Gulf Coast kayak fishing is an experience unlike any other. While the gulf waters can be fished from the shores of Texas all the way to the southern tip of Florida, we are going to focus on fishing opportunities off the west coast of Florida in this guide.
What Fish Live Off The Gulf Coast?
Species can differ slightly depending on where exactly you are kayak fishing on the Gulf Coast. That being said, here is a general list of some species you can fish for:
|Amberjack||Crevalle Jack||Red Grouper|
|Blacktip Shark||Mahi Mahi||Sailfish|
|Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin||Northern Red Snapper||Sheepshead|
Top Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing Destinations
For those of you interested in heading to the Gulf Coast for a kayak fishing trip, here are a few great fishing destinations to consider:
Pine Island Sound
This angler’s paradise was recently named one of the United States’ 25 best fishing spots by Field & Stream Magazine. Calm and flat waters here make it an easy kayak fishing destination for beginners and experienced anglers.
One of the best spots in the sound for tarpon, snook, redfish, and a variety of other saltwater species in Matlacha Pass. For reference, the closest cities to the sound are Cape Coral and Fort Myers. For those launching their own kayak adventure, there are several marinas on the island to choose from.
The Useppa Marina is located at the northern end of the island, while the Monroe Canal Marina is a great launching point for trips at the southern end of Pine Island.
Located just north and west of Crystal River, Florida, this kayak fishing destination is a great spot for redfish, trout, and Crevalle jack. The town itself is quite small, so be sure to stock up on gear and supplies before you get there.
That said, the undeveloped natural landscape of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve offers a look into what many call ‘Old Florida’. If you are visiting with all of your gear in tow, the Yankeetown Marina is a great launching point for your kayak fishing adventure.
Cedar Key isn’t too much further north on Florida’s Gulf Coast from Yankeetown. This location offers both inshore and offshore fishing, although the waters further inland tend to become murkier and dirtier. So if you are looking for clear water and abundant grass beds, you will want to paddle offshore.
In addition to being a great kayak fishing destination, Cedar Key is a popular spot for bird watching. This small island community used to be a busy port city, so it has some interesting history to check out when you aren’t fishing.
The Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge has created the perfect protected environment for fish species like tarpon, cobia, king mackerel, and a variety of others. To launch your own kayak fishing adventure, Cedar Key Marina is a great place to pick up local tips before starting your paddle.
Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing Outfitters
Even if you have your own kayak and fishing gear, it can be helpful to hire a guide to help you figure out where exactly to fish. So here are a couple of Gulf Coast kayak fishing outfitters worth checking out:
Gulf Coast Kayak
Gulf Coast Kayak offers everything from kayak rentals to guided fishing charters. So whether you have your own gear or you want a guide to help you explore kayak fishing for the first time, this Matlacha-based kayak fishing outfitter has everything you need to get out on the water for some Gulf Coast kayak fishing.
Tampa Bay Kayak Charters
If you are interested in doing any kayak fishing in the Tampa Bay area, definitely check out this charter company. They specialize in inshore fishing with artificial lures, but live bait is an alternative option as well. They offer various charters up and down the west coast of Florida.
Fishhead Kayak Charters
Located in the small town of Crystal River, this kayak fishing outfitter offers charters in some of the Gulf Coast’s least developed coastal regions. Their main charter locations are Homosassa, Ozello, and Yankeetown. While anglers are responsible for arriving with an up-to-date fishing license, this charter supplies your kayak, rod and reel, and all artificial lures needed for your kayak fishing trip.
Best Gulf Coast Good Sam RV Parks
You will need a solid basecamp if you really want to enjoy your kayak fishing trip on the Gulf Coast. So check out these Good Sam RV Parks situated close to some of the Gulf Coast’s richest fishing waters.
Nature’s Resort in Homosassa, Florida offers 250 full-service RV sites with a maximum site length of 60 feet. They have sites that offer both 30 amp and 50 amp electrical service, and WiFi is available at their overnight sites. The location of this Good Sam RV park is ideal for kayak fishing adventures in Ozello and Homosassa.
Gulf Coast RV Resort
Gulf Coast RV Resort in Inglis, Florida, is a more intimate resort with only 30 full-hookup RV sites available. They can still accommodate RVs of up to 60 feet in length, and they also offer WiFi for overnight visitors. Their best amenities include laundry services and a heated pool, and they are ideally situated for kayak fishing trips out in Cedar Key or Yankeetown.
Pine Island KOA
Located towards the southern end of Pine Island, this KOA offers 210 full-service hookups and includes an enclosed dog run for furry visitors. The campground isn’t far from the island’s southern marina and its best amenities include a heated pool, hot tub, shuffleboard, recreation hall, and pickleball.
Paddling and Fishing
Keep in mind that the summer can be hurricane season in many destinations on the Gulf Coast. So just keep an eye on the weather forecast and seek recommendations from local fishing outfitters when planning your kayak fishing trip.
As always, we hope that planning your Gulf Coast kayak fishing trip is a little easier after reading this guide. If you are planning a trip for the coming season, we would love to hear where you are heading or see photos of your favorite catch once you return home!