Fishing opportunities are ample in Sarasota Bay, mainly because it is an estuary off the west coast of Florida. The north side of the bay starts in Manatee County and continues to the south Sarasota County. Sarasota Bay lies between barrier islands called keys that separate the body of water from the Gulf of Mexico and the mainland. You will find the Sarasota Bay has great fishing possibilities all year-round.
The shallow harbors around Sarasota house many snook, redfish, and trout. The miles of grass flats surrounding Sarasota Bay make the perfect place to catch some trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and pompano. Depending on the day or time of year you can catch snook, redfish, trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, sharks, and may more species of fish just off Longboat Key.
Depending on what time of year you decide to go fishing determines the type of bait to use. Spring fishing usually gets whitebait, and shrimp is usually used during the winter. Sarasota Bay is such a wonderful option for fishing because it delivers a terrific mixed bag -from fishing deep water for sheepshead to shallow water for redfish or trout. Regardless of where you choose to fish, Sarasota Bay is a beautiful place to spend the day on the water.
Fishing Near Casa Del Mar beach resort
Sarasota County is a paradise for fish. Freshwater streams and rivers flow from Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte Counties into a bay protected by the surrounding barrier islands. You can also find freshwater fishing in Myakka River State Park or Oscar Scherer State Park and is also appealing to those visitors also looking to explore other eco-recreational things to do.
You will find bluegill, speckled perch, and red ear sunfish here. Largemouth bass are also a popular fish in Florida freshwater, so you may be on of the lucky ones if you catch one. Tilapia, an invasive species, is another fish you will find and must be removed if caught. Many consider the filets to be quite tasty. This perfect-sized estuary is teaming with a diverse wildlife ecosystem of birds, mammals- and you guessed it, fish! The freshwater streams, rivers and lakes hold bass, panfish, catfish and more but the fun doesn’t stop. When the freshwater becomes brackish water, fish such as snook, jack, and tarpon can be found. Further out into the bay, snapper, mackerel, sea trout, grouper, drum and many other species of fish can be found in this saltwater heaven.
Most visitors opt to cast in the bay or offshore because saltwater fishing offers a wider variety seeing that fish seem to favor these spots. As you already know seagrass beds are home to seatrout, redfish, and bluefish but you will find snapper, jack crevalle, sheepshead and black drum elsewhere, near piers, bridges, and other structures. If you decide to do some offshore fishing near reefs and wrecks, you will find that they are popular hangouts for grouper, amberjack, and snapper.
Fishing from the shore is an easy option to start off the day and get your feet wet since there are several places to go. The right time of year, tide and a few other favorable factors, means that hitting the right place at the right time can end up in a major payload. You can cover much more fishing ground on a boat versus the shore, but you must follow proper boating etiquette. It’s important to remember that tides, water temperature, depth of water, the wind and sometimes even the phases of the moon play a crucial role in a successful day of fishing. While you look for the perfect spot to fish, keep an eye out for reefs, seabed’s, rocks and wood structures because fish love to hang out near these things. You can rent a boat at virtually any marina in Sarasota Bay.
If you choose to fish off the shores and docks of Longboat Key, remember that you’ll need a fishing license even if you don’t catch anything. You can purchase a saltwater or freshwater non-resident or resident fishing license here
A temporary number will be provided for you as soon as you order your license, allowing you to fish immediately. Be sure to purchase the appropriate license before you fish, and you can choose from 3-day, 7-day or annual licenses whether you are a resident or non-resident of Florida.
Below you can find some helpful information about nearby bait and tackle shops as well as some excellent fishing spots and tackle shops near Casa Del Mar to help you plan your next fishing expedition to Longboat Key.
You can always visit a local shop to find your favorite fishing lures such as CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key or New Pass Grill and Bait Shop on Lido Key to learn about current hot spots that other locals have found. It’s always a good sign when you’re out on a beach or pier to look for schools of baitfish or birds diving as these are usually good indicators of fish in the area.
- New Pass Grill and Bait Shop – This is located on Lido Key right across the southern bridge of Longboat Key at 1505 Ken Thompson Pkwy and is the closest option to Longboat Key. You can purchase just about everything you’ll need for fishing here including frozen and live bait, fishing tackle, rental equipment with free lessons, and fishing charter services if you prefer to work with an expert. The nearby New Pass Bridge is also a top fishing hotspot with several fishermen making record catches around it.
- Annie’s Bait & Tackle – Just a short drive north to Anna Maria Island and across the Cortez Bridge will take you to one of the area’s historic fishing villages, Cortez Village, where you can find all you could ever need for fishing. Annie’s Bait & Tackle is located in the village at 4334 127th St. W., Cortez, FL and has great prices on live bait including pinfish, shrimp, crabs, frozen bait, fuel and ice.
In the waters around Longboat Key, anglers of all skill levels can catch a wide range of species including sailfish, flounder, redfish, sheepshead, tarpon, snook, whiting, pompano, ladyfish, crevalle jack and many others.
- The beach – One of the best places to fish on the key is right from the beach. Right in the surf you can fish for flounder, whiting, snook, pompano and ladyfish. Polarized sunglasses will help you spot fish by removing the glare from the water, so be sure to bring a pair or purchase one locally from one of the fishing shops. Look for schools of snook or other species along the beach.
- From a boat – Boat rentals are available at several marinas in the area including Cannons Marina which is located at 6040 Gulf of Mexico Dr. right on Longboat Key. Here you can rent a boat for a day or longer at excellent rates, and you won’t have to travel very far at all. Just a short distance off the beaches of the island you can find bonito, tarpon, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and cobia. Deeper in the Gulf waters you’ll be able to fish for Mahi, marlin, tuna, sharks, sailfish and many other exciting species.
- Kayak Fishing – If you are looking for the best of both worlds, you should consider a Kayak. They give you the ability to paddle further away from shore but allow you to squeeze into places that boats usually don’t fit. Though you may not be able to travel as far or as a motorized boat, fishing by kayak can be a much more exciting experience for someone that likes quiet time. You can rent a kayak almost everywhere on Sarasota Bay through places such as Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures or Bay and Gulf Adventures. It’s pretty safe to say that with so many options for fishing, where to start will be the most difficult choice.
- Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures is located at 100 Taft Dr. on Lido Key, and Bay and Gulf Adventures is a mobile kayak tour service that can deliver your kayak right to you and can be reached at (941)-893-7221.
- From a fishing charter – Choosing a fishing charter can be very convenient. You can learn from an expert fisherman and you won’t have to deal with getting your own fishing license. Those who are just starting to learn how to fish should strongly consider booking a charter, as you’ll be guaranteed to catch something and will gain some valuable knowledge from the veteran fisherman of the area.
- Longboat Pass/Anna Maria Island Piers – The bridge that spans Longboat Pass is known as a local favorite spot for fishermen. You can also find plentiful additional fishing locations with a quick drive or trolley ride to the north end of Anna Maria Island, where the Rod and Reel Pier and Historic Pier two very popular fishing areas among locals, as well as bait shops right on the piers for your convenience.
Several other points along the northern shore of Anna Maria Island are excellent spots for fishing. You’ll find that the fishermen at any of the piers and bait & tackle shop owners are very friendly and more than happy to point you in the right direction toward some of the lesser known fishing hot spots in the area.