It’s no secret that Florida’s Gold Coast has great fishing. The area is impressive even by Floridian standards, with huge fish right in town and deep waters just a stone’s throw from the shore. If you’re planning on fishing Fort Lauderdale, you’re in for a treat – especially if you know what to do.
In this article, we’ll break down Fort Lauderdale’s top species and fishing spots, as well as how and when to get the most out of these waters. You can learn about local regulations, tournaments, and much more. In short, here’s everything you need to know for your perfect angling adventure.
What to Catch in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale has a problem. There are so many fish here that choosing your target can be almost as tough as catching it. To keep things simple, we’ll focus on the “must-hook” species. Check out our fishing calendar if you want a full month-by-month breakdown of what’s on offer.
If you can only target one fish while you’re in town, it has to be Snook. These hard-fighting hunters are one of the world’s most prestigious inshore species. They’re on the bucket lists of fly anglers worldwide, and can be just as much fun on trolled plugs, live baits, or cast lures. They also taste great, although most anglers prefer to release them.
Snook spend the whole year in Fort Lauderdale, wintering in the city’s canals then making for bays and passes as the weather warms up. Your best chance of landing a trophy is in the summer, when big fish crowd the beaches to spawn. However, even the depths of winter can be productive here.
Tarpon are the real heavyweights of Fort Lauderdale’s inshore waters. Fish over 100 pounds are common in high season, and trophies hit double that each year. Again, you can technically catch them all year round. Your best chance is in the spring and early summer, though, when huge schools of Tarpon roll pile into the shallows.
For many people, the ultimate dream is to fight a “Silver King” on the fly. However, natural baits conventional tackle are just as effective. Whatever you go for, avoid using overly light line as this will overtire the fish. Trust us, Tarpon are no easy catch even on heavy tackle.