The Florida Gulf Coast is a paradise for fish, thanks to its healthy ecosystem. Sarasota County offers some of Florida’s best fishing, as freshwater streams and rivers flow from Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte County into a bay protected by the barrier islands. In the freshwater, you’ll find bass, panfish, and catfish. Where freshwater enters the tidal area, you’ll see snook, jack, and tarpon. Out into the bay, snapper, mackerel, sea trout, grouper, and drum are plentiful. With all of the available fishing options, where should you cast your line? We’ve rounded up the best Sarasota fishing spots where you can catch the next “big one.”
New Pass, Longboat Key
New Pass is the northernmost of Sarasota’s two inlets, and this channel separates Longboat Key from Lido Key. The New Pass Bridge is a top fishing spot with several fishermen making record catches around it. Stop by the New Pass Grill & Bait Shop to stock up on food and equipment, and be sure to ask about current fishing hotspots that locals have found!
Bird Key Park
Located on Bird Key at the end of the Ringling Bridge, Bird Key Park has grass beds as well as bridges and seawalls, which means a variety of opportunities for fishing different species, no boat required. It’s also a popular place for bird watching and has some of the best scenic views of the city of Sarasota.
South Lido Park
South Lido Park at the southernmost end of Lido Key offers a stretch of beach that anglers can use to fish out to Big Pass, making it one of the best Sarasota fishing spots. This is a good spot to catch game fish when the tide is right. For the most bites, fish late at night or early in the morning.
Venice Pier and Caspersen Beach
One of the most breathtaking Sarasota fishing spots, Venice Pier is on Caspersen Beach next to the popular restaurant, Sharky’s on the Pier. The long pier extends far out into the water. You can fish from the pier or walk down the beach to find a more secluded spot. As it continues further south – the rocky seawalls provide for some good fishing opportunities.
North Shell Road
The Big Pass is a rocky-bottomed pass that is rich in mangrove snapper, grouper, jacks, snook, and more. Drifting live baits such as whitebait or shrimp can pick up any number of fish species. Shore fishing off the North Shell Road access on Siesta Key offers a nice family spot with plenty of beach and swimming. Cast your line anywhere from Rt. 41 W on Siesta Drive to S on Higel to W on Shell Road.
Siesta Key Bridge
The northern bridge connecting Siesta Key to the mainland is a very popular fishermen’s spot. You can either fish from the bridge, from the seawall on either the mainland or island side, or from the flats off the parking area on the northeast side. Bay Island Park is next to Siesta Key Bridge and offers a temporary landing for loading and off-loading for recreational boaters.
The Venice Inlet has two jetties with lots of rocks that attract snook and sheepshead, although you can catch a number of other species including mackerel and tarpon. Each side of the channel has a long walkway out into the Gulf of Mexico from where you can cast or drop a line. Fly fishing is also particularly popular here.
Englewood and Manasota Key
Lemon Bay Park in Englewood has 1.7 miles of mangrove-lined shoreline and access to freshwater marshes. It is a good spot for wading, but be sure to have the proper equipment, or consider renting a kayak. Before you go, check the Englewood fishing report.
A fishing license is required for both Florida residents and visitors, so make sure you have one before heading out. We wish you the best of luck checking out our favorite Sarasota fishing spots. We’d love to have you stop by and tell us about your catch! We’re always happy to show you around our brand new luxury apartment community. Swing by our leasing office or take a virtual tour of our luxury apartment homes online. Give us a call at (941) 328-2400 to schedule a tour.
Hope to see you soon!
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