Imagine being in a small quiet town, surrounded by tons of fishing spots. For most anglers, this would be a wish come true.
Many kayakers visit Florida for a unique experience, only to be disappointed by the crowds and development. Angling is supposed to be peaceful—without motorboats zooming past you every few minutes.
Kayak fishing in Cedar Key is an experience you will never forget. The town has been referred to as a “fishing village” and “paddler’s paradise”.
So, take a look at the best places for kayak fishing in and around Cedar Key.
1. Atsena Otie
This small historic island is roughly half a mile from Cedar Key. And it is not just good for hiking.
Atsena Otie is one of the best places to kayak fish since there are honey holes all around the island. It is open to the public all year round.
When you go there, bring bug repellant along with your fishing gear. The mosquitoes are a nuisance.
Make sure you also check the weather and the tide schedule keenly. You wouldn’t want to be stuck on the island. While fishing, don’t get out of your kayak. There are stingrays and quicksand all over Cedar Key.
Feel free to use live baits such as bull minnows or artificial lures. You can opt for casting, jigging, or trolling. If you are lucky, you may land a ladyfish, catfish, trout, redfish, or black drum, among other species.
2. Deadman’s Key
This is another small island, a few miles from Cedar Key.
You can easily catch redfish here, especially during the warmer months. Try your luck at the surrounding bars. Since you will be mostly aiming for redfish, use gold spoons. You can also use live shrimp or jigs. Other species that you may encounter include speckled trout and Spanish mackerel.
The good thing about this spot is that it is quieter compared to most of the others. You are less likely to be bothered by charters.
If you don’t get lucky here, paddle to the end of the airport runway if you have the energy. You may catch some redfish at the oyster bars.
3. Lower Suwannee River
A Cedar Key kayak fishing experience would not be complete without a trip to the lower Suwannee River. It is inside the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Reserve.
You might need to spend a whole day here because there’s so much to see and do. It is a fantastic spot for birdwatching and it is rich in wildlife. You may see otters, manatees, dolphins, box turtles, alligators, and more.
Back to kayak fishing.
This area is known for largemouth bass and, of course, the famous Suwannee bass. You may also catch catfish, redear sunfish, bluegill, and other saltwater and freshwater species.
You can use artificial lures, especially crawfish-colored lures for the bass.
The estuary is one of the best places to fish, more so when there’s shrimp in the water during the fall. You will find lots of fish.
4. Waccasassa Bay
Lastly, when you are in Cedar Key, make sure you visit Waccasassa Bay. You can only access it by boat or kayak.
There is a lot of wildlife in the area. If you have the time, make it a kayak fishing/camping trip. The Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park has three primitive campsites. They are only available on a first-come, first-served basis though, so take note.
The bay features many waterways making it a favorite spot for many anglers. Keep your eyes open and you will see shellfish, crabs, manatees, and sea turtles. Other than fishing, the preserve is perfect for wildlife viewing and birdwatching.
When angling, you may be lucky enough to catch a black drum, gator seatrout, or redfish.
While you can have a productive fishing trip if you stay close to the shore, you can choose to paddle to the middle of the bay too. You may land a tarpon or cobia, you never know.
Note: you need a license to engage in fishing activities in Florida.
You have heard enough stories about kayak fishing in hidden spots like Cedar Key. Why not experience it for yourself? If you are visiting, take your time. There are tons of productive spots. You will need a few days for the ones discussed here alone.
Happy kayak fishing!