If you drive by any of the Anna Maria Island boat ramps or one of the local marinas, one thing you are sure to see is people heading out to fish at almost any time of day. Anna Maria Island fishing is one of the most popular activities with vacationers and locals alike.
Whether casting their lines off one of the three piers, setting up their equipment along the shoreline, or heading out into the water by boat, there is nothing like feeling that pull on the line and knowing that there is something on the other end just waiting for you to reel it in.
Anna Maria Island is only seven miles long from the southern tip to the north end of the island. Within that short distance, there are ample places to set up and cast your line and depending on the time of year, you can usually count on catching a fish or two – Snapper, Black Drum, Amberjack, Redfish, Snook and more.
Anna Maria Island Fishing from the Piers
If you want to get in with the locals, we suggest you head to one of the piers on Anna Maria Island. Two located at the north end of the island and less than a mile apart are really popular spots — the Rod and Reel jutting out about 350 feet into the Bay and the City Pier about 700 feet. Towards the south end of the island, Bradenton Beach’s Bridge Street Pier sits just south of the Cortez Bridge at the end of Historic Bridge Street. Each of the three has a bait shop and restaurant at the end making it easy to spend an entire day at any of them without going anywhere.
At the Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach, you can sit out on the bay end of the pier and fish while sitting in the shade under the Richard P. Suhre Pavilion. If you get hungry, you can eat at the Anna Maria Island Oyster Bar. The pier, twice repaired and remodeled after damage from two major storms in 2004 and 2010, features a bait shop, retail shop and bathhouse as well as floating day dock.
On the north end of the island, the Rod & Reel Pier and the City Pier also offer excellent fishing. Just like their Bradenton Beach counterpart, each has a restaurant for you to eat as well as bathrooms and bait shops. At the Rod & Reel Pier, there is a $2.00 fee to cast a line.
Other Ways to Fish on Anna Maria Island
In addition to Anna Maria Island fishing from the piers, there are other great places to go including surf fishing. At sunrise and sunset, you often find people sitting out on the shoreline of the Gulf or Bayside enjoying the peace quiet either sitting in a beach chair or wading out into the water to catch something. If you need an idea of where to go, any of the beaches are great including Longboat Pass at the southern tip of the island and Coquina Beach (no swimming here because of the strong currents). As for bayside, directly across the street from Coquina Beach is features excellent fishing on Sarasota Bay.
If you want to go out on the water – inshore or offshore, book a fishing charter with a captain who knows the waters as well as the rules and regulations is the way to go. Most captains have fished the area waters and know where to go. You can go out all day or just for a few hours.
Anna Maria Island Fishing Rules and Regulations
There are important rules and regulations by which you must comply to fish from the waters around Anna Maria Island including having a fishing license before you cast a line. Any of the bait shops around the island sell them so they are easy to get. Additionally, there are other regulations when it comes to each species of fish. For example, with Snook, there is a special permit stamp for you to take one after catching it; however, if you catch and release, you do not need to have one. There are also specific seasons for catching different types of fish. The best place is to get all of the information regarding Anna Maria Island fishing is at MyFlorida.com.