A Guide to Siesta Key Fishing

The gorgeous barrier island of Siesta Key offers some of the most extraordinary and exciting fishing opportunities in all of Florida, with plenty of other ocean sports and activities to try out.

With over 1000 fish species in the Gulf, rivers, and lakes in the Siesta Key area, and several fishing options for all experience levels, including some of the best charter services anywhere, it’s truly an angler’s paradise.

The waters around Sarasota are an estuary for some of the most highly sought after gamefish species in the world. As a result, Siesta Key draws anglers from just about everywhere. Here you’ll find a number of veteran local fishermen who operate their own inshore/offshore fishing charter companies and who often provide other services like dolphin boat tours, kayaking, jet skiing and more.

fishing on siesta key beach

Whether you’re traveling as an individual or with your friends and family, you’ll enjoy fishing in this island paradise for grouper, snapper, flounder, mackerel, amberjack, redfish, shark, tarpon, and many other species depending on the time of year that you visit.

Fishing on the Beach

There are tons of beaches and other areas along the shore that you can fish from. We break down the best spots to check out, and some tips on how to get the most out of your shore fishing experience.

North Siesta Key Bridge is one area where you’ll find people casting their lines. You can choose to set up and spend the day here from three different angles. Fish from the bridge itself, the seawall on either side of the bridge, or even from the flats which is right near the parking lot. The Stickney Point Bridge is another similar spot to fish.

Big Pass Sand Bar is another effective spot located just off the coast near Shell Road. The rocky-bottomed pass provides a good home base for you to cast your line and spend the day fishing for popular catches in the area. You can hook mangrove snapper, grouper, jacks, snook, and more species from this area.

Point of Rocks is found just south of Crescent Beach and is home to rocks, underwater caves, and a ton of other hiding places for fish. You’ll be able to hook flounder, snapper, mackerel, and more here.

Turtle Beach Lagoon and Old Midnight Pass are also both great options to fish from if you don’t have a boat to use.

Bait Options

Drifting herring, whitebait, or shrimp are all popular options and will help you pick up a number of fish species in the area.

There are a few good places to pick up some of this live bait, mostly near the Stickney Point Road area. CB’s Saltwater Outfitters and Siesta Key Marina are both located on the road and considered some of the best spots for all your fishing needs. The full address is 1249 Stickney Point Rd, Siesta Key, FL 34242.

Fishing License

Make sure you have a recreational saltwater fishing license! Even if you plan on releasing your fish you’ll need one. Out of state fishing licenses are not valid in Florida. A freshwater license is required to take freshwater fish and a saltwater license is required to take saltwater fish.

You can get one at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website. You can get a Saltwater Shoreline License for a small charge and be on your way to a fun day of fishing.

If you plan on booking a fishing charter you won’t need a fishing license which can be very convenient. This way you can avoid having to haul your own gear and go through the hassle of getting a license, which can take some time.

Get familiar with local regulations if you bring a boat

There are a wide range of best practices and safety regulations that you must be familiar with prior to fishing on your own boat in Sarasota waters. This includes being familiar with tides, knowing the best times to fish, having maps, GPS, compasses and nautical charts on board, preparing for hazards and emergencies, following the Angler Code of Ethics, obtaining the appropriate licenses, leaving the waterways clean by following “Leave no Trace” practices, abiding by catch and release regulations, knowing prohibited species and more.

Fish species in Sarasota waters

Below are some of the most sought after and frequently caught fish species in the gulf waters around Siesta Key and their open season months.
Many popular gulf fish species have year-round open seasons, however size and bag limits still apply to species that have open seasons along with other catching regulations.

siesta key fishing tips
Check http://myfwc.com/media/2834422/saltwater-seasons-chart-gulf.pdf for up-to-date information as fishing seasons often change.

  • Amberjack – Jan. through May and Aug. through Dec.
  • Cobia – Year-round
  • Dolphin (Mahi) – Year-round
  • Flounder – Year-round
  • Gag Grouper – Apr. through Jun.
  • Other Grouper Species – Year-round (excluding prohibited species)
  • Mackerel (King) – Year-round
  • Redfish – Year-round
  • Red Snapper – Just 2 weeks per year with tight restrictions, check the latest Florida regulations
  • Snook – Mar. through Apr. and Sept. through Nov.
  • Spanish Mackerel – Year-round
  • Speckled Trout – Year-round
  • Tarpon – May through Oct.
  • Tripletail – Year-round

Additional offshore species: Barracuda, Blacktip Shark, Bonita, Kingfish, Lemon Shark, Little Tunny, Mangrove Snapper

Additional inshore species:
Bluefish, Bonito, Ladyfish, Lane Snapper

Prohibited species: Goliath Grouper, Nassau Grouper, Queen Conch, Prohibited Sharks, Sturgeon, Spotted Eagle Ray and several others

Contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at (863)-648-3200 for any specific questions you may have.

Fishing Charter Options

If you do plan on taking a fishing charter, you’ll have plenty of professional and highly rated options to choose from in Siesta Key. Since offshore charters take more time, you can expect to spend more money, however it’s truly an experience of a lifetime as you’ll be able to battle some of the largest deep water fish that you can catch including grouper, king mackerel, black fin tuna, and cobia.

You’ll have an excellent chance of making a huge catch with an expert guiding you. For example, in 2015 during an offshore fishing charter Scott Gettle hooked a gargantuan Warsaw grouper. It weighed in at a total of 269 pounds, and although it didn’t come close to breaking the world record, it was one of the largest groupers caught in the Sarasota region in many years.

It was caught during a 30-hour fishing charter in deep waters off Siesta Key, and you can book a similar deep water fishing charter from one of many local companies to have a shot at it as well, at very reasonable prices.

Inshore and Offshore

CB’s Saltwater Outfitters – 1249 Stickney Point Rd. on Siesta Key, Tel: (941)-349-4400
Siesta Key Fishing Charters – 946 Siesta Dr. on Siesta Key, Tel: (941)-244-3474
Siesta Key Sports Fishing – 1501 Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota, FL 34231, Tel: (941)-376-3474
Lucky Dawg Fishing Charters – 2576 Hillview St, Sarasota, FL, Tel: (941)-587-9852

Other Siesta Key Fishing Tips

Check out the Sarasota Slam – a fishing tournament that takes place in August.

Consider giving a charter fishing cruise as a gift for the holidays or birthday present. Many captains offer “gift vouchers” and can be flexible with their schedules.

Whether you’re looking for Siesta Key rentals or Siesta Key Florida vacation rentals, you can find everything you’re looking for with Siesta Key Luxury Rental Properties!

Need more Info?

Contact our office at 941-349-1125. Learn about the endless possibilities of our Siesta Key vacation rentals by reaching out today.

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Siesta Key Luxury Rental Properties
5111 Ocean Blvd. Suite B, C & D
Siesta Key, Florida USA 34242
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