Summer Fishing Checklist

Summer fishing in Florida is next level. The state’s vast coastline and diverse marine ecosystems offer an abundance of opportunities to reel in the catch of a lifetime. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean and tons of spots in between, Florida’s waters teem with a variety of fish species waiting to test your angling skills. In this guide, we’ll delve into the top species to target and offer essential tips for preparing for a rewarding summer saltwater fishing adventure in the Sunshine State.


Summer Fishing Species: 

  1. Snook: The legendary linesider is the stuff of legend among Florida anglers. Whether you’re casting from shore wading or on a boat, snook are a thrill to catch. Just toss them some live bait like pilchards or mullet, or sling a fly their way, and get ready for a serious fight! You can find the big breeders on the beaches and in the passes, and the juveniles under docks and in the mangroves.snook caught in Chassahowitzka in 2021
  2. Redfish: With their stunning copper color, blue tails, beautiful spotted patterns and feisty spirit, redfish are a favorite for anglers. Grab your shrimp, pinfish, mullet, or pilchards and hit the docks, flats, mangroves and oyster bars. Alternatively, bust out those flashy spoons, nimble paddle tails, or even flies and get ready to reel in some serious fun!summer fishing for redfish
  3. Tarpon: If you’re dreaming of big thrills and even bigger fish, look no further than the “silver king” himself—the tarpon! These acrobatic beauties are ready to put on a show and test your mental (and physical) fortitude. Just bait up with crabs or mullet, or toss flies and get ready to dance – sometimes for hours on end! Remember, these beasts routinely top 100 pounds.summer fishing for tarpon
  4. Dolphin: Head offshore to chase my favorite fish, the colorful dolphin (mahi-mahi). Target these fish by trolling lures and skirted ballyhoo along weed lines, floating debris and looking for birds. Once you hook one, keep it in the water next to the boat, his compadres will follow – then catch the entire school. It is during this time when you can throw small, light lures and flies at them for extra fun!Summer fishing for dolphin


How to Prepare

  1. Gear Check: Before you hit the water, make sure your gear is rigged and ready. Check those rods, reels, and lines for any signs of wear and tear and come prepared for the fight you’re in for. Leave the 8 weight at home for those oceanside migrating tarpon in the Keys, and remember a 3000 series reel is just fine for throwing lures to redfish.
  2. Safety First: Keep hydrated and stay safe under the sun’s rays. Be sure to apply sunscreen and wear sun-protective clothing.
  3. Know the Regulations: Check out the size limits, bag limits, and any seasonal closures before harvesting a fish. Ignorance is not an excuse in the eyes of the law, consult the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website to learn the regulations in your area.
  4. Weather Awareness: Keep an eye on the skies and watch out for those summer storms! Pack your rain gear and keep an ear out for any rumbling—Mother Nature likes to keep us on our toes! However, this can be more than just an annoyance, getting caught in a storm is also a potentially dangerous proposition, especially in the lightning capital of the world.
  5. Respect the Environment: Remember, we’re just guests in this underwater world, so treat it with care. Follow catch-and-release guidelines, pick up after yourself, and always leave the water cleaner than you found it!


Summer saltwater fishing in Florida is more than just a hobby—it’s a lifestyle! With its stunning scenery, diverse fish species, and endless opportunities for adventure, Florida offers something for every angler. So, grab your gear, pack your sunscreen, and get ready for the fishing trip of a lifetime!

Until next time, tight lines.

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