There are at least 1000 species of fish in our Gulf, bays, lakes, rivers and streams. You can go deep-sea trolling, drift fishing, surf casting, bridge fishing or even while wading the grass flats.
Non-residents will need a fishing license unless under age 16 or on a boat charter. There are minimum lengths, limits and closed season restrictions with licenses that are available at the Sarasota County Courthouse or local bait shops and sporting goods stores.
Marina Jacks – There are several Fishing Charters offering deep sea fishing. Reservations can be made by phone or at the dock with your bait and license included in the fare. It is recommended that you bring a hat, sun block, sun glasses, a rag for slimy hands, and if the weather looks questionable, a poncho or other rain protection. Early morning temps may be cool, so you may want to dress in layers.
Saprito Pier – Just before you cross the Ringling Bridge, this fishing pier is one of Sarasota’s most popular spots. With a Bait & Tackle shop nearby you can fish from the pier, around the seawall or along the shore.
South Lido Park – At the southern tip of Lido Key, on the shore of Big Pass is where there’s great fishing and family fun. Shelters, grills, restrooms and shelling are all there, along with a very strong current and occasional undertow. Swimming should be done with GREAT caution.
New Pass Bridge – Between Lido Key and Longboat Key, this bridge has had record catches as well as on the adjacent seawall. There’s plenty of parking with a Bait & Tackle Shop nearby.
City Island – Bay fishing in the park makes for a great afternoon, also fish from the seawall into New Pass.
Longboat Pass – All around the bridge spanning Longboat Pass is a favorite spot for many local fishermen.
Fishing Rules, Regulations and License for Sarasota
If you are going to go fish in the waters off Sarasota you MUST purchase a fishing license and you have to obey the fishing regulations.
Sarasota Saltwater Fishing Licenses – It is necessary to buy a saltwater fishing license when fishing in the coastal waters of the state of Florida (or taking marine species). The waters off the shores of Sarasota are no exception. The license is required for finfish, shellfish and shells. Separate permit stamps are required for taking Snook and crawfish. A special stamp is needed to take and possess a single tarpon. No stamp is needed to catch and release Snook or tarpon. Go HERE for license info or Call 1-888-Fish-Florida.
Freshwater Sarasota Fishing Licenses – All non-Florida residents who are 16 or older, fishing in freshwater or brackish water for freshwater fish must have a Florida State Freshwater Fishing License. To obtain a Fishing License, you may go to local bait & tackle shops, sporting goods departments at discount stores, some marinas and hardware stores, as well as any tax collector office.
Who is Exempt from Purchasing a Fishing License in Florida?
- Children younger than 16
- Florida residents older than 65
- Florida residents fishing in saltwater from land
- Florida residents fishing in saltwater from a structure fixed to land
- Persons fishing with a licensed operator of a boat charging fees for fishing
- Florida residents who are members of the United States Armed Forces, stationed out of state and home on leave.
- State of Florida department of veterans and community affairs or worker compensation notice of action.
- Handicapped residents and residents certified totally and permanently disabled.
- Non-Florida residents fishing from a pier that has paid a license fee.
- For saltwater licenses, any Florida resident wading in less than 4 ft. of water.
A good rule of thumb is that if you have to pay to fish, you don’t need a license, but ALWAYS make sure.
Where to Get a Fishing License – To purchase a fishing license to fish Sarasota waters, go to: Sarasota Tax Collector.
You can also purchased licenses at any Wal-Mart or Kmart stores in Sarasota County.
If fishing with a Charter – Persons fishing with a licensed operator of a boat, charging fees for fishing, are not required to purchase a fishing license.