The fight is fast and furious and fish fly over the rail on to the pavement. One man in overalls stops, stuffs five fish into a cooler and guzzles the last of his coffee.
Many of Florida ’s fishing piers have shallow artificial reefs within casting reach. These man-made structures support diverse communities of marine organisms, so it is not unusual for anglers to land “game” fish such as tarpon, cobra and king mackerel.
At the bait house, you will see photos of local anglers proudly displaying their prized catches. If a fellow angler hooks a big one, don’t be shy about asking what they used as bait.
If it swims in the Gulf of Mexico, sooner or later it will pass beneath your dangling line. The action here is consistent year round, but it’s red-hot during the summer months.
Naples Pier: Drop a line into the Gulf of Mexico from Naples Pier, and try your luck for a variety of species including Spanish mackerel, redfish, sea trout and more. Juno Beach Park Pier: Blue water with great visibility means the fish won’t have any trouble finding your bait.
Sebastian Inlet State Park Pier: Blessed with the added amenities of a state park, this Melbourne Beach fishing pier is located at the mouth of a waterway that intermingles with the Indian River Lagoon, one of Florida ’s most famous fishing areas. The race cars have moved inland but the fishing is still as good as it was 50 years ago.
Fort Clinch State Park Pier: If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, head to Fernanda Beach. Use tie straps to fasten 11 two-inch PVC rod holders ($3) to the basket.
Soft tackle bag with plastic trays for storing everything from hooks to pliers ($40). Pier landing net ($30) with a 32-inch diameter and 100 feet of rope for hauling a catch over the rails.
Every year, millions of people head to sea in search of huge hookups and delicious seafood. With so many fishing spots littered along Florida ’s coastline, it can be tough to know where to start.
Stay near the beach for Redfish, Flounder, Sleepyhead, and Spanish Mackerel. There’s a tackle shop that stocks snacks, drinks, bait, and rental rods.
Cost: $4 per vehicle, plus $4 per adult or $2 per child age 6–12 (kids under 5 go free). This converted road bridge spans the mouth of Tampa Bay, with a pier jutting out from either side.
Skyway Bridge Fishing Pier State Park may not have that classic boardwalk feel, but it does come with some real perks. You can drive right up to your favorite fishing spot with all your gear, food, and anything else you want.
If you’re looking for a classic wooden walkway where you can reel in fish at any hour of the day or night, you should probably visit Venice. At around 700 feet long, Venice Fishing Pier gets you deep enough to reel in a real mix of species, from Sleepyhead to Sharks.
The pier has a bait shop halfway down that stocks everything you need for the day’s angling. As well as fishing gear, you can find snacks, drinks, and Florida snow shovels” to rake the beach in search of shark teeth.
Let the family hunt for Sharks in the sand while you battle them on the pier. Naples Pier took a real hit from Hurricane Irma back in 2017.
You can also see dolphins playing in the water below and enjoy the unforgettable sight of the sun setting into the Gulf. The pier has cleaning stations, line collection boxes, restrooms, and concessions where you can pick up gear, snacks, and refreshments.
Heading over to Florida ’s Atlantic Coast, you’ll find that the water gets much deeper much quicker. It’s around 1,000 feet long, and boy can you find your fill of fish along its length.
The thing that sets Juno Beach Pier apart from the pack is its commitment to sustainability. The site is managed by the Loggerhead Marine Life Center, which works hard to keep its impact on the surrounding area to a minimum.
From clearing up debris in the water around the pier to educating anglers on how to deal with entangled turtles, it’s a state leader in responsible angling. The rich waters of the Indian River mix with the open Atlantic Ocean here, making it a dream hunting ground for Shook, Redfish, Trout, Tarpon, and much, much more.
Sebastian Inlet has beautiful beaches, great surf, wildlife tours, and a museum on the colorful history of the “Treasure Coast.” You can even camp in the park for a classic family vacation. We’ve already featured this spot in our pick of the best piers in Jacksonville, but it deserves more fame than that.
