Best of the Best Down South
Emerald Coast (FL) – 10.0 Rating
Florida’s Emerald Coast is home to Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island. This area is known as an unbelievable fishing vacation destination for a variety of inshore and offshore fish. This area also has some great beaches, plenty of accommodations, restaurants, attractions, shopping and outdoor recreation. Whether you plan to fish inshore, offshore, in the surf or from the pier, there is something here for all anglers.
The Choctawhatchee Bay is very popular and the fishing is good for redfish, sea trout, flounder, sheepshead and many other fish. Offshore, grouper and snapper get the most attention when they are in season, however, cobia, amberjack, wahoo, blackfin tuna, kingfish, dolphin, sailfish, marlin and many other fish are available depending on the season.
Florida Keys – Rating 10.0
One of the best fishing destinations in the world. Many tournaments are held throughout the year for a variety of species. The backcountry is known for its excellent fishing for bonefish, tarpon, permit and so many other species of fish. Offshore, the fishing is also outstanding for so many different species of fish. Plan a trip here and you’ll be wishing you had more time to experience this awesome fishing vacation destination.
Hilton Head Island, SC – Rating 10.0
Hilton Head Island is located in the southern part of South Carolina about 20 miles north of Savannah, Georgia. The island is a very popular vacation destination with 12 miles of beachfront and numerous golf courses. Hilton Head Island is known more as a golf destination than a fishing destination, but the fishing is excellent here as well. There are numerous fishing charters that operate out of Hilton Head Island and you can catch many different types of fish inshore and offshore. Inshore, anglers target redfish, sea trout, flounder, sheepshead and a variety of other fish. Offshore, anglers target mahi mahi, wahoo, kingfish, sharks, cobia, grouper, sea bass, snapper and others.
Marco Island, FL – Rating 10.0
Marco Island is an awesome saltwater fishing destination. Fish inshore, nearshore, offshore or from the beaches. This is a big numbers destination for a variety of different fish and trophy-sized fish are possible here too. Snook, tarpon and grouper get a lot of attention here, but there are so many different fish to catch.
Venice, FL – Rating 10.0
Venice is a unique fishing destination. It has an inlet, an awesome inshore snook fishery, quick access to the Gulf for nearshore or offshore fishing and for the anglers that don’t have boats, you can catch some fish from the beaches here too. Look out for shark teeth while you are on the beach. This is one of the more popular beaches to look for shark teeth. Snook gets the most attention in this area, but you have tons of options while here.
Jupiter, FL – Rating 9.75
This is one of the better snook fishing destinations in all of Florida and there’s a lot more here than just snook fishing. Whether you fish inshore, offshore, from the surf or from the pier, there are so many species of fish that you can target here. This isn’t nearly as crowded as some of the more popular Florida vacation destinations, but there is plenty here to do and less crowds to deal with. It’s one of the best fishing destinations in the country.
Lake Texoma (OK & TX) – Rating 9.75
Lake Texoma is one of the largest reservoirs in the United States. Located along the Oklahoma – Texas border, this lake covers over 89,000 surface acres. Lake Texoma is extremely popular among anglers and boaters alike. The lake draws around 6 million annual visitors. For fishermen, Lake Texoma 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. It’s an amazing striped fishery for numbers and trophy potential too. You will find a variety of other fish in this lake too such as smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white bass, catfish and panfish.
Port St. Lucie, FL – Rating 9.75
This area can be awesome for fishing. From the Indian River to the St Lucie Inlet, the beaches, nearshore and offshore fishing, you have so many options here. Snook get a lot of the attention here, but there are so many species of fish you can catch here.
Amelia Island (FL) – Rating 9.5
This is one of the best fishing destinations on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. The inshore fishery is outstanding, you don’t have to go too far offshore to find fish and you can actually go inland and target largemouth bass too. There aren’t too many destinations like this in the entire country. There are plenty of accommodations and amenities in this area to make it an awesome fishing vacation.
