The Best Places for Florida Fishing This Summer

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The Best Places for Florida Fishing This Summer

By Rebecca Fending

One of the best ways to get outdoors and enjoy summer weather is by fishing. It’s peaceful, warm and couldn’t get any more relaxing. Whether it’s a fishing trip or day on the lake or ocean, here are some of the best places to fish in Florida this summer.

Know what kind of fish you want to catch

The first step to finding your summer fishing spot is figuring out what kind of fish you want to catch. Are you looking to catch your own dinner, a photo opportunity or just a casual day of catch and release to test your skills and see what you can get? Depending on what you want, your location may need to change.

Largemouth Bass

Known as Florida’s designated freshwater fish, largemouth bass can be found in most lakes and rivers within the state. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation website, these bass are distinguished from other types of black bass as, “… the upper jaw extends beyond the rear edge of the eye, and the first and second dorsal (back) fins are separated by an obvious deep dip.”

If you’re hoping to catch one of these beauties, it’s recommended that you go early morning to a body of fresh water. Bass tend to gather in schools in the middle of lakes, so fishing from a boat may offer you the highest probability of catching one. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the regulations surrounding largemouth bass fishing in Florida.

The difference between a Florida Largemouth Bass and general Northern. Image from Ozark Anglers Forum.
The difference between a Florida Largemouth Bass and general Northern. Image from Ozark Anglers Forum.

Tarpon

Tarpon (also known as Silver King or Silver Sides) are known for their ability to grow to enormous sizes and because they are a challenging fish to catch due to their aggressive and sudden movements when hooked on a line. According to TarponFish.com: “… they are one of the few fish in the world that have a swim bladder. It acts as a lung so they can breathe raw air… This is one reason it is thought that they can battle for so long, because of the amount of oxygen they are able to take in throughout the fight.”

The best way to catch a tarpon is by keeping an eye out for their shining silver scales as they periodically “roll” on the water’s surface. This competition fish makes for a world of fun for fishermen looking for a thrill. Unlike most fish, tarpon make for an exhilarating time on the water. Be sure to read through the regulations surrounding tarpon fishing in Florida waters.

"Sam Roberts with tarpon", image from FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute on Flickr.
“Sam Roberts with tarpon”, image from FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute on Flickr.

Snook

This Florida native is one that brings every type of fisherman to the Sunshine State. With a distinctive and dark black stripe down its side, a snook is unmistakable. These fish are able to comfortably exist in either fresh or salt water environments, making them a great fish to seek out no matter where you are.

Bridges and piers tend to make the best spots for snook fishing. This makes them easily accessible even if you don’t have a boat.

Read up on the regulations surrounding snook fishing in Florida.

Image from user Jim Mullhaupt on Flickr.

Where are the best public spots in Florida?

Although you can find these fish and many others in various bodies of water within the state, here are some of the most highly noted state and national parks that make great spots to find a catch:

  • Lake Kissimmee State Park: Not only is fishing a major draw to this park, but you can also hike, kayak and just observe the wildlife that calls Lake Kissimmee “home”. The fish native to the waters here are largemouth bass, crappie, blue gill, catfish and chain pickerel.
  • Hugh Taylor Birch State Park: Located within the bustle of Fort Lauderdale, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a perfect natural safe haven. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon picnic or weekend camping trip, this park is your destination. The fish native to the waters here are snook, sheepshead, grunt, catfish, red drum and even king mackerel during July.
  • Everglades National Park: This world-famous national park is home to more than just manatees and alligators; it’s also a great spot for tarpon fishing.

If you’re looking for a great way to stay social distanced and get outside, fishing is the perfect mini-getaway. Be sure to do your research beforehand to make sure that you’re well prepared in the way of tools, materials and understanding the local wildlife.

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