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Spring Season Fishing in Florida & Recipes

Spring is definitely one of the best times for some great fishing in Florida. Like most parts of the country, warming weather and rising water temperature has fish moving and feeding. Many species spawn or are preparing to spawn, forage is abundant and the fish are hungry! Spring season fishing will provide a wide selection of species to pursue if you know where to look!

Below, you will find some tips for the best springtime fishing in Florida, what you can aim to catch, some great easy recipes for your hard earned bounty.

Spring Season Fishing

Spring Season Fishing in Florida – Fish in Season


April just happens to be open season for Snook and also the time of the year where you will find the most success at catching these fish. These fish are among the most popular fish species in Florida.

Anglers seeking action during spring season fishing will do well to fish the deep grass flats in Florida. These are large areas of submerged vegetation in water that is between 4′ deep and 10′ deep. These areas will hold forage and therefore attract game fish. Many of the species caught on the deep grass school up in large numbers, which can result in fast action.


Tarpon fishing gets going in earnest in the early spring in south Florida. As the water warms up, fish begin to school up and start moving along both coast lines. Bridges and flats all have fish in early spring, and as it gets later in the season, areas such as Boca Grande, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville become better spots.


Also known as the dolphin fish, the mahi mahi love the tropical waters around Florida and spend many months out of the year around the state. While the population is dense around Florida, the bigger mahi mahi start showing up in the waters off the southern part of the state around April. As the waters warm throughout the spring, they move further north, reaching the panhandle area of the Gulf Coast around June.

Tips for Spring Season Fishing in Florida

Do Your Research

You should also do your research to find where the best springtime fishing spots are located to maximize your chances of success. Research temperature breaks, rip tides, and the surrounding environment and find out which areas are most popular for the kind of fish you are aiming for.

Choose the Right Hooks

Did you know that inline circle hooks are the best to use to catch more fish? Not only do they limit your chance of hooking a fish too deeply, but they are also difficult for the fish to shake off as long as they are set properly. It allows you to catch those bigger Snook or tarpon without worrying too much about things getting out of hand.

Match Your Technique to the Type of Fishing You’re Doing

Fishing in deep flats is different than fishing in the bays or shallow flats. When you want to catch more fishing during the spring in Jacksonville, match your technique to the type of fishing you’re doing.

Join a Boat Club

Some of the best fishing spots around Florida are hard to get to without a good boat. You can fish off the beach and from the shoreline, but the best fishing, especially saltwater fishing, is only reachable with a good fishing boat!

Gulfstream Boat Club will equip you with not only the best boats for your fishing adventure, but we’ll be sure all the gear you need is aboard as well! No matter the type of fishing you prefer in the spring, we have the right boat for you.

spring season fishing

Mahi – Mahi Recipes for Spring Fishing Season

From simple light dishes to cozy stews, sandwiches and tacos, you’ll find plenty of interesting new ways to prepare your spring fishing season catch! Give these taste plates a try next time you catch the big one! 

Mediterranean makeover with this tapenade topped beauty. So gourmet, yet so easy!

  • 1lb fish (see note 1)

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 tsp paprika

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1.5 cup cherry tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers

  • 1/2 cup black olives

  • 1/4 cup green olives

  • 1/4 cup capers

  • 1 lemon, half squeezed and half for garnish

  • 2 sprigs of rosemary

  • 7-8 sprigs of thyme

  • 3-4 sprigs of oregano

  • 2 Tbsp flour

  • Salt to taste

  • Pepper to taste


  1. Start by finely chopping olives, capers, roasted red peppers and garlic. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Finely chop fresh herbs.

  2. Heat all of olive oil, except for 2-3 tablespoons, in a pan over medium heat. Add in cherry tomato halves and garlic and give it a good stir. Cook till the garlic starts getting aromatic, about two minutes. Stir in chopped roasted bell peppers and cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the chopped herbs. Give it a mix. Add chopped olives and capers and cook for a couple more minutes. Stir in a splash of lemon juice and drizzle a little bit more olive oil.


  1. Season fish with paprika, fresh cracked pepper and salt on both sides. and then dust it lightly with flour on both sides.

  2. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add fish and cook 10 minutes per inch thickness, turning halfway through.

  3. Plate the fish and top it generously with prepared tapenade. Garnish with some more fresh herbs and lemon wedges.


These mahi-mahi fish tacos are light yet satisfying, juicy and creamy, and exploding with flavor to rival any restaurant!


  • 1.5 pounds mahi mahi fillets skinless

  • 6-8 6-inch corn tortillas warmed

  • 1 Recipe Avocado Crema


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce

  • 1 1/2 tsp EACH paprika, chipotle chile powder, brown sugar

  • 1 tsp EACH ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano


  • 2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

  • 1 pint strawberries hulled and chopped

  • 1 cup diced pineapple

  • 1 cup blueberries

  • 1/2 cup diced red onion

  • 1-2 jalapenos seeded, deveined, minced (1 for very mild)

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro chopped

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1/4 tsp EACH salt, pepper


  1. Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Add fish to shallow dish in a single layer. Pour marinade over fish and rub the marinade evenly over each side of the fish. Marinate at room temperature while you prep the slaw and crema – NO MORE THAN 30 MINUTES.


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. You may need to strain excess juice before serving depending on how juicy your strawberries are.


  1. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

  2. Once hot, gently add fish and cook for about 3 – 4 minutes per side or until cooked to desired doneness (cook time will vary based on thickness of fish).


  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Clean and grease grates.

  2. Once hot, gently add fish and cook for about 3 minutes per side (uncovered) or until cooked to desired doneness (cook time will vary based on thickness of fish).


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and spray with cooking spray.

  2. Transfer fish to prepared baking sheet without touching. Bake until cooked to desired doneness, about 10 – 14 minutes (fish is cooked when it flakes easily with a fork. Broil fish for an additional 1-2 minutes for an extra roasted finish.


  1. Remove fish from skillet and break into large pieces. Evenly divide fish between tortillas then top with slaw and crema. Garnish with additional lime and hot sauce if desired.

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