Deep Sea Fishing in Daytona Beach: The Complete Guide

Aug 23, 2022 | 9 minute read
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Daytona Beach is the ultimate vacationland. Its famous nicknames include the “Springbreak Capital of the World,” the “World Center of Racing,” and the “World’s Most Famous Beach.” All three undoubtedly speak volumes about how incredible this place is. But, did you know that Daytona Beach is also an angling epicenter? Deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach is considered to be one of the finest Florida can offer.

An aerial view of the city and shoreline in Daytona Beach, Florida

Situated between Jacksonville and Orlando, this gem is the perfect bluewater fishing destination. With clear access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream, deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach guarantees an epic day out in the open. Be it the ever-popular Red Snapper or elusive Sailfish, these prolific waters promise something for everyone.

Is there something for you? Let’s find out! We’ll kick off with the common deep sea trophies and move on to explain the most efficient ways to reel them in. Once we’ve got you hooked, we’ll cover fishing spots and regulations. After all, we want to make sure you’re ready for the offshore depths of Daytona Beach.

Top Daytona Beach Deep Sea Catches

Any fishing destination that borders the Atlantic Ocean and sits on the Gulf Stream is bound to be an angling paradise, and Daytona Beach is no exception. It’s one of those places where you’ll be spoilt for choice. Whether you’re heading 10 or 50 miles offshore one thing is for sure – a variety of fish species that is enviable! But, what beauts dominate these waters? Let’s take a look.

Red Snapper

We can’t talk about deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach without glorifying Florida’s favorite – Red Snapper. They’re so popular here that it’s hard to count all the anglers who line up to go after them. Red Snapper are beautiful and powerful opponents. Add finger-licking table fare qualities on top of that and it’s really no surprise that they’re on everyone’s radar.

An angler holding big Red Snapper caught in Daytona Beach

Deep sea fishing for Red Snapper is the event of the year! The excitement only rises as the season approaches. Once summer hits, you’ll want yourself in the midst of that fishing frenzy. These bottom dwellers aren’t picky eaters, so luring 20-pounders is simple. However, reeling them in can be challenging as they can hide in depths of up to 600 feet. A local charter operator with the proper equipment comes in handy here.

Due to high demand, the authorities have introduced season, size, and bag limits to curb overfishing. To make sure you’re on top of all regulations – check out our blog post or visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s official website for more information.

Amberjack

Unlike Red Snapper, Amberjack can’t brag with mouth-watering traits. On the other hand, their fighting abilities surpass those of Red Snapper. Muscular and energetic, Amberjack are here to spice up your Daytona Beach deep sea fishing experience. After all, there’s nothing more satisfying than pulling a spicy one out from the deep blue, right?

An angler holding big Amberjack caught while deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach, Florida

While more impressive specimens emerge in spring, you can pursue Amberjack throughout the entire year. They’re hungry and ready to strike, but even the half-starved brutes appreciate a good presentation. Tease them with live mackerel and combine different fishing techniques for the best results. If you’re after large ones, Daytona Beach captains know their hideouts and will help you locate them. 

Mahi Mahi

Ready to step up your game? Mahi Mahi are next-level players. Fast and furious, they’re your bluewater NASCAR alternatives. These speedsters guarantee an action-packed fishing trip. Once you lure them with trolling, you’ll be in for a good battle in no time. These bright-colored acrobats will first put up a spectacular show and then reward your taste buds with delicious meat. 

Happy anglers holding big Mahi Mahi they caught while deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach, Florida

Vigorous, picture-perfect, and tasty – Mahi Mahi sound too good to be true. Luckily for you, they’re very much real, and Florida waters are brimming with them. From April to June their sole focus is food. This means you can hook them on pretty much any bait. 

They mostly swim around floating objects 15 miles from the shore, but sometimes you’ll have to go as far as 50 miles offshore to land the giants. Just remember what Mahi Mahi bring to the table and you’ll agree that an entire day out in the open just for them is worth it!

Sailfish

Congrats, you’ve reached the boss level! Sailfish are the epitome of a deep sea fishing rival. Swift and strong, these big game savages won’t go down without a fight. A tug of war with a Sailfish is exactly what every seasoned angler is dreaming of. The great news is that the offshore waters of Daytona Beach can make your dream come true, so pack your gear and see you at the dock. 

Two anglers holding huge Sailfish they caught while deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach, Florida

Unlike bottom residents, Sailfish are spotted when swimming closer to the surface during their feeding runs. High-speed trolling along the Gulf Stream in summer is the winning combo. To maximize your chances of landing a trophy, we also recommend an extended full day trip 40 miles offshore. Once you locate and hook them, it all comes down to overpowering them.

… And More!

Does the list end with these lovely beasts? Not at all. Those prized catches are just the tip of the iceberg. Keep on scanning the surface for bluewater monsters and you could cross paths with Marlin, Swordfish, and Tuna. Drop your bait to the bottom and you’ll feel Tripletail and Grouper bite. Cast your line pretty much anywhere and you’ll end up victorious.

An angler on a boat posing with Shark during the sunset

Apart from the royals like Marlin, Sailfish, and Swordfish, these waters are abundant in Sharks, too. The Gulf Stream and the Atlantic Ocean will treat you with all sorts of these intelligent beings – Blacktip, Bull, Hammerhead, Atlantic Sharpnosed Shark… Long story short, deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach is the right choice no matter what big game creature you’re after.

