December 7, 2023

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The Complete Guide to Miami Beach Fishing

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You know how they say that the nickname “Magic City” is as old as the city it describes? Just like its neighbor, Miami Beach is nothing short of magical, from its nightlife to its beautiful coastline. What’s more, this beach resort is well known for its angling opportunities. Fishing in Miami Beach puts you in bliss and rewards you with memories you won’t soon forget.

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the area. You’ll learn what species you can target, how to do it, and the most produictive. We’ll also answer some of the most popular questions about licenses, tournaments, and seasonality. Now let’s dive right in…

What can I catch while fishing in Miami Beach?

Anglers come to Miami Beach for A-listers – nothing less. First of all, you have access to coastal waters and the beautiful Biscayne Bay. Here, the fishing menu includes the big four – Tarpon, Trout, Snook, and Permit, along with many other species. In fact, you can get a real mixed bag in one day – if you’re lucky, that is.

Then, the deeper offshore waters add more to the hunt. Here, you’ll get the opportunity to go for the Floridian crème de la crème, including various Billfish, delicious Mahi Mahi, Snapper, and Grouper. The list of potential targets is so generous that this section would’ve been at least three pages long if we were to name even just half of them! For now, let’s stick with our local favorites.


Two happy anglers holding a Tapon in the water while leaning from a charter fishing boat in Miami Beach, Florida

To find the best Tarpon fishing Miami Beach has to offer, anglers need to head to Biscayne Bay. While the “Silver Kings” are around throughout the year, most of the fishing happens from December to July, peaking around April to June.

Depending on the time of year, local anglers use live bait and artificial lures to target Tarpon. Mullet, shrimp, and crab work well, along with plastic worms and gator spoons. One of the crucial aspects of a successful Tarpon fishing trip is to follow location, time, and tide guidelines.

Note that Tarpon are a strictly “catch-and-release” species, so you’ll need to put your catch back into the water safe and unharmed. That is if you manage to catch one in the first place!


A picture showing three male anglers of different ages, all holding a large Sailfish while on a charter fishing boat with Miami Beach behind them

First of all, Miami Beach is a good place to target Sailfish any time of the year, although fall and winter months are especially productive. Anglers can also hunt for these Billfish both in deep offshore waters and pretty close to the shore.

So, how can you target Sailfish in Miami Beach? As usual, the best way is to do what the locals do. While each captain employs different techniques, kite fishing is among the most popular method to land these creatures.

This is similar to trolling but you’ll skip your bait across the surface so you can spot Sailfish rising out of the water before it takes your lure. Typically, local captains will keep a selection of baits on two kites, making sure that there are as many baits in the water as possible.


Three anglers, a male, a female, and a child, all holding a freshly-caught Grouper while standing on a charter fishing boat in Miami Beach, Florida

If you’ve never been fishing in Miami Beach, you’re yet to discover hundreds of reefs and wrecks around the sea floor here. These are home to various species of bottom fish, and Red, Black, and Gag Grouper are among them. In addition to that, you can even find Goliath Grouper on the reefs, along with Snowy, Yellowedge, and Scamp Grouper in much deeper waters.

Whichever species you end up targeting, chances are you’ll be using the bottom fishing technique. Your captain will anchor up and drop the bait that works best to the ocean floor, hoping to lure a Grouper or two. If you’re heading to the bluewater, you might also be using electrical reels for a version of bottom fishing called deep dropping.

Depending on which Grouper you’re after, regulations and seasonality vary. For example, summer months are perfect for a Goliath Grouper trip, although the overall best time to target Groupers is winter.


500 lb Blue Marlin in clear blue waters with an angler keeping the fish on the fishing line

Good news – you don’t need to go to the Bahamas to target Marlin, Miami Beach is more than enough. Blue Marlin patrol the deep waters along the edge of the continental shelf in 600-1000 feet of water. Anglers target these fish throughout the year, although the high season is from May to October.

Blue Marlin are most commonly caught by trolling. Your captain will move the boat at 7-15 knots, with baits already in the water, mimicking what Marlin usually eat. In general, when targeting Marlin and other Billfish, Miami Beach captains use live bait such as small Tuna and Skipjacks, although you can go for frozen bait and lures if you’d like to experiment.


A group of four male anglers, all smiling and holding a freshly caught Swordfish while standing on a fishing boat in Miami Beach, FL

Last but not least, Swordfish are among the most prized offshore species in Miami Beach – if not the whole of Florida. Finding these creatures isn’t an easy task. They hang out at depths ranging from 200 to 2000 feet. But reeling these enormous fish out of the depths of the ocean is an experience not to be missed, especially from August through November.

We mentioned that you need electric reels when bottom fishing for Snowy Grouper and Tilefish, and a Swordfish trip also requires such heavy-duty equipment. Squid is the overall best choice of bait among Miami Beach anglers. You can target these fish either during the day or at night since you’ll probably need to book a longer charter.

How can I go fishing in Miami Beach?

We could dedicate a whole article not only to the top Miami Beach fish species but also to the fishing types and techniques. But let’s talk about some of the most productive fishing methods you can try in Miami Beach.


