Anna Maria Island, just a little bit of paradise….
Anna Maria Island offers it’s share of water adventures, from fishing charters and island marine ecology tours to parasailing, boat rentals and marine research. We surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay and the intracoastal waterway, with the canal systems networking throughout the island.
Gulf of Mexico Fishing:
You have the option of hiring a fishing charter or renting a boat and adventuring out on your own. For a sure fire fish dinner, I would suggest calling Stray Dog Charters. The captain, Scott Greer, has many years of experience on the gulf waters, and fish find it difficult to hide from him. Stray Dog offers, full or partial day charters… and your fish will be cleaned at the dock and ready for you to enjoy as soon as you get home.
Generally you need a license to fish. You can purchase licenses at any Wal-Mart or Kmart stores in Manatee County.
Currently you don’t need a license for:
- Children younger than 16 and Florida residents older than 65.
- Florida residents fishing in saltwater from land or 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
**However, free fishing is about to disappear in Florida, check licensing information for updates
Anna Maria Island offers three fishing piers – a fun, lazy-day pastime for residents and island guests alike.
The Bradenton Beach fishing pier is at the end of historic Bridge Street. You can start your day with coffee at the City Pier Cafe and enjoy a meal at the Cafe at the end of the day if your ‘fishing’ was less than successful (a rare, but not unheard of event). If you just want to fish and your family has other aspirations, you can keep them near by sending them out to shop along the Bridge Street boutiques.
The Rod and Reel Pier on Tampa Bay in Anna Maria City offers a great spot for fishing along with many legends about the Sharks fought and caught from that very pier.
Also in Anna Maria City is the historic City Pier. A hurricane in the 80’s pretty much destroyed the pier, but it has since been restored and offers a bait shop and a restaurant. Locals gather on this pier and will be more than happy to share their ‘fish tales’, or offer the novice help in getting that bait on the hook.
You’ll also find anglers on the Longboat Pass Bridge. There always seems to be someone casting a line from the bridge that connects Bradenton Beach to the north end of Longboat Key.
You can always drop a line from any of the island bridges: Palma Sola Bay, Perico Bayou and Anna Maria Sound and Palma Sola Bay, or if you are renting a villa with a dock – just try your luck.
Waterports and Activities:
There are serveral captains who offer shelling and snorkeling tours, fishing charters, dinner cruises, bird watching tours, historical trips to Ft. Dade on Egmont Key.
There are many rental shops along the gulf and intracoastal where one can rent a wave runner or small sailboat for a day of fun in the sun. On the other hand you might just want to learn about the marine life in and around the Gulf of Mexico at the Mote Marine Laboratory
There are a few island tours available. I might suggest Capt. Randy Stewart’s Lil’Toot Charters. Ride aboard the 26 ft classic tugboat Lil’TooT and learn about the nature and ecology of the west coast of Florida.