Find Fish - At a Broward County Park
Fishing is the second-most-popular sport in the U.S., and there are many parks in the Broward County system that have great fishing areas. (Applicable licenses are required.)
The following information about fishing in Broward County Parks comes from John Cimbaro, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The Plantation Heritage Fish Management Area (in Plantation Heritage Park) has fair to good bream (bluegill and red ear sunfish) fishing, good bass fishing, and good catfishing.
There are three fish feeders on site, and near those feeders are the best locations to fish for the bream and catfish. Channel catfish are stocked annually (4,000 fish/year), and catfish up to 12.5 pounds have also been caught at Plantation Heritage. The area is also very scenic. Fishing is allowed from the shore only, not from any of the rental boats. Because it is a Fish Management Area, there are other restrictions as well, such as only one pole per person (even if you are using cane poles), and you must have a valid freshwater fishing license if you are older than 16 or under age 65.
T.Y. Park is not good for bream fishing but very good for bass fishing. The best fishing is from boats (boats are available for rent). C.B. Smith Park has fair bass, with exotic spotted tilapia and a growing population of peacock bass present. There are no longer boat rentals at the marina, but there are lots of areas for shoreline fishing. Quiet Waters Park has good bass fishing and good shoreline access, and is a fairly scenic location to fish. Boats and food concessions are available at the Lakeview Marina. You may bring your own electric trolling motor for use on the rowboats. Fishing is permitted along any shore except at the Splash Adventure swimming beach and the Ski Rixen USA lake.
For all-around fishing, a good setup is a #8 Aberdeen hook fished about three feet under a one-inch bobber. A small split shot near the hook will keep your bait down where the fish can spot it. Recommended baits include live worms, crickets, cut-up hot dogs, and dough balls. All these baits, especially the live worms, will catch most kinds of fish but are especially good for bream. Good lures for bream include tiny jigs, beetle spins, or spinners. For bass, use larger hooks (1/0 or larger). The best bass bait is live shiner. Good lures for bass include plastic worms (black works well most of the time), minnow imitating lures, and spinner baits. Good baits for catfish include chicken or beef liver and live worms (catfish rarely strike lures). Use 1/0 or larger hooks for catfish and fish on the bottom rather than using a bobber.
Here are some other Broward County parks that have fishing areas:
- Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome - Allowed along the back lake on the dock and west of the dock. No boats allowed.
- Deerfield Island - Primary locations are the marina and west of the picnic area on the Hillsboro Canal.
- Markham Park & Target Range - Several lakes and access to the levee leading to the Everglades through Markham Park are great for fishing as well. People also fish in the south and west canals that run along the two sides of the park.
- Reverend Samuel Delevoe Park - Fishing in the lake from shore only; no boat rentals.
- Tradewinds Park & Stables - Lots of shoreline fishing on both the north and the south sides of this park. Tradewinds is the best Broward County park for catching peacock bass, which are becoming more abundant on the south side of the park.
- Tree Tops Park - Fishing is allowed along lake banks.
- West Lake Park - Fishing is allowed from boats out on the waters of West Lake Park. A wide variety of saltwater species can be caught in West Lake, including snook, sheepshead, black drum, and mangrove snapper. In addition, fishing is allowed from all sides from the Sheridan Street bridge that crosses the lake and off the Fishing Trail boardwalk/fishing pier. Lastly, fishing is allowed from the South Trail into the Intracoastal Waterway along the path that goes under the west side of the Intracoastal bridge and continuing along the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway. The boats permitted in West Lake can't use fossil fuels - electric-powered or self-propelled boats only.
- Hollywood North Beach Park - Fishing is allowed off all the fishing piers on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway and from the park shorelines as well.
Fishing at Broward County Parks can be excellent even if you don't own a boat. Quiet Waters and T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) parks both rent boats that you can fish from for a minimal fee on weekends and holidays.
If you have your own boat, ramps are available at the following parks: Markham Park & Target Range, Tradewinds Park & Stables, and West Lake Park. Check out the comprehensive list of boat ramps in South Florida.
2013 Bass Fishing Kids' Trail
The "Little League" of bass fishing started on February 2 at C.B. Smith Park. For results and this year's schedule, contact Gary Waingrow at 954-306-3441 or email email@example.com, or check online.
16th Annual Junior Bass Tournament Trail
This program is specifically designed for ages 12 to 17. Registration is now open and is limited to a maximum of 20 to 23 kids. All participants must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older. The adult will not be permitted to fish. All participants must fish from a boat. Tournament rules are similar to those used in professional bass tournaments. Trophies are awarded at each monthly tournament for first through third places and Big Bass catch. Tournament point totals are compiled over the four months of competition. The angler with the most points at the end of the competition will be named Junior Angler of the Year and will be awarded a special prize package. Cost of the program is $75 (plus applicable sales tax) for each participant and covers all four tournaments. There is no fee for the adult in the boat.
