Central Florida is well-known for its beaches, which draw many tourists, boaters and water enthusiasts. What you may not know is that these beaches -- particularly, the docks and piers abutting them -- are also ideal locations for fishing. Indeed, several types of fish can be found and caught from these vantage points in relative comfort and safety not found while fishing on a lake or at sea.
Many anglers prefer fishing from central Florida's piers and docks instead of from watercraft for several reasons. Obviously, it offers a great deal of convenience to remain on land, and also saves a great deal of money associated with the costs of renting or operating a boat and paying for its fuel. Fishermen also need not be discomforted by seasickness. In addition, the high vantage point afforded by many piers allows you to spot fish at greater distances by eye with the use of polarized eyewear.
Choosing a Location
As with any other type of fishing, the key is location and finding the right spot. When selecting a pier, choose one that features an artificial reef that has grown at its base. These structures attract many species of game fish that tend to congregate around them. After locating an artificial reef, research the area and examine the patterns and timing of the currents, what types of bait are available on site and which prove most effective for the local fish.
Florida Game Fish
One game fish that is popular to catch in central Florida is the Spanish mackerel. This species is known for having very sharp teeth, its tendency to follow moving objects and bite them, and swimming very fast -- up to 35 miles per hour. When attempting to catch one, use a long, medium-action rod, spooled with at least a 10-lb. line. Use lures that resemble glass minnows and spoons or bait with smaller, silvery fish and live shrimp. The cobia is a naturally curious fish that tends to linger near structures such as reefs and docks, making them an ideal target for pier fishing. They are often sighted swimming near the water's surface. Cast your bait several feet in front of the fish and slowly reel it back. If the cobia takes the bait, be prepared for a struggle, as the species possesses remarkable strength and endurance.
Popular Locations in Central Florida
One of the more popular regions among anglers is the Tampa Bay area, which has many piers well-suited for fishing its abundant game population. St. Petersburg stands out with such docks as the Skyway Fishing Piers and the Gulf Pier. Bradenton Beach also offers good locations at the Memorial Pier and Jigg's Landing. On the east coast of central Florida, there are also the many beaches in the Titusville area, including the Cocoa Beach Pier, Veterans Memorial Fishing Pier, and the Jetty Park Campground at Cape Canaveral.
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