Avid anglers know that one of the best places to catch fish is on top of a local pier. You can be very young or very old. You can be experienced or a beginner. No boat? No problem. Piers make fishing accessible to everyone. It’s all about understanding the timing, the tides, and the conditions that will keep the fish biting. Tampa has no shortage of fantastic fishing piers, many of which are free and open to the public. Read on to find your new favorite pier in or around the Tampa area:
This pier over Tampa Bay used to be what is now the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, until a large portion of it collapsed after a freighter accident in 1980. A new bridge was built to connect St. Petersburg with Sarasota, and the old bridge was turned into a great spot for anglers. The Skyway Fishing Pier is the world’s longest fishing pier, and probably the most convenient. It’s open at night and you can park your car just feet away from where you want to reel in snook, tarpon, grouper, and other fish. You don’t need a fishing license here and admission fees are dirt cheap—you can hang out for a full 24 hours for $4 per vehicle and $4 per adult. Click here to view rates.
For a freshwater experience near the city, head to Rivercrest Park in the Seminole Heights area. This park houses four fishing piers on the southern side that sit comfortably on the Hillsborough River. The park itself is small and quiet, with a great walking trail and room for canoes and kayaks. You will need a freshwater fishing license to cast your line at River Crest Park. Click here for more information.
Photo Source: Salt Chef
Fort De Soto Park contains 1,136 acres of five interconnected keys. It has two gorgeous piers—one on the bay side and one on the gulf. The Bay Pier surrounds calmer waters, making it a great for a lighter tackle. The Bay Pier also gives you a gorgeous view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and Egmont Key. The Gulf Fishing Pier is a bit longer and brings in larger fish like tarpon and sharks. Both piers have bait, tackle, and food concessions. There’s no need for a fishing license and there’s no charge to fish on either pier, but there is a reasonable $5 car fee to get into the park. Click here for more information.
The 600-foot Ballast Point Fishing Pier is a family-friendly gem located in south Tampa. Park amenities include a splash park, playground, boat dock, a boat ramp, and picnic areas. The base of the pier is home to the Taste of Boston restaurant, which serves New England-style seafood and burgers. The fishing pier is free and open 24 hours a day, with decent lighting during night hours. You will need to have a Florida saltwater fishing license to fish from the Ballast Point Park Pier. Click here for more infomration.
Photo Source: Tampagov.net
Just 15 minutes from Ballast Point Park lies Picnic Island Park, a dog-friendly park with sand volleyball courts and a disc golf area. This is another great spot if you’re bringing the whole family for a day on the water catching snook, trout, flounder, and snapper. This little-known park is a truly hidden gem with beautiful white sand beaches and gorgeous sunsets. The public pier is about 300 feet long and stretches over the southern waters of Old Tampa Bay. It’s free to use, although they do require you to have a fishing license. The Picnic Island Park Pier also sits next to an extra-wide, extra convenient, concrete boat ramp. Click here for more information.
Photo Source: Trip Adviser