Best Down South Fishing Destinations

Out of Country

Bahamas – So many options, not enough time to fish them all.  The Bahamas are known for its bonefish, but you can catch marlin, sailfish, wahoo, mahi mahi, tuna, barracuda, grouper, mackerel, sharks, permit, tarpon and more.

Caribbean – Beautiful water, tons of fishing charters and plenty of fish.  Anglers catch wahoo, billfish, sailfish, barracuda, bonefish, kingfish, tarpon, amberjack, grouper, snapper, bonefish and more.

Costa Rica – One of the best fishing vacation destinations on the planet.  There are some nice fishing resorts here that offer excellent fishing for sailfish, marlin, dorado, tuna, wahoo, roosterfish, cubera, snapper, grouper, mackerel, tripletail, jack crevalle and more.

Northwest Florida

This part of Florida is home to some excellent fishing, beautiful beaches, plenty of attractions and if you want, you can also find a few destinations that will allow you to get away from the crowds.  Whether you want to fish inshore for redfish, sea trout & flounder or offshore for snapper, grouper and many other species of fish, it’s all here on the panhandle.  Some of the best fishing destinations in northwest Florida are ApalachicolaDestinPanama City BeachPensacola  and Cape San Blas.  Take a look at all of Northwest Florida’s destinations.

Florida’s West Coast

Florida’s west coast is home to some of the most popular fishing destinations in the state.
There are so many options here.  Whether you plan on fishing inshore, offshore, from the piers or on the beaches, you can expect to catch a variety of different fish.  Some of the better destinations are ClearwaterCrystal RiverHomosassaTampa BayCaptiva & Sanibel IslandsCharlotte HarborMarco IslandPine Island and Naples.

Take a look at all of the destinations on Florida’s west coast.

Florida’s East Coast

The east coast of Florida also offers some excellent fishing.  The Atlantic Ocean is a lot rougher than the Gulf of Mexico, however, there are plenty of inshore areas to fish and the fishing charters that go offshore will have boats plenty big enough to handle the rougher waters.  Some of the popular destinations to fish on the east coast are Amelia IslandSt. AugustineDaytona BeachSpace CoastFort Lauderdale Area, Lake Okeechobee, Miami & Palm Beach County.

Take a look at all of the destinations on Florida’s east coast.

Central Florida

Central Florida is known for Disney World and the many other attractions.  If you plan on staying near the parks, the fishing can be very good in Walt Disney World and in the surrounding areas of Kissimmee and Orlando.  If you want to head to the salt water, both sides of central Florida will give you plenty of options.  Daytona Beach and the Space Coast are great destinations for fishing.  On the gulf side, it’s tough to be the Tampa Bay area.  Take a look to see all of Central Florida’s destinations.

Florida South

If you plan on heading way down south, you’re going to run into the Florida Keys and the Everglades.  Both destinations offer very good fishing.  The Florida Keys are arguably the best fishing destination on the planet and the Everglades can definitely hold their own as well.  There are so many different species of fish to target.  Some of the popular fish to catch in this area are snook, bonefish, tarpon, grouper, snapper, redfish and many others.

Other Parts of the South

Venice, LA is a small, unincorporated community located about 75 miles south of New Orleans.  This community was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  The rebuilding process is ongoing, but there is still a lot of work to do in the area.  Fishing is excellent around Venice, Lousiana.  The nutrient-driven Mississippi River helps create one of the most exciting fisheries in the entire world.  With all of the oil rigs and deep water located just miles offshore, anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish on a regular basis.

Lake Fork has gained the reputation of being one of the best, if not the best bass lake in the country.  There are so many huge bass caught here every year that many of the fishing guides consider 5 pound bass “dinks.”  Of the top 20 State Record Largemouth Bass of Texas, the majority of them were caught from Lake Fork.  Fishing is also excellent for crappie and catfish, however, most anglers do not even think about fishing for these species.

Pickwick & Wilson Lakes (TN) offer some tremendous fishing opportunities for a variety of different fish species.  Smallmouth bass get the most attention, but you can target big largemouth bass here to go along with catfish, striped bass and more.  This area has definitely gained in popularity over the years due to its excellent fishing throughout the year.  Whether you’re looking for numbers, big fish or a variety of fish, it’s all here.  It’s one of the better fishing vacation destinations in the south.

