Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is surrounded by saltwater. So, it is no wonder then that saltwater fishing is one of the top recreational sports in the state. According to Ron Brooks, About.com's Ex-Guide to Saltwater Fishing, most saltwater fishermen (and women) don't own a boat. So where do they choose to fish? A pier, of course... and Florida has plenty of those. But, not all are for just fishing... many hold surprises that make them perfect day trip destinations.
Salt Water Fishing License Requirements
Generally salt water fishing licenses are required for Florida residents and visitors; however, those fishing from piers that hold a Salt Water Pier Fishing License are covered when fishing from that pier, so no license is required.
Pier 60 - Clearwater
Sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico are legendary and sunsets at Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach are reason to celebrate! Hundreds gather each evening to enjoy the spectacular view, festive atmosphere and live entertainment on one of the Gulf's best beaches.
Skyway Fishing Pier State Park
Advertised as the world's longest fishing pier, it was formed out of the old Skyway Bridge after it was damaged during the well-publicized shipping accident of 1980. The pier is open 24 hours a day and is well lit for anglers to enjoy round-the-clock salt water fishing.
Cocoa Beach Pier
Located on the beach that is synonymous with surfing, this historical landmark features five restaurants, four bars, live entertainment and an 800 ft. long fishing pier that juts into the Atlantic Ocean.
Whether you go for the adjacent boardwalk amusement thrills or to cast a line and catch your own dinner or for the popular Crabby Joes Restaurant which serves some of the best seafood in the area, you'll want to stay for the sunset... it's beautiful!
Mallory Square Pier - Key West
A nightly ritual, Key West celebrates its spectacular sunsets at Mallory Square and the historic pier overlooking Key West Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. The orange-red sky provides a backdrop for the carnival-like atmosphere that features live entertainment.
Handicap accessible the pier is an impressive 20-ft wide and juts 1,320 feet into the Atlantic. It offers anglers access to deep-water species of fish and caters to the fishermen with fish cleaning stations, bait shops, concessions, and restrooms. No saltwater fishing license is required, but hours are limited and there is a small admission fee.
Advertised as the longest and friendliest pier on the Gulf of Mexico, the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned fisherman, you'll feel welcome. Besides pole and equipment rental, the little diner offers hamburgers, hotdogs, snacks and refreshing drinks. Don't fish? Don't despair. The Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier offers plenty of sights to see and photo opportunities, including marine birds and beautiful sunsets!
Pinellas County's Fort DeSoto Park offers anglers two fishing piers — one on the bay-side and one on the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf Pier is the longest at 1,000 feet and no fishing license is required. Whether or not you catch any fish, you can catch a glimpse of the Sunshine Skyway bridge that links Pinellas and Manatee Counties and the historic Egmont Key.
Stroll the historic landmark which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike to fish, people-, bird- and dolphin-watch, as well as watch the sun set into the Gulf of Mexico.