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Team Guidesly


Dec 6, 2020

Florida Deep Sea Fishing

Florida Deep Sea Fishing

Are you looking to grab some tuna, wahoo, or maybe a Goliath Grouper? Then a fishing trip to Florida might be the place to go. The sea in Florida is rich with many types of fish and dolphins. Coasts dominate Florida with tremendous access to deep sea fishing charter boats that target top sport fish.

There are two types of fishing- inshore and offshore- deep sea fishing is offshore fishing as the depth for this technique is to be above 30 meters. It is like looking out for fish in the depths of about hundreds of feet in the water. Deep-sea fishing (or bottom fishing as it is sometimes referred to) is used in deep waters. It is a technique loved by anglers who wish to catch sportfish or a tasty seafood meal. The difference is the ability to catch big game fish, which are unapproachable in shallow waters.


Deep Sea Fishing Baits

The selection of bait depends upon the target fish. Different baits work differently for a variety of fish species. In the deep seawater, fish primarily rely on their sense of smell to catch food. It would be best if you use live baits or smelly baits. Mentioned below are the four baits that can never go wrong even if you have not decided the type of fish you are targeting.

- Shrimp

It is a go-to bait for deep sea fishing as fish are attracted to the movement and scent of shrimps. Shrimps are common in deep seawater and draw all sizes of fish.

- Shellfish

Different species of fish like shellfish such as crabs, clams, and mussels. Shellfish is a desirable choice for anglers due to its versatility as a bait. Fish such as groupers and cobia are attracted to shellfish and crabs.

-Cut bait

The key to a catch deep-sea fish is by providing them with a strong aroma such as cut bait. Cut bait is perfect for offshore, inshore and onshore fishing. You can hook a variety of fish like mahi-mahi, bluefish, and sea bass.

- Live Bait 

For deep-sea fishing, anglers usually use ballyhoo, pilchards, and eels. Baitfish are most preferred by anglers as the larger predator fish are attracted to the live bait movement and scent. They can easily be captured and kept alive in a Livewell, or you can also use frozen baitfish. Several Florida fish species such as amberjack and grouper only feed on live baits.


Deep Sea Fishing Lures

A wide variety of deep-sea fishing lures are available for bottom fishing or trolling. Following types of lures are hands down the best for almost any kind of species.

-Bottom jigs

If your target is reef-dwelling fish such as grouper or red snapper, heavy bottom jigs are perfect. You can use a three to eight-ounce jig with pink or bright yellowtail. Keep in mind that big fish and heavy jigs require appropriate deep-sea fishing tackle and gear.

- Deep diving plugs

These plugs work very well for fish species such as dolphinfish, wahoo, tuna, and king mackerel. They are trolled behind a fishing boat at a speed of 6-12 knots. The speed depends upon the type of fish and the condition of the water.

- Trolling spoons

Anglers looking for bluefish or mackerel should use this metal trolling spoon. The fluttering motion produced by these spoons makes it an excellent choice for deep-sea fishing.


What Fish Species are Targeted

Fish the wide variety of fish species for anglers to catch make Florida deep sea fishing very attractive. Monsters like goliath grouper, marlin, mahi-mahi, and sailfish are among the most sought after fish species in these waters. 

Top 10 deep sea fishing trip targets include Goliath Grouper, Red Snapper, Mahi-Mahi, Amberjack, Marlin, Sailfish, Spanish Mackerel, Triggerfish, Bull Shark & Lemon Shark.


Why is Florida Deep Sea Fishing Popular?

Florida and the Gulf of Mexico host many beaches, which make them famous for fishing. Deep-sea fishing has caught the attention of people as it thrills them to search deeper for the fish. The thrust of waters and the use of multiple baits make them excited to catch as many fish as they want. The reason for its popularity in Florida is quite particular, which is Florida's massive fishing market and variety of fishes. There are many unique fishes there, which include tuna, wahoo, and mahi-mahi. There are numerous techniques of deep-sea fishing, but the most popular one is trolling. For trolling, you need to keep up the speed of 5-8 knots; you require to slow down the pace with the increase in depth of the sea. Speed also needs to be managed as per the nature, habitat, and size of the fish.


