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Fishing Guide - Jacksonville, Pensacola, Halifax River Freshwater, Northeast Florida

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There are many draws for fishing and sport fishing in northeastern Florida and the Panhandle. There are also lots of catches. Both freshwater and saltwater fishing abound, of course, but because the region contains so many wide lagoons and estuaries, in many places you can do both in nearly the same place. In order to fish in Florida, unless you're with a charter, you'll need a license.

Fishing Trips around Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach isn't only for auto racing; there's some good fishing there too! On a charter boat or a private boat, Halifax River's backwater fishing, can be enjoyable for the whole family, as the water is always smooth and quiet.
You can catch large reds and trout, and then have them cooked and served at some of the local restaurants. Off-shore, you can charter a boat and catch kingfish, barracuda, and bonita in the summertime, or grouper and snapper near the limestone ledges and caves in the wintertime. Farther off-shore, blue marlin, sailfish, dolphin fish, tuna and giant wahoo can be found almost year-round, but more so in the warmer months.

Fishing Trips on the St. Johns River and at Jacksonville

There are plenty of opportunities to fish on the St. Johns River and near Jacksonville. You can find holes and sandbars along the river all the way to Jacksonville and beyond. The main draws in these waters are the bass, panfish, and trout, but when the water warms up come spring, you can find both saltwater fish (such as flounder) and the freshwater fish swimming along.

The big thing around Jacksonville closer to the Coast, is what people call “yak fishing,” or fishing from a kayak. This is possible because the fish are so plentiful. You can seek out all the streams and inlets connected to the Intracoastal Waterway, kayaking and fishing as you go. In these inshore water routes and marshlands you can angle for spotted sea trout, redfish, black drum, flounder, sheepshead, stripers, and snook (if you're lucky).

Fishing Trips on and around Amelia Island

Amelia Island is known as a great location to catch both saltwater and freshwater fish. It's the best area on Florida's First Coast for fishing, with all its saltwater estuaries, inlets, and flats; there's also the opportunity to go deep-sea fishing and trolling, beach fishing, and freshwater lagoon fishing.

Here's a list of all the fish you can find on or around Amelia Island, where to find them, and when:
  • Backwater fishing (saltwater estuaries, inlets, and flats found on the western side of the island): redfish, sea trout, tarpon, flounder, jack, crevalle, Spanish mackerel, and blues - best in the summer months
  • Deep-sea bottom fishing (near Shultz's Fish Market, a manmade reef five miles offshore): red snapper, black sea-bass, cobia, and amberjack - best in the fall-spring
  • Deep-sea trolling (8-20 miles offshore): lots of fish including black fin tuna, wahoo, and kingfish - best all year-round save for December-January
  • Jetty, bay, and beach fishing (St. Mary's Inlet and Nassau Inlet): big-game fish like black drum, redfish, cobia, kingfish, and tarpon, as well as sharks available; reel in catches of up to 200 pounds, especially in the summer months
  • Freshwater fishing (Red Maple Lake, Aury Island): sunshine bass, catfish, bream - best in the spring and summer months.

Fishing Trips on Nature Coast

An excellent place to fish on Florida's Nature Coast is where the coast veers westward from its northerly path. The towns of Steinhatchee, Crystal River, and Homosassa are departure points for charter boats going saltwater fishing. While this area is not as developed as others in the region, you can catch trout, redfish, tarpon, cobia mackerel, sheepshead, and bluefish. Charter prices are a bit lower.

Fishing Trips at Apalachicola

Apalachicola, where the Apalachicola River meets the Gulf, is an excellent place to fish because the Gulf Stream swerves close to the shore, bringing many deep-sea fish with it. Therefore you can charter a boat and captain and fish in Apalachicola Bay or farther into the Gulf, for trout, red fish, flounder, triple tail, sheepshead, tarpon, and drum. This has been a fishing area for well over a century, and many of the captains with which you'll be fishing belong to fishing families going back generations. To fish at Apalachicola the best time of year is the summertime.

Fishing Trips on the Emerald Coast and Pensacola

You can fish at any of the locations along the Emerald Coast - Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Navarre Beach, Gulf Breeze, and Seaside. Fishing at Pensacola is also an excellent possibility. The Gulf Stream passes quite close to the shore near Destin, bringing lots of game fish in with it. No surprise then that Destin has been called “the world's luckiest fishing village.” There's also freshwater fishing along the 11,000 miles of rivers, streams, and other waterways near the Emerald Coast destinations, and saltwater fishing on the coast itself, on piers, and on fishing charters.

The best season to take a fishing trip in these areas is the summertime. On the piers you can find mackerel, cobia, bluefish, bonito, flounder, mahi mahi, pompano, trout, whiting, and tarpon. Off the coast on a charter you can find sailfish, marlin, tuna, swordfish, wahoo, among other big game fish.

Fishing Spots in Jacksonville, Destin, Daytona Beach, Pensacola, St. Augustine, Northeast Florida

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