Fisherman outdoor in Everglades, Florida.

Best Bait and Fishing Spots in Florida

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And nothing beats the satisfaction of catching a lot of fish. However, it’s not very easy; you’ll need patience, the right place, the right time, and the right bait.

Florida is not just for beach-lovers; it’s also an excellent place for anglers; its beaches, waterways, and sanctuaries are full of fish to catch.

If you plan to go Florida fishing, you’re in the right place. Here are some of the best fishing spots in Florida and the best bait to bring on your fishing adventure.

Where’s the Best Fishing Area in Florida?

The first step in planning a fishing trip is deciding on your destination. Florida is rich in beaches, lagoons, lakes, waterways, or rivers; you won’t run out of options. But if you want to make the most of your trip, here are some of the best fishing spots in Florida.


Jacksonville boasts over 1,100 miles of shoreline, giving anglers freshwater and saltwater fishing spots like piers and bridges. Here’s a tip: according to locals, you can never go wrong fishing on the St. Johns River.

But that’s not the only place you should visit. Amelia Island State Park, Mill Cove, and Nassau Sound are great places to explore.
Some of the fish you’ll find here are bluefish, whiting, black drums, sea trouts, crappie, largemouth bass, snappers, and sailfish. You’ll also find cobias, redfish, and king mackerel.

Daytona Beach

There are tons of fishing opportunities in Daytona Beach. You can try fishing in the calm Halifax River or go offshore for some of the Atlantic’s most sought-after catch.

If you’re in the mood to catch largemouth bass, you’re in luck; you’ll find some of Florida State’s best largemouth bass inland. You’ll find red and black drums, sheepsheads, and snooks if you head south to Mosquito Lagoon. Go trolling on deep sea charters for wahoo and other pelagic fish.

Florida Keys

One of the best fishing spots in Florida is the Florida Keys, located at the southern tip of Florida. It has many good fishing spots where you can catch a wide variety of fish like snooks, tarpons, yellowtail snappers, lemon sharks, groupers, barracuda, and bonefish.
Key West is the top spot for saltwater anglers. The calm waters and flats surrounding it make it a great place to begin your fishing trip.


Many also consider Destin one of the most popular fishing towns in Florida. It’s home to fish like Spanish mackerel, red snappers, groupers, tarpons, sailfish, redfish, and sharks, making it one of the best places to fish in Florida.
Try fishing in Choctawhatchee Bay, one of Destin’s popular fishing spots. You also have the option to go further out and explore deeper waters.


Naples is another excellent Florida fishing spot. It’s located on the Paradise Coast, and it’s a popular destination for family getaways. Its beautiful beaches and turquoise waters offer visitors many activities all year long, including fishing.

A guide can take you backcountry fishing through the mangroves and flats. You’ll catch anything from spotted seatrouts to blacktip sharks. Fish in inland canals, and you’ll catch some permits, snooks, and tarpons.

If you have some extra time, hop on a deep sea charter to troll for tuna and mahi mahi or bottom fish for snappers and groupers. You can also visit Marco Island, less than 30 minutes away.


Sarasota’s healthy ecosystem makes it one of the best fishing spots in Florida, offering anglers a choice of freshwater or saltwater fishing. It’s a great spot to sight cast and fly fish with its extensive network of flats and sand bars.

You’ll find redfish, sea trout, and tarpon in the shallows or through Sarasota’s mangrove tunnels.

Stephen’s Point and Big Sarasota Pass are other great spots to visit, especially if you’re interested in bottom fishing. You’ll find many fish species here, like snappers, groupers, bluefish, sheepshead, and more.

Madeira Beach

Madeira Beach is also a great spot for fishing. Go inshore fishing, and you’ll find redfish, trout, tarpon, snooks, snappers, and kingfish. You can also go deep sea fishing at Madeira beach to catch sharks, amberjacks, mahi mahi, tuna, and groupers.

What Are the Best Fish Bait in Florida?

After deciding where to fish, it’s now time to decide which bait to bring. The best bait to use when fishing in Florida depends on the types of Florida fish you’re trying to catch. Artificial lures are okay, but sometimes natural baits work better.

Make the most out of your time on the water by stocking your bait box with natural Florida bait fish like:


Professional anglers love squid because it is readily available and is used for inshore and offshore fishing trips. Use fresh or frozen squid to attract bluefishes, striped bass, redfish, or snappers.

Sand Fleas

Also known as mole crabs, anglers often catch sand fleas in the surfline and use them for surf fishing. Anglers also use them to bottom fish around structures like docks, bridges, rock piles, or jetties.

They are most commonly associated with pompano, but they can fool sheepshead, snooks, and other species. Although frozen bait shops may sell them, few stores sell them as live bait.


Whitebait is a great Florida bait fish to use on your trip, especially if you’re going inshore fishing. Their shiny scales are sure to lure redfishes, snooks, trout, cobia, tripletail, and tarpons. They also last longer. You’ll find them in shallow water or grass flats in three to five feet of water.


Shrimp is the best bait to use when fishing in Florida; almost all fish eat them. They are great for catching sea trouts, snooks, tarpons, and tripletails. You can use this bait alive or dead, on the bottom or with a jug.

They’re also very easy to keep alive, especially during cooler months. Keep them in cool water or use aerators when temperatures are higher than 70 degrees.


Mullets are a popular type of Florida bait fish. They are found in local tackle and bait shops, but anglers prefer to catch them with nets.

Small mullets, or “finger mullets,” are great for catching inshore species like trout, redfish, and flounder. Use larger mullets to catch offshore fish like snooks, tarpons, and billfishes.

Mullets are difficult to catch and keep alive; they are specialty bait for most serious anglers.


Saltwater anglers in Florida also love to use live crabs. They are also easy to keep alive; they only need a small amount of water to live.

Blue crabs are commonly used as live bait for tarpon off the coasts of Florida. Inshore anglers also use them to catch redfish or black drums.

Anglers catch oyster crabs to use in bottom fishing for sheepshead and snappers. They also use small crabs to catch permits.

Try Fishing Today

Who knows, you might find the catch of a lifetime.

Explore the best fishing spots in Florida with Bay Excursions. We offer the best charters and boat Tours in Madeira Beach, FL. Our captains know the area well; they’ll know where to best catch fishes. Call us today!

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