Beaufort, SC – Rating 9.5
Beaufort, South Carolina was ranked #17 of America’s Top 20 Best Fishing Towns by Field and Stream. This city is fairly small, but there is plenty to do here to go along with fine restaurants and many hotels to accommodate you. The fishing is excellent for a variety of fish such as redfish, sea trout, tarpon, ladyfish, flounder, jack crevalle and sheepshead.
Captiva & Sanibel Islands (FL) – Rating 9.5
If the Captiva & Sanibel Islands weren’t so expensive, this destination would have gotten an easy 10.0. This area has one of the better inshore fisheries in the state of Florida with quick access to get out to the Gulf of Mexico for some awesome offshore fishing too. This area is known for its awesome snook, trout and goliath grouper fisheries, but that’s just a very small percentage of the number of different species of fish that you may catch here.
Cedar Key, FL – Rating 9.5
Cedar Key is an awesome fishing destination, although, so many people have no idea of where Cedar Key is even located. For those of you that have found how awesome this area is, you can just keep smiling as all those cars just keep driving down past this area as they head farther south. For those of you looking to check this area out, you have a lot of options. Fish inshore for redfish, trout and other species of fish or go offshore and fish the Gulf of Mexico for snapper, grouper and much more.
Charleston, SC – Rating 9.5
Charleston is a historic city and the largest city of Charleston County. Situated on the Charleston Harbor fishermen and boaters have easy access to the harbor and offshore charters can head out to the Atlantic Ocean from here. There are so many species of fish to catch inshore or offshore. Fishing charters target redfish, sea trout, flounder, jack crevalle, spanish mackerel, spadefish, barracuda, ladyfish, cobia, tarpon, sharks, marlin, sailfish, dolphin, wahoo, tuna and others. Add freshwater lakes Moultrie & Marion nearby and you have an awesome variety of fishing in one destination.
Corpus Christi Area, TX (Aransas Pass, Port Aransas & Rockport) – Rating 9.5
The Corpus Christi area is a popular tourist destination. Whether you come and stay in Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass or Rockport, there are plenty of places that can accommodate you and plenty to do in this area. Visitors will find miles of beaches and plenty of activities such as fishing, boating, wind sports and more. The Corpus Christi Bay offers some excellent fishing for redfish and trout and there are numerous fishing charters available in the area.
Galveston, TX – Rating 9.5
Galveston is a good-sized city that is located along the Gulf Coast region of Texas. The city is a tourist destination with many places to stay from hotels to motels to vacation rentals. There are plenty of tourist attractions to go along with many outdoor activities such as fishing, boating and other water sports. With water surrounding Galveston, fishermen can find plenty of water to target redfish, trout, red snapper, shark, tarpon and many other types of saltwater fish.
Fort Myers Beach, FL – Rating 9.5
Fort Myers Beach is a great beach vacation destination. You will see lots of people on the beaches and in the area shops and restaurants. Most of the very crowded destinations didn’t get rated as high as Fort Myers Beach, but if you stay here, you can enjoy a nice beach vacation while having some unbelievable fishing opportunities all around you.
Kentucky Lake – Rating 9.5
Kentucky Lake is one of the world’s largest man-made lakes. The lake covers 2,380 miles of shoreline and 160,000 acres of water. Kentucky Lake is a very popular vacation destination. Whether you’re coming here for a fishing getaway or a family vacation, there is something to do for everyone.
Kentucky Lake is known for its tremendous crappie fishery. Spring and fall are the best times to plan a trip for the crappie fishing. During the spawn, 1 – 1.5 pound crappie are considered common. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are also plentiful on Kentucky Lake. There are more largemouth than smallmouth in the lake, but if you target the rocky areas, you can usually find some smallmouth bass. If you time the spawn right in the spring, you can experience some awesome fishing for largemouth bass with 30 to 50 fish days being possible. Get away from the crowds and find the pattern and you will catch more fish. Other species that are available are white bass, sunfish, sauger, catfish and striped bass.
