There are so many reasons to visit Florida, but for the avid angler it’s one of the few places where all that baiting and waiting pays off. It’s known as “The Fishing Capital of the World” with approximately 2.5 million salt-water anglers arriving every year. They stay at fishing lodges and resorts, dine in restaurants, hire charter boats with guides, pay licensing fees and generate billions of dollars in revenue for the state. They are responsible for supporting over 100,000 jobs annually. Is it worth traveling for miles schlepping all that specialized fishing gear? Apparently so as Florida, by itself, holds more game fish records than any other country in the world!
The Visit Florida website lists the top 10 desired species as tarpon, sailfish (Florida’s official salt water fish), spotted sea trout, snook, red drum, large mouth bass, panfish, grouper, snappers and mackerel. There are numerous annual tournaments, each one dedicated to a specific type of fish. Some tournaments are fund-raisers for particular charities while others are sporting events with cash and prizes. The Key West Fishing Tournament spans 8 months – from January through August. It’s open to the public and participants can fish from boats, on land, or from bridges. There are divisions for men, women, juniors, and peewees. The Islamorada Spring Classic is more family oriented and targets 9 different species for its tournament. Between January and April there are several tournaments dedicated solely to catching Florida’s state saltwater fish, the sailfish. In April the Final Sail Tournament in Key West is a 4-day challenge where the winner walks away with $50,000. The runner-ups don’t do badly either. Jimmy Johnson’s National Billfish Championship in March benefits a cancer center and the winners receive custom designed rings from Jimmy Johnson, the former football coach. Does that make it the Fish Bowl?
I have to admit that I haven’t been fishing in years, and most of the time I like to look at fish from under the water, but there’s something intriguing about the challenge of catching that elusive and slippery opponent. If you’re planning a fishing excursion, give us a call. We’ll help you get where you’re going and perhaps on the way – we’ll do some fish spotting from the air.
“My Biggest worry is that when I’m dead and gone, my wife will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it.”