Florida Offshore Fishing Charters

Florida Offshore Fishing Charters

Top Florida Offshore Fishing Destinations

Best Offshore Fishing Charters in Florida

Florida: 1325 fishing charters available
Excellent
4.9 / 5
(122 reviews)
St. Petersburg
 Instant Confirmation
trips from $650
Excellent
4.8 / 5
(236 reviews)
Fort Lauderdale
 Instant Confirmation
trips from $450
Excellent
5.0 / 5
(40 reviews)
Pompano Beach
 Instant Confirmation
Excellent
4.9 / 5
(17 reviews)
Pensacola
 Instant Confirmation

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 27,689 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

What anglers said about Offshore Fishing in Florida

Sure this is a safe first trip in the keys. The four hour trip is just long enough to catch dinner and still learn bout open water fishing
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Sure this is a safe first trip in the keys. The four hour trip is just long enough to catch dinner and still learn bout open water fishing
Mary  K.  D.
Mary K. D.
If you are coming from the North, you will be surprised by the size and quality of fish
Excellent
5.0 / 5
If you are coming from the North, you will be surprised by the size and quality of fish
John  G.
John G. Easton, PA
The fish weren’t biting heavily today, but we were able to catch about 2 lbs of fish for dinner.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
The fish weren’t biting heavily today, but we were able to catch about 2 lbs of fish for dinner.
Marc  B.
Marc B. United States
Try one of the party boats first round out. It's an inexpensive way to get a taste of the area and you have a ton of space to get out of the sun if needed.
Excellent
4.7 / 5
Try one of the party boats first round out. It's an inexpensive way to get a taste of the area and you have a ton of space to get out of the sun if needed.
Mark  R.
Mark R. Canaseraga, NY
Bring lots of sunscreen, sun glasses, and hats. The sun is brutal and relentless. Do the morning trip if you can and go on a week day or Sunday when there is less boating traffic and less people out fishing.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Bring lots of sunscreen, sun glasses, and hats. The sun is brutal and relentless. Do the morning trip if you can and go on a week day or Sunday when there is less boating traffic and less people out fishing.
Charles  M.
Charles M. Eastman, Georgia
Take advice from a captain at all times and be patient . Enjoy the experience and if you take a few back it’s a bonus !
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Take advice from a captain at all times and be patient . Enjoy the experience and if you take a few back it’s a bonus !
Jeff  B.
Jeff B. Dixiana, AL
Plenty of sunscreen and be prepared to hunt for fish on the move. Offshore definitely preferable to bottom fishing this time of year.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Plenty of sunscreen and be prepared to hunt for fish on the move. Offshore definitely preferable to bottom fishing this time of year.
Bocas  M.
Bocas M. Lake Monticello, VA
Sunscreen, Hat, polorized sunglasses, lite colored clothes, water or Gatorade
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Sunscreen, Hat, polorized sunglasses, lite colored clothes, water or Gatorade
Jamie  M.
Jamie M. Webster City, IA
Make sure to ask what’s in season and you what you can take home by law..
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Make sure to ask what’s in season and you what you can take home by law..
Jonathan  G.
Jonathan G. Denham Springs, Louisiana
Many options. Know the difference between state and federally permitted charters. State can only go up to nine Miles out. Federally permitted charters can go out deeper so your options increase but so generally does the cost.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Many options. Know the difference between state and federally permitted charters. State can only go up to nine Miles out. Federally permitted charters can go out deeper so your options increase but so generally does the cost.
Mark  R.
Mark R. Canaseraga, NY
Buy seas sickness patches that go behind your ear! Or take dead sickness medication beforehand! No one got sick! It was a blast!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Buy seas sickness patches that go behind your ear! Or take dead sickness medication beforehand! No one got sick! It was a blast!
Tad  G.
Tad G. Ney, OH
Get a small boat captain and be sure to have them recommend a place to have the fresh catch cooked up! Great trip!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Get a small boat captain and be sure to have them recommend a place to have the fresh catch cooked up! Great trip!
Roy  M.
Roy M. Mount Pleasant, TX
Call the business ahead of time once you’ve booked something and as the captain what fish will be in season when you go. The captain will help you have a more fun experience by taking you to those fish. If you have a specific fish you are looking for ask when they are in season to get the best chance of finding that fish.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Call the business ahead of time once you’ve booked something and as the captain what fish will be in season when you go. The captain will help you have a more fun experience by taking you to those fish. If you have a specific fish you are looking for ask when they are in season to get the best chance of finding that fish.
Mark  V.
Mark V. Bloomsbury, NJ
Not enough parking for cars. Got a ticket for parking in a trailer spot but there is only 6 spots for cars. Going to court for the ticket.
Excellent
4.7 / 5
Not enough parking for cars. Got a ticket for parking in a trailer spot but there is only 6 spots for cars. Going to court for the ticket.
Donald  P.
Donald P. North Port, Florida
Knot Right was the first charter I have ever been on. If I do another I will book the same boat and captain.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Knot Right was the first charter I have ever been on. If I do another I will book the same boat and captain.
James  H.
James H.
Yes. Capt Jeremy is very patient and taught us a lot. We varying degrees of experience and he worked well with all of us.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Yes. Capt Jeremy is very patient and taught us a lot. We varying degrees of experience and he worked well with all of us.
Jay  R.
Jay R. New Port Richey, FL
Neither my friend nor I have put a line in the water for nearly a decade. Fllargemouth Charters had us geared up, bait on, and on fish within 10 minutes off the boat launch. Great instincts, and great experience.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Neither my friend nor I have put a line in the water for nearly a decade. Fllargemouth Charters had us geared up, bait on, and on fish within 10 minutes off the boat launch. Great instincts, and great experience.
Don  M.
Don M. Brookline, NH
Be prepared for weather that ranges from blistering hot and sunny to chilly rainstorms. No matter the weather though, there is all sorts of fishing to get on.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Be prepared for weather that ranges from blistering hot and sunny to chilly rainstorms. No matter the weather though, there is all sorts of fishing to get on.
Gwendelyn  G.
Gwendelyn G.
Book with Captain Bryant. All Caught Up Fishing. We we were catching fish as soon as our lines hit the water.
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Book with Captain Bryant. All Caught Up Fishing. We we were catching fish as soon as our lines hit the water.
Melissa  J.
Melissa J. White City, KY
Go with the locals - alot of them grew up here & know the waters, tides & gear best! Many are generation fishermen so they have lots of knowledge!
Excellent
5.0 / 5
Go with the locals - alot of them grew up here & know the waters, tides & gear best! Many are generation fishermen so they have lots of knowledge!
Tamera  J.
Tamera J. Fort Myers, FL

Top Targeted Offshore Fishing Species in Florida