An overhead view of a spearo in the water off Miami Beach, FL, pointing a speargun at his underwater target

With a large list of potential catches and the thrill of an underwater hunt, spearfishing in Miami Beach is a must for any sportfishing enthusiast. You’ll see King Mackerel, Jack Crevalle, and Triggerfish prowling the reefs, along with Barracuda around various types of structure. Deep water spearos can go for Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Wahoo. To top that up, you can also go spearfishing for Lobster and Crab.

There are over 80 different wrecks and reefs around Miami Beach, some closer to the city, some further off the coast. Here’s a quick list for you to consider:

  • Army Tanks. As part of the Wreck Trek, this one is located just 10 minutes from Miami Beach. It’s formed of two sunken Vietnam-era tanks, lying around 50 feet deep.
  • Emerald Reef. As the area’s largest natural reef, the Emerald is around 30 feet deep and is home to anything from Snappers to Barracuda.
  • The Pillars. This prime Hogfish spot is just off North Beach Oceanside Park, consisting of a pipeline and two steel beams.
  • Pete’s Reef. Located in the Haulover Area, this reef is about 42 feet deep. Here, spearfishing enthusiasts can hunt for Hogfish, Snapper, and more.

Pier Fishing

An aerial view of South Point Park and Pier at South Beach, Miami Beach

If you’re not looking for a guided fishing trip and just want to wet a line for a couple of hours, pier fishing in Miami Beach is a good option. In fact, you can even fish during the night – just make sure the pier you’ve chosen is open 24 hours.

South Pointe Park Pier at 1 Washington Ave is a great spot for sunrise and sunset fishing. It sits right on Government Cut, which means that you’ll get to fish pretty deep water. All the spots you can fish from are clearly marked, and there are cleaning stations and line disposal units, too. Plus, South Pointe Park is free and open from sunrise to sunset!

Deep Sea Fishing

Two happy anglers on a boat laughing with a freshly caught Billfish between them, Miami Beach, Florida

Deep sea fishing in Miami Beach is all about game fish. In general, the further you get, the bigger the fish. Of course, you can hook into large fish tight off docks, but the deep waters offer something even bigger.

As we mentioned earlier, the bluewater fishing menu is impressive. Local charters focus on Swordfish, Blue Marlin, Mahi Mahi, and Wahoo, along with Yellowfin and Skipjack Tuna. In Miami Beach, the waters get pretty deep just a couple miles off the coast, reaching 1000 feet within 5-10 miles.

To maximize your chances of having a productive experience, book a trip with a local captain. There are multiple knowledgeable teams that have been fishing and guiding in the area for decades, with generations of anglers who know every inch of the coastal and offshore waters.

Where should I go fishing in Miami Beach?

A moving charter fishing boat on the waters of the Gulf Stream with another boat behind it in Miami Beach, Florida

North Beach to South Beach, the city is home to many marinas and charter fleets. A lot of these are sheltered on the waters of Biscayne Bay, venturing out into the ocean whenever the conditions allow.

If you like shallow-water fishing inshore, the bay is the place to be. It stretches 428 square miles from North Miami to Key Largo, holding a wealth of gamefish. As you already know, you can get your hands on Bonefish, Mackerel, Snapper, Tarpon, Permit, and even Sharks in the bay.

As the water drops deep close to shore, you can target some pretty big fish without having to go far out. Various reefs and wrecks are scattered throughout the area, some close, some further out. If that’s not enough, you can book a deep sea excursion and venture into the Gulf Stream and the Atlantic Ocean – to the Wall or even beyond that.

Fishing in Miami Beach F.A.Qs

Do I need a fishing license to fish in Miami Beach?
  • If you’re fishing on a licensed charter, the crew will cover the license for everyone on board. If you want to fish by yourself, however, you’ll need to purchase a valid Florida license if you’re aged 16 and over.
Are there any fishing tournaments?
  • Yes! There are various fishing events throughout the year. You can take part in anything from Jimmy Johnson’s Tournament Series in Miami to the Florida International University Fishing Tournament and Fins Weekend Fishing Tournament organized by the Miami Dolphins. And that’s not all!
When’s the best time to go fishing in Miami Beach?
  • The answer to that depends on the species you’re after. Barracuda bite well all year round, while May through July are best for Tarpon. Spring and fall are the perfect seasons for Mahi Mahi fishing, and you can plan a Sailfish trip in the cooler months.

Fishing in Miami Beach: World-Class Angling Close to Home

Three smiling male anglers standing on a fishing boat in Miami Beach, FL, and holding a Mahi Mahi

There’s just nothing like angling Florida-style, and fishing in Miami Beach proves it. It’s not a huge city, but the opportunities are endless here. It gives you a little bit of everything and can easily spoil even the most seasoned angler. Now that you know the how, when, and where, the only thing left is to pack your rods and see it for yourself!

Have you ever been fishing in Miami Beach? What’s your favorite species to target? Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Miami Beach Fishing: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Lisa
Title: Miami Beach Fishing: The Complete Guide
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Published Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2022 18:15:20 +0000

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