How to Go Deep Sea Fishing in Daytona Beach

If this is your first time deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach, the wisest decision you can make is to pair up with a certified charter operator. Born and raised here, Daytona Beach captains live and breathe these waters. Even if you’re familiar with Daytona Beach fishing grounds, these guys know every nook and cranny and will help you land that dream catch of yours.

An aerial view of a charter boat in Daytona Beach, Florida

Be it Red Snapper or Marlin, the local guides will know where the fish are biting. Not only will they be able to locate these offshore giants for you, but they’ll also provide top-notch equipment and licenses. And when in doubt about what angling approach to use, your captain will be there to guide you.

Speaking of fishing techniques, regardless of whether you’re going with a captain or on your own, there are a couple of methods we can share with you to make your fishing experience smoother.

Trolling

Trolling ticks all the boxes – it’s easy, efficient, and suitable for a variety of species. Don’t fret if you’re new to it, as you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. You won’t even notice when you move from learning the basics to battling Mahi Mahi, Shark, or Tuna. Then again, this is what trolling is about – luring your fish into a fight.

A view of trolling rods trailing behind a boat while deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach

Speed plays a crucial role in making your bait look real. Depending on the fish you’re targeting, you’ll either go for high or low-speed trolling. Marlin love an intense race and Amberjack are hooked on fast runs that produce noise. Meanwhile, bait movements that resemble the jumps of flying fish promise productive Mahi Mahi action.

The possibilities are endless with trolling and the best thing about it is that you can combine it with other fishing techniques and experiment to seal the deal!

Bottom Fishing

While trolling mostly focuses on surface swimmers, bottom angling aims to attract fish meandering through the ocean’s depths. Snappers and Groupers are at the top of the bottom fishing list. Along with other bottom dwellers like Trippletail and Triggerfish, they usually inhabit the ground around wrecks and reefs. This is where you want to be when the season starts.

An angler struggling a bit with reeling in a fish from the bottom while deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach, Florida

Snapper and Grouper in particular love their meals prepped and served at the bottom. Drop them a frozen squid, or some other live or cut bait, and they won’t be able to resist. The same as with trolling, bottom fishing can be mixed with other methods for the best results. Jazz it up with some jigging and you’ll have a prized catch at the end of your line.

Drift Fishing

If you’d like to try something between the two approaches we mentioned above, then drift fishing might be your go-to method. It includes pulling bait behind a boat – like trolling – and covering the fishing grounds similar to those when you’re bottom fishing. However, unlike fast-moving trolling or static bottom fishing, drift fishing relies on the current to lead the way.

A view of rods and lines in the water slowly drift fishing

Drift fishing can help you locate fish both near the surface and deep below it. What this essentially means is that the odds are in your favor of attracting anything from Red Snapper to Sailfish. While dependant on the weather, drift fishing can be controlled and experienced charter operators will come to the rescue here.

Where to Go Deep Sea Fishing in Daytona Beach

Situated on the very brink of the east coast, Daytona Beach is one big fishing departure point itself. What we’re trying to say is that you can cast your line anywhere between 10 and 50 miles offshore and reel in deep sea game fish without overthinking the exact spot too much. We do, however, have a few tips that will make your quest a bit easier.

An aerial view of Halifax Harbor Marina and charter fishing boats in Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Oculina Bank. This beautiful coral reef stretches from Daytona Beach to Fort Pierce and it’s a true underwater kingdom. While the reef itself is protected and fishing is mostly prohibited, you can always bottom fish and troll in its proximity.
  • Halifax Harbor Marina. You can certainly explore the deep blue on your own, but deep sea fishing is simply the best if you hire a local guide to show you around. Halifax Harbor Marina is the perfect spot for finding a first-class charter operator.
  • Daytona Beach Marina. Another excellent departure point located only a mile from Halifax Harbor Marina in the north is Daytona Beach Marina. Licensed captains and fully-equipped deep sea fishing boats are plentiful there. 
  • The Gulf Stream. While not exactly the departure point or fishing spot per se, it might be useful to know what the Gulf Stream is. It’s a warm ocean current coming from the Gulf of Mexico and goes along the eastern coast of the United States. In short – it’s your deep sea fishing paradise.

Anything else I need to know?

An infographic showing flag of Florida and Daytona Beach deep sea fishing regulations description

In case you’re venturing out on your own, don’t forget to buy a saltwater permit. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission outlines different options on their website along with detailed information on protected species, bag, size, and season limits. We highly recommend you check these out before heading offshore.

If you’re, however, deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach with a certified charter operator, you don’t have to worry about purchasing a fishing license – your captain will have you covered. The crew will also make sure that the bag and size regulations are respected and protected species are left unharmed. Really, all you need to do is book a charter and have fun!

Deep Sea Fishing in Daytona Beach – Racing with the Big Names

A view of the Atlantic Ocean and Daytona Beach

While you can cast a line offshore and take your time fishing, Daytona Beach is more famous for hustle and bustle. Its reputation for speed is unparalleled and the chase is embedded in everything from the race tracks to saltwater depths. Red Snapper, Mahi Mahi, Marlin, Shark, Tuna, Sailfish – racing with the big names is what deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach is all about!

If we haven’t hooked you on the idea of deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach by now, there’s no way you can resist our final bait – the Hot Rods and Reels Fishing Tournament! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to witness NASCAR drivers and anglers teaming up for a good cause while you are in Daytona Beach.

Have you ever been deep sea fishing in Daytona Beach? What did you catch? Was it as you imagined? We’re all ears – tell us all about it in the comments below.

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