Best Fishing Vacations in Florida
No one disputes that some of the best fishing trips in Florida are the ones you don’t anticipate. The Florida fishing trip that comes across some structure 30 miles offshore that caries keeper grouper that keeps your rods bent for hours.
Or the fishing trip in Florida that finds big redfish tailing in schools along a grass flat. The deep sea fishing trip that hooks you up with big mahi near a weed line close to the Gulf Stream.
These memories stay with you forever – and some get slightly exaggerated to keep your fisherman tradition alive.
Florida Travel Blog has some of the best and most unique fishing trips in Florida that will guarantee memories like the ones you already have stored away.
Most Unique Fishing Trips in Florida
The trips Florida Travel Blog highlights are ones you must plan. They are not ones where you stumble upon a school of fish.
In fact, every one of our most unique fishing trips in Florida will be an experience of a lifetime. They are Florida fishing trips many just dream about.
Each will take a little time and effort to plan. You won’t be just going to a pier and hopping on a charter. They are trips that you read about in Florida Sportsman and other places. You will be part of the action.
Number 1 -The American Patriot Experience
This is our latest addition to the most unique fishing trips in Florida.
We have been on multi-day trips to the middle grounds many times. Those are the trips that guarantee big fish in big water. They are also trips where sleeping is on a couple seats, showers, if any, are a stream of cold water and food is something out of your cooler.
What if you could take a charter out of Marco Island that included:
- hot showers
- chef cooked food
- bunk beds
- 40-inch flat-screen TVs for the long ride.
All of this is available on the American Patriot. The boat is 135 feet long and designed for 3 to 10-day offshore trips.
Check out the video of a private trip taken on the American Patriot. You won’t be disappointed. This is a unique fishing trip in Florida that offers a long-range rare opportunity.
Number 2 – The Islamorada Inshore and Offshore Combo Slam
Offshore, you can catch pelagics like mahi (dolphinfish), sailfish, yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, marlin, barracuda, yellowtail snapper and others. Bottom fishing produces grouper, mutton snapper, red snapper, mangrove snapper, and other structure-hugging species.
Inshore, tarpon, redfish, snook, speckled trout, permit and the elusive bonefish inhabit the backcountry. The wide range of sportfishing opportunities in Islamorada is legendary.
Islamorada is located between Key Largo and Marathon at mile marker 85.5 in the Florida Keys. The city has superb access to offshore grounds and inshore flats and channels. Catching a combo slam is one of the most challenging fishing adventures you can enjoy
A combo slam is picking two offshore species to target and two inshore species on the same trip. That means you would choose an offshore captain who specializes in your targeted fish and an inshore guide who is experienced with your chosen two backcountry fish.
Having goals and targets takes your Florida fishing trip to a whole new level.
Here are a couple of examples:
- Combo slam of permit and redfish inshore.
- Combo slam of mahi (dolphinfish) and grouper offshore.
- Tarpon and snook inshore.
- Sailfish and yellowtail snapper offshore on a reef.
Do your research. Find the charter boats that offer targeted trips. Make sure you discuss your goals with the captains. Ensure your choices are seasonally correct.
You will add a whole new dimension to your fishing experience. Can you imagine the fun and wagers that would be generated between a group of guys and gals on a fishing vacation?
Number 3 – The Family Fishing Vacation For Family Members Who Don’t Fish
Do you get some pushback from your spouse or children when you want to go on a fishing trip? Do you need to plan a trip where you can fish and everyone else can enjoy other activities while you are fishing?
We know the problems of mixing your fishing passion with the family. Check these two options out that will satisfy everyone.
If you have watched many fishing shows about the Florida Keys, you probably have heard the name, Hawks Cay. Several guides produce shows based at this resort.
The best news is that Hawks Cay has as many activities for the family as they do for fishermen. In fact, there are many attractions in the Florida Keys within a few miles of Hawks Cay.
The other good news about Hawks Cay is you are less than an hour from Key West. A day trip to Key West will be enjoyed by all.
Plan your next family vacation at Hawks Cay – they will never know it is a famous fishing resort!
Number 4 – The Manatee Capital of the World Inshore Fishing with The Family
This hidden spot is well known to Florida fishermen for some of the best flats fishing on Florida’s west coast. You may have watched the Reel Animals Fishing show on TV that highlights fishing in Florida.
Captain Mike Anderson as host of Reel Animals does an episode called “Happy Wife, Happy Life”. He not only extolls the Crystal River redfish fishery but focuses on the amenities of The Plantation Inn.
