South Florida Canal Fishing


Anybody who has ever driven through South Florida knows that many of the roads are lined with canals. Most of the canals are connected to the ocean on one end and the everglades on the other. Because of these connections, these canals, while often not wider than 20 feet, can hold massive amounts of fish, both fresh and saltwater.

These canals can be found in most parts of South Florida but the most productive ones are found in certain areas. The canals that line Highway 41 across the everglades are very long and also very productive. Closer to the coast, running along many public roads are many salt water canals that host quite a variety of marine species.

Peacock Bass

The farther inland the canals are the less likely they are to hold saltwater species. The Highway 41 canals are packed with Sunfish, Largemouth Bass and some Peacock Bass. Closer to the ocean you will find a mixed bag of freshwater and saltwater species. The full saltwater canals will hold Snook, Tarpon, Redfish, Mangrove Snapper and many other popular species.

The tactics used for fishing South Florida canals vary by time of year and water temperature, but the basic idea is to cover as much ground as possible. When using artificials cast at about a 30 degree angle towards the far bank and work the lure the entire distance (in a canal, the entire canal is a potential strike zone). When using scented soft plastics, a slow presentation will work well.

Live bait will work very well in the canals. Using a popping cork with a live shrimp bellow it in areas that hold saltwater fish is a very effective presentation. In freshwater areas a medium shiner under a float will attract both type of Bass.

A note about Fishing Licences:

SnookIn The State of Florida it does not matter what type of water you are fishing in, it matters what type of fish you are catching. If you catch a redfish in freshwater, to keep it you must have a saltwater licence. The most simple way to remain legal is to buy a licence that covers both Fresh and Saltwater!

Tips and Tricks Cast as far as you can parallel to the bank you are on and still be close to the far bank Most lures that will catch Bass will also catch Redfish, Trout, Snook and Small Tarpon Make sure the area you are fishing is public property or that you have permission to fish private land A single rod with a pack around your waist is a lightweight set up to help cover the most ground, and catch the most fish!