Sarasota Bay

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Fishing in Sarasota Bay

Fishing in Sarasota Bay is a unique and memorable way to spend the day, no matter your level of angling experience. These productive waters are home to a wide array of species, each of them more fun to catch than the last.
 
Avid inshore and nearshore anglers come here to test their skills and see if the fishery is as good as the rumors claim. Most of the time, they get confirmation loud and clear.
 

What to Expect

Sarasota Bay stretches from South Sarasota all the way to  Manatee County, and it’s teeming with prized fish that are always hungry. In this estuary’s brackish waters, the fishing action is solid all year, it’s only a matter of where to go and which setup to use.
 
Your choice of fishing grounds will depend on what you’d like to find at the end of your line. The grass flats are the hideout of Tarpon, Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Snook, as well as Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, and Pompano. If you’d like to have a productive day on the water with plenty of hookups, the flats won’t let you down.
 
When you cast your line around bridges, pilings, and piers, anything from Snapper and Sheepshead, to Jack Crevalle and Black Drum is in the cards. There are also many harbors around the bay, that have shallow waters and very good Trout, Snook, and Redfish action.
 
If you’d like to explore the nearshore bite, hit the reefs and wrecks – you’ll find a variety of local favorites like King Mackerel, Flounder, Bonito, Amberjack, Grouper, and Snapper waiting for you.
 

How to Catch ‘Em

Because the fishing conditions are good (to say the least) year-round, fish are always out and about, lurking for their next meal. The optimal time to go fishing in Sarasota Bay is when the water temperature hits 70 degrees, because this is when the fish are most active – not to mention hungry.
 
Both live bait and artificial lures are equally productive on these bountiful waters. A good assortment of lures is excellent for getting the attention of Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Jacks, and Snook, especially if you use them around oyster bars and grass beds. The best part is that both beginners or pros will equally enjoy finding the fishing style that suits them the most.
 

What Trip to Choose

You can spend your whole life exploring Sarasota Bay and still not cover all the ample opportunities it has. Because this is such a large body of water, heading out with a guide is a smart choice.
 
There are specialized trips suited for seasoned anglers, as well as shorter excursions that are perfect for families who love to go fishing together. Local captains usually have decades of expertise they share with their customers, and they’ll also take care of licenses and equipment. If you’re going fishing in Sarasota Bay in the summer, it’s highly recommended to book an early trip, to avoid the heat and make the most of the morning bite.
 
Just bring some drinks, snacks, appropriate clothing, a hat, sunscreen, and polarized sunglasses. And voila, your fishing adventure can begin!
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Sarasota Bay Fishing Seasons

As the year begins, temperatures are dropping, which means that the fish are hiding in deeper waters, creeks, and canals. This is where you’ll find plenty of Snook, Black Drum, Jack Crevalle,  and Sheepshead.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that the fishing has to slow down. Hit the water on a sunny day and see how many Sheepshead, Redfish, Snapper, Tripletail, and Trout you can catch.

Whether it’s Black Drum or Jack Crevalle, Tripletail or Redfish, Snapper or Sheepshead, you can find them all in Sarasota Bay come March. 

This is one of the prime fishing months in the area. Just about anything you can think of is on the menu – Spanish Mackerel, Permit, Pompano, Jack Crevalle, Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, and many more.

If Tarpon fishing is your passion, then May is the time to chase your biggest catch yet. The same goes for Snook, Permit, Spanish Mackerel, Jacks, King Mackerel, and the list just goes on.

It’s getting quite hot on the water, so this is the time to start thinking about booking early-morning trips. Just about anything bites now, especially if you go fishing before sunrise or after sunset.

So much fish to catch, so little time! Come face-to-gills with massive Tarpon, fill your cooler with delicious Snapper, or chase Pompano, Permit, Redfish, and Spanish Mackerel.

In August the action is nothing short of phenomenal because you can find fish closer to shore and it’s usually a matter of minutes before you’re fighting a Jack, Snapper, Grouper, or Snook.

You can finally take a breather from the heat and focus on the excellent fishing season at hand this fall. You can find anything from Bonito, King Mackerel, and Flounder to Bluefish on your line.

Fall is here, and with it comes the top-notch Black Drum, Spotted Seatrout, and Redfish fishery. Other species are still very much active, but these three take the center stage in October.

It’s very pleasant on the water when the wind isn’t too strong. The Trout bite is solid, and both Snook and Redfish are roaming the flats and mangrove shorelines, ready to gulp down your bait.

Sheephead is back, as well as Tripletail, Snapper, and Jack Crevalle. If you’d like to stay closer to shore, Redfish action is good in December and you can easily hook a big one.

Sarasota Bay Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Sarasota Bay

Snook

Snook

Redfish

Redfish

Cobia

Cobia

Tarpon

Tarpon

Spotted Seatrout

Spotted Seatrout

Sheepshead

Sheepshead

Jack Crevalle

Jack Crevalle

Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel