Sea breezes are beginning to blow, the sun doesn't hide behind the clouds quite so much these days, and the bite is heating up - summer is just around the corner! To help you prepare, we've compiled a short list of the top five places in the Sunshine State to take your center console, along with the Everglades model we feel would best suit that particular location. Whether you're in search of a place to weigh anchor and relax, swim and explore, or if you're chasing the bite, we've got you covered!
The historic Sanibel lighthouse was built in 1884.
This island is relatively young, having formed only 6,000 years ago. Originally dubbed Santa Isybella in 1513 by Ponce de Leon in honor of Queen Isabella, the island has come to be known as the "shelling" capital of North America, with intact conch, mollusk, cockle and scallop shells to be found along Sanibel's white beaches. Shells not your thing? Then bring your kayak and spend the afternoon navigating the mangrove-lined waterways.
But how's the fishing, you ask?
The answer is inshore and offshore fishing opportunities abound. Here you can catch snook, sea trout, flounder, pompano, and more, with redfish, mackerel and cobia lurking in deeper waters. According to the Islands of Sanibel and Captiva official website, the deeper waters off Sanibel's shores offer the best grouper fishing in the entire state of Florida. The waters of the Gulf are home to over 1,000 species of fish, with more than 20 artificial reefs for them to call home around Sanibel and its sister island, Captiva. Don't forget to weigh anchor and see the historic lighthouse!
Other great areas near Sanibel include Cabbage Key to the north, the aforementioned island of Captiva (accessible only with your Everglades or a small plane!), Estero Island, Bonita, Naples and Keeywadin Island. Thanks to Captain Al Lewis of The Boat House for sharing his suggestions with us!
The Miami coastline from the transom of an Everglades.
We don't recommend only coming here for the boat show every February! Besides its famous beaches, Miami, Biscayne Bay and Florida Bay attract many anglers searching for paradise - and they find it! Whether you're looking for an opportunity to practice your fly fishing, or you're after pelagic in deeper waters offshore, you can find it in southern Florida. Trolling for wahoo and king mackerel is popular here, as is fishing for snapper, amberjack and mahi-mahi.
If the fish just aren't biting, nearby Nixon Sandbar is great for rafting up, and you can also jetski or kayak in the bay! For details on all there is to do in Miami waters - with or without your boat, fishing or not - give the Greater Miami and the Beaches website a read! Or, our good friends at the Coastal Angler Magazine have a great article about their favorite fishing spots along Miami's coastline.
Other points of interest nearby include Stiltsville and the Haulover Sandbar; thanks to Christina from Sundance Marine for her list of favorites!
Sebastian Inlet; image courtesy of Sportfishing Magazine.
The narrow waters of the inlet - only 15-16 ft at its deepest - are no trouble for an Everglades, even our flagship 435cc can navigate with ease here! Here you'll catch redfish, bluefish, flounder, snapper, grouper, sheepshead and more, and maybe even a few species of shark. But the most plentiful fish here is the snook. Also known as robalo, one study estimated there are over 40,000 of this fish swimming the inlet at any given time! Low tide reveals a large sandbar for rafting up, and nearby you'll find the world-famous Captain Hiram's Resort.
The bad news? Inlets can be tricky to navigate, even for experienced captains. The suction of an outgoing tide through a narrow channel, paired with changing winds can create some serious breakers. The good news? If you're riding in an Everglades, you'll view inlets as challenges, not off-limits! Our patented RAMCAP process ensures each and every hull that leaves our facility is ready to withstand the rigors of the ocean, regardless of her tempestuous mood.
For more on fishing this unique area, we recommend this article from Sportfishing Magazine. Special thanks to Jerry from Boaters Exchange for suggesting this great spot!
Emerald waters, sugar-white sand beaches, and fishing! Image courtesy of Visit Florida.
Offshore fishing? Check. Inshore fishing? Check. Deep sea fishing, gulf fishing and bay fishing? Check, check and check! There is so much more to the Emerald Coast than just its beautiful white sand beaches and breathtakingly clear waters. Dubbed by some as the "world's luckiest fishing village", dropping a line here can reward you with cobia, black, white and red snapper, amberjacks, and spotted sea trout. Venturing off-shore into the Gulf can yield monster catches of wahoo, mahi, sailfish, marlin and tuna. In addition to fishing and spending a lazy day at the beach, there are even more adventures to be found beneath the surface with snorkeling and scuba diving! For more about the countless activities you and your family can enjoy, hop on over to the official website of the Emerald Coast.
An Everglades 255cc cruises past Alligator Reef Lighthouse in Islamorada.
No list of Florida fishing spots would be complete - or worth its salt - if it didn't mention this famous chain of islands; in fact most would probably agree it merits a list all unto itself. Marathon, Key Largo, Islamorada and Key West are all tried and true areas, where you can catch sailfish, tarpon, mahi, bonefish, red snapper and barracuda. If you haven't seen BlacktipH's video featuring one of our Everglades in the Keys, click here to watch!
The Keys offer countless opportunities for island-hopping - there are close to 1,700 to explore - rafting up with friends at sandbars, and running your boat in waters considered off-limits for most. It has a been a popular spot for our annual Everglades Boats Rendezvous in past years, and this year we're returning! Our friends at Yacht Works have an amazing weekend planned for you Everglades owners; for a complete rundown of our Rendezvous Summer Series and to register, click here.
Know of a great spot we didn't mention here? Tell us in the comment section below, and stay tuned, we might mention it in another post!