What Fish Are in Season in Florida?
Your Guide to Florida's Year-Round Fishing Paradise
Florida, known as the "Fishing Capital of the World," boasts a diverse range of fish species that can be caught year-round. With its extensive coastline, numerous lakes, and pristine rivers, Florida offers anglers an abundance of opportunities to reel in some of the most sought-after catches. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a beginner looking to cast your first line, understanding what fish are in season in Florida is essential for a successful fishing expedition.
In this guide, we'll take you through a journey of Florida's fisheries, by season, to help you plan your fishing trips accordingly.
December - February
Sheepshead: These striped fish are commonly found around bridges, piers, and oyster beds. They are a popular target during the winter months and provide a challenging fight for anglers.
Black Drum: Black drum can be found in both saltwater and freshwater areas, especially in the Indian River Lagoon and Tampa Bay. They are known for their hefty size and are a favorite among anglers looking for a good fight.
Pompano: Pompano is another winter catch, with the best fishing taking place along Florida's Atlantic coast. They are often found in surf zones and around jetties.
Triple Tail: Find them in Florida coastal waters near floating structures. Send out a live baitfish or artificial lure and set the hook!
King Mackerel: King mackerel, often called kingfish, are another popular target. They can be found in the Gulf and Atlantic waters and are known for their blistering runs and delicious meat.
Sailfish: The sought after sport fishing target is active during cooler months. Troll your ballyhoo offshore and let him eat the bait before reeling!
March - May
Snook: Snook season opens in the spring, drawing anglers to the estuaries and coastal areas. Known for their acrobatics and strong fights, snook are a prized catch. You can find them in the backwaters, near mangroves, and around bridges and docks. The spring season is from March 1st to May 1st. The slot for snook is between 28 and 33 inches in total length.
Trout: These fish are prized for their delicious white flesh and can be found in both saltwater and brackish environments. Spotted seatrout can be found in a variety of habitats, including grassy flats, seagrass beds, oyster bars, and deeper channels. They are commonly found in estuaries, bays, and along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida.
Tarpon: Also known as the "Silver King," tarpon are renowned for their size, strength, and acrobatic leaps. They are primarily a saltwater species found along both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida. Popular tarpon fishing destinations include Boca Grande Pass, the Florida Keys, Tampa Bay, and the Everglades.
Sheepshead: Sheepshead are abundant during the spring months, particularly around structure-rich areas like docks, bridges, and piers. These fish have a reputation for their challenging bites and delicious, flaky flesh.
June - August
Tarpon: The Silver King, as it's often called, is a legendary Florida fish. Tarpon season peaks in the summer, and anglers flock to the coastal waters for a chance to hook these massive, hard-fighting fish.
Spotted Seatrout: Trout are abundant in Florida waters during the summer. They are known for their delicious white flesh and make for a great meal after a successful day on the water.
Mangrove Snapper: These tasty fish are plentiful in the summer and can be found around mangrove shorelines, bridges, and artificial reefs. The Florida Panhandle and the Keys are excellent places to reel in mangrove snapper.
Mahi-Mahi (Dolphin Fish): Head offshore during the summer to target mahi-mahi. They are known for their vibrant colors and delicious meat. The Gulf Stream off Florida's east coast is a prime area for mahi-mahi fishing.
More: Other popular summer species are cobia, wahoo, kingfish, and grouper.
September - November
King Mackerel: Kingfish, as they are commonly known, are a favorite among offshore anglers. They are known for their speed and agility and are often targeted during the fall months.
Grouper: Grouper season typically opens in May and remains active until December. These bottom-dwelling fish come in various species, including red, black, Goliath, and gag grouper, and are known for their delicious meat.
Kingfish: King mackerel, also known as kingfish, migrate south along Florida's coast during the fall. Popular locations for kingfish include the Florida Panhandle, Tampa Bay, and the Florida Keys.
Spanish Mackerel: Spanish mackerel join the kingfish migration and can be found in similar areas. They are a great target for light tackle anglers.
Snapper and Grouper: As waters cool down, snapper and grouper move closer to shore. The Gulf of Mexico offers fantastic opportunities to catch species like red snapper, gag grouper, and black grouper.
Gear Up for What Fish are in Season in Florida
Of course, you'll need the right tackle to go after these species.
We've been building custom rods by Dru in North Palm Beach, Florida since 1975.
We dedicate our skills and craft to building the finest gear for anglers around the world.
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