Where & When to Deep Sea Fish in Florida?

No time of the year is bad for Florida deep sea fishing around the Gulf of Mexico. Many anglers prefer September to November months for fishing in Florida. During this time, fish starts migration and come to warmer shore waters in search of prey. This is the time when anglers can catch trophy size fish easily. But that does not mean that spring and winters are not suitable for deep-sea fishing; they are also equally rewarding.

Deep-sea fishing Florida's offshore is a very enthralling experience. You can find great deep sea action in these areas:

1.  South Florida- fort Lauderdale to Miami (marlin, wahoo, blackfin tuna)

2.  East coast-Stuart and west palm beach (yellowfin tuna)

3.  Northeast-Daytona, st. Augustine and Jacksonville (kingfish, Florida tarpon fish)

4.  Southwest (groupers, goliath grouper, barracudas)

5.  West coast- from Sarasota to Tampa (kingfish, snapper, goliath, grouper)

6.  Northwest -the big bend region to Destin (gag groupers, snapper, cobia)

7. The Florida Keys - From Key Largo to Key West ( Dolphin, Tuna, Wahoo, Marlin, Sailfish, Swordfish)


Fishing Charters

There are a number of great fishing charters in Florida to target any number of the incredible sportfishing available throughout Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.  If you are looking for a great option to find a fishing charter, download the Guidesly app to find and book local guides. A local fishing charter is an ideal way to enjoy a great day on the water. 

A few Fishing Charter Tips:

·   Research - Go to Guidesly and lookup fishing charters

·   Fish Species - Make sure you are targeting the right area and the right time of year. As most fish species migrate throughout the year, check the charts. Go to Guidesly and see the seasonal fish species chart.

·   Weather - Weather is important to take into account. 

·   Clothing - Make sure you dress appropriately for the weather and sun. 

·   Tips - Remember a fishing charter is like a restaurant where service should be tipped. The standard is 20%. 


Deep Sea Fishing Skills

Before going for deep sea fishing, you must go through a guide to make the best use of time. When you spot many seagulls at a place, you should know that this area is suitable for fishing. You can find the larger as well as smaller schools of fish at the location. The second tip is to watch out for dolphins, as they will eat your prey and might cause damage to your fishing net.

Moreover, if you are an amateur, it is better to tag along with an expert since you might not handle the depth and movements while fishing. Therefore, by analyzing the above points, you can know about the skill set an angler need while deep-sea fishing in Florida.


What Fishing Gear will I need to get Started?

Fishing in harsh conditions such as in deep-sea requires a unique tackle. Before you leave for the adventure, you must be fully equipped. No matter what species you would like to catch, you need the following list of deep-sea fishing essentials without a doubt.

·   Heavy Tackle Saltwater Rod & Reel ( corrosion-free)

·   Bucket and landing nets

·   Binoculars and ruler

·   Longnose pliers

·   Braid scissors

·   Basic tool kit

·   Lip grippers


Advanced skills

To properly deep-sea fish in Florida, having a wealth of experience is not enough. Florida has guidelines and permit requirements, so make sure your fishing charter has the appropriate license. As deep-sea fishing is Florida's largest market, so they keep a proper check on it. Florida has a valid license for this purpose, known as the captain's license and charter/fishing license. You also need to go for a federal water fishing license over nine nautical miles, although there is currently a hold on new licenses, so to get a federal over nine nautical mile permit, you will have to purchase a current one.

Other things you require for certification is your boat's registration and insurance. After attaining all these documents, you will be a certified expert in deep-sea fishing in Florida. These all are the advanced skills you need to be a pro at fishing.

The allure of Florida deep sea fishing is like a picnic - have a tug with your favorite game fish and enjoy.