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Spring break is the perfect time for a getaway with friends and family. It’s also the perfect time to catch the fish of your life. Picking the ideal spring break fishing destination can be a little tricky, though. Sure, everybody would like a beautiful place with great reel action, but some elbow room would be nice too, right? With all due respect to the Cabos and Key Wests of the world, we’ve created a different sort of list for this year’s spring break. Let’s take a look at our top seven underrated spring break fishing destinations for 2019.
1. Oranjestad, Aruba
The capital of Aruba has got be one of the most beautiful places you can visit this spring break. This mesmerizing town has a lot more going for it than just looks, though – in recent years, Oranjestad has become synonymous with fantastic sportfishing.
Fishing in Oranjestad
The pristine waters of Aruba are teeming with the likes of White and Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and many others. Thanks to the topography of the area, you can catch these monsters within just a few miles of the coast! Oh, and did we mention that the spring weather is fantastic?
As far as regulations are concerned, you won’t need a fishing license in Aruba. Just keep in mind that spearfishing is illegal.
The main port is where arriving cruise ships dock, and it’s also where most charter captains are based. The port is just minutes away from the town’s many attractions.
Things to Do in Oranjestad
Speaking of attractions, Oranjestad offers a wide variety of things to see and do. With colorful streets perfectly preserved in their Dutch colonial style, you’ll feel like you jumped straight into the 19th century. The white sand beaches boast stunning vistas, and a host of water activities. Did you know that Aruba is one of the best diving locations in the Caribbean?
The Bon Bini festival is a lively event held every Tuesday at Fort Zoutman, the town’s oldest building. The festival is home to arts and crafts of all kinds, music events, and local delicacies to die for. And did you know that you can get around Oranjestad for free? The battery-powered trolleys let you hop on and off as they loop the city center. Bonus points for looking super cool.
Aruba may be a little further away than the Bahamas, but trust us, the few extra hours of flying will be well worth it.
2. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a historic town with an enchanting mystique to it, an energy that can pull you into a pace of its own. You might think that sounds like voodoo parlor talk, but as anyone who has visited the Big Easy will tell you, this place is captivating like no other.
Fishing in New Orleans
The early spring weather brings temperatures into the mid-70s and the blossoming marshes and bayous hide some of the biggest Redfish you’ll ever see! The flats and drop-offs are brimming with Flounder, which you can catch on an evening trip. Sheepshead and Largemouth Bass are also hot.
Speaking of Bass, New Orleans is home to the Big Bass Fishing Rodeo, the oldest Bass fishing event in the country. It’s been running every year since 1946!
You’ll need a valid license to fish in Louisiana. You can purchase your Louisiana fishing license here.
Things to Do in New Orleans
Spring break in New Orleans is a special occasion that everyone should get to experience at least once in their lifetime. The French Quarter is where the town’s soul is and it’s a definite must-see. Take a stroll down the iconic Bourbon street, where voodoo houses and cafes of all kinds battle for your attention.
A more serene walk will take you to the lush Garden District, where the oak sheltered streets are dotted with historic mansions, antique boutiques and bookshops, and the famous Lafayette cemetery. The unique mixture of cultures lends itself to a myriad of dining options foodies will absolutely adore. Oh, and the music… Jazz, Blues, Cajun music, Rock – you name it, the music scene in New Orleans is like nowhere else in the country.
No matter where you’re coming from, the Big Easy will have something for you.
3. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Fishing in Riviera Maya has become world famous among traveling anglers. Simply put, the bite is amazing, and the weather is even better. The spectacular reel action in this area brings a crowd each year, but thankfully, Playa Del Carmen’s bigger brother Cancun has taken the majority of the tourist load. This means you can enjoy your spring break fishing excursion in Playa pretty much untroubled by the crowds.