If your wife or another member fishes alongside you, that’s great. If they don’t prefer fishing, The Plantation Inn is the place to be.
Crystal River Fishing
The Crystal River and its tributaries are fed by a series of springs. Three Sisters Springs, Hunter Springs, and others make this river very clear with constantly moving water, This creates a unique fishing experience on the huge grass flats at the edge of the Gulf.
If you have never experienced world-class inshore fishing, this is the place to do it. Some of the best inshore guides target Crystal River and the flats north and south of the river.
The Plantation Inn
If there is a resort that aims to satisfy fishermen, this is it. They offer boaters a place to park trailers, docking and maps of the area.
Even more important are features that The Plantation Inn and Crystal River offers for families including:
- pool and game area
- tours of Kings Bay that is fed by the springs
- restaurants and tiki bar
- championship golf course on the property
- swim with manatees trips from the hotel that are within minutes
- inexpensive rooms that can accommodate groups
- quaint shops and galleries in the historic district of Crystal River
- a boat ramp for boat owners
- fish cleaning station
- boat rentals and pontoon rentals for the family
- guide service
- Adventure Center that has diving gear and manatee trips
The Plantation Inn is not fancy, but it is clean and functional
All in all, Crystal River, Manatees, The Plantation Inn, and world-class fishing make a unique fishing trip in Florida for you, and a great vacation for the family.
Number 5 – If You Have Never Fished an Oil Rig….
From Destin, Florida to Pensacola, Florida there is one of the most unique fishing trips in Florida you can find. The offshore oil rigs are like magnets for fish.
We are always amazed at the number of hard-core fishermen who like unique fishing experiences in Florida but have never headed to the panhandle to fish oil rigs. Bottom fishing, trolling, jigging – the oil rigs have lots of opportunities.
Your fishing trip includes heading offshore from 60 to 120 miles. You will be looking for the oil rigs that sprout up like an oasis in a desert. Tuna, kingfish, wahoo, sailfish and other pelagics hang around the upper water column. On the bottom you will find huge snapper and grouper on deep drops of 200 feet.
The reason for the wide range of fish around the oil rigs is, of course, food. Cigar minnows, flying fish, squid and schools of bait the size of a football field. The surface is constantly active with predators slamming the bait schools. A typical trip is depicted in this video.
This long-range offshore trip requires boats big enough to handle long round trips, big platforms to handle large fish and captains experienced with the oil rigs.
Choosing a Charter Captain and Guide
We always suggest that charter captains are like doctors. If you need delicate back surgery, you don’t use your general practitioner!
You need to decide your target fish, target destination and the best boat to get you there safely. Once these matters are decided, it takes study and some recommendations to choose someone within range of your designated base, hotel or city.
One of the first things we suggest is a phone call to the last charter captain you had a successful trip with. Many good guides have friends and contacts in other parts of the state. The second step is to call your hotel or resort. Ask their advice.
Then get on the internet and see what you find in searching keywords reflecting your selected fishing trip. Never rely on just one source or some sponsored posts that are paid advertisements. We also do not recommend booking services because they may never have even talked to the captain of the boat they are offering. They are a paid service.
You will eventually start hearing the same name(s). When you do, it’s time for a phone call.
Successful fishing trips require a meeting of minds – yours and the captain’s. Discuss your goals, species target, special requests. Leave nothing to chance.
Specifically, here is your checklist for selecting a charter guide;
- Where is the guide’s base? Inshore fishing guides in Key West won’t be familiar with the backcountry in Islamorada.
- What is the type, size and capabilities of his vessel? A single-engine outboard is not an option for 50 miles offshore!
- What is the captain’s specialty? Or what is currently in season?
- How long has the captain been chartering?
- Ask if he is experienced in targeting your specific specie.
- Does the captain have an experienced mate when heading offshore?
- Does he have suggestions for your party?
- Ask what is required of you.
- For inshore small boat guides, remember to ask about bathroom needs for the family (if necessary).
Remember a charter captain is also a guide. A guide takes you to the fish and teaches you how to fish for the particular fish. The best charter captains entertain you, communicate with you and make your party happy at all costs.
If your first contact doesn’t sound right. Call another.
Florida Fishing Trips
We believe any fishing trip in Florida is a great way to spend the day. You can go on the spur of the moment and enjoy Mother Nature.
However, if you want the most unique fishing trips in Florida, some planning and forethought is necessary!
Tightlines from Florida Travel Blog.