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.
- Everglades Holiday Park - Fish from our docks or from a boat. Catch-and-release encouraged. State of Florida fishing licenses are required and are for sale on site.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
This program is specifically designed for ages 12 to 17. Registration 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 $85 (plus applicable sales tax) for each participant and covers all four tournaments. There is no fee for the adult in the boat.
You can view a video of one of our tournaments here.
For more details about registration, tournament rules, and general information, contact Bob Newland at 954-214-8771. The registration deadline is February 14. The 2016 dates are as follows:
- February 28 - Tradewinds Park & Stables
- March 13 - Tradewinds Park & Stables
- April 24 - Quiet Waters Park
- May 22 - Quiet Waters Park
The tournaments are held once a month on Sunday mornings from "first light" until 1 p.m.
We'll track each of the four tournaments with a rundown, such as these recaps from 2015:
- January 18 at Quiet Waters Park - We had a great start to the 2015 season with good weather and 19 boats competing. Seventy-four bass were brought to the scale, with every boat weighing at least one fish. Ten five-fish limits were recorded, and soft plastics dominated as the bait of choice. Our top five finishers are as follows: First Place - Mason Tilbrook, 5 fish, 12.70 lbs.; Second Place - Corey Ackerman, 5 fish 10.90 lbs.; Third Place - Ben Tharrington, 5 fish, 10.25 lbs; Fourth Place - Wyatt English, 5 fish, 8.40 lbs.; Fifth Place - Jake Stark, 5 fish, 7.95 lbs; Big Bass - Jake Stark, 3.55 lbs.
- February 22 at Tradewinds Park & Stables - Another good tournament despite following the coldest weather so far this year. Seventeen boats competed, and 61 bass were weighed in. Mason Tilbrook was able to win his second consecutive tournament, which doesn't happen very often, and Corey Ackerman also repeated as runner-up - and it was very close. These two are now the ones to beat in March. Our top five finishers are as follows: First Place - Mason Tilbrook, 5 fish, 10.10 lbs.; Second Place - Corey Ackerman, 5 fish, 10.05 lbs.; Third Place - Wyatt English, 4 fish, 8.25 lbs.; Fourth Place - Ben Tharrington, 4 fish, 7.65 lbs.; Fifth Place - Brock Davis, 5 fish, 7.35 lbs.; Big Bass - Mason Tilbrook, 3.7 lbs.
- March 22 at Tradewinds - Great weather, great tournament. Eighteen boats competed, with 81 bass weighed in. Sometimes, in a four-tournament series, consistency is the ticket to success, and Ben Tharrington has moved into the top spot for Angler of the Year, with Corey Ackerman right behind him. The final tournament at Quiet Waters promises to be exciting for sure. Our top five finishers are as follows: First Place - Ben Tharrington, 5 fish, 11.5 lbs.; Second Place - Fabrizio Cozzo, 5 fish, 8.95 lbs.; Third Place - Brian Blickle, 5 fish, 8.30 lbs.; Fourth Place - Brock Davis, 5 fish, 7.90 lbs.; Fifth Place - Ian Hamilton, 3 fish, 7.8 lbs.
- April 26 at Quiet Waters - Talk about hot! The temperature was in the mid-90's when 17 boats competed in the final tournament of the season. Everyone weighed at least one bass, with a total of 65 bass weighed in and nine limits brought to the scale. Ben Tharrington was able to hold off Corey Ackerman to finish as Junior Angler of the Year. Corey placed second overall and Brock Davis finished in third overall. Our top five finishers for the last tournament are as follows: First Place - Ben Tharrington, 5 fish, 11.8 lbs.; Second Place - Corey Ackerman, 5 fish, 10.15 lbs.; Third Place - Mason Tilbrook, 5 fish, 10.05 lbs.; Fourth Place - Brock Davis, 5 fish, 9.9 lbs.; Fifth Place - Fabrizio Cozzo, 5 fish, 7.8 lbs.
2015 Bass Trail Facts
|Biggest bass caught - Corey Ackerman
|Heaviest five-fish limit - Mason Tilbrook
|Total number of bass weighed in
|Total weight of all bass weighed in
||437 pounds pounds|
|Average weight per bass
|Best tournament location
|Junior Angler of the Year
|Tournament prize package
||Worth approximately $1,300|
|Biggest bass caught in the last 17 years
||7.9 pounds at Tradewinds Park|
|Heaviest five-fish limit in the last 17 years
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