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Florida freshwater and saltwater fishing

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#1 Guest_BenCantrell_*

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 12:17 AM

The week before Christmas I went down to Florida with my girlfriend and a couple of friends. Each of us had different goals, and as you can probably guess mine was to catch as many new species of fish as possible for my lifelist. We did 2 days of freshwater and 5 days of saltwater. Unfortunately, you won't see many native fish from the freshwater days. The exceptions were Florida gar, spotted sunfish, coppernose bluegill, and redear sunfish. The saltwater stuff should pretty much all be native though.

Day 1 - Fort Lauderdale saltwater pier

Day 2 - Miami canals

Day 3 - Keys

Day 4 - Keys

Nurse shark

Day 5 - Keys

Day 6 - Miami canals and the Everglades

Day 7 - Tampa saltwater pier

Here are some of the favorites:

Smooth Trunkfish (Rhinesomus triqueter)
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Sergeant Major (Abudefduf saxatilis)
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Squirrelfish (Holocentrus adscensionis)
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Nurse Shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum)
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Hardhead Silverside (Atherinomorus stipes)
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Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus)
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Cownose Ray (Rhinoptera bonasus)
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#2 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • Marble Falls, AR

Posted 06 January 2014 - 02:43 AM

You caught lots of cool stuff. Looks like it was a great trip!

#3 littlen

  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 06 January 2014 - 07:54 AM

Great blog/posts, Ben. It's amazing how 'polluted' some Florida waters are with exotics. The large Nurse was a very cool catch.
Nick L.

#4 Guest_natureman187_*

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 10:41 PM

Too cool Ben! You scored quite the mother load.
I've always wanted to fish for Cichlids.

#5 Guest_fritz_*

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 08:41 AM

Very interesting and cool photos

#6 Guest_Irate Mormon_*

Guest_Irate Mormon_*
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Posted 08 January 2014 - 01:26 AM

That Florida gar looks a lot like a spotted. I've caught many FG in S. Georgia. Gar are very variable in appearance.

Cool ray - I've never caught one like that. Mostly D. sabina.

#7 Guest_DOFishbuster_*

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 06:37 PM

WTG Ben you make the rest of us look lazy LOL. J/K one day I will return to that part of the US on a dedicated fishing excursion. It looks like you had a great trip.

#8 Guest_Heather_*

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 07:16 PM

one day I will return to that part of the US on a dedicated fishing excursion. It looks like you had a great trip.

Same here!
I am also sad to see how bad the non-natives are down there... I heard it was bad, but wow.
Thanks for sharing, beautiful mix of fishes!

#9 Guest_BenCantrell_*

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 11:08 PM

Thanks everyone!

#10 BenCantrell

  • Moderator
  • San Diego, CA

Posted 07 January 2015 - 04:03 PM

I'm adding to this old thread rather than start a new one. Ruoxi and I did a repeat trip to Florida over the holiday break. Everything was saltwater for this trip. I think everything we caught was native to Florida other than the lionfish.

Day 1 - Keys duplex rental canal

Day 2 - Keys charter

Day 3 - Keys bridge #1

Day 4 - Keys bridge #2

Day 5 - Miami charter


Horse-eye Jack (Caranx latus)
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Spotted Trunkfish (Lactophrys bicaudalis)
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Gulf Toadfish (Opsanus beta)
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Littlehead Porgy (Calamus proridens)
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Doctorfish (Acanthurus chirurgus)
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Night Sergeant (Abudefduf taurus) - this photo makes this a legit microfishing post
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Red Grouper (Epinephelus morio)
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Sand Tilefish (Malacanthus plumieri)
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Blackfin Tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) - the lucky hat definitely helped!
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#11 Chasmodes

  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 07 January 2015 - 04:58 PM

Awesome, love the blog. I will be following!

Kevin Wilson

#12 mattknepley

  • NANFA Member
  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 07 January 2015 - 06:09 PM

Fantastic stuff, Ben! Thanks for posting all of it!

Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#13 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • Marble Falls, AR

Posted 08 January 2015 - 04:08 AM

Great stuff. I enjoyed your pictures and commentary. It's nice to be able to escape to FL in the wintertime.

#14 dmarkley

  • NANFA Member
  • Lower Susquehanna River

Posted 08 January 2015 - 11:12 AM

Maybe I missed this but what were you using for bait for the saltwater fish? I'm going to Naples on Jan 23 and plan to take my pack rod.
Susquehanna River Drainage

#15 BenCantrell

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  • San Diego, CA

Posted 08 January 2015 - 11:16 AM

90% of the time we used squid, just a small piece of skin or tentacle on each sabiki hook. The other 10% of the time we'd use chopped pieces of shrimp. Shrimp would actually get more bites than squid, but it came off the hook too easily.

#16 mikez

  • NANFA Guest

Posted 09 January 2015 - 08:22 AM

I'm curious what your friend caught the grey anglefish with. I never guessed they'd hit anything. Figured they graze on surfaces rather than grab stuff drifting by.
Mike Zaborowski
I don't know, maybe it was the roses.

#17 BenCantrell

  • Moderator
  • San Diego, CA

Posted 09 January 2015 - 08:57 AM

I think he got it on squid, same as most of the stuff that day. Definitely wish I had caught one too! We saw some humongous blue or queen angelfish at Channel 5 as well. Always feeding on the walls and pylons, never interested in bait.

#18 mikez

  • NANFA Guest

Posted 09 January 2015 - 11:37 AM

I liked seeing adults of some of the species we get as strays up here, liked the scrawled cowfish and the doctor fish. Have collected one cow fish here and missed two doctorfish [way too quick for hand nets, need a fence]. Still hoping to collect a grey angel as a stray in New England. Seen one in 20 years, didn't catch it.
Mike Zaborowski
I don't know, maybe it was the roses.

#19 Mysteryman

  • NANFA Member

Posted 01 February 2015 - 02:37 PM

I'm SOOOOO Jealous!  Great stuff!

#20 Kazonak

  • NANFA Guest
  • College: Chattanooga TN | Home: Berrien Springs, MI

Posted 08 June 2015 - 09:47 PM

Gotta love that silverside!

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