Fishing in Playa Del Carmen
If you previously visited Cancun, the first thing you’ll notice is that Playa Del Carmen doesn’t have the seaweed problem that its northern neighbor has. That’s because Playa is sheltered by Cozumel Island, another fishing hotspot.
Late March in Riviera Maya is an excellent time for reef fishing. Barracuda and Wahoo are caught left and right, and you can get some great action while fishing for Tuna and Amberjack, too. March marks the start of Sailfish season in Riviera Maya, and there’s no shortage of offshore charter captains to take you out. If you’re looking to do some fly fishing, the pristine lagoons near Playa Del Carmen are teeming with Bonefish at this time of year.
Things to Do in Playa Del Carmen
The Yucatan peninsula is a treasure trove of natural wonders and ancient Mayan heritage. You can explore the Mayan ruins of Tulum and Coba just an hour away from Playa Del Carmen. Go snorkeling in one of the stunning “cenotes,”, underground basins with incredible blue water, nestled in the lush forests of the Yucatan. If snorkeling sounds dull, the reefs near Playa Del Carmen offer some of the best diving you’ll ever experience. Back in town, the La Quinta awaits with its cobblestone walkway and colorful bars and restaurants.
4. Galveston, Texas
If you’re looking to escape the spring break crowds, but still enjoy amazing fishing with a picturesque backdrop, Galveston is the place for you.
Fishing in Galveston
With some of the best inshore action in the Gulf, fishing in Galveston will put you on some hard biting Black Drum, Speckled Trout, and Redfish as well as Amberjack.
Late March is a great time for any of these inshore critters, and you’ll pretty much be spoiled for choice when it comes to the number of fishable spots in the area. West Bay, East Bay, Galveston Bay – you name it, they are all teeming with Specks, Reds, and Black Drums.
You can also choose to fish from one of the many piers in Galveston.
Things to Do in Galveston
Galveston boasts 32 miles of white sand beaches, high-end spas, and a plethora of cool pubs and restaurants to choose from. The historic Seawall Boulevard is one of the oldest and longest boulevards in the country and it’s dotted with tourist attractions of all kinds. Originally built to protect the city from hurricanes, the seawall has since become a visitor’s favorite and families will find plenty activities to choose from. Kids will love the Schlitterbahn Waterpark and the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier.
The Texan coast has no shortage of action-packed fishing locations. If you don’t mind the crowds, you can also give South Padre Island a go.
5. St. Augustine, Florida
Founded by Spanish explorers way back in 1565, St. Augustine is the single oldest settlement in the continental United States. Being the oldest city in the country gives you a lot more than just bragging rights. But more on that later.
Fishing in St. Augustine
Located right on the Intracoastal Waterway, St. Augustine is ideally positioned for both inshore and offshore action. The fishing season is in full swing come March, which makes St. Augustine the perfect spring break fishing destination, especially if you’re looking to avoid the Fort Lauderdale and Miami crowds.
If you’re looking to go on a shorter trip, head to the Matanzas and Tolomato rivers, where Jack Crevalle, Speckled Trout, and Redfish readily await your cast.
Reef fishing is starting to heat up at this time, with King Mackerel and Mahi heading the list. Further offshore, Sailfish and Blackfin Tuna make an appearance. While you’re there, you can also expect to catch Red Snapper. Take a quick pic, but be sure to release them afterwards.
If you’re on a charter boat, you won’t need a fishing license in St. Augustine since it will be provided by the captain.
Things to Do in St. Augustine
Being the oldest city in the country does have its perks. The unmistakable architecture is the town’s signature quality. There’s the oldest masonry fort in the States, Castillo de San Marcos, and it’s a must-see. For an even more immersive experience, take a walk back in time in the Colonial Quarter where the 18th century stands perfectly preserved.
Once you’ve checked out all the fortresses and museums, it’s time for an adrenaline rush on the big zipline. If that’s too dull, the local Alligator farm is sure to get your heart racing. And if all that leaves you peckish, there will be no shortage of cool restaurants to check out.