Almost a quarter-mile long, this wide, wooden fishing platform is the perfect place to catch the sunrise. Considering how good the fishing is here, Jacksonville Beach Pier is a steal at twice the price.
Bring your own rods and reels or rent them from the handy tackle shop. Even if you only fish for an hour, you’ll more than make your three bucks back in tasty seafood.
While a boat gives you access in Florida to thousands of miles of waterways and coastline fishing, it also presents a host of complications. Berthing it, trailing it, maintaining it and, increasingly, paying the price of operating it are all prompting lots of people to question the wisdom of owning a boat.
Not to worry, there are plenty of opportunities for pier fishing in Florida for people without boats. Many visitors don’t realize just how many species of fish move up and down the coastline and through our waterways within easy reach of a fisherman on shore or on a pier or bridge.
Additionally, there are hundreds of public docks around the state that offer freshwater fishing access to Florida ’s famed black bass and numerous pan fish. It’s just a matter of figuring out where there’s close access to the water and then fitting yourself out to do some laid back fishing.
While I’ve done my share of surf casting and still hit the beach occasionally when the pompano are running, I grew up as a wharf rat, spending many happy hours fishing from the old Jacksonville Beach pier. A college friend who knew I fished a lot once asked to go along on one of my pier expeditions.
Then, as it got later and darker and colder, the bite picked up and the fish we were bringing in were getting bigger. Cold fronts in Florida generally aren’t a big deal, but standing on a windswept pier in 45 degrees with just a light windbreaker to fend off a steady drizzle isn’t anybody’s idea of fun.
Most of the ocean piers around the state have a concession stand that will rent you a rig and sell you the terminal tackle and bait. All you need do is show up and pay the fee, which usually includes the use of the pier’s commercial fishing license.
If the kids get bored with fishing, they can wander up and down the pier seeing what other people are catching, or they can hit the beach to toss a Frisbee or grab some rays. They’ve built or bought dock carts that allow them to haul multiple rods and reels, lots of gear and even live bait (not to mention drinks, lunch, a boom box and whatever else they feel they need for a day’s fishing) from the parking lot to the end of the pier.
They use one big rod and reel to send a heavy sinker with prongs as far out into the ocean as possible. The average pier fisherman using simple equipment and dead bait, like shrimp, will most likely connect with whiting and croaked.
But be careful, because interspersed with the dinner fish will be the occasional catfish, whose spines can inflict a nasty injury (I know this from experience after getting a dorsal fin deep into my foot). Lots of bridges spanning salt water inlets or waterways offer fishing opportunities.
The old Sunshine Skyway bridge that spanned the entrance to Tampa Bay has been converted into two of the longest fishing piers in the world. That means if an east wind has been blowing and the surf is up, you’re going to have a hard time getting your bait past the breaking waves.
Fishing near jetties or inlets can be good, but what you really want is to find a stretch of beach protected by an offshore sandbar. It takes a little experience to learn to read the water and the pattern of breaking waves to find the right spot.
I hear those sirens singing, but with 35 piers in Florida to choose from, where do I start? Depending on the time of year you’re fishing from Cocoa Beach Pier and being 800 feet over the Atlantic, you’ll have the opportunity to haul in Redfish, Whiting, Pompano, Tarpon, Snapper, Yahoo, Sleepyhead, Flounder, Jack, Bluefish, Sea Trout, Black Drum, Croaked, and Grouper.
With 5 delicious restaurants & bars to choose from, there is no shortage of good times to be had fishing off Cocoa Beach Pier! On the morning of May 9th, 1980, bad weather and a string of unfortunate events, forced the freighter Summit Venture into the old Skyway Bridge causing a large portion of the bridge to collapse into the bay, tragically killing 35 people; a 6-foot memorial stands there today in memory of those who lost their lives that day.
