You can go deep-sea trolling, drift fishing, surfcasting, bridge fishing…even wade the grass flats for there are at least 1000 species of fish in our Gulf, bays, lakes, rivers and streams.

Non-residents will need a fishing license unless under 16 years of age or on a boat charter. There are minimum lengths, limits and closed season restrictions with licenses available at the Sarasota County Courthouse or local bait shops and sporting goods stores.

If fishing with a Charter
Persons fishing with a licensed operator, who charges fees for fishing, are not required to purchase a fishing license. There are several Fishing Charters along Sarasota’s Bayfront @ Marina Jacks offering deep sea fishing. Reservations can be made by phone or at the dock with your bait and license included in the fare. It is recommended that you bring a hat, sun block, sun glasses, a rag for slimy hands, and if the weather looks questionable, a poncho or other rain protection. Early morning temps may be cool, so you may want to dress in layers.

Fishing Rules, Regulations and License for dropping a line
If you are going to go fish on your own, you MUST purchase a fishing license and you have to obey the fishing regulations.

Saltwater Fishing Licenses
It is necessary to buy a saltwater fishing license when fishing in the coastal waters of the state of Florida (or taking marine species). The waters off the shores of Lido Key are no exception. The license is required for finfish, shellfish and shells. Separate permit stamps are required for taking Snook and crawfish. A special stamp is needed to take and possess a single tarpon. No stamp is needed to catch and release Snook or tarpon.

If Freshwater fishing…a License is required
All non-Florida residents who are 16 or older, fishing in freshwater or brackish water for freshwater fish must have a Florida State Freshwater Fishing License. To obtain a Fishing License, you may go to local bait & tackle shops, sporting goods departments at discount stores, some marinas and hardware stores, as well as the tax collector office.

Call 941.861.8300 (8:30-5:00 Monday – Friday) or Go HERE

Who is Exempt from Purchasing a Fishing License in Florida?

  • Children under sixteen
  • Florida residents older than 65
  • Florida residents fishing in saltwater from land
  • Florida residents fishing in saltwater from a structure fixed to land
  • Persons fishing with a licensed operator of a boat charging fees for fishing
  • Florida residents who are members of the United States Armed Forces, stationed out of state and home on leave.
  • State of Florida department of veterans and community affairs or worker compensation notice of action.
  • Handicapped residents and residents certified totally and permanently disabled.
  • Non-Florida residents fishing from a pier that has paid a license fee.
  • For saltwater licenses, any Florida resident wading in less than 4 ft. of water.

A good rule of thumb is that if you have to pay to fish, you don’t need a license, but ALWAYS make sure.

Great Places to drop a line:

South Lido Park – Game fish are plentiful

Bird Key Flats @ Bird Key Park – Located just before the Ringling Bridge to downtown Sarasota

Saprito Pier – Just after you cross the Ringling Bridge (on the right side), this fishing pier is one of Sarasota’s most popular spots. With a Bait & Tackle shop nearby you can get your license, fish from the pier, around the seawall or along the shore.

Ken Thompson Park on City Island – There’s a bait shop nearby with plenty of room and several piers from which to fish and capture a great view of Sarasota’s downtown

New Pass Bridge – The bridge links Lido Key to Longboat Key. Park on the Longboat Key side.

No matter the season, there’s always something biting!


Fishing Calendar

BLUE FISH          
SPANISH MACKEREL              
SPECKLED TROUT                        


For freshwater fishing at the Myakka State Park, Click: HERE

For freshwater fishing at the Oscar Scherer Park, Click: HERE