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Florida Fishing Guide

Florida is known as the Fishing Capital of the World. And one of the best ways to catch the fish Florida is famous for is to fish with a professional fishing guide. Being a fishing guide in Florida requires both being a fishing expert and having a captains license.

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Flats Fishing Boat

A flats fishing boat in the Keys

The team at Inside Florida loves to fish but we’re not experts. So when we want to go fishing we go with a guide. Regardless of where you want to go fishing from Jacksonville to Key West and all the way up to Pensacola there are fishing guides that are experts in their part of Florida.

There are many benefits of fishing with a Florida Fishing Guide. The most obvious is that your chances of catching fish goes up dramatically.  A professional fishing guide spends 5 to 7 days a week fishing. They typically focus on a specific geographical area and know where the fish are.

Florida Fishing GuidesFlorida Fishing Guides provide expertise, the boat, all the fishing gear, and you don’t need your own Florida fishing license.

Types of Fishing Guides

We will divide Florida Fishing Guides into three types. Saltwater fishing guides typically focus on either inshore or offshore fishing – also known as deep-sea fishing. And then there are freshwater fishing guides, which we will cover in another article.

Fishing Guide versus Charter Fishing

Note that a dedicated fishing guide (that we are discussing here) is different from a fishing charter. A fishing guide takes a few anglers out for the day and provides hands on advice and education. Charter boats are larger boats that take out many people at once.

Inshore and Flats Fishing Guides

Inshore or Flats Fishing Guides typically take two or three people fishing for the day or half day. This is because inshore and flats fishing in Florida is commonly done in shallow water on boats designed to navigate in 4 to 12 inches of water.

Flats Fishing

Flat fishing in the Florida Keys

Flats Fishing Boats
The fishing boats used by most Florida flats fishing guides like a Maverick Master Angler, Hewes Redfisher, or a Hells Bay are from 14 to 18 feet long. These boats are made for shallow water fishing and can only accommodate two or maybe three people fishing along with the guide. The fishing guide needs room to pole through shallow water and each person fishing needs room to cast. Flats or in-shore fishing is done in many places throughout Florida like the Indian River Lagoon, Florida Bay (the Everglades), and inland waters of the Gulf of Mexico at Boca Grande.

Snook, Redfish, Permit, Bonefish, and Tarpon are a few of the fish you would expect to catch when fishing inshore or in the Florida flats.

Rates for Flat Fishing Guides
The cost of flats fishing with a guide can run from $375 for a half day up to $600 for a full day. Each guide sets their own prices for fishing and most require a non-refundable deposit for reservations.

Sport Fishing Boats

Sport Fishing Boats in the Keys

Captain Eric Herstedt - Fishing Captain

Fishing Guide Captain Eric Herstedt releasing a huge Tarpon in Islamorada Florida

Off Shore or Deep Sea Fishing Guides

Off Shore and Deep Sea Fishing Guides can usually take four to six people fishing for the day. Deep Sea Fishing takes more time and more fuel because you will be cruising off shore. The boats used for Deep Sea Fishing range from about 28 feet up to 55 feet. Many of the boats used by off shore fishing guides are custom-made sport fishing boats.

Off Shore Fishing can range from near shore where you might fish on reefs and catch Snapper, Grouper, Kingfish, and Barracuda to deep-sea fishing for Tuna, Marlin, Sailfish, Dolphin, and Wahoo.

Rates for Deep Sea Fishing
The price for off shore fishing is higher than inshore because it requires a bigger boat and more fuel. A half-day of deep sea fishing starts at about $500 and a full day (about 9 hours) is about $900. Some captains will offer a longer day of 10 to 12 hours for $1,100 to $1,200.

When you fish with a Florida fishing guide your day typically starts at 7:00 AM. You meet the guide at a Dock and you are expected to bring your food and drinks for the day. Also think about bringing a camera to photograph your fish and other sites you may see. You are also expected to bring your own sunscreen – don’t forget it, as a day on the water in Florida will result in serious sun exposure

Fishing Guides we Recommend

At InsideFlorida.com we only recommend things that we have first hand experience with, here are a few guides we have fished with.

Captain Eric Herstedt - Inshore Fishing
Eric fishes all over South Florida from Miami down to Key West and over to Flamingo and Chokoloskee. He specializes in inshore fishing with either Fly rods or Spinning rods, based on your experience and how you like to fish.

A few of the fish you might catch with Eric Herstedt are:

  • Tarpon
  • Snook
  • Redfish
  • Trout
  • Bonefish
  • Permit

That’s just a small sample of the species of fish you can catch when fishing with Eric.

Eric Fishes on two different boats a Maverick 17 HPXV and a Maverick Master Angler 18 and can accommodate up 3 adults or four people with a combination of two or three children and adults.  We fished with Captain Eric out of islamorada and had a great day.


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