Pier, Jetty and Surf Fishing in the West Central Region with Capt. Geoff Page

One of the nice things about fishing in Florida is that you don’t need to have a boat to catch some of the most popular gamefish in the world. All you have to do is get water access, and you’re in the game. For shorebound anglers, fishing piers, rock jetties and beaches are some of the most productive places to fish in my region.
Probably the most popular of these spots in my region is on the north end around Tampa, and that’s the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers. This is the old Skyway Bridge is on I275 between St. Pete and Bradenton, going over Tampa Bay. The middle of the bridge is now gone, so there are north and south sections of the bridge that you can drive out on and fish. Both sides have their own tackle shops and the fishing is outstanding off the piers for everything from cobia, Spanish mackerel and grouper to seatrout, snook, redfish and pompano.
On Anna Maria Island there are two great fishing piers: The Historic City Pier and the Rod and Reel Pier. Both of them have great fishing for tarpon, sharks, snook, redfish, seatrout and flounder. The Historic City Pier is 710 feet long, and the Rod and Reel Pier is 350 feet long. There’s also the Bradenton Beach Bridge Street Pier, which is a great spot for bluefish and grouper in the winter, and snook, seatrout and flounder in the summer.
If you like to night fish, the Blackburn Point Bridge going from Osprey to Casey Key has a lot of snook and trout around it. And then there the El Jobean Fishing Pier on the Myakka River where you can catch tarpon and snook.
One of my favorite places to fish from land are the Venice Jetties. There’s a north and south jetty—I like the north jetty best, which is on the edge of Casey Key. The jetties are a good spot for targeting sharks, cobia, flounder, pompano and bluefish. The people who fish the jetty are super friendly, and you can usually find out what’s biting and what to target pretty quickly.
There’s also the Venice Fishing Pier south of the Venice Jetties. That’s a great pier for snook and snapper, and there are times when it’s covered with bait.
If you’re looking for a relaxing, easy style of fishing in my area it doesn’t get any mellower than walking the beach with a spinning rod and a small shad-tail grub or soft plastic shrimp lure and sight casting at snook along the shorelines. The nice thing about this type of fishing is that you don’t have to get up early to experience the best fishing. You want to get out to the beach (pick the less crowded beaches with no condos) around 8 a.m. or so, when the sun is high enough in the sky that you can see into the water. Then just take a walk and watch for fish.
Light tackle is the way to go for beach fishing. I like 10-pound braided line (something you can cast a long distance) with a 30-pound monofilament leader and small soft plastic shrimp or baitfish lures. The area is sandy, so green and white, black and white and all white are the top lure colors.
Some of the best beaches are to the south in my region around Manasota  and Englewood. Manasota Rocks is a good spot, and there’s lots of small rockpiles, downed trees and other objects in the water that will hold fish. The only limitation to the access to fish is how far you’re willing to walk.





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