Dana Young shares her favorite Floridian fishing spots

As a sixth-generation Floridian, environmental lawyer and former lawmaker, I’ve spent the vast majority of my life living and working in the great state of Florida. Growing up in North Florida provided endless opportunities to explore our natural wonders and state parks. My husband and I raised our two girls in Tampa, where we still live today.

Whenever I have free time, I’m usually outdoors enjoying the natural treasures of my home state. Living in Tampa puts me in close proximity to one of my favorite Florida pastimes, tarpon fishing.

Southwest Florida is world-renowned for the abundance of tarpon that migrate to the warming coastal waters each spring. Reaching up to 8 feet in length and 250 lbs., these mammoth fish can number in the tens of thousands in a single inlet during their months-long feeding frenzy.

With their gargantuan size and spectacular display of jumps and acrobatics upon being hooked, tarpon are among the most challenging and rewarding fish to land. The thrill of reining in a “Silver King” draws thousands of fishing aficionados from all over the world to Florida’s Gulf Coast each season, which boasts unsurpassed angling from Boca Grande to Sanibel.

A tarpon adventure on the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico is just one of many ways to enjoy this great state. From coast to coast, Florida’s diverse geography, history and culture offer an abundance of unforgettable experiences, whether as a first-time visitor or lifelong resident.