Fishing for Bass at Florida's State Parks

A father and son fish at Hillsborough River State Park.

June is Great Outdoors Month, which means it’s a great time take a kid, friend or family member fishing and enjoy Florida’s beautiful waterways.

Often called the “Fishing Capital of the World,” Florida has much to offer when it comes to wetting a line.

Our lakes, rivers, streams and oceans offer a variety of opportunities for anglers of every skill level.       

The King of Freshwater

Florida has a wide range of habitats that house a multitude of species for anglers to target in our freshwater ecosystems. The largemouth bass, possibly the best fighting fish in this category, has proven itself time and time again as both a clever and sometimes unpredictable quarry – which on occasion has left even the most seasoned anglers scratching their heads.

The official Florida record for a largemouth bass – a whopping 17.27 pounds – was set way back in 1986 and, for the last 35 years, has set the standard for all anglers dreaming to catch “the big one.”

A young man shows off the large mouth bass he caught on Myakka Lake.

A young man shows off the large mouth bass he caught on Myakka Lake at Myakka River State Park.


Typical areas for an angler to target a bass might include aquatic vegetation, submerged or fallen trees, and rocky shorelines. Anywhere a bass can ambush its prey and feel secure would qualify as a likely opportunity for an angler to be successful.   

The Thrill of Bass Fishing

Arguably the best part of bass fishing is skimming down the lake at first light to get to your favorite spot. There is nothing that compares to the early morning anticipation of getting that first bite.

As you prepare your bait for your first cast, you think of the possibility that, on this cast, you might catch the biggest bass of your life. This is the dream that keeps anglers coming back for more.

Two people fish for bass at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.

Two people fish for bass at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.


To the average person, catching a bass might seem difficult. But there is a select group of avid anglers who thrive on the challenge of trying to catch the biggest bass in any given water body. Bass fishing clubs have become the go-to place to learn everything there is to know about becoming a better bass angler.

There are many clubs in Florida that offer the opportunity to teach the art of catching a bass. One such club, the Tallahassee Bass Anglers, has been doing this for many years. Established in 1972, the group is one of the longest running clubs in the state and has helped many anglers achieve their goal of catching the elusive bass.

Learn More

This article was published in the Real Florida ℠ Connection, the Florida State Parks e-newsletter. Sign-up to get updates and stories from your state parks the first week of every month.