Lake Barkley (KY) – Rating 9.5
Lake Barkley was impounded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1966. The dam impounds the Cumberland River near Grand Rivers, Kentucky, approximately 38 miles up stream from where the Cumberland empties into the Ohio River. One mile above the dam is a canal connecting Lake Barkley with Kentucky Lake, forming one of the greatest freshwater recreational areas in the country. There are many opportunities for fishing Lake Barkley. There is a very healthy population of crappie, largemouth bass, white bass, catfish, sauger and bluegill. Spring crappie fishing is a favorite for most anglers. The crappie spawn is an excellent time to fish with fish all over the shallows from 4 to 6 feet deep. In some areas, you can find them in as shallow as 1 foot of water or less. Bass fishing is also excellent on this lake. May and June are excellent times for catching trophy bass. Anglers also like to target catfish and white bass.
Naples, FL – Rating 9.5
Naples, Florida is one of the best fishing destinations in the world. This area isn’t nearly as crowded, which is awesome for those of you who are looking for great fishing without the crowds. Because Naples is so far south, a lot of people don’t venture all the way down here for a vacation. The inshore fishery for snook is outstanding and that is what most anglers come here to experience. You can catch a variety of other fish inshore, offshore, nearshore and from the beaches.
Orange Beach & Gulf Shores (AL) – Rating 9.5
This is an awesome beach vacation destination and the fishing can be very good here too. The late spring and fall bring a lot of migratory fish through this area. Resident fish are here year round too, so there is always something to fish for. Redfish, sea trout, snapper and grouper are popular fish in this area, but there are so many other fish you can catch too.
Pensacola, FL – 9.5 Rating
Pensacola is a beautiful city that is located along the Florida panhandle. There are a variety of things to do such as shopping, dining, hanging out at the beach and numerous water activities. Fishing is very popular in Pensacola. This area gives you a lot of options with some very good offshore fishing in the Gulf, nearshore fishing along the beaches, some good surf & pier fishing and a huge inshore area that is good for redfish, trout and other species.
Port Arthur, TX – Rating 9.5
Port Arthur is known as a great destination for getting outdoors. This city has tons of water as Lake Sabine and the Gulf of Mexico coast connect to the city. There area also has some great beaches, some nice places to eat, numerous lodging options and some great fishing opportunities in freshwater and saltwater. Redfish and sea trout are targeted most by anglers, but there are several other species of fish that you can target in the nearby waters of Port Arthur.
Sebastian, FL – Rating 9.5
Sebastian is an awesome fishing destination. The Sebastian Inlet gives you a lot of options. Stay inshore and target the fish that come in and out via the inlet or go offshore and target a variety of fish in the Atlantic Ocean. Shore anglers do well here also.
South Padre Island, TX – Rating 9.5
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.
Tampa Bay & its Beaches (FL) – Rating 9.5
The Tampa Bay area is one of the most popular fishing destinations in all of Florida. That is because this area is an awesome fishing destination, but also because of its location. It isn’t too far from Orlando, which helps draws a lot more people to the area to see the beaches. There are so many places to stay, tons of amenities, bait shops, fishing charters and just about everything you would need if you wanted to do this trip on your own. Fish from shore, the piers, inshore, nearshore or offshore. There are too many fish here to name them all.
Venice, LA – Rating 9.5
Venice, Louisiana is a small, unincorporated community located about 75 miles south of New Orleans. This community was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and the the rebuilding process is ongoing, but the people that cater to the tourists have been very resilient. This area is known as one of the best fishing destinations on the planet.
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. Redfish get a lot of attention here as you can catch them by the dozens and maybe even hundreds if you hit it right. Trout are also here in good numbers inshore and you can go offshore and fish for so many different species of fish. The fishing is truly unbelievable compared to most other destinations.
View a Complete List of the Best Fishing Destinations Down South
- Corpus Christi Area, TX
- Galveston, TX
- Lake Fork
- Matagorda Bay, TX
- Port Arthur, TX
- Port Mansfield, TX
- Seadrift, TX
- South Padre Island