Fishing Tips for Snook: They orient themselves to face moving water and wait for prey to be carried down the current. Snook jump clear of the water, and burst into long runs. Use live pinfish, small mullet, shrimp, or sardines free-lined or fished off the bottom with a fish finder rig. They take a large variety of lures based on water conditions. Beware of the snook’s razor-sharp gill covers! Snook make excellent table fare.
Fishing Tips for Redfish: Red drum are one of Florida’s most popular sport fish and the state’s most widespread estuarine fish. Floating a live shrimp under a popping cork is a good way to fish for redfish. They also chase crabs, mullet, pinfish and killifish (mud minnows). Casting soft-bodied jigs, spoons and even top-water plugs will catch the attention of these powerful estuarine musicians. Redfish make great table fare.
Fishing Tips for Tarpon: Live shrimp or pinfish make good baits, but plastics and Keys-style streamers work too. When sight fishing, land your presentation softly in front of a tarpon at an angle that lets you withdraw your lure away from the tarpon. Tarpon are not eaten. A tarpon tag is required for harvest.
Fishing Tips for Trout: Free-line live shrimp or small pinfish or pigfish (grunts) near the bottom to entice trout out of grass-bed holes. Attaching a float will allow these baits to drift over the grass beds as you search for trout. Casting with soft-bodied jigs, top-water poppers and spoons can be effective. Trout are very delicate, so returning unwanted or illegal fish promptly to the water is necessary to maintain a healthy population. Spotted seatrout are a good eating fish.
Fishing Tips for Triple Tail: The rounded second dorsal and anal fins are similar in size and along with a rounded tail fin, give the fish its name. The bases of those fins have scales. Found in Florida primarily during spring, summer and fall. Often found near structure and when hooked will seek to escape by heading hard for shelter.
Fishing Tips for Sharks: Blacktips often come inshore in large schools, particularly in association with Spanish mackerel. Frequently the most common shark in clear-water cuts and along beaches in Florida and Bahamas. Blacktip sharks are sometimes caught by sportfishers off the beach or offshore They provide a good fight, often leaping out of the water.
Fishing Tips for Permit: Anglers cast live crabs to schools of permit hoping to catch one of these line-stripping fish, which also take shrimp, clams and occasionally small fish. Permit are most common in south Florida. This member of the jack family can reach 40 inches and 50 pounds, but most are about 25-pounds.
Fishing Tips for Cobia: Live crabs and small fish are good baits for cobia. Keep bait near the surface or, if cobia are deeper, add just enough weight to get the bait down and still retain its movement. Medium to heavy tackle is required to land these fish which average 30 pounds. Large specimens in the 50-80 pound class are frequently caught and cherished by the lucky angler who outmatches these powerful fish. Cobia are excellent table fare.
Fishing Tips for Goliath Grouper: Goliath are found nearshore often around docks, in deep holes, and on ledges. Young often occur in estuaries, especially around oyster bars. These fish are more abundant in southern Florida than in northern waters. Goliath spawn over summer months and have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years. They feed on crustaceans and fish. Goliath grouper, commonly called jewfish, are totally protected from harvest in Florida waters.
Fishing Tips for King Mackerel: Kings feed on small fish and squid and take both natural and artificial baits. Live baits include pogies, herring, Spanish sardine, ballyhoo, and mullet. Lures should be flashy sub-surface lures or large fish-like plugs. Use 20-pound line and tackle, or heavier for larger kings, with a wire or mono leader. Kings are schooling fish that migrate from south Florida waters in winter northward in spring. They spawn offshore in mid-summer.
Fishing Tips for Mackerel: Mackerel are nearshore and offshore fish occurring mainly in south Florida. The are frequently found over coral reefs and wrecks. Unlike other mackerels, cero mackerels do not stray far from south Florida waters. They spawn offhshore in midsummer and feed on small fish and squid. Mackerel come in a variety of species: Spanish mackerel, S. maculatus; king mackerel, S. cavalla (only the cero has the yellow-brown stripes from the pectoral to caudal fin).
Fishing Tips for Sheepshead: Use live shrimp, sand fleas or fiddler crabs on a small hook fished on the bottom. When cleaning, beware of the sharp gill covers. Sheepshead are an important commercial species. Sheepshead are fractional spawners (they only lay a portion of their eggs at a time) in inshore waters, typically in March and April. They are omnivorous feeding mostly on crustaceans and small fish.
Fishing Tips for Mangrove Snapper: Juvenile mangrove snapper are found inshore in tidal creeks, mangroves, and grass beds. Adults are generally found nearshore or offshore on coral or rocky reefs. Spawning occurs June through August. Mangrove snapper feed on crustaceans and small fish. Mangrove snapper are also known as gray snapper, and are similar in appearance to the cubera snapper.