Kayak fishing may be new to you, but we can tell you that it’s been around for many years. It’s a favorite among anglers who enjoy the up-close and extreme experience of fishing from a kayak.
And while this technique is seen all around the world, it’s our opinion that Florida is one of the best states to go kayak fishing. Of course, the access to water is unlike anywhere else, but add the variety of water systems and it’s an angler’s paradise. Lakes, rivers, inlets, canals, and even ocean habitats are options for kayak fishermen and women in the Sunshine State.
Without giving too much away, we’re happy to share the water systems that we enjoy kayak fishing the most throughout Florida. Make your way to these locations for some of the best kayak fishing spots in Florida:
Our Favorite Spots
Without a doubt, the Florida Keys are the top of our list. The backcountry and flats to the north of these chain of islands is a unique habitat that’s perfect for kayaking. Bonefish and tarpon are just a few of our favorite species to target when fishing these clear waters. Both species are known to spook easily, and the silent approach of a kayak is an advantage we’ll gladly take.
Near Tampa, there are intracoastal waterways and mangrove islands that offer great spots for kayak anglers. Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Sarasota all have ramps and launch points that provide access to this incredible fishery. You can fish near the numerous bridge structures of Tampa Bay, the nearby inlets and shallow waters, or paddle to deeper waters. De Soto National Park near St. Pete has both shallow and deep water spots, and is a great place to hook a snook, trout, or Spanish mack.
There’s a section of Florida’s Panhandle that’s known as “the Forgotten Coast.” It runs from Port St. Joe to East Point, near two of our favorite places to go kayak fishing. The first is Saint Joseph Bay, just off the coast of Port St. Joe. The calm waters here offer great fishing opportunities, especially for those new to the sport of kayak fishing. And after a day of fishing, consider a quick scallop outing (depending on the season). Right around the corner is the second option, Apalachicola Bay. This brackish system is helped by the freshwaters from the Apalachicola River and the saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico. Both bays are great spots to target speckled trout and redfish. This part of the state is away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but I can guarantee you that we won’t be forgetting about it anytime soon.
For those who enjoy a challenge, consider an ocean kayak fishing adventure. Our first tip, don’t do this as a solo trip; Have at least one other angler with you for safety purposes. The second, get ready for your arms to hurt. Not only is it a longer paddle to the fishing spots, but you’ll be bringing up fish from 100 feet deep or more. It’s a great trip, one for the most athletic among us. The benefit of this kind of trip, you’ll mark yourself as a legend when you pull a monster fish from a kayak!
If you don’t have your own kayak, consider heading to St. Augustine, another one of our favorite places, and book a trip. Perfect for groups of one to three anglers, all of your needs are taken care of and the guide will lead you to where the fish are. You’ll be able to get your feet wet, so to speak, on this technique without the worry of buying all the gear. But we know after your trip, you’ll be heading to the local sports store to purchase your own kayak!
Technology has come a long way for this sport. Kayaks are now built specifically for fishing, with everything you need with an arm’s reach and storage compartments for your gear and tackle. It’s a single-rider adventure, but sometimes you can have two or three anglers in their own kayaks along for the adventure.
Kayak fishing trips are typically no longer than four hours, for good reason. Think about it, you are the power source for your vessel and after just a few hours fishing in the sun you’ll be tired. And you still have to make it back to your launch location. Make sure you have energy reserved to paddle back. Depending on the water system and your fishing spot, you may be able to use the water’s natural current to get you back, but you don’t want to be completely exhausted at the end of the trip.
One of our favorite benefits of kayak fishing is the advantage of getting right on top of the fish. Have a mangrove island or shallow waters you’re trying to reach? The kayak can get you there. The ability to fish other places that skiffs or shore anglers can’t reach is one of our favorite bragging rights among traditional anglers.
Get yourself right in on the action when you experience kayak fishing. Visit one of our favorite Florida locations and enjoy an incredible trip. We promise you won’t regret it!
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