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Summer is here, meaning it’s time to grab your rod and reel and head out to the waters for that first catch of the year! A new Apartment Guide study has your back if you’re considering going big this year with your fishing trip. They analyzed fishing lakes, piers and preserves, wildlife conservation and services, and gear outfitters per capita for every urbanized area in the U.S. to find the best cities for fishing.
It should be no surprise that Florida hosts nearly half of these cities and holds both the #1 and #2 rankings, according to the study. What makes the Sunshine State a prime fishing destination will depend on who you ask. The state’s excellent resource management, sport fish diversity and habitats, and year-round fishing opportunities all help make Florida the “fishing capital of the world,” according to Visit Florida.
Each of the four Florida cities on the study’s top ten list offers something unique. Check out the shortlist below to find your perfect fishing getaway, or plan a trip to visit all four!
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Bradenton has the most fishing piers and conservation organizations of any city in the nation. It didn’t score for gear outfitters, which means its public lakes, docks, and preserves, combined with its excellent conservation, was enough to land it the best city for fishing in the nation!
Sarasota has the most fishing gear outfitters per capita in the nation, according to the study. It is also abundant in piers and year-round inshore fishing. The attraction-filled city in Florida ranked primarily for its fishing outfitter score but also had high water access and wildlife conservation scores.
Pensacola’s public lakes ranked second best in the country — the town offers some of the best fresh and saltwater fishing opportunities you will find anywhere. Its wildlife services scored highest, and the state provides abundant lakeside fishing access as the city ranks third for most lakes per capita.
With direct access to Sailfish Alley, where the Gulf Stream runs closest to the country, the small city of West Palm Beach is world-renowned for its saltwater fishing spots. The town scored zero for lakes/piers/preserves and gear outfitters. It landed #8 solely because of its excellent wildlife conservation and services.