Which Florida Coast Is Better for Fishing?

Which Florida Coast Is Better for Fishing?

Fishing is a very popular activity in Florida. Florida has some of the most amazing fishing in America, whether you choose to fish the Atlantic deep-sea charter or the Gulf of Mexico.So the question is….Which Florida coast is best for fishing?

Both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida offer world-class fishing. No matter where you are, Florida fishing is amazing. Unfortunately, choosing a favorite Florida fishing spot is like choosing a child you love.

There’s so much more to choosing a coast. You need to know more. What species of fish are possible to catch along which coast? Is there a difference in the undersea terrain? Is there a better way to fish in certain areas? You’ll find the answers to these questions and many more when you finish this article.

Florida Fishing: Atlantic Or Gulf?

Florida’s Atlantic coast extends from Jacksonville, in the northeast corner, to Key West, giving it more than 500 miles. Florida’s Atlantic side experiences stronger currents, larger waves and heavier winds than the Gulf side. The Atlantic is larger than the Gulf of Mexico and is subject to weather conditions that can affect fishing.

The Gulf of Mexico surrounds itself with land, bordered by Texas and Mexico to the west and Florida to the east. The Gulf’s northern coast borders Mississippi and Louisiana, as well as the Florida panhandle. The Gulf Coast of Florida has a more relaxed vibe than the Atlantic coast. 

The difference between the coasts is subtle, but it is important. The continental shelf abruptly drops off the Atlantic coast just a few hundred miles from shore. The continental shelf on the Gulf coast is gentler and more gradual. It drops off just a few miles from shore. The Atlantic coast is likely to have more success catching pelagic fish such as sailfish and blackfin tuna. 

Amazing Fun Fact: A great white shark weighing 700 pounds was caught by anglers fishing from Navarre Beach in Florida’s Panhandle City.

A whole new group of fish species can be found along Florida’s Gulf coast due to the gradual decline of the continental shelf. Pelagic fish prefer to live in the water column down to 650 to 700 feet. The Gulf coast water is only 30 to 300 feet deep. Gulf fishermen are more likely than others to catch fish such as grouper, amberjack and snapper.

Saltwater Fishing: Which Florida Coast Is Better?


The best way to fish in Florida is by going out on a boat. People from all over the country also bring their boats to Florida to enjoy the amazing fishing. Is saltwater fishing more enjoyable on the Gulf or Atlantic coasts?

Biscayne Bay and New Smyrna Beach are all popular spots for fishing along Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Islamorada is also a great spot. And of course, there’s the famous Florida Keys. Most Florida towns and cities have access to a marina or boat launch. You should also consider fishing along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The stunning and diverse Gulf Coast of Florida offers a unique fishing experience. A slower drop in the continental shelf results in a more diverse set of marine conditions. You can fish for common fish like red snapper and amberjack.

Both of the coasts offer world class saltwater fishing. Florida Keys offers access to both coasts making them an extraordinary place to fish.

Pier fishing

Not everyone can afford a boat, but that doesn’t make fishing impossible. Florida offers many other fishing options. Pier fishing is one of the most popular.

Fish love piers. The continental shelf’s steep drop means that the Atlantic coast is where the best pier fishing can be found, particularly in Broward and Miami–Dade.

Panama City Beach also has great piers that allow you to fish in the Gulf. Venice and Naples have excellent pier fishing.

Best Coast: Both coastlines offer great pier fishing.

Beach fishing

You don’t have to fish from a pier if you don’t like the idea. Grab your gear and head to the beach. Anglers can drive to the beaches such as Huguenot Memorial Park, Jacksonville, to catch fish such as bluefish, pompano, and sharks. There are also great fishing opportunities near Melbourne for fish such as mangrove, mackerel and black drum. You might even be able to catch a barracuda if you fish near pelagic waters.

The west coast beaches can be found near Naples, Marco Island and Clearwater. Clearwater, St. Pete and Destin offer great fishing.

Best Coast: Both coasts offer excellent beach fishing.

Is the Atlantic or Gulf Coast better for catching Marlin?

Marlin are pelagic predators, which means they prefer to hunt in a column from just below the surface up to about 650 feet under the water. They can be caught almost anywhere along the coast. They can be caught anywhere along the coast but they are most effective at the wall near Key West or the Destin coastline.

These are great areas to land marlin. The location off Key West is located in Atlantic waters. However, the site off Destin lies in the Gulf of Mexico. The Florida coasts are in a tie. Anglers will be able to find these fish from both sides of the peninsula.

Is the Atlantic or Gulf Coast better for catching sharks?

Sharks are cool by nature. They are graceful, sleek predators that glide across the water looking for other fish to eat. Sharks can be dangerous predators but they are also graceful and agile. Anglers should go to the Atlantic or Gulf to catch one.

This may seem surprising , but anglers will be able to catch sharks from both coasts. Bull sharks are among the sharks that can be found in the Gulf. ( Please Note Florida has specific rules concerning shark fishing).

What are the Best Places to Fish?

Florida’s hot topic is fishing. Many Floridians love to fish. Which coast is best? Should we sail to Clearwater Beach or Miami? Which Florida coast is better for fishing?

Fishing from New Smyrna’s sands or Clearwater Beach could take you from Tampa to Daytona in just two hours. It would be possible to fish both the east and west coasts in a single trip, even if it was only for a few days.

Both coasts have world-class fishing. The Sunshine State offers some of the most exciting angling in the country. 

Here at Salty Knots Charters we offer a world class deep sea fishing charter in St. Petersburg FL fishing the Gulf of Mexico. Call today to book a fishing charter trip of a lifetime!