17 Best Bradenton Fishing Spots

17 Best Bradenton fishing spots

Here is a comprehensive list of my 17 Best Bradenton fishing spots! Bradenton lies in a strategically advantageous spot on the south end of Tampa Bay. It offers anglers a wide variety of fishing opportunities.

The best approach for fishing the deep flats is to drift while casting lures or live bait. Once a school is located, anglers can anchor up and work that spot thoroughly. Anglers fishing the shallow flats cast topwater plugs and weedless spoons and jigs. It is a bit more challenging keeping the bait out of the shallow grass. Waders do well here as to fishermen in shall draft boats and kayaks.

Reefs, bridges, piers, and other structure provide structure that attracts bottom fish. Sheepshead, grouper, snapper, flounder, drum, sea bass and other species will be found in these spots. Live shrimp fished on the bottom will catch them up.

Florida fishing license requirements can be a bit complicated. Out of state anglers need a license to fish, unless they are on a pier that has a license. Guests fishing the Rod and Reel Pier, Bridge Street Pier, and Sunshine Skyway Pier do not need a license. Florida residents need a license to fish from shore, but it is free. Check for license requirements.

17 best Bradenton fishing spots

Capt Jim has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. Anglers who are interested in purchasing the equipment that he uses and writes about in his articles and reports can do so on the PRODUCTS page.

#1 Bradenton fishing spot; NORTH SARASOTA BAY

the grass flats in north Sarasota Bay provide anglers with some prime shallow water inshore fishing. Lush grass flats north of Long Bar to Cortez on the east side of Sarasota Bay are very good for trout, snook, and redfish. Deeper flats closer to the Intracoastal Waterway are good for trout, pompano, Spanish mackerel, and other species.

#2 Bradenton fishing spot; LONGBOAT PASS

Longboat Pass is a very good fishing spot in Bradenton. It connects the Gulf of Mexico with the north end of Sarasota Bay. Shore anglers can fish the pass from the bulkhead, docks, or the rock jetty. They can also fish from the bridge. Anglers with boats will do well drifting the pass for pompano and fishing the bridge pilings for snapper and sheepshead. Spanish mackerel will school up at the mouth of the pass, especially on an outgoing tide. There is a boat ramp as well.


Anglers can fish both the Bridge Street Pier and Cortez Rd Bridge for a variety of species. Snook, redfish, sheepshead, snapper, pompano, mackerel, ladyfish, flounder, grouper, ladyfish and other species will be attracted to the structure. The Cortez Rd Bridge is a terrific night snook spot on a falling tide. Nice grass flats surround the Bridge Street Pier.

#4 Bradenton fishing spot; PALMA SOLA BAY

Palma Sola Bay is another good Bradenton fishing spot. It is shallow with some deeper holes. Speckled trout will gang up here in the winter. The action can be fantastic when a school is located! Snook and redfish will also be found here. Shore bound anglers can access the area from the causeway on Manatee Ave. They can fish from shore or wade. Kayak anglers have a great launching area and Palma Sola Bay is protected from a north wind.

#5 Bradenton fishing spot; MANATEE AVE BRIDGE

The Manatee Ave Bridge crosses Anna Maria Sound and provides anglers a platform from which to fish. The same species that are caught at the Cortez Rd Bridge are found here as well. It is a bit longer with nice grass flats on both sides. It has excellent tidal flow, is relatively low to the water and is a very good fishing bridge.

#6 Bradenton fishing spot; BEACHES

The Anna Maria beaches offer great fishing for surf anglers. Whiting, silver trout, sheepshead, pompano, Spanish mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, flounder, and other species are landed there all year. Snook fishing can be terrific in the summer time. There are many access points for the public to fish the beaches.

#7 Bradenton fishing spot; INSHORE ARTIFICIAL REEFS

Several inshore reefs were constructed in the Gulf of Mexico off of the Bradenton beaches. There are fish magnets in the otherwise barren Gulf of Mexico floor. Bottom fish are caught along with pelagic species such as mackerel and false albacore.

3 Mile North Reef 27.29.99 82.47.00

1 Mile North Reef 27.29.41 82.44.99

Near Shore Reef 27.26.99 82.41.83

3 Mile South Reef 27.26.56 82.44.85

#8 Bradenton fishing spot; ANNA MARIA SOUND

Anna Maria Sound has some great grass flats, both shallow and deep, that offer good fishing for just about every inshore species. The Sound empties into Tampa Bay. The area gets very good current flow

#9 Bradenton fishing spot; BEAN POINT

Bean Point sits in an ideal location for fishing. Current flow is very strong as it sweeps around the point. Snook fishing is very good in the summer. Tarpon fishing is world class from May through July. Permit will be found there as well. Spanish mackerel and pompano are caught in Passage Key Pass.

#10 Bradenton fishing spot; ROD AND REEL PIER

The Rod and Reel Pier is the best fishing pier in Bradenton. It sits along the north end of Anna Maria Island and sticks out into Tampa Bay. Bait fish are attracted to the pier and this in turn attracts the game fish. Snook, sheepshead, snapper, drum, and mackerel are just a few of the available species. Anglers can get bait and tackle here as well.

#11 Bradenton fishing spot; THE BULKHEAD

The Bulkhead is a famous Bradenton fishing spot. Local charter boat captains fill their livewells with bait fish here. Sloping grass points create current breaks. The entire area has gorgeous grass flats. The Bulkhead Artificial Reef lies at 27.33.19 82.42.37


The Southeast Tampa artificial reef sits in a great spot just off the mouth of Anna Maria Sound. It attracts bottom fish such as sheepshead, snapper, flounder, grouper, and other species. Spanish mackerel and ladyfish will also be found on top of the structure.


Desoto National Memorial Park is one of the best sods to wade in Bradenton. Shallow flats extend out into the Manatee River right near the mouth. Snook, redfish, and speckled trout can be caught in the lush grass. Low, incoming tides are best. This is also a good spot for kayak anglers to launch their crafts and fish.


Emerson Point lies on the north side of the mouth of the Manatee River. A long sloping point with shallow water and nice grass result is a good spot for wading anglers as well as those in shallow draft flats boats. Redfish, snook, trout, snapper, and mackerel are usually present. The shallow flats gradually drop off into slightly deeper water. These are very good trout flats.


The Manatee River has some very good fishing. In the warmer months, fish will be found near the mouth of the river at Emerson Point and the Bulkhead. As it cools off, fish will move up into the river. Anglers can fish from the Green Bridge Pier. In winter, snook and jack crevalle will move all the way up the river into the brackish portions. There are nice boat ramps at Green Bridge Pier and Warner’s Bayou.


Terra Ceia is a great fishing spot! It has a nice combination of shallow flats, mangrove shorelines, and some deeper flats. A nice shallow bar at the mouth offers good sight fishing. Edges of the bar are good for speckled trout and other species. Snook will push up into the upper end in winter. This really is a cool little bay with some very good fishing!

#17 SUNSHINE SKYWAY PIER (not pictured)

While not in Bradenton, the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier is a short drive away and can be a fantastic fishing spot for anglers without a boat. Cars are allowed to drive on it, making it convenient. There is no need to carry a bunch of gear a long way. Bait and tackle are available. Just about every Tampa Bay fish species will be caught here at one time of year, depending on conditions.

In conclusion, this list of the 17 best Bradenton fishing spots will help anglers find, and catch, more fish!

Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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