Florida has long been a great choice for snowbird activities, but there’s no reason to wait for full-on winter to come roaring around. The fall is a fantastic time to head down to the Sunshine State and do some fishing or visit one of the beaches. The weather is cooling off a bit and the summer tourists are disappearing. Fall is a great time to get your line wet. Here’s a list of 10 of the best places for outstanding fall fishing in the state of Florida.
1. Key West
Yeah, you don’t need much of an excuse to plan a trip to Key West. The fall is a great time to hit the southernmost point in the continental US. The crowds have all gone home and the dolphinfish and tarpon are both running, along with fall bonefish. The charters are cheaper and so are the hotel rooms. You can’t go wrong.
2. Lake Kissimmee
Hey, it’s the perfect date lake. Bring your significant other and pull some of the biggest bass out of this hot spot. You’ll want to switch to a braided line for this one and bring some spinners for trolling. Other than that, please remember the bug spray. Even in the fall, the bugs are still a problem.
Take a look at the west coast of Florida. Go inland for bass, or head out on the ocean for bonefish or dolphinfish. Oh, and don’t forget the Spanish mackerel. Snagging a charter and doing nothing more than trolling can yield results in short order. You’ll probably even get a deal this time of year.
4. Fort Lauderdale
What was a good idea in the summer is still a great idea in the fall. It’s not like all the charter boat captains take three months off. Head to Fort Lauderdale and try your luck at everything from marlin to bonito. It might not be the optimum time for every species, but it can’t hurt to try, and you can always target something new.
5. Fernandina Beach
Get right up next to the Georgia border and try for bass and redfish on the same day. Just be careful not to cross over into a state where you don’t have a valid fishing license. Fernandina Beach is a beautiful spot where you’ll want to bring some heavy test stuff for the bass and a boat if you’ve got one.
6. Ormond Beach
This spot is just outside famous Daytona Beach. This is where you’ll want to try for whiting right from the beach. At Ormond Beach, you can truly appreciate the tropical nature of Florida, with none of the problems involved in actually visiting the tropics. Bring sunscreen and enjoy.
7. Lake Talquin
Fall is a great time to target black crappie or go after striped bass, which offers a bit of variety. There are few better places in Florida for striped bass than Lake Talquin. Fortunately, most of your competition will have gone home already by the fall. Bring some fly-fishing gear to jazz things up and enjoy the cooler weather.
8. Pine Island
Don’t overlook southwest Florida. There are redfish aplenty to be had around Pine Island Sound, and they’re darn good eating. Hit the shores, mangrove swamps and even the shallow flats. Everything from spinners to live bait and a bobber should yield results. Just watch out for snakes.
9. The Everglades Canals
Hey, you got to drain a swamp to make room for a city somehow. Over the decades some big canals have been constructed in Florida and the ones coming out of the Everglades are just chock-full of fish. Miami is close at hand for a place to stay, and the bass are huge. Bring some waders to help you get around in tight spots.
10. The Gulf Coast
Hug the inside of the state to get some of the best fishing deals in the fall. There are plenty of redfish and speckled sea trout, along with charters to take you to them. Inshore and saltwater options are available depending on your preference. Hit the next state over when you’re done and make a whole month of it.
A Final Thought
There is a lot to be said for moving against the crowd, and fishing in the fall in Florida is firmly in that category. Shore fishing, surf fishing charters, and fly-fishing are among the many options available to you to snag your desired target. On this note, you can get better deals and have more privacy in the off-season in Florida during the fall. Which in return stretches your dollar and increases your fun. What more can you ask of a fishing trip? Just don’t forget your fishing license, regardless if you are a local or visiting from out of state.