When you think about Thanksgiving, it’s probably fowl not fish, that first comes to mind. A huge roast turkey stuffed with all the trimmings is a staple of this holiday, after all. However, we’re here to show you that a day (or more…) of fishing should be on the menu for Thanksgiving, too.
With the COVID pandemic still looming large in 2021, it’s even easier to see how much we all have to be thankful for. What could be better than spending this holiday out in nature surrounded by the ones you love, taking in some stunning scenery, and potentially hooking some world-famous fish?
Our top list of Thanksgiving locations is made up of a diversity of fishing spots scattered all across the US. We’ve mixed it up by including some well-known areas, as well as those that are more off the beaten track. You never know – soon you could be replacing that holiday turkey with your very own catch of the day!
Space Coast, FL
If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving experience that’s out of this world, where better to venture than Florida’s Space Coast? Firstly, let’s talk about the fishing. The Space Coast is home to cities such as Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach, with access to the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian River Lagoon, and the Intracoastal Waterway.
The mullet run takes place during Thanksgiving time, so species such as Redfish and Speckled Trout will be biting hard. Head to the “Redfish Capital of the World” – the Mosquito Lagoon – for especially large Bull Reds! Want your angling action to take place a little further from shore? You can drop lines from around 20 feet out and target species such as Amberjack, Cobia, and Mahi Mahi. These trips usually take place on speedy sportfishing vessels, with a mind-boggling number of charters on offer.
And there’s a whopping amount of things to see and do that aren’t angling-related, too. What’s even better, you can do ’em all while social distancing. The Space Coast boasts travel experiences, educational adventures, and one-of-a-kind activities you can’t get anywhere else in the world. If you’re an adventure seeker, you can hang ten as you catch some waves. Nature lovers can venture through bioluminescent waters. Foodies can take their taste buds on a tour of the best local eats. Then, of course, you can always check out the Kennedy Center’s offerings.
Outer Banks, NC
Does your perfect Thanksgiving involve plenty of incredible nature in a unique location? Head straight to the Outer Banks. These barrier islands may be located just a short distance from North Carolina’s coastline, but they feel like they’re a million miles away. Home to quaint villages, sandy beaches, and scenic lighthouses, life really does revolve around the water here.
And when it comes to the fishing? In a word, it’s excellent – especially around Thanksgiving time. This is when big Bluefin Tuna make an appearance in these waters. Chunking for them is something of a local tradition. At the beginning of November, they can be found lurking just 10 miles from the beach, in around 100 feet of water. Not quite ready to venture that far from shore? You can also explore the sheltered shallow waters of the sounds. Red and Black Drum are plentiful during this time of year.
Then, after you’ve had your fill of fishing, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself on dry land. Why not head to one of the many local bistros or seafood shacks and try out some unconventional Thanksgiving offerings – Oyster stuffing, anyone? Then, take a quick trip across to the mainland. Here, you can pay a visit to the Fort Raleigh Museum, a national historic site that protects Native American land.
If you’re looking for some top-notch freshwater fishing this Thanksgiving, cast your eyes no further than Chattanooga. Known as the “Scenic City,” this location boasts plenty of fish-filled lakes, creeks, and rivers, as well as some exceptional nature. On top of that, there’s a bustling downtown to explore. There’s something here to please nature lovers and city slickers alike.
There’s one thing you should know if you choose to cast a line in Chattanooga during Thanksgiving. It’s all about big Largemouth Bass and Catfish! Although there’s a whole host of fisheries on offer, perhaps the most popular one has to be Chickamauga Lake. The state record Largemouth Bass was hooked here, weighing over a whopping 15 pounds. What better way to spend this holiday than by attempting to hook your very own trophy catch?
Once you’ve had your fill of fishing, Chattanooga has plenty to offer on land. As well as being a vibrant city in its own right, it also boasts Thanksgiving-themed activities such as the annual Hungry Turkey Run. The city is packed full of restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, too. No matter how lucky you are out on the water, you definitely won’t go hungry!