Lido Key Fishing Charters and Fishing Seasons

Lido Key offers so much to do, from the incredible beaches to the mouthwatering seafood to the breathtaking nature all around you. But what if there were one activity that combined all three of these features? There is! Fishing in Lido Key is a great way to experience all highlights of the area. Imagine being with your family kayaking on the water, soaking up the sun, seeing the stunning wildlife and waves, and catching a few fish for your dinner that evening. You can make it happen, all just minutes from our Lido Key vacation rentals.

Where to Fish on Lido Key

On Lido Key, there are several great spots for fishing right on the beach. North Lido Beach is a great example. From the public parking area, you’ll have to walk about 10 minutes to get to the fishing point, but it’s well worth the journey. This area is shallow with tons of sandbars, easily accessible for any member of your group. You’re likely to find fish species like pompano, ladyfish, and Spanish mackerel. Be aware that tides here can get quite swift, so be careful when wading in the water.

Another great spot for fishing from the shore is Lido Key Public Beach. Since this beach is so popular for swimmers, fishermen will find the beach less crowded in the early morning or late afternoon. When you visit during these times, you have a good shot at catching flounder, whiting, sheepshead, and more. 

If you don’t plan to rent a boat, your best bet for fishing is at South Lido Beach. Head to the southwest point where the tide cuts really close to shore, giving you the best chance to catch jacks, bluefish, snook, ladyfish, and others. Wading is prohibited here since the tides are so strong, but you can have an amazing time fishing from the shore. While the southwest point is where a lot of fishermen prefer, there are also great opportunities up and down the shoreline.

sarasota fishing spot

Where to Fish in Sarasota

Lido Key is only about 10 minutes away from Sarasota, so you can easily head to the next city over and have even more fishing territory to take advantage of. When you’re making your way between Lido Key and Sarasota, you will have to cross over the Ringling Bridge. The Ringling Bridge Causeway Park is actually a popular fishing spot! There’s plenty of space for everyone to spread out, so you can wade on the flats to find your perfect spot. You can grab bait from Hart’s Landing on the mainland side of the bridge, then cast your line to try for mackerel, snapper, snook, and more.

If you want a fishing spot that gives you so much more, head to Myakka River State Park. This location is one of Florida’s oldest and largest parks, where you have the opportunity for fishing, wildlife tours, bicycling, birding, hiking, horseback riding, and so much more. As far as your fishing chances go, be sure you have a Florida Freshwater Fishing License before you visit, since you can’t buy them at the park. You can stroll to Upper Myakka Lake and Myakka River to cast your line. Many people opt for fishing from the bridge, where you’ll have an incredible view of the wildlife all around you. Just be sure to leave the alligators alone!

Located right on John Ringling Causeway is Bird Key Park, a popular destination for biking, canoeing, birding, picnicking, and (of course!) fishing. The park opens early at 5 a.m., so you can get out on the water before anyone else does. This picturesque area is the perfect place to watch the sunrise and get your fishing time in while the world is still waking up. 

Do I Need a Fishing License?

In the vast majority of cases, you will need a fishing license to fish anywhere in the state of Florida. There are a few exceptions, but for visitors to Lido Key, there are typically two cases where you may be exempt from needing a license: youth under 16, and Florida residents over 65. Every now and then, Free Fishing Days will be held where you are not required to have a fishing license. 

There are different licenses for saltwater fishing or freshwater fishing, so if you’re not sure which one you’ll need, check with the location where you plan to fish. To obtain your license, you can visit to get it online, visit a license agent or tax collector’s office in person, or call toll-free 888-FISH-FLORIDA. 

Local Fishing Charters

If you don’t want to go fishing on your own, you might want to consider a fishing charter. You’ll be given all the equipment you need, and a knowledgeable captain will take you to the right spots for finding exactly the types of fish you want to catch. We have two captains that we usually recommend to guests. We have worked with Captain Jason Stock and Captian Brian Peacock for years and they always do a great job for guests.

Adventure Charters with Captain Jim Klopfer services both Sarasota and Lido Key, giving you the best of both worlds! Captain Jim welcomes fishermen of all ages and skill levels, from the youngest and newest anglers all the way up to the pros. You can book a charter on Sarasota Bay or on the river. You can even go fly fishing! Charters start at $400 for 4 hours including 1-4 people.

Magic Fishing Adventures is another popular local charter, and Captain Alan Routh is the man in charge. Captain Alan has spent more than 40 years fishing in the Sarasota area and is a member of the Florida Guides Association. Your entire family is welcome aboard to cast their lines and enjoy a day on the water. You can select a 4-hour or 6-hour charter for $500 and $700, respectively, with 1-4 anglers each. 

Annual Fishing Tournaments

Sarasota is known for its incredible fishing, so it only makes sense that there are tons of fishing tournaments in the area! You can either watch as the anglers try for the big catch or register to get a piece of the action! The Sarasota Tarpon Tournament is a big draw for crowds from far and wide. Typically, there are five weeks of fishing throughout the summer that conclude with an awards banquet honoring the best catches. This event has been an area staple since 1930, so if you’re passionate about fishing, you don’t want to miss out!

You can also get involved in the Sarasota Grand Slam Fishing Tournament, held annually in spring. This is a quick tournament held in one day where fishermen try to catch the best redfish, snook, and trout. After the fishing is done, an awards ceremony and barbecue dinner wraps everything up, with proceeds going toward childhood cancer research.

Finally, be sure to look into the Sarasota Slam MSBIA Fishing Tournament. This tournament spans several days throughout August and is definitely one to come out for. Fishing happens on Thursday and Friday, and there’s a fun silent auction before the weigh-in on Sunday. Partial proceeds from this tournament go to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Of all the fun things to do in Lido Key, fishing has to be one of the best. With all the incredible locations, charters, and tournaments in Lido Key and Sarasota, there’s always something new to discover!

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