Florida Offshore Fishing Charters

Florida Offshore Fishing Charters

Top Florida Offshore Fishing Destinations

Best Offshore Fishing Charters in Florida

Offshore Fishing in Florida

It’s no wonder why Florida offshore fishing has captivated anglers from far and wide. You’ll find world class sportfishing everywhere you turn, whether it’s the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, or the Straits of Florida.

A collection of wrecks and reefs and the warm underwater current of the Gulf Stream host game fish large and small, from Snapper and Grouper to Marlin. Add to that Florida’s world famous sunshine and you have the recipe for a saltwater fishing paradise.

What to Catch and When

The waters surrounding The Sunshine State will keep you busy year-round. Bottom fish like Snapper and Grouper are always biting, anywhere from the deep sea to the wrecks and reefs just minutes from the dock.

If you’re after a big game trophy, it’s best to head out between spring and fall. These warmer months see large numbers of sport fish like Marlin, Mahi Mahi, and Tuna. On the other hand, you’ll find Sailfish and Wahoo off the south coast in winter.

Every part of this state has something special to offer, you just need to be in the right place at the right time. Of course, this is no secret to the avid angler, which is why you’ll find countless Florida offshore fishing charters to help you make the most of it!

Fishing the Gulf

Local fishermen will tell you that Florida’s Gulf coast affords some of the best weather in the state. Panama City, Naples, Tampa, Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Sarasota, and other destinations on this coast provide the perfect opportunity for some serious sport fishing 20+ miles offshore. Even when the weather doesn’t cooperate, you’ll find excellent bottom fishing within state waters, just nine miles out.

Considered the Grouper capital of the world, there may be no better place for bottom fishing than right here on the west coast of Florida. You can also catch for Hogfish, various kinds of Snapper, and other bottom dwellers throughout much of the year.

Keep in mind that many Grouper species see seasonal closures, as do Red Snapper and Triggerfish. Red Snapper season typically opens for a couple of months in June or July. This is when the season for Gag Grouper also opens, usually for the rest of the year. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission posts these regulations and more online each year. 

The best time to target pelagic game fish in the Gulf is between March and November, when you can find King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, Barracuda, Tuna, Sailfish, Bonito, and Sharks ready for the taking. In some months, you may even catch Wahoo and Mahi Mahi on a half day trip.

For a chance to catch the biggest and most prestigious fish in these waters, plan on a trip of eight hours or more. A full day trip will take you 25 miles out and beyond, where you can cast lines for Amberjack, Blackfin Tuna, and possibly Sailfish.

For some of the best deep sea fishing in Florida, charter a trip to the Bluewater 45+ miles offshore (often 10 hours or more). Fishing out here will bring you Wahoo, Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Swordfish. If you head out of Destin, Pensacola, and other destinations along the Panhandle you’ll reach deep water even sooner, meaning you can catch these deep sea pelagics on a shorter trip.

Fishing the Atlantic

While Florida’s west coast is known for unparalleled bottom fishing, the Atlantic side offers quick access to some intense big game fishing. St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter, Stuart, and Miami are just a few of the hot spots you should add to your list. Fishing from many of these destinations will have you hooking into a pelagic prize within minutes of leaving the dock.

State waters on the Atlantic side of Florida stretch just three miles offshore—and in some cases, you won’t need to travel any farther than that for a chance to bring home bragging rights. Toward the south of Florida, the warm current of the Gulf Stream can come as close as 2-5 miles from shore, carrying large pelagic fish with it. This is why you’ll find anglers from Stuart to Miami fishing for Sailfish just 3 miles from shore in winter months!

A typical half day trip on this side of the state will see you fishing anywhere from half a mile to 20 miles offshore. You can enjoy a steady catch of various Snapper and Grouper throughout the year. In warmer months, these waters host King Mackerel, Cobia, Barracuda, Bonito, Sharks, and the occasional Mahi Mahi. If you’re lucky, you may even catch the odd Sailfish, Tarpon, Wahoo, or Blackfin Tuna this close to shore.

Full day trips take you into deeper water, where you can target Amberjack, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and Sailfish along with Snapper and Grouper. Depending on where you fish, you’re likely to see these species peaking in spring and again in fall. The farther south you travel, the more productive the fishing becomes in winter months.

Fishing The Keys

The Keys are home to some of the best fishing in Florida, whether you plan on hitting the reefs or the open water offshore. With the reef line running roughly 4 miles from the coast, you can take advantage of these abundant waters year-round, often within minutes of leaving the dock.

