Longboat Key

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Fishing in Longboat Key

Can’t decide if you want to cast your line inshore or offshore? Go fishing in Longboat Key and experience the best of both worlds! This barrier island divides Sarasota Bay and the vastness of the Gulf of Mexico, creating two different, but equally productive fisheries. This makes the area a fisherman’s paradise, with all the fish you can think of quite literally on your doorstep.

What to Expect

Whether you’re visiting Longboat Key for the top-notch inshore action or you’re here to catch your next offshore giant, there’ll be plenty of charters that can take you to your prey. West Florida is famous for its incredible fishing opportunities, and hitting the water with a local guide will maximize your chances of having the best time and getting the most fish.

Bay Fishing

In the brackish waters of Sarasota Bay, you’ll find an abundance of all the inshore favorites, including Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Jack Crevalle, and that’s just to name a few. Flats fishing in the bay is very productive year-round and this is where you’d go to land any of the mentioned species.
For more of a mixed bag, you’re welcome to go deeper into the bay, where there are many reefs and wrecks to explore and even more species to catch. Amberjack, Cobia, Barracuda, Snappers, and Groupers are all in the cards, along with Bonito and Flounder.
You can target a specific species or just head out and let luck and a good setup decide the day’s catch, but one thing’s certain – there won’t be a dull moment.

Offshore Fishing

If you’re an offshore enthusiast, then you’ll love what Longboat Key can offer you. With the Gulf Stream only several miles from the island, you’re but a short boat ride away from all the prized game fish that put Florida on the fishing map.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer bottom feeders or deep sea dwellers, these waters are the place to go after them all. Sailfish and Marlin are the most popular catch, which is hardly a surprise, seeing that you’ll hardly find better fighters in the Gulf. Mahi Mahi and Blackfin Tuna are at the top of the list as well, along with many species of Snapper and Grouper, Wahoo, Triggerfish, and King Mackerel. Feel like catching your next trophy?

What Trip to Choose

If there’s one thing you’ll have when fishing in Longboat Bay, it’s plenty of choices. You’ll find a great choice of fish, charters, and trip types – all you have to do is pick what suits your preferences best.
For anglers staying in the bay, half day excursions will be enough to hook more than a few beautiful fish. If you want to go all in and dedicate your day to prowling Sarasota Bay, there are many local guides that will take you to the best spots.
If offshore fishing is the name of your game,  you can book a half day trip and spend your time bottom fishing and trolling. For deep sea adventures, full day expeditions are the way to go. Licenses, gear, and expert advice are included in the charter’s price, and it’s up to you to pack your favorite drinks and snacks and hop aboard. After that, your great fishing quest can begin!

Longboat Key Fishing Seasons


Your time in January is best spent in Sarasota Bay, targeting anything from Sheepshead and Tripletail to Snappers and Trout. The Grouper bite is excellent as well.


The Red Grouper season is over, but there are plenty of fish in the sea. Take your pick from Black Drum, Bluefish, and Trout, or head further out to chase Hogfish, Black Grouper, and a variety of Snapper.


As the temperatures are rising, so is the fish activity – and in March, the action is certainly getting hotter. King Mackerel and Jack Crevalle are biting, Spotted Seatrout, Redfish, and Tripletail are right behind.


With Snook and Tarpon roaming the flats, along with Redfish, Trout, and Spanish Mackerel, there’s plenty to do on the bay in April. Offshore, Bonito, King Mackerel, and Cobia are there for the taking.


Permit, Jack Crevalle, Tarpon, Snook, Snapper, Cobia, Bonito – they’re all in the cards, just take your pick. Sailfish are slowly coming back, and Blackfin Tuna fishing is very good.

The Red Snapper season is a go! These beauties are going to be all the craze in June, along with their Mutton, Yellowtail, Lane, and Mangrove cousins. All fun to catch, all delicious!

The offshore fun and games are in full swing in July, with all the greats on your to-catch list, including Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Red Snapper, Groupers, Hogfish, Blackfin Tuna, and so many more.


Even though the Red Snapper season has ended, intense fishing continues! It’s a great time to go after Tarpon, Permit, Snook, or Jack Crevalle, or alternatively, set your sights on Tuna, Bonito, and Mahi Mahi.


Whether it’s Black, Gag, or Red Grouper you’re after, September is the month to find your record catch. Closer to shore, Black Drum and Redfish are biting left and right, and Jack Crevalle and Permit aren’t far behind.


It’s getting windy on the water and the weather is a bit unpredictable, but that won’t stop you from having a great time catching Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, and Black Drum or King Mackerel, Cobia, and more.


This is a very good time to go on a Snook hunt, and maybe hook some Trout, Redfish, Jack Crevalle, and Trout along the way. Snapper and Grouper fishing is still more than decent.


With the New Year around the corner, why not give yourself a day on the water? Sarasota Bay will provide you with great fishing for Sheepshead, Mackerel, Snapper, and Jack Crevalle.

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