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It’s no secret that Miami, Florida, is an important hub for traveling anglers. Just think how many hundreds flow through that city each winter on the way to the Caribbean, to Mexico and to Central and South America.

For sure, Miami International Airport is not a gem of a place to arrive or connect somewhere. Some flights take long walks to reach. Security lines can be long. There is so much construction going on that parts of the airport feel like a train wreck. Compounding the problems, sometimes it can actually be hard to find anyone who speaks English!

All of that is the bad part. The good part is, Miami has some truly fine fishing you can enjoy on a stopover basis. The same is true if you connect through Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport about 25 miles north of Miami. By stopover, what is meant here is one has something on the order of 10 hours or more of free time from the moment he arrives until the moment he leaves. The best opportunities can be enjoyed if one stays overnight, of course.

Here is a quick rundown of the types of fishing available around Miami, along with the names of persons to contact. Local correspondent Bob Stearns did the reporting:

The major species available to anglers who connect through Miami, weather permitting, include: peacock bass, bonefish, tarpon, permit, snook and sailfish. Peacock bass are usually the closest to most hotels in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area. A boat is not always required for this, and you can find them within an hour’s drive (or less) of just about any hotel. Florida peacocks average about two to four pounds, and have been caught as large as 10 pounds. Several local guides specialize in fishing for peacocks and are able to furnish the type of tackle you prefer. In the Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beach area, try Capt. Allen Zaremba, while Capt. Jim Anson has the Miami-area hotspots dialed in.

Good fishing for bonefish, permit and tarpon is available in Biscayne Bay, just south of downtown Miami. Bonefish and permit are there all year except during extreme cold spells. Several guides specialize in fishing Biscayne Bay, including Capt. Bob Branham , who trailers his boat from Plantation (near Ft. Lauderdale). He fishes Biscayne Bay almost daily. Capt. Chris Dean lives in Miami and can also cover the Upper Keys, as well as Biscayne Bay.

Tarpon are seasonal, but almost always available somewhere in South Florida except during extreme cold spells. During the winter months they are found in great numbers in some of the inlets between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. One of the most successful guides for inlet fishing is Capt. Bouncer Smith. He has a 33-footer with twin outboards that is also ideal for offshore fishing. The offshore fish available include sailfish, swordfish, dolphin, etc. If conditions are right, he can combine a few hours of inlet tarpon fishing with some offshore sailfishing.

Tarpon of all sizes, with some snook mixed in, are found around many of the bridges that span the Intracoastal Waterway from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale. This calls for a boat, and it is almost entirely a nighttime activity. But the action is frequently nonstop. Capt. Bob LeMay has a lot of experience with this fishery.

The guides mentioned above maintain flexible schedules and charge between $400 and $500 for a full day’s fishing (up to two anglers), and $850 to $975 (bigger boats, up to four anglers) depending upon what’s involved. All furnish the necessary tackle; most include fly gear as well.

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