New Smyrna Beach, Florida, is truly an angler’s paradise. Situated on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon, the New Smyrna Beach area is located on part of the 3,000-mile Intracoastal Waterway system. Ponce de Leon Inlet at the north end of the island provides deep-water access for incredible sportfishing while 35 miles of shoreline keep inshore anglers busy in the Indian River Lagoon.
The granite rock jetty just south of Ponce de Leon Inlet provides soft sand on either side, perfect for surf fishing, while the deep channel at the mouth of the inlet attracts pompano, whiting, flounder, redfish, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and many other species. Regulars catch their own bait using sand fleas or fiddler crabs.
Every oceanfront rental property provides fishing access, making it a short walk to cast into the Atlantic Ocean. Several local bait shops and marinas rent equipment.
Resting 11 miles northeast of Ponce de Leon Inlet and measuring 446 feet, the WWII Liberty Ship, the USS Mindanao, was scuttled to form an artificial reef in 1980. In early 2018, the county sunk two additional ships that make bottom fishing and diving even more plentiful. The area produces sizable catches of triggerfish, snapper, grouper and lobster.
Offshore, free jumping sailfish and large tuna live 40 miles out where the intercontinental shelf drops. Nothing smokes a reel like a 100-plus-pound tuna. In the spring, sailfish migrate up the coast.
The Indian River Lagoon, which makes New Smyrna Beach a barrier island, is also a fishing mecca. Guides use fast, shallow water flats boats to hunt a variety of fish from big gator trout and snook to reds, flounder and black drum. In October and November, the river will produce tarpon in the 50-to 100-pound class.
The New Smyrna Beach area is known for its fishing heritage dating back hundreds of years and today’s waters are just as plentiful.