For boaters, and especially for fishing enthusiasts, offshore fishing is as good as it gets. If you’re new to the experience, though, you may want to prepare yourself a bit to ensure you can enjoy yourself as much as possible. There are plenty of deep-sea fishing opportunities not too far from the Florida Coast, and we highly recommend that you participate in these boating adventures at least once. Let’s get started as we cover everything you need to know about deep-sea fishing near Florida.
First, Get Your License
If you plan on going fishing by yourself, with some friends, or with your family, you’ll need the right license. Even some charters may want you to be licensed before they take you out for some offshore fishing. If you’re not sure which type of license you need or how to go about getting a fishing license in Florida, you can contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They’ll make sure you get the exact correct license for the type of fishing you’re preparing to do.
Check the Weather and the Tide Schedule
Like most boating adventures, deep-sea fishing is typically most enjoyable on a nice day. The best fishing boats are designed to handle just about anything Mother Nature can throw their way, but most people don’t want to deal with rough waters or pouring rain when they’re just out for fun. Even if the weather isn’t necessarily dangerous, it can put a serious damper on your day.
One of the many nice things about modern times is that people are getting a lot better at predicting the weather. Check the forecast and the tide schedules to ensure there’s nothing that could cause boating safety issues or otherwise ruin your good times. If you’re going on a chartered fishing cruise, you don’t have to worry about this quite as much because they should be on top of it. When you’re planning your own trip by yourself, with your family, or with friends, you’ll have to assume more responsibility for making sure you keep everyone safe and happy.
Learn the Basics
Offshore fishing can be a lot more involved than simply dropping a line off of the dock. You’ll pick up on all types of advanced strategies as you go along, but it’s important to know some essential things before your first venture. If you’re on a chartered fishing experience, they’ll help make sure you’re prepared and prevent you from making too many mistakes while you’re out. Still, it can’t hurt to be overprepared.
When you’re going out without the support of a trained professional, it becomes even more important to brush up on the basics. Start with simple things like learning how to tie a proper knot, identifying the correct fishing boats for your venture, which equipment you need, and how to use that equipment correctly. A bad knot can cost you your fish, and it really stings when your dream catch gets away from you at the last second.
You may be able to simplify things for yourself by preparing before you leave the shore. For example, you can get your rod and lure ready before you set out. That way, it’s already prepared whenever you need it, and you can cast more quickly without messing with bait so much while you’re out on the water.
Learn About Different Types of Fish
If you don’t know what type of fish you’re after, you’re not ready to go deep-sea fishing. The specific type of fish you’re trying to catch should inform the type of tackle and bait you bring with you. Next, learn about how the fish travel and where they’re most likely to be found. This will prevent you from wandering around aimlessly and dramatically increase your chances of success.
Ideally, you should learn about a few other types of fish as well. You might catch something you’re not expecting, in which case it’s nice to know what you’re dealing with. There are all kinds of fish in the ocean near Florida, which is why Florida locations are so popular for deep-sea fishing. Some of the most popular offshore fishing targets include all of the following:
- Goliath Grouper
- Red Snapper
How to Choose Your Deep Sea Fishing Bait
The species you’re targeting will help you pick the appropriate bait. When you’re fishing in deep water, you may have the best luck with live bait or bait that gives off a strong scent. The most common types of bait for offshore fishing in Florida include the following:
- Squid – This is a versatile bait because it appeals to many different kinds of fish and can be used in a few different ways. It’s especially great when you want to catch sailfish, mahi-mahi, cobia, and kingfish.
- Shrimp – Fish like the way shrimp smells and how it moves, which makes this a terrific bait for deep-sea fishing. It’s a flexible bait because it’s naturally common in deep seawater, and all types and sizes of fish eat shrimp.
- Ballyhoo – If this sounds like a made-up word to you, we highly recommend you learn more about ballyhoo and how you can rig it effectively before you go out deep-sea fishing. It’s a classic bait that works well for mahi-mahi, wahoo, and sailfish.
- Shellfish – Some species of fish like to eat crabs, clams, and mussels. Consider these types of shellfish when you’re fishing for grouper or cobia.
Deep-Sea Fishing Lures
If you’re not interested in cut bait or live bait, you may prefer to use deep-sea fishing lures. These are popular for bottom fishing and trolling, and they include each of the following types:
- Bottom Jigs
- Deep Diving Plugs
- Skirted Trolling Lures
Best Florida Coast Locations for Deep-Sea Fishing
The state of Florida offers numerous offshore fishing opportunities throughout the year. Some people like to fish during September, October, and November as massive fish move closer to the shore, searching for prey. Still, you can catch fish at any time of the year if you know where and how to look. Here are some of the top offshore fishing locations around Florida:
- South Florida – Find marlin, wahoo, and blackfin tuna near Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
- East Florida Coast – Find sailfish and yellowfin tuna near West Palm Beach and Stuart.
- Northeast Florida – Find kingfish and tarpon around Daytona, St. Augustine, and Jacksonville.
- Southwest Florida – Find grouper, goliath grouper, and barracuda around Fort Myers, Naples and Everglades City.
- West Coast of Florida – Find kingfish, snapper, and goliath grouper around Sarasota and Tampa.
- Northwest Florida – Find grouper, snapper, and Cobia around Big Bend or Destin.
- The Florida Keys – Find tuna, wahoo, marlin, sailfish, and Mahi around Key Largo or Key West.
Fishing Boats for Sale in Florida
Before you head for deeper waters, make sure you’re prepared. Here at Nautical Ventures, we can make sure you have the right boat and all of the best accessories. Our friendly staff will even help answer your questions about deep-sea fishing, so stop in to get ready!