Some of Florida’s best fishing spots aren’t landbound or only accessible via boat; they’re hovering on stilts and piles at the edge of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
On the Gulf Coast of Florida
Long-Cast & Slow-Reel Fishing [Sarasota, FL]
Recently undergoing a 1.4 million upgrade, which added new lighting, six benches, and three shaded structures, the Causeway Fishing Pier at Saporito Pier is a downtown Sarasota gem. Jutting off the northeastern base of the Ringling Bridge, the 560-foot long pier may look dwarfed by the massive bridge, but don’t be fooled: An 80-foot “T” at the end offers plenty of prime fishing surface for mackerel, pompano, jack, and flounder. Insider tip: If you attend the pier over the weekend, you are not required to carry a fishing license.
A Fishing Fest Year-Round [Clearwater Beach, FL]
If you’ve only experienced Clearwater Beach’s Pier 60 for its evening sunset celebrations, you’re missing a whole untapped side to the attraction. In fact, it feels like a different world when you arrive before noon. That’s because it’s the peak time for fishing, with anglers hanging their lure over the railings up and down the pier, all days out of the year (the best part is that you can fish here year-round – check the fish report see what’ll be biting during your visit). A bait shop, located right on the pier, is open if you need to pick up a bag of bait (frozen or live), and you can rent a rod or bring your own.
A Fisherman’s Dream [Naples, FL]
It’s a fisherman’s dream at the Naples Pier, where lines are cast without the hassle of getting a license – because the city has instated a blanket one, so you’re covered. While underneath and around its edges are peppered with a rainbow of sunbathers’ umbrellas, the end of the 1,000-foot-long upper deck is the gem. Fishermen here have plenty of space to cast a line for snook and Spanish mackerel with spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Where to Stay Edgewater Beach Hotel
On the Atlantic Coast of Florida
The New Fishing Hot Spot [Stuart, FL]
Anglers Who Double Duty [Juno Beach, FL]
Located just under a 10-minute drive south of Jupiter, the 990-foot Juno Beach Park Pier serves as a full-service saltwater fishing pier, featuring a pier house home to fishing pole rentals and bait. Open seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset, the pier does require a small entrance fee: $1 for spectators looking to stroll and $4 if you are fishing. But the coolest part is that it’s also a hot spot for watching sea turtles swim out of the Atlantic and ashore (prime nesting season is March through October). In fact, many local anglers who fish the site regularly act as an extension of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, regularly reporting new nests or injured sea turtles.
Where to Stay Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa
Mammoth Atlantic Fishing from Shore [Deerfield Beach, FL]
In this Florida fishing area, there’s no need to catch a ride on a deep-sea afternoon excursion (although you could if you want to ride the waves). The International Fishing Pier at Deerfield Beach (located 25 minutes south of Delray Beach) has been known to see fishermen haul in huge catches from its dock – just ask the then-13-year-old Jake Hobbs about landing a 70-pound sailfish off this same pier in 2012. Young anglers can even get first-time advice from the tackle shop staff or take a private lesson to learn how best to cast into the waves.