You are dying to drop a line in the famed Gulf Coast waters of Florida. You've heard about, dreamed about it, and now it's time. What do you need to know before heading out with your rod and reel? Just a few things, and we can help you with that.
Read on before you embark on your quest to catch the big one (that hopefully does not get away).
What fish are biting on Florida's Gulf Coast?
Florida fishing is fast and furious all year long on the Gulf Coast. But not all saltwater fish are here year round. Water temperature varies by season and spawning takes place at certain times of the year motivating fish to migrate with the seasons. Weather also influences fish feeding.
Take a look at the Florida Seasonal Fishing Chart to see the best times to catch your favorites or see what's biting during your Gulf Coast vacation.
Are there any fishing tips, tricks or advice?
Yes! Here is some insider information to make your day of of fishing the best it can be!
Go early and stay late. Go early to get first dibs on what's biting and stay late to increase your chances of hooking the big one.
Think like a fish. Is it hot outside? Then look for the shadier spots in shallow waters and deeper waters offshore where the fish are more likely to hang out and stay cool. If it's a cool day, look for shallow spots with the most direct sunlight.
Watch for schools of fish. If you see schools of small bait fish, you can bet there are bigger fish nearby. Keep a close eye out and be ready!
Follow the birds. When fishing offshore, spotting birds in your area can be your best bet at finding larger species feeding on a school of smaller fish. Keep your eye on the horizon for birds swooping and diving towards the water, then head in that direction and cast your line!
Go with a pro. For first time fishermen or visitors who might be new to fishing in the area, hiring a professional guide can be a great asset. Ask questions, observe and take as much advice from them as you can. This should give you the best opportunity to snag some fish.
Do I need to buy a fishing license?
Yes, you need to purchase a fishing license if you want to fish from land or sea. Well, there are a few exceptions to that general rule. If you are fishing along with a charter group (more about that later), you are covered by their license.
The Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission is the go-to resource for all of your Florida Gulf Coast fishing Q&A. You can read more about the requirements, exemptions and specific information on freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses on their website.
How much does a recreational fishing license cost?
Currently, a 3-day nonresident saltwater fishing license costs $17; a 7-day nonresident saltwater fishing license costs $30; and an annual nonresident saltwater license costs $47. For Florida residents, the fishing licensing has quite a few options to choose from, so it's best to visit this page to see what your best bet is.