5 Best Deep Sea Fishing Destinations in Florida
Enjoy some of the best deep-sea fishing in Florida from one of these five prime ports.
Florida is a big state, and a curious angler may wonder which destinations offer the best deep-sea fishing of all.
Many people in the Sunshine State turn to professional fishing charters to learn from Pro Guides, who know the local hotspots and fishing tactics. Enjoy some of the best deep-sea fishing in Florida from one of these five prime ports:
- Key West
- Palm Beach
Deep Sea Fishing in Islamorada
Islamorada is known for its deep sea fishing, especially for the Islamorada Hump. This undersea mount is about 15 miles off the coast and sits in 500 to 700 feet of water but rises to within 200 feet of the surface.
This undersea anomaly causes current shifts and upwellings, which attract all sorts of bait and game fish. It’s particularly well-known for holding blackfin tuna, but mahi-mahi, wahoo, sailfish, and even marlin will also show up here.
Also, bottom fishing out of Islamorada can be downright spectacular. The many nearby reefs and similar structures hold vast schools of yellowtail snapper, plenty of mutton snapper, and grouper. At certain times of the year, king mackerel, cobia, amberjack, shark, and permit are around in good numbers, too.
You’re in luck if you know how to fish in the ocean and would rather set off on your own instead of getting on a charter boat. There are plenty of Islamorada fishing boat rentals to choose from, with boats available in all different types and sizes.
Deep Sea Fishing in Key West
There’s no place more famous for deep-sea fishing than Key West. Every month of the year, fishing here is hot, and with the Gulf Stream just five to 20 miles from the harbor (it varies as the currents shift), all sorts of pelagic gamefish are possible catches ranging from sailfish to swordfish.
Key West is well known for the mahi-mahi action, which can be utterly epic by anyone’s standards. Plus, closer to shore, the reefs and wrecks hold countless snapper, grouper, amberjack, and other fish.
This is also the perfect place for traveling anglers for the amenities, ranging from hotels and restaurants to thriving nightlife.
Best of all, if you want to rent a fishing boat in Key West, you’ll have all the choices you could want, ranging from small center consoles you run on your own to huge sport fishers that come with a captain.
Deep Sea Fishing in Miami
Miami might be known for its thriving city and its awesome beaches, but it is also an excellent deep-sea fishing destination.
Run through Government Cut inlet, point the bow east, and sometimes the Gulf Stream pushes so close to shore here that you can be fishing for big game pelagics in just a few minutes. Keep heading out; within 20 or so miles; you’ll be at the underwater seamounts known as the Swordfish Grounds in 1,000 to 2,000 feet of water.
Are there fishing boats for rent in Miami? Well, of course, there are! This is another part of Florida where you can find just about any boat to suit your angling desires.
Deep Sea Fishing in Palm Beach
Depending on the currents and conditions, Palm Beach offers the same sort of quick access to the Gulf Stream as Miami does, and again, all sorts of pelagic species may be in the mix. That said, the Palm Beach area has a reputation for being the place to go to catch sailfish, in specific.
Known as “Sailfish Alley,” the stretch of water running along the Treasure Coast is utterly riddled with these billfish, especially during winter. Catches of these spectacular sails can stretch into double-digits with regularity, and fish like mahi-mahi are often mixed in as well.
Catching these relatively huge numbers of sailfish is no small feat, so this is another area that has a healthy charter fishing fleet. That said, if you want to go after those fish with your tackle and your wits, there are plenty of fishing boats for rent in Palm Beach, too.
Deep Sea Fishing in Stuart
Stuart, Florida, earns the title “Sailfish Capitol of the World,” rivaling even Palm Beach with the numbers of fish caught day by day. While Palm Beach lies at the southern end of Sailfish Alley, Stuart sits smack-dab in the middle of it.
Five to ten miles of cruising is often all it takes to get to the prime fishing grounds. And even if you want to push out farther and go for swordfish in 1,500 feet of water, the run will be no more than 20 or 25 miles.
Yes, you guessed it: there’s also a wide range of fishing boats for rent in Stuart.
If you are heading for the west coast of Florida, don’t worry —there’s some great fishing action there, too. Fishing in St. Petersburg is excellent, as is fishing in Naples and many other cities along the Gulf coast.
You could make the catch of a lifetime from any of these best deep-sea fishing destinations!
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With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites ranging from BoatU.S. Magazine to BDOutdoors.com. Rudow is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk, he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.