6. Tybee Island, Georgia
Known for its breathtaking sunsets and temperate seas, Tybee Island is a spring breaker’s dream come true. The island got its name (Tybee – Salt) from the Native American Euchee tribe who inhabited the area prior to the arrival of the Spanish.
Fishing in Tybee Island
Inshore fishing in spring will put you on Redfish, Flounder, and Speckled Trout. The backwaters of Little Tybee Island and the Wassaw Sound are packed with these critters. If you want to try your hands at some Black Seabass fishing, hit the reefs for a six hour trip – you won’t regret it. To round it all up, try your luck with Sheepshead and Black Drum.
Pier fishing in Tybee Island is excellent. Three of the most popular spots among anglers are Lazaretto Creek pier, Back River fishing pier, and the biggest of them all, Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion. Keep in mind that you’ll need a fishing license if you want to cast a line from one of the piers on the island. You can get your license online.
Bottom fishing for Red Snapper is a year-round event on Tybee Island, so if you think you have what it takes, go for an offshore charter. For guided trips, your fishing license will be provided by the captain.
Things to Do on Tybee Island
Tybee Island’s pristine Savannah Beach lends itself to some spectacular water-sport activities. Jet skies, kayaks, paddle boards – you name it, this beach has it. With plenty of scenic landscape to explore, Tybee Island is a cyclist’s paradise.
When you’re ready to take a breather, be sure to check out the Tybee Island Marine Science Center – it’s right next to the Pier and Pavilion. The historic Light Station gives you an unbelievable overview of the entire island.
Spring break on Tybee Island officially kicks off with the traditional Irish Heritage Parade, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. The annual Tybee Wine Festival features some of the best wines Georgia has to offer.
7. Jaco, Costa Rica
If you truly want to experience heart-pounding offshore action this spring break, Jaco is the place to go.
Fishing in Jaco
The Los Suenos Resort and Marina is home to dozens of record-breaking charter boats specializing in offshore fishing. That’s not to say that inshore fishing will bring you any less excitement. It’s just that offshore fishing in Jaco is perhaps the best in all of Central America. A bold statement you might say, but the IGFA records broken here beg to differ.
You’ll be reaching the first fishing grounds within an hour from the marina, and you better be ready for some fierce battles. You’ll be fighting Sailfish and Yellowfin Tuna, as well as Mahi Mahi and Wahoo. The weather will likely be dry and pleasant, so there will be nothing to stop you from catching the fish of a lifetime.
In the off-chance that you get tired of offshore fishing, Jaco will have plenty of feisty Roosterfish and Cubera Snapper for you to catch. Get a panga boat and head for Herradura Island, Guapinol Reef, or Isla Tortuga – you’ll have a blast.
Make sure you purchase your fishing license at the marina or online. Jaco is a great alternative to bigger locations like Quepos or even Panama City, Panama. Whichever option you choose to go for, your spring break fun is guaranteed.
Things to Do in Jaco
Now here’s a tropical paradise worthy of a trip of a lifetime. The wondrous nature will keep you in endorphin-overdose mode pretty much every step of the way. Explore the lush rainforest through a series of ziplines, jump into a waterfall to cool down, then finish it off with a selfie with a crocodile. The day tour to dazzling Isla Tortuga will be something you won’t forget soon.
Back in town, the foodies will have a tough time choosing between an array of mouth-watering delicacies in Pastor Ruiz Avenue. If Jaco by day is all about fishing, Jaco by night is all about dancing. By nightfall, Jaco comes alive with an alluring energy that’s almost palpable. You’ll probably catch yourself busting a few moves as the tunes of salsa lure you into the local clubs. The nightlife in Jaco is famously wild and exciting. Nothing fancy or deluxe to it, just easy-going people with fun on their minds.
Your turn! How do you like our picks? Where do you plan on going this spring break? Let us know in the comments below.