With over 100 miles of gulf coastline, the SunCoast offers amazing opportunities for fishing, from coastal waters to deep sea fishing. Grab a pole, charter a boat, and let’s go fishing!
Fishing Florida’s SunCoast
Sarasota is a vacation destination with something everyone will love. From boating to swimming, beaches to golfing and everything in between, the weather and water draw people in but so does the marine life. Fishing is fresh on the gulf side with people coming from all over for opportunities to experience a fresh catch. Find out more about fishing in Sarasota, what types of fish can be hooked and why it is better in Sarasota than anywhere else in Florida.
Types of Fishing in Sarasota
Sarasota has lots of fishing to suit everyone’s tastes. Take a look at just some of the types of fishing vacationers and locals love.
For an easy going experience, surf fishing is on most fishermen’s agendas. Grab some basic spinning gear and bait before heading out into the beautiful sunshine. Most beaches are public in Sarasota making this a great way to hook a catch. Snook, flounder, bluefish, and redfish are just some of the types of fish that can be caught surf fishing.
Pier and Bridge Fishing
Setting up for fishing action on a pier is a dream for people who come looking for a big catch. The piers are scattered around so look for one nearby. Ask locals what they like to use but Tony Saprito Pier, Whitaker Gateway Park Fishing Pier and Rod and Reel Pier are the most common spots. Some out of the way spots can be just as good (and less crowded) to throw a line in.
Anglers who want a bit more adventure might opt for kayak fishing. Kayaking may not be your cup of tea but it can be a fun way to catch some cool fish. Myakka River State Park is a great way to take in the views and fish. Turtle Beach kayak Launch on Little Sarasota Bay is another popular spot. There are also available tours for those who want to venture out with others and explore the waters.
For those who fish Sarasota, they like to check out charters to get out on the water and catch a good fish. Plenty of charters are available but the most important to look for is what kind of fish will be caught, where, and for how long the charter will head out. Inshore trips are better for families but offshore expeditions might be better for those who are more experienced.
Types of Fish you can Catch on the Gulf Coast
Snook is one type of fish everyone likes to catch. They are available year round even though they move around. Surf fishing for snook is popular because of the number of trophy fish just hanging below the surface. In winter, snooks hang out in residential canlas. Winter is a great time to river fish. Check out Manatee, Myakka, and Braden rivers for best catch spots.
Bottom fishing in Sarasota is another way to grab some good catches. Close to shore and offshore, there are different Grouper species for fishermen to find. Gag grouper are easier to hook but shallower waters in winter and spring are best ways to find these delicious fish. For more variety, check out offshore Gulf waters. Cast out more than 200 feet to look for Black and Red grouper.
Silver King fish can reach incredible sizes, making them a wonderful catch. Tarpon can be caught year-round. Those fish are smaller but they are just as good. Tarpon can be best caught between May and August. They migrate through inshore waters around Sarasota and are fun to catch but are also huge, upwards of 200 lbs for some. Experienced fishermen love to target this King fish but Tarpons are not for amateurs. Make sure to have the right rod, line, and gear to handle this big catch.
Catch a Prize in Fishing Tournaments
Tournaments are one way fishers love to check in with others, share camaraderie but also compete for best in show when it comes to showing off the biggest catch. The Sarasota Tarpon Tournament has been going strong since 1930 and lasts around 5 weeks. Usually in May, fishermen compete in several divisions. There are inshore or offshore tournaments like the Sarasota Slam that are organized to raise money for charity. Be sure to check this out if competing for the biggest fish is your thing (or you just want to grow some skills).
Be sure to check out these amazing fishing holes in and around Sarasota:
- Stevens Point: this is part of Ringling Flats where Bluefish and Snook are on order
- Big Sarasota Pass: check out all the varieties of fish from Snapper to Sheepshead and have a blast fishing
- Pop Jantzen Reef: an artificial reef in Sarasota Bay, a famous place to grab species like Snapper, Flounder, and Bluefish
Getting A Fishing License
When fishing Sarasota, check out fishing regulations before heading out. Solo anglers can research what kind to do. Species are regulated to some extent but regulations shift annually. General consensus is residents and visitors in Florida need a license before fishing. A saltwater license for oceans, bays, and lagoons are required and freshwater for fishing in lakes and rivers. Estuaries or other areas can be good places but don’t get caught hooking a fish without a license. Tarpon are catch and release while Red Snapper have regulated seasons. These change so check before hitting the water. Charters are a good place to go that is up-to-date on regulations.