For more details about registration, tournament rules, and general information, contact Bob Newland at 954-357-8816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The 2014 dates are as follows:
- January 19 - Quiet Waters Park
- February 23 - Tradewinds Park & Stables
- March 23 - Tradewinds Park & Stables
- April 27 - Quiet Waters Park
The tournaments are held once a month on Sunday mornings from "first light" until 1 p.m.
To give you an idea of how last year's program went, here is a rundown of the four tournaments, along with some statistics and facts:
- January 13 at Quiet Waters Park - The first tournament of the 2013 Trail got off to a good start, with 16 boats competing and 51 bass brought to the scale. It was a fairly cool, windy day, with total weights a little lower than expected - one sure thing about tournament fishing is that it is always unpredictable. Our top five finishers are as follows: First Place - Brad Galvin, 5 fish, 10.50 lbs.; Second Place - Silvio Gonzalez, 5 fish, 8.35 lbs.; Third Place - Jakob Scott, 4 fish, 7.55 lbs.; Fourth Place - Wyatt English, 5 fish, 7.47 lbs.; Fifth Place - Jack DeChene, 5 fish, 6.88 lbs.; Big Bass - Brad Galvin, 3.60 lbs.
- February 17 at Tradewinds Park & Stables - Wow! With the early-morning temperature at 41 degrees and winds 20 to 25 miles per hour, we were seriously considering canceling this one, something we haven't done in 15 years. Everyone came prepared for the conditions, however, so we went ahead as planned. The results confirmed that we made the right decision: 15 boats competed, and all weighed in fish, with a total of 64 fish brought to the scale. A new record weight for five fish was reported by Tyler Nekolny, with 17.75 pounds, just barely breaking the previous longstanding record of 17.57 pounds. Our top five finishers are as follows: First Place - Tyler Nekolny, 5 fish, 17.75 lbs.; Second Place - Brad Galvin, 5 fish, 14.70 lbs.; Third Place - Mason Tilbrook, 5 fish, 11.80 lbs.; Fourth Place - Jakob Scott, 5 fish, 8.70 lbd.; Fifth Place - Matt Makula, 5 fish, 8.55 lbs; Big Bass - Tyler Nekolny, 6.10 lbs. With two tournaments remaining, Brad Galvin is currently the one to beat for Angler of the Year honors.
- March 17 at Tradewinds Park & Stables - The weather was a whole lot warmer than it was last month and the fishing was almost as good. Tradewinds is producing some pretty good weights this year: First Place - Ariel Mendez, 5 fish, 12.60 lbs.; Second Place - Brad Galvin, 5 fish, 9.85 lbs.; Third Place - Silvio Gonzalez, 5 fish, 9.10 lbs.; Fourth Place - Brock Davis, 5 fish, 8.75 lbs.; Fifth Place - Tyler Nekolny, 5 fish, 7.50 lbs.; Big Bass - Ariel Mendez, 4.70 lbs. Brad Galvin has been the most consistent angler this season, with one First Place finish and two Second Place finishes. Brad remains the one to beat for the Angler of the Year title, which will be on the line at Quiet Waters Park next month.
- April 21 at Quiet Waters Park - The final tournament was a good one, with plenty of bass brought to the scale. With the Angler of the Year title on the line, Brad Galvin was comfortably in First Place by points. The only way the door could open for Silvio Gonzalez, who was in Second Place, was if Brad finished in Seventh Place and Silvio won the final tournament. The door opened when Brad finished in Seventh Place but Silvio was able to manage only Sixth Place, giving Brad the Angler of the Year title. Finishing second overall was Silvio Gonzalez by just 0.3 pounds over Third Place overall winner Jakob Scott. Tyler Nekolny's 6.10-pound bass held up for Biggest Bass of the Year. The final tournament top five are as follows: First Place - Wyatt English, 5 fish, 11.55 lbs.; Second Place - Jakob Scott, 5 fish, 10.07 lbs.; Third Place - Tyler Nekolny, 5 fish, 9.25 lbs.; Fourth Place - Ben Tharrington, 5 fish, 8.85 lbs.; Fifth Place - Valentin Delgado, 5 fish, 8.65 lbs.; Big Bass - Jakob Scott, 3.20 lbs.
2013 Bass Trail Facts
|Biggest bass caught - Tyler Nekolny
|Heaviest five-fish limit - Tyler Nekolny
|Total number of bass weighed in
|Total weight of all bass weighed in
|Average weight per bass
|Best tournament location
|Junior Angler of the Year
||Brad Galvin, Miami|
|Tournament prize package
||Worth approximately $1,300|
|Biggest bass caught in the last 15 years
||7.9 pounds at Tradewinds Park|
|Heaviest five-fish limit in the last 15 years
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