The Ultimate Guide to Fishing from the Piers in Anna Maria Island

If you’re looking for things to do in Anna Maria Island, fishing should be toward the top of your list. It’s a family-friendly activity that just about anyone can participate in, and the island is full of tons of great fishing spots. While you can spend a day on a fishing charter, it can be more convenient and cheaper to head to the piers to cast your line! But there are a few things you should know before you head out of our Anna Maria Island vacation rentals and make your way to the pier.

people fishing off the pier on AMI

Fishing Licenses

First and foremost, you’ll need to get your fishing license before you can do anything else. Every guest to the Sunshine State 16 years old or older is required to have a license for saltwater or freshwater fishing. Even if you have a fishing license in your home state, you will need to get a visitors’ license to use during your time in Florida.

Especially if you plan to take any fish with you, you have to have a license. However, check with whatever pier you plan to fish on. If the given pier has a valid saltwater pier license, then you may not need one. Children under age 16 are not required to get a license, and you are able to fish without a license on free saltwater fishing days, which are the first consecutive Saturday and Sunday in June, the first Saturday in September, and the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

Your license will be valid for one year from the day it is issued, so if you’re on an extended trip, you’ll be good for a while. Licenses can be purchased online, by phone, or in person at a tax collector’s office, as well as some bait and tackle shops or big box retailers like Wal-Mart or Sports Authority.

Rent Equipment

Now that you’ve got your license, you need equipment! But don’t worry, you don’t have to lug your pole and tackle box with you on your vacation. There are tons of rental companies in the area that make fishing in Anna Maria Island that much easier. You can find rental agencies near all three of the island’s piers, where you can pick up rods, bait, tackle, and any other fishing gear you might need.

Often, you don’t even need to seek out a rental company to get all your things. Two of the piers we’re about to discuss offer equipment rentals right on-site, so you can get everything you need all in one place. The businesses of Anna Maria Island make it easy to grab all your things and get to fishing right away! 

If you’re in the City of Anna Maria, AMI Outfitters is a good spot to rent your fishing equipment and purchase your bait. Lazy Turtle Beach Rentals is another reliable option for all your fishing needs. You’re not likely to find much in the way of fishing equipment rentals in Holmes Beach, perhaps because it’s in the middle of the island and doesn’t have a pier, but it’s still not far to the neighboring cities. In Bradenton Beach, fishing equipment rentals can come from Bridge Street Bait Shop, Island Discount Tackle, and a number of other local establishments. 

Rod and Reel Pier

Rod and Reel Pier is known for being a popular restaurant featuring mouthwatering local seafood, but the eponymous pier is an incredible destination for fishing. This pier is popular with locals and visitors alike, but rest assured, you’ll always be able to find a spot to cast your line despite the crowds. The pier extends about 350 feet out into the water, giving you plenty of waves to take advantage of.

The Rod and Reel Pier charges a fee of $2 per person to fish, making this an incredibly budget-friendly activity. Equipment rates are low as well, at just $2 per hour for a pole rental and $3.50 for a frozen bag of shrimp to use as bait. You’ll be able to catch all kinds of different species like snook, snapper, tarpon, cobia, and more. If someone in your group isn’t that interested in fishing, they can sit with you and enjoy the view or head into the restaurant to grab a bite to eat.

The City Pier

The Anna Maria Island City Pier is worth visiting even when you’re not fishing! This iconic location has been a staple of the community for more than 100 years, and it recently went through massive renovations after being impacted by Hurricane Irma. There are vendors nearby that can sell you a license and provide equipment rentals, so you’ll have everything you need in one spot before you head onto the pier. This pier is quite a bit longer than Rod and Reel, stretching out almost 700 feet into the water. 

The fishing opportunities here are nothing short of phenomenal since many incredible species are known to hang out around the pier. Look out for varieties like snapper, sheepshead, black drum, and jack crevalle, among others. Beginners and expert anglers alike have been known to flock to the City Pier for its all-star fishing, and if you happen to strike out and don’t catch your dinner, there are plenty of nearby restaurants to indulge in. Best of all, this pier does have a fishing license, saving you money!

Bradenton Beach Pier

While the two other piers on AMI are located in the City of Anna Maria on the north side of the island, Bradenton Beach Pier is on the south end. This pier has undergone renovations like its Anna Maria counterpart, seeing major storm damage in both 2004 and 2010. By the pier, you’ll find a retail shop, bathhouse, and bait shop. This pier extends about 550 feet into the water of Sarasota Bay.

Plan Your Visit

After a long day of fishing, celebrate your victory with a nice dinner before you head back