The Best Bay and Deep-Sea Fishing in Anna Maria Island

Many tourists visit Anna Maria Island for the white sand beaches, fresh seafood, and unique shopping opportunities. However, there’s one water activity that dominates the rest: fishing! Whether you have been fishing for years or you’re new to the sport, you’re sure to love the bay and deep-sea fishing opportunities near our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals.

Group of people bay fishing

Overview of Bay and Deep-Sea Fishing

Bay and deep-sea fishing are some of the best ways to spend your days on the water at Anna Maria Island. The island is full of prime fishing locations including historic piers, public and private docks, rock jetties, public beaches, and more. Bay fishing can often be done right off of the pier, while you’ll need to rent a boat or a fishing charter if you plan to go deep-sea fishing.

You’re probably wondering what kind of species you should be looking for when you’re fishing on Anna Maria Island, and there is no shortage of incredible varieties. Some of the reef fish in the area include snapper, tilefish, grouper, black sea bass, and barracuda, among others. You’ll also find coastal species like tarpon and snook, as well as shark species and pelagic fish. 

Some fish species like bluefish and mackerel have a year-round open season, while species such as snappers and groupers have closed or restrictive seasons. A simple internet search can tell you which fish will be in season during your stay.

Guy holding a fishing rod on a boat

What to Expect

Fishing around Anna Maria Island can be a fun activity for the whole family, but there are a few things you need to know before you head out to the water. All visitors 16 years and older will need a local license to fish, whether or not you plan to take anything with you. These licenses can be obtained online or at a local bait shop for a small fee. Children 15 years and younger do not need a license. Keep in mind that additional permits are required if you plan to take tarpon, snook, or spiny lobsters.

The best time of day to fish is either during sunrise or sunset, as many species of game fish are active and you can avoid the heat of midday. Make sure that you always bring plenty of water and sunscreen on your excursion. If you don’t want to bring your own fishing pole or other equipment, there are plenty of places to rent. The City Pier and Rod and Reel Pier are a couple popular rental spots, but rentals are abundant throughout the island.

Fishing charter in the water at sunset

If you plan to embark on a fishing charter, there are tons of companies throughout Anna Maria Island. Cortez Deep Sea Fishing has been serving the area for 30 years and offers deep-sea fishing excursions, private charters, and specialty trips. Your rate includes all equipment, license, and ice for your fish, and the crew will even clean and fillet your fish for you!

Another favorite charter company in the area is Just Kickin’ Back Charters, which offers family-friendly excursions perfect for all skill levels. They are one of the few permitted vessels allowed to run past 9 miles in the Gulf of Mexico, giving you the best chance of some premier deep-sea fishing. Choose a charter anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, and be sure to bring some snacks and drinks! The staff will clean and bag your catch for you to take back with you.

Bay and deep-sea fishing in Anna Maria Island is a unique experience that the whole family can get in on. Once you’ve spent your day on the water, head back to one of our Anna Maria Island rentals to relax for another exciting day ahead. We’ve got everything you need to feel right at home on the island. Contact us today to book your getaway!