Top 10 Fish to Catch Without Owning a Boat

You don’t need to own a boat to do some amazing fishing even for gamefish. I don’t own a boat, but do fish with professional guides. Some of these fish you are better off with a guide, but all of them can be caught without a boat and on your own.

There are plenty of other species that you can catch without a boat such as perch, flounder, bluefish or striped bass, sea trout but these are my favorites.

Saltwater Species

1. Bonefish

A guide is your best option, but DIY is very possible by wading the flats, paddling in a SUP or kayak. While the Florida Keys and Biscayne bay are two of the best places in the US to target bonefish, there are places off Key Biscyane (Miami) the you can fish for them from the beach and a few places in the Keys near Islamorada they can be targeted by wading in the flats right off the highway.

Wading the flats of Biscyane bay for Bones

2. Tarpon

tarpon from shore

Again, a guide is going to be your best bet, but they are plenty of tarpon around bridges and docks at night as well as off the beach when they are migrating during the mullet run. Smaller (10-25 pound) tarpon can be found along the canals in South Florida especially off Tamiami Trail in the Everglades.

3. Spanish Mackerel

Spanish mackerel are a pier favorite and easy to catch on a fast moving spoon, lure or jig. They are also a lot of fun from the beach or surf.

Beach fishing in Gulf of Mexico

4. Mangrove Snappers

One of my favorite fish to catch on light tackle (and to eat). You can catch them just about anywhere with live shrimp from the shore, beach, a dock under a bridge. they are a great fish to introduce to young kids.

my daughter’s first fish, 1994

5. Sharks

Yup, sharks are easy to catch from the shore, docks, piers, etc. Just check local rules on shark fishing as well as baits.

Freshwater Species

6. Largemouth Bass

Just about every lake or pond in Florida and most of the south has largemouth bass. Great to catch on spinning, bait casting or fly.

Largemouth bass on a backyard lake

7. Peacock Bass

Just about any good lake or canal in Miami, the Everglades and other South Florida freshwater systems hold peacock bass. An aggressive hard hitting hard fighting fish that will take live bait, topwater, crank baits and flies.

Peacock on a South Florida Canal

8 &9. Rainbow Trout & Brown Trout

The two trout are among my favorite trouts to target and easily take a fly on good rivers and streams, many are walkable or wading. now boat or guide required in most locations. I have caught these guys in North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and rainbows in Alaska.

Wading off road in Montana for trout

10. Arctic Grayling

An extremely fun fish to catch on a fly rod and with their unique dorsal fin they fight above their weight class. Many rivers and streams even alongside roads in Alaska hold nice populations of arctic graylings that feed on the surface and take a dry fly.

wading for grayling

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