’s Galley in Daytona Beach, and Azurea in Jacksonville. These places will prove to you that you should never underestimate the local cuisine.

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Step 6: Exploring Florida beyond fishing


It is hard for us to admit, but there is life beyond fishing. And if you go on fishing trips with family or friends, they might want to do some other activities, so here are some of our tips on what to do in Florida - besides fishing - of course!

What we suggest:

Explore the nature
As you already know, Florida offers great attractions nature wise. Some attractions are more commercial, such as the famous Sea World with its trained dolphins and killer whales. However, some attractions will take you to observe Florida's natural life without interfering with the natural habitat, such as Juno Beach. Another place worth visiting is the Everglades National Park which offers numerous attractions. Among the most sought-after activities in this park is definitely the Airboat tour. The Airboat as its name says is a kind of shallow vessel driven by a large ventilated one. The grand propeller behind the boat generates enough force to move the park, hence the name of "airboat". You can also enjoy the feeding shows for alligators. But do not worry, the animals are really well treated and you just need to follow the rules.

But you should also try:

Visiting Beaches
It sounds obvious to say you should definitely visit the beaches in Florida but many people miss their chance to get to know the most beautiful beaches of this American state. The coast of Florida, also known as Paradise Coast, gathers paradisiacal and perfect places to enjoy the landscape, the sun and the sea in good company. Besides having a lot of beauty, they bring glamor and a whole tourist structure designed to surprise the tourist. The main beaches of the region have hotels and resorts that provide the best experiences to the visitor. This should be a must-do activity for a list on what to do in Florida. And the best part is that in Florida you will find beaches for all tastes and budgets. Beaches with almost untouched beauties, completely commercial beaches, popular beaches, tropical beaches or even beaches for those who do not even want to wear anything.

Amusement Parks
I know I know! So far you have nothing new on this list about what to do in Florida, yet you'll probably be delighted to see the grandeur of Florida's amusement parks. When you hear that it's a magical world, you may even think it's an exaggeration and that's just marketing strategies. However, there are a lot of adults who get thrilled when they come across the big parks in Florida. Contrary to what you may think when it comes to amusement parks in Florida, there is much more than just Disney. Universal's Island of Adventure, Bush Gardens, and Volcano Bay are just a few of the many theme parks worth checking out.

Museums
The most incredible of Florida is in its variety of attractions. A great example of this is when it comes to museums in Florida. Although many might not think of visiting museums in Florida, here you can visit a great range of museums such as the museum of lost treasures, wax museum, museum of modern art, museum for children and even a museum of sex. Talk about variety!

Nightlife
When planning your fishing trip, you should include at least one show on the list of what to do in Florida. Major cities in Florida offer many nightlife attractions. Musicals, circus performances, concerts, bars, ballads and much more. If you're in the family, the Cirque du Soleil show, for example, can make your trip even more interesting!

To sum up: Besides the famous theme parks, there is a bunch of other activities to do in Florida between fishing sessions. We recommend you to explore the local nature by visiting places such as Juno Beach and the Everglades National Park. But of course, if you have the time you should visit other beaches, amusement parks, museums, and enjoy the nightlife in Florida.

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Step 7: Finally booking your fishing trip


As you can see, planning a fishing trip is serious business. But there is no doubt that the joy of looking forward to the trip and the memories of a successful holiday can sustain you for months.

Clearly, there are many factors to consider and booking a fishing trip can be rather time-consuming, that is why our website offers a simple and modern way to plan and book a fishing trip. At Fishtripr.com you can search for fishing trips by destination, fishing group, technique or even by theme. You can see in details what the fishing charters offer, where you will go fishing and the species you will be catching.

More than just a facilitator for experienced anglers, Fishtripr.com wants to make fishing accessible for those who have minimum experience with angling or even no experience at all. Even a beginner fisher can experience great fishing adventures such as trying to catch a shark in Florida Keys. Trust us, catching this famous predator in the crystal-clear shallow waters will definitely show all the thrill that a fishing trip can bring you.

To sum up: Florida is and fantastic destination not only for its fishing opportunities, but also for its natural beauty, local cuisine and parks. Most of all, fishing in Florida is for everyone, from the most experienced angler to the newcomers.