Off The Hook – The Boca Raton Observer

Talk about getting hooked. Fishing is a popular pastime – and with good reason.

There’s a chance you’ll catch dinner, or perhaps you’re seeking solitude and treasured time outdoors. It’s also a bonding experience with kids or grandparents and a great way to fulfill the age-old impulse to hunt and catch. 

Bottom line? Fishing is fun.

If you’re angling to go, we’re here to help by guiding you to some of the most popular fishing spots in South Florida. Before hitting the water, learn about the fishing regulations in the area. Then, take the bait (and rods and reels), and put a sign on your door so people will know you’ve “gone fishin’.” 

Anglins Fishing Pier

A familiar landmark in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea since the early 1960s, Anglins Fishing Pier is a haven for snapper, grouper, snook, mackerel and more. As part of its dedication to “helping shorebound anglers,” according to its website, it’s open 24/7 and offers both sand and reef “rock” fishing. Since damage from Hurricane Wilma in 2005, the 876-foot pier has been open only halfway. 

Cost: Adults who fish from the pier pay $7, while spectators pay $2.


John D. MacArthurBeach State Park 

Fishing in the lagoon by kayak is popular at this lush, subtropical coastal habitat on the north end of Singer Island, but you can also fish there by wading – or from swimming areas along the 2-mile beach. What kind of fish might you hook here? Snook, sheepshead, trout, barracuda, red drum, black drum, jack crevalle, pompano, sharks, snapper, blue fish, flounder and more.

Cost: Admission is $4 for a single person or $5 for a car with two to eight people.


Juno Beach Pier

Managed by Loggerhead Marine life Center (one of our favorite turtle hospitals), the 990-foot Juno Beach Pier provides anglers great saltwater fishing, a tackle shop and pole rentals in addition to a scenic view, a snack bar and restrooms. Fishermen often catch kingfish, pompano, jacks and bonito, and stingrays and sharks can sometimes be seen swimming near the piles. 

Cost: Although you’ll pay $4 to fish on the pier ($1 for spectators), parking is free. 


Biscayne National Park

Thanks to mangrove shorelines, seagrass meadows, sand flats, reefs and shipwrecks at this watery wonderland south of Miami, diverse fishing experiences abound. Anglers in the 172,971-acre park need a Florida recreational saltwater fishing license, and fishing is limited to designated sport fish, spiny lobster, stone crab, blue crab and shrimp. Red grouper, mangrove snapper, tuna and hogfish are just a few of the species to hook here. 

Tours from the park’s headquarters into the bay and to the Keys are available, and free fishing classes – touching on fish identification, tackle advice, equipment maintenance and techniques – are offered.

Cost: Admission to the park is free, although fees are charged for overnight docking and camping. 


Dania Beach Pier

The Dania Beach Pier, midway between the world-famous Fort Lauderdale Beach and the popular Hollywood Broadwalk, is a good choice for both novice and expert anglers. It opens at 6 a.m., which is good because an early start is recommended to catch a glimpse of the sunrise over the ocean. Night fishing is an option, too, since the pier is lit and open until midnight. Snack and bait shops and restaurants can be found nearby. 

The pier is by deep water, which means you can hook a wide variety of species, including mutton, yellowtail snapper, cero mackerel, bluefish, snook, tarpon and barracuda. 

Cost: Admission is $3.21 for adult anglers and $2.14 for spectators.


Matheson Hammock Park

A favorite of locals, Matheson Hammock Park, just south of Coral Gables near Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, is known for its distinctive manmade atoll pool. Thanks to the Biscayne Bay tides, there seems to be an endless supply of mullet, snapper and snook in the shallow waters. Anglers have success fishing under the bridge just past the tollgate and from the fishing pier. Seagrass beds provide a home for mangrove snapper, parrotfish, crabs, shrimp, sea stars and puffer fish. 

Cost: Admission is $5 per car on weekdays and $7 on weekends and holidays.


Okeeheelee Park

West Palm Beach’s Okeeheelee Park offers up two lakes for fishing, complete with a fishing pier, fish feeders and submerged fish attractors. Even though all bass must be released, anglers can keep bluegill and redear sunfish (if they’re 8 inches or longer) as well as up to six channel catfish. 

Cost: Admission is free. 


Torry Island and Lake Okeechobee 

Considered the Bass Fishing Capital of the World, Lake Okeechobee has been luring anglers for ages. Many start their day at Torry Island in Belle Glade, which has direct access to the lake and is home to Slim’s Fish Camp, a landmark established by the Corbin family in 1935. 

Torry Island, 25 miles west of Palm Beach, offers excellent shoreline fishing and has a marina with boat rentals and repair, a tackle shop and dockage. Besides largemouth bass, the most common fish caught in the big lake are crappie and bluegill. 

Cost: Admission and fishing are free.


Boca Raton Inlet

While the Boca Raton Inlet is often congested with boaters, good fishing can also be enjoyed from the rocky shores, especially on the north side or at South Inlet Park. Snook are just waiting to be hooked. Other fish hanging out here include wahoo, cero mackerel and sailfish. 

Cost: Parking at the park costs $3 an hour on weekdays and $4 an hour on weekends.  


Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

There are many opportunities for fishing in the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, the only remnant of the northern Everglades in Palm Beach County. It has three designated fishing areas: Headquarters, Hillsboro and 20-Mile Bend. 

Numerous shallow, open marsh areas are available for fishing year-round. Anglers can fish in the interior canal around the refuge, which is about 57 miles long. The Lee Road Fishing Pier at Headquarters was damaged by Hurricane Irma and is closed until repairs can be made, but the floating dock near the canoe rental is open for fishing. You can catch freshwater native species, including largemouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie, redear sunfish, chain pickerel, longnose gar, bluegill and warmouth. 

Cost: Admission is $5 per car. 

Info: O


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