The rubble from the middle of the old bridge was turned into an artificial reef and helps produce large Grouper, Tarpon, Cobra, and Shark that keep anglers from all around the world coming back for more! Pro Pier Fishing Pointer | Large Cooler of ice | Make sure to bring a large cooler of ice if you plan on bringing any of your catch of the day home.
Depending on what type of fish are biting when you visit, the 1,080-foot fishing pier that is Pier 60, gives you the opportunity to reel in Spanish Mackerel, Spotted and Silver Trout, Shook, Redfish, Tarpon, Sleepyhead, Snapper, Flounder, Jacks, and more! Pro Pier Fishing Pointer | Live Bait | Historically live bait works best when pier fishing, some popular types include blood worms, shrimp, squid, anchovies and sardines.
4 | Dania Beach Fishing Pier | Located smack dab between Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, Florida, in the City of Dania Beach, the Dania Beach Fishing Pier is another fantastic pier on the Atlantic coast, open year-round for anglers of all skill levels. With 928 feet of pier over deep Atlantic waters, the Dania Beach Fishing Pier offers access to an array of fish that are not as easily found at other shallower watered piers, such as Yellow Tail Snapper, Hero Mackerel, Bluefish, Shook, Tarpon, Mutton Snapper, and one of my personal favorites, the B.
Well, depending on the season, Daytona Beach Pier is known for producing Whiting, Pompano, Flounder, Trout, Sleepyhead and various species of Shark to reel in! The full-service Pier House features a friendly guest services team, snack bar, gift store as well as a variety of fishing tackle, including rental poles and bait.
| If live bait is just too gross for you to use, there are a lot of great lure options out there that do a fairly good job, I recommend at the very least using casting and jigging spoons to get started, they are inexpensive and can get the job done. As for fishing, the Edward B. Knight Pier, is equally beautiful, offering anglers the opportunity to haul in Tarpon, Jacks, Snapper, Shook, and even Redfish.
Word to the wise though, the pier does not offer fresh water for cleaning your catch, so make sure to bring plenty or just enjoy a wonderful day of catch and release in picturesque Key West. Make sure you bring enough water in your cooler to help keep you properly hydrated on your pier fishing adventure.
At nearly a quarter mile long into the Atlantic, the Jacksonville Beach Pier and the sea have quite the love hate relationship, but it’s because of these lovers’ spat that pier anglers can fish highly active, deep waters. At roughly 22 feet deep at the end of the pier, anglers have access to a great variety of fish; you can wrestle with Pompano, Black Drum, Bluefish, Redfish, Flounder, Trout, Striped Bass, Sleepyhead, and due to the deep water, Kings, Barracuda, Tarpon, and Mali.
Known for King and Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, Snapper, Permit, Blue Runners, Bluefish, Barracuda, and Craters, the pier is lighted at night, so anglers can reel in some doozies during those coveted post sunset hours. 10 | Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier | At 1470 feet long, the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier gives rookie and seasoned anglers alike access to fantastic deep-sea fishing without being on a boat.
Located on beautiful Pensacola Beach, the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier gives you the opportunity, depending on the season, to reel in King and Spanish Mackerel, Cobra, Pompano, Mahi-mahi, Flounder, Whiting, Blue Fish, Tarpon, Bonito, Red Fish, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to face off against a raging Sailfish! Located between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay in Fort De Soto State Park, offers anglers the opportunity to bring in both deeper water fish at the Gulf Pier, and fish that enjoy calm, shallower waters at the Bay Pier.
Pro Pier Fishing Pointer | Ask what’s working | Most anglers are personable, so feel free to spark up a conversation and ask what types of things they have had success using that day to reel in the fish. Another great resource are the bait and tackle shops, they are usually in the know as to what is biting and what type of rig is reeling the fish in.
Explore our Florida resorts today or talk with a vacation planner at 888-852-2959 or 407-355-2690. Items or places listed are current as of the publishing date of this article.