Florida Offshore Fishing Tips

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Florida fishing is like no other in the world. It is the Fishing Capital of the World. It is also home to a wide range of offshore fishing, which anglers have access to all year. It is surrounded with the most beautiful waters, including the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Straits of Florida. Here are some tips to help you maximize your Florida fishing experience.

1. While summer is the best time to fish, it’s not the best season for all seasons. However, you shouldn’t be afraid of winter and fall.

It is obvious that the best time to fish offshore in Florida is summers. The waters are clearer and warmer, and the fish feed more as they move closer to shore. Winter fishing in Florida is not something to be taken lightly. You can kite fish sailfish. They are most active in February, and they are abundant in the East Florida region. You can also catch redfish offshore in winter.

Although many fish species are less active in fall, there are still many rares such as the King mackerel or the Lane Snapper that can be seen during colder months.

2. Pay attention to the fishing seasons for top game fish.

Florida is a great place to fish all year. However, you’ll find that the best months for many species of fish are March through October. Common dolphinfish (mahi mahi), cobia, and tarpon all start to bite in March or April. They will continue to do this until the peak of summer. You must arrive early if you want to catch prime cobia off-shore.

Groupers are active all year, but are most active in spring and summer. Red snapper, on the other hand has a very brief open season from June through July.

May is a great month to spot record wahoo and yellowfin Tuna sizes. Permit is another summertime fish that bites in a very short time period, from May to August.

3. Follow the prey when you fish in the deeper oceans in summer.

The common deep-water prey, such as anchovies and crabs, will help you find larger game fish. So take advantage of the clear water and look for them. They will most likely have larger fish in their nets, ready to strike.

These small species can also be caught to make live bait.

4. You can bring several fishing gear, depending on the catch you are after and where your hotspot is.

Florida’s waters are rich in diverse fish species and you should be prepared with all the equipment required for each technique.

Below are some fishing hotspots, along with the techniques that you can use depending on what catch is available.

Sailfish Alley, Stuart, FL

Sailfish Alley offers two options for catching sailfish: trolling or kite-fishing in winter. While trolling is the most popular method of fishing for this species, kite-fishing can be a more challenging and unique option.

Key Largo

You can catch common Dolphinfish in Key Largo by trolling with live and dead bait. You might be able to find your catch by following seabirds that are looking for prey in the waters.

Key West

You can catch common dolphinfishtrolling at Key West. But don’t forget swordfish trolling at night. To lure these fish species, you should use a chum bucket and a chum line. These are the most effective: bonito, herring, mackerel and bigeye scad.

Fort Lauderdale

High-speed trolling is the best way to catch the wahoo. To catch this game fish, anglers must travel at least 20 knots.


You should experience bottom fishing for grouper at Naples. For your chum bucket, bring sardines or squid. The smaller groupers will be more likely to eat the bait, leaving behind a trail of fish for larger ones. They will then be shaken enough to bite.

However, some anglers recommend slow-trolling grouper. Trolling allows you to cover more ground, and increases your chances of catching a larger fish.

Florida Panhandle

When the water is calm, sight-fishing for cobia in Florida Panhandle is a great way to enjoy the sport. Cobia are known to ride along with large Manta Rays. If you spot one in the Gulf of Mexico waters, you will know where it is. You can also trolling for cobia with large spoons, but you can make it more efficient by chumming.

5. Try wreck fishing

The Gulf and Atlantic Ocean can offer great wreck fishing opportunities in July and August. You can catch permit, cobia and sailfish from these structures by luring them with live pilchards chums. These are available in the shallows of Boca Grande Key or other backcountry keys.

6. Charter or fishing guide booked

A guide’s knowledge is essential if you are fishing offshore, especially in a place as diverse as Florida. It is important to maximize your trip. Before you set sail, it is a good idea to consult your guide about the required licenses and permits. Book a guide or charter with Charters at least six months in advance of your trip.

You can add Florida fishing to your bucket list by trying it offshore. For a unique fishing experience, book a large charter boat with your family.

The article was written by a professional charter captain at Salty Knots Fishing Charters with 15+ years of experience in the Gulf of Mexico. Salty Knots Fishing Charters is a local fishing charter service based out of St. Pete Beach, Florida. “We know what it takes to catch a giant trophy fish!” Click here to learn more!

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