Yellowtail Snapper, Grouper, Pompano, Cobia, Barracuda, Mackerel, and even Sailfish flock to the wrecks and reefs surrounding the Keys. The prime time for this fishery runs from October through April, and you can make the most of it whether you're fishing for a few hours or a full day (of course, local captains recommend a full day trip for a chance to catch more fish).

If your sights are set on the open waters, rest assured this little corner of the sea has something spectacular to offer no matter the season. Fishing between April and September is the perfect chance to land a Mahi Mahi, whereas Sailfish are consistently caught between November and March. In winter months you’ll also have a fair chance at landing Tuna, Wahoo, and much more.

For one of the most sought-after Billfish known to sport fishermen, book yourself a Swordfishing charter. You might catch this prize any time of year, but locals recommend fishing between May and November, when the waters are at their calmest. In the Keys you can target Swordfish just 25-45 miles offshore. Daytime and nighttime specialty charters for this species are both available.

How to Fish

Trolling for Pelagics

When it comes to offshore fishing in Florida, there’s no technique more tried and true than live bait trolling. This method will help you catch a wide variety of species, from Mahi Mahi, Barracuda, and Kingfish to Marlin. Depending on your target fish, Ballyhoo is a common choice of bait in addition to a variety of lures. 

Reef Fishing

Many consider reef fishing to mean bottom fishing, but this tactic involves much more. While fishing in the Keys, where a large variety of bottom fish and pelagic fish gather near the wrecks and reefs, you might find yourself bottom fishing, jigging, trolling, kite fishing, or even sight fishing.

Castling lines near the reefs will bring you Snapper, Grouper, Mackerel, Jacks, Pompano, Barracuda, Sharks, and Cobia. In the Keys, you might even hook into a Wahoo or Sailfish while you’re at it!

Bait for bottom fishing includes Pinfish, Mullet, Sardines, and frozen Squid. It’s common to target Snapper and Grouper with cut bait, though live bait may be more effective if you find yourself casting lines in a heavily fished area. 

Kite Fishing for Sailfish

There are several ways to catch Sailfish, but kite fishing with live bait (Ballyhoo or Mullet) tends to be the method of choice. This technique can even catch multiple fish at once.

You can also sight fish, drift fish, or slow troll for Sailfish. For exceptional Sailfishing, head to Miami, Jupiter, Stuart, or the Keys.

Deep Dropping for Swordfish

While Swordfishing in the Keys, you are likely to cast your line in 1,500-1,800 feet of water. Targeting this trophy involves a hand crank or an electric reel (often both) and you can expect the fight to last anywhere from 15 minutes to an entire day.

In the Gulf, you might target Swordfish 500-1,000 feet below, typically 60+ miles offshore.

Florida
Excellent
4.6 / 5
Based on 29,146 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

