What is the Best Bait to Use In The Everglades? | Bass Angler Magazine

What is the Best Bait to Use In The Everglades? | Bass Angler Magazine
Man fly fishing from kayak in the Florida Everglades USA

Fishing is one of the fun things to do at the Everglades National Park. The 1.5 million-acre swampland of great lakes and rivers is home to diverse fish species. These include unique and endangered species like Smalltooth Sawfish and Nassau Grouper. However, your potential games are limitless when on a fishing hunt at the Everglades. 

If you’re an angler anticipating a fishing experience at the Everglades National Park, here are bait ideas to help you maximize your time. Let’s dive into all the details you need to know when fishing in the Everglades

What Fish Can You Catch in the Everglades? 

The Everglades has a diverse ecosystem of freshwater and saltwater fish species. Here are the best fish to catch in the angler’s paradise. 

  • Redfish inhabit the shallow marshes at the Everglades. You can catch the Florida favorite during your fishing game. 
  • Snook is another Floridan fish you’ll find when exploring the Everglades waterways. It puts up a real fight, making the experience more fun. 
  • Tarpon is another species on everyone’s list when fishing in the Everglades. The fish’s strength and fight give an incomparable thrill of adrenaline pump. 
  • Peacock Bass offers a more ferocious fight when fishing in the Everglades. You may be lucky to catch one of the world’s most beautiful games in the park’s freshwater. 
  • Largemouth Bass is the largest species of the Black Bass family. It’s another fun fish to catch for anglers. 

How to Fish in the Everglades 

There are many Everglades fishing spots, including the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida Bay, Whitehat Bay, Lake Okeechobee, and the West Lake and Bear Lake. So, the fishing styles at the park vary. 

Just being in the Everglades on a boat is a very cool experience, and getting to fish in the Aquifer is that much better. Here are ways to fish in the park depending on your preference and where you want to go. 

  1. Use a fishing charter to save time, cover more ground, and maximize your catch from Florida Bay. 
  2. Paddle through waters of alligators, dolphins, and manatees, and enjoy a scenic view under the Everglades sun using a kayak.
  3. Grab a fishing rod and relax in the sun as you explore shore fishing around the Everglades borders. You can enjoy shore fishing on the freshwater lakes close to the park’s entrance or head further down the freshwater lakes.   

Best Baits for Fishing in the Everglades National Park 

The Florida Everglades boasts a record of the highest number of fish caught per person, per hour of any fishery in Florida. So, recreational fishing at the park is one for the books. However, for a hitch-free experience, there are bait policies for fishing in the park’s saltwater or freshwater areas. 

Bait for Freshwater Fishing 

Live shrimps, baitfish, artificial lures, and crabs are ideal baits for fishing in the Everglades freshwater. Live or dead fish (including minnows and shiners), amphibians, and non-preserved fish or eggs are not allowed. Digging for bait inside the park is also prohibited. 

Bait for Saltwater Fishing 

Topwater lures like poppers, cut baits, mojarras, and fiddler crabs are great bait options when fishing in the Everglades saltwater. Baits can be taken with hook and line, dip net, or cast net. However, the dip net must not be wider than 3 feet (0.9 meters). 

What Should You Know Before Fishing in the Everglades?

Anglers at the Everglades can fish in the park’s saltwater and freshwater. As a result, you need a license for the one you want to fish on. That means you must get a Florida saltwater fishing license to catch saltwater fish like Redfish, Snook, and Tarpon. 

Conversely, you need a Florida freshwater fishing license to catch species like Peacock Bass and Largemouth Bass. It’s imperative also to know that the park prohibits fishing in some lakes, including the Ernest F. Coe, Visitor Center Lakes, Coot Bay Ponds, and Chekika Lake. 

Licensed Everglades anglers are limited to 20 fish per person at any time, which must not exceed 10 fish of a particular species. Also, the bag limit for many species is less than 10 fish, while non-native species have no possession limit. 

The cost of backwater fishing in the Everglades starts from $600 for 4 hours or $850 for 8 hours. However, offshore fishing costs $850 for 6 hours and $1,050 for 8 hours. The fees cover up to 3 anglers. It also comes with a fishing license, bait, fishing tackle, a cooler filled with ice and bottled water, and the cleaning/bagging of your catch. 

Your fishing trip is guaranteed to be rewarding because of the park’s “No Fish, No Pay” policy. 

Final Thoughts 

A fishing day in the Everglades is something out of the ordinary for anglers. However, the Everglades National Park’s bait use and fishing regulations are updated from time to time. Always get a current copy of the Everglades Fishing Regulations from the park’s visitor centers and entrance stations to stay up-to-date with the latest guidelines.

Alternatively, you can seek better insights from local tackle shops or fishing guides around the park to determine what’s obtainable during your visiting time. After familiarizing yourself with the rules, grab your gear, join your angler friends, and set upon the Everglades waters for an exciting fishing day!

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