Kentucky Lake – Bass and crappie.  It’s tough to beat Kentucky Lake from the end of March through April.  This is probably the best place to plan a fishing trip to during this time of year in the midwest.

Port Aransas, TX is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Texas.  This coastal city is loved for its beautiful beaches, world class fishing and affordable lodging. Fishing is excellent in the area waters for redfish and trout.  There are a variety of other species of fish that you can also target here.

Port Isabel, TX – Located close to South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Texas draws plenty of tourism throughout the year.  It is a popular destination among fishermen that are looking to catch redfish and trout.  There are many other species of saltwater fish to catch and numerous fishing charters are available to help put you on the fish.

South Padre Island is a resort community in the very southern part of Texas.  It is a very popular vacation destination and spring break destination for college students.  There are many resort hotels and condos to go along with plenty of restaurants, shopping, recreation and entertainment.  Fishing and boating is very popular in the area with many inshore and offshore fishing charters, marinas, boat rentals and even a fishing pier.

Lake Barkley (KY) – Similar fishing to Kentucky Lake.  Very good fishing, just not as many options for lodging, marinas, etc.

Lake Cumberland (KY) – This is the place to go for striped bass.  They are big and plentiful.

Beaver Lake (AR) – Beaver Lake is known for its striped bass fishing.  There are numerous guides available and it is not uncommon to get your limit with a guide.  Many stripers will be over 10 pounds and there are fish caught in the 20 to 30 pound range all the time.  We have even seen pictures of striped bass over 40 pounds caught from Beaver Lake.

Norfork Lake (AR) – Fishing is very good here for a variety of species.  Most anglers target striped bass, hybrid bass, smallmouth and largemouth bass.  Walleye, crappie, bream and catfish are also available.  The nice thing about visiting Norfork lake is that you have the White and North Fork Rivers nearby if you want to go after rainbow trout and brown trout.  You can catch 1 lb. rainbow trout all day and there are some huge brown trout if you are looking for a trophy.

White River – (AR) Visitors come here for a chance at landing brown trout in the double digits.  15 – 20 pound brown trout are caught every year.  Rainbow trout fishing is fast and exciting with stocked fish averaging 12 inches.  Some bigger rainbow trout do exist with quite a few fish in the 2 to 5 pound range and some are even bigger.  Anglers that target rainbow trout can have 30 – 80 fish days because they are so abundant.

Golden Isles (GA) – The mainland city of Brunswick and its four beautiful barrier islands: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island make up the Golden Isles.  The Golden Isles is located on the Georgia coast midway between Savannah, GA, and Jacksonville, FL.  This area is a popular resort community that offers plenty of outdoor recreation.  Boating is popular and there are fishing charters available that
target a variety of inshore and offshore species.  Some of the fish that are common are flounder, sheepshead, whiting, redfish, tarpon, sharks, kingfish, amberjack, cobia, snapper, wahoo and dolphin.

Lake Lanier (GA) is a popular reservoir located in the northern part of Georgia.  This lake is very popular for boating and fishing with millions of visitors that come here every year.  You will find plenty of hotels to go along with a couple of resorts along the lake.  Marinas are plentiful to help with your boating needs and there are plenty of places to fish in the lake.  The lake is known for its excellent striped bass fishing and you can also catch largemouth bass, spotted bass and other species.

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach (AL) – For the fisherman trying to plan a family vacation that allows for some fishing time as well, the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area will keep everyone happy.  The coast offers some wonderful inshore and offshore fishing.  You can catch blue marlin, amberjack, yellow fin tuna, cobia, red snapper and more in this area.

Lake Texoma (OK & TX) offers some of the best striped bass fishing in the entire country. Natural reproduction maintains a strong year-round striped bass fishery on this lake.  Many lakes that have striped bass must rely on stocking efforts, but on Texoma, they naturally reproduce, which allows for some fantastic fishing and liberal regulations.  Last we checked, each person is allowed to keep 10 fish with only 2 over 20 inches, but make sure to check the regulations before you head out onto the lake.  There are plenty of fishing guides available and this is one of the very few lakes that you can limit out consistently in a couple of hours or less with the right guide.

Dale Hollow Lake (TN) – There are many different types of fish to catch, but Dale Hollow Lake is known for its spectacular smallmouth bass fishery.  Fishing is good all the way through November and December with many anglers reporting good catches of smallmouth bass into January and February as well.

More Destinations by State

Tell us what you think.  Feel free to leave a comment about a great destination that we may have overlooked.

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