What anglers said about Offshore Fishing in Florida

The sun can be brutal, especially on the water - be prepared with sunscreen, wear the right clothing, and shoes are optional.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
The sun can be brutal, especially on the water - be prepared with sunscreen, wear the right clothing, and shoes are optional.
Always Somethin' Charters
Always Somethin' Charters
If you’re looking for something exotic or unique like sailfish or wahoo check the calendars for optimal time during the year … summer months get hot and have noticed it slows down offshore wise
Excellent
5.0 / 5
If you’re looking for something exotic or unique like sailfish or wahoo check the calendars for optimal time during the year … summer months get hot and have noticed it slows down offshore wise
Double Down Sportfishing
Double Down Sportfishing
Fishing out of John’s Pass in July was hot! We went off shore (a 25 minute boat ride) and it paid off with lots of fish.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Fishing out of John’s Pass in July was hot! We went off shore (a 25 minute boat ride) and it paid off with lots of fish.
One More Charters
One More Charters
To make sure they had appropriate expectations for fishing in summer months.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
To make sure they had appropriate expectations for fishing in summer months.
Masi Boys Fishing Charters
Masi Boys Fishing Charters
I have never fished in the ocean. I recommend a hiring a boat the deck hand takes away a lot issues due to his experience. The captain puts you where the fish are. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!!!!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
I have never fished in the ocean. I recommend a hiring a boat the deck hand takes away a lot issues due to his experience. The captain puts you where the fish are. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!!!!
Reel Twisted Charters
Reel Twisted Charters
Biggest piece of advice, watch the moon phases. What hurt us was the fact we have had a full moon the last night or two, along with warm waters made for lazy fish during the day.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Biggest piece of advice, watch the moon phases. What hurt us was the fact we have had a full moon the last night or two, along with warm waters made for lazy fish during the day.
Deep Color Fishing
Deep Color Fishing
St Pete fishing today was good. Target species are limited by the high water temperature in the low 90s. Even so, we had a real nice outing. Will book again in the fall and then in spring when the water temps are better.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
St Pete fishing today was good. Target species are limited by the high water temperature in the low 90s. Even so, we had a real nice outing. Will book again in the fall and then in spring when the water temps are better.
Nautical Souls Sportfishing LLC
Nautical Souls Sportfishing LLC
Fun fishing the mangroves for snapper but be ready for the heat and humidity - it can be rough.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Fun fishing the mangroves for snapper but be ready for the heat and humidity - it can be rough.
Captain Pat’s Charters
Captain Pat’s Charters
It was hot but we were out there early to avoid it and there were a bunch of fish biting so it worked out. Bring your sunscreen, hat and coverage but even though it was so hot, it was so fun!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
It was hot but we were out there early to avoid it and there were a bunch of fish biting so it worked out. Bring your sunscreen, hat and coverage but even though it was so hot, it was so fun!
David Paycheck Fishing Charters
David Paycheck Fishing Charters
Check what fish you’re hoping for is legal and if not, be willing to adjust your expectations accordingly. There are plenty of fish in the sea to make a good meal from. Tight lines!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Check what fish you’re hoping for is legal and if not, be willing to adjust your expectations accordingly. There are plenty of fish in the sea to make a good meal from. Tight lines!
Top Knot Fishing Adventures
Top Knot Fishing Adventures
Bring plenty of sunblock and water. Those fish will wear you out in a good way.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Bring plenty of sunblock and water. Those fish will wear you out in a good way.
My Islands Adventure Fishing
My Islands Adventure Fishing
Just do it! It was a perfect birthday gift. Great setting. Felt super safe. They even cut the fish caught and ate fish tacos at 2 Georges after. It doesn't get better than that!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Just do it! It was a perfect birthday gift. Great setting. Felt super safe. They even cut the fish caught and ate fish tacos at 2 Georges after. It doesn't get better than that!
Phishunt Charters
Phishunt Charters
The videos were good preparation and the Captain was very proactive about communicating before the trip.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
The videos were good preparation and the Captain was very proactive about communicating before the trip.
Palm Beach Charters
Palm Beach Charters
Expect to catch whatever is biting, it can be difficult to target certain fish if they are choosing not to bite (even if you can see them).
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Expect to catch whatever is biting, it can be difficult to target certain fish if they are choosing not to bite (even if you can see them).
To The Sky Charters
To The Sky Charters
And go with his suggestions, he knows way more than what we do. He fishes every day there and he knows the hotspots.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
And go with his suggestions, he knows way more than what we do. He fishes every day there and he knows the hotspots.
Bottoms Up with Seakeeper
Bottoms Up with Seakeeper
It isn’t guaranteed but very likely to land one. Seen dolphins and other animals as well, get to swim a little in mean time.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
It isn’t guaranteed but very likely to land one. Seen dolphins and other animals as well, get to swim a little in mean time.
NSB Shark Hunters  – Ormond/Daytona
NSB Shark Hunters – Ormond/Daytona
Fish hitting in morning, slowed down lat morning and early afternoon. But at least we had a nice period of fish biting
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Fish hitting in morning, slowed down lat morning and early afternoon. But at least we had a nice period of fish biting
Southern Mayhem Fishing Charters
Southern Mayhem Fishing Charters
Definitely worth it, and the water extremely calm for anyone who is not a fan on being on a boat.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Definitely worth it, and the water extremely calm for anyone who is not a fan on being on a boat.
Off The Hook – Islamorada
Off The Hook – Islamorada
It’s pretty hot in July so I would definitely recommend anyone going to bring sunscreen, a hat for shade and maybe some kind of fan. We definitely did catch quite a bit though which was great! We had a really fun time.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
It’s pretty hot in July so I would definitely recommend anyone going to bring sunscreen, a hat for shade and maybe some kind of fan. We definitely did catch quite a bit though which was great! We had a really fun time.
Down Range Charters
Down Range Charters
For those fishing in Islamorada for the first time, I'd say you’re in for a treat. Known as the fishing capital of the world, the area is teeming with fish. It's a good idea to hire a local expert. I highly recommend Capt Jason Katsikas who can show you the best fishing spots and share some expert tips. Enjoy your fishing adventure!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
For those fishing in Islamorada for the first time, I'd say you’re in for a treat. Known as the fishing capital of the world, the area is teeming with fish. It's a good idea to hire a local expert. I highly recommend Capt Jason Katsikas who can show you the best fishing spots and share some expert tips. Enjoy your fishing adventure!
Katz Charters
Katz Charters

Top Targeted Offshore Fishing Species in Florida