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Miami's lakes and channels offer plenty of freshwater fishing, but anglers traveling to this lauded Sunshine State destination are usually more interested in what's biting in the surf. So try your hand at saltwater shore fishing in Miami, as well, since the city sits right on Biscayne Bay and, of course, the Atlantic. Anywhere you shore fish, from Julia Tuttle Causeway to Haulover Inlet, you may find yourself wrestling a tarpon, especially at night.
Florida residents must have a shoreline fishing license unless they are fishing from a licensed pier, under 16, over 65, an active military Florida resident home on leave, disabled or on public assistance such as food stamps or Medicaid. Residents of Miami-Dade County may fish without a license using a Cuban yo-yo or a cane pole and natural bait, as long as they have no mechanized reel attached. All non-residents must have fishing licenses, purchased for three to seven days at a time. Annual non-resident passes are also available. If you plan to fish for tarpon, you must purchase a tarpon tag and keep it with your license. You must also pay a small additional fee to fish for snook.
Catch and Release Laws
Mandatory catch-and-release laws are in effect for grass carp. This species is stocked in Florida to help control aquatic plant growth. While fishing in the bay or ocean, you must also immediately release Goliath or Nassau grouper. These are prohibited species. Most sharks and spearfish are also prohibited species. Lemon sharks, which often swim close to shore, must be released right away. Consider using circular hooks for catch-and-release fishing, because they do less damage to the fish and make the release process easier.
Freshwater Shore Fishing in Miami
The Urban Fishing Program's prime location is North Lake in Miami's Tropical Park. You'll find the 12-acre lake stocked with channel catfish, blue gill and largemouth bass, also known as black bass. Boats are allowed at Tropical Park but many anglers fish from the shore. Greynolds Park, Larry & Penny Thompson Park and Matheson Hammock County Park all have lakes for fishing. Thompson Park doesn't allow boats and is catch-and-release only. Matheson Hammock has fish cleaning tables and charcoal grills in the picnic areas. Two other Miami lakes, Hammocks and Country Walk, are filled with largemouth and peacock bass, carp and tilapia.
Saltwater Shore Fishing in Miami
If you are a saltwater angler who loves to do battle with tarpon, sea trout and striped bass, try the causeways across Biscayne Bay. Jetty fishing around Miami will also keep you busy. Although North Biscayne Bay is very urbanized, you'll find plenty of fish under the bridges and jetties there, provided you can find a place to cast. You can fish right off the saltwater beach or the pier at Oleta River State Park in North Miami. Newport Pier is another shore fishing point you'll want to try, as well as the pier and jetties at Government Cut in South Beach.
Move away from the lake shore and bridges if the sky darkens or the wind starts to blow hard. Jetty fishing is too dangerous to continue during thunder and lightning or high winds. Surf fishing, also, could get you into trouble with very little warning if there is an undertow. Do not go into water where there are warning signs about sharks, jellyfish or rip tides. If you are fishing along a lake, do not wade in. Any freshwater body of water in Florida has alligators. And never fish barefoot.
Betty Jean Steinshouer started writing professionally in 1980 with a weekly column in her hometown newspaper. She is published in literary textbooks and has penned articles and book reviews for magazines and newspapers. Certified in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, she has degrees in speech communication and English literature.