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Florida Fishing Seasons: All You Need to Know

Boasting the “Luckiest Fishing Village in the World” and the “Sportfishing Capital of the World,” the “Sunshine State” is arguably the home of angling in the US. But fishing in Florida is much more than just Destin and Islamorada. From the flats and bays out to the reefs and deepwaters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean – not to mention the endless freshwater opportunities – there’s so much to explore! And with such diversity comes non-stop action.

But where to go when? Don’t worry! We’re here today to give you a rundown of Florida’s fishing seasons. We’ll talk you through exactly what’s biting when in this guide. After all, you don’t want to head offshore when there’s nothing biting, or miss out on the deep sea action when it’s at its peak!

If you’re interested in what’s biting right now in the Sunshine State, why not hear it from the horse’s mouth? Check out FishingBooker’s captain reports.

What to Expect from Florida’s Fishing Seasons

You already know about the incredible range of fish on offer in Florida. And there’s never a bad time to come to the state and cast a line – at least somewhere. To help you make your mind up on where to go and when, we’ve got everything you need in this month-by-month guide:


What better way to start the year than by fishing? There’s no such thing as the winter blues in Florida! Whether you want to escape the cold and catch a trophy under the sun, or fancy some thrilling flats action to keep you warm, there’s something for everyone!

If you’re looking for sun, then the Florida Keys are always a good bet. The year-round warm weather and lack of crowds come January make anywhere from Key Largo to Key West worth visiting. And the fishing is on fire! Explore the shallows as far north as the Biscayne Bay for Bonefish and even Tarpon, or head offshore and go after Tuna, Sailfish, Wahoo, and more.

Hoping for a more hands-on experience? Fear not, the Panhandle’s flats and bays are alive with fish. Pick a trip out of PensacolaPanama City Beach, or anywhere in between, and you could land Redfish, Flounder, Speckled Trout, and Sheepshead. And if you head just a little further south-east, you can even take the kids manatee spotting in Homosassa!


It’s more of the same come February in the Sunshine State, as the same fish as in January are on the menu. And with the holidays a distant memory, it’s actually one of the quietest times of year to visit! How about a serene, romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day?

The Gulf Stream is your prime destination for deep sea fishing, with charters running all the way from Miami up to Jacksonville giving you the chance to target Cobia, Kingfish, Groupers, Wahoo, and Sailfish. This is a great time to mix it up, as you try bottom fishing nearer to shore and trolling for pelagics further out.

It’s not just the Panhandle, though, that’s ripe for inshore action. Boca GrandeTampa Bay, and the whole of the Sun Coast’s shallow waters are overflowing with fish. Redfish steal the show across the board, while Flounder, Trout, and Sheepshead offer up a worthy supporting cast – and ensure a delicious, warming meal at the end of the day!


“The Times they are a-changing,” sang Bob Dylan, and that’s certainly the feeling when March gets going in Florida. The warm weather that spring brings comes early in the south of the state, bringing with it new life. Book early to avoid clashing with spring breakers who flock here, but remember that they do so for good reason!

Inshore fishing gets going in the Keys and Everglades, with the “Silver King” tempting you to steal his crown. He’s supported by Permit and Bonefish, meaning an inshore “Grand Slam” is well within reach. If you have the patience and strength, that is!

Combine your trip with an escapade to the reefs, too, as Groupers, Snappers, and Mackerel come alive in the Keys. And it’s a similar story in the Panhandle, with Triggerfish joining the nearshore party, while Reds still dominate inshore.

Up for something inland? March kicks off the freshwater fishing season in Florida, as Largemouth Bass start hitting their stride. Target them along with Crappie and other Panfish in Lake Okeechobee and other southwestern bodies of water, and you won’t be disappointed.

FishingBooker, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, June 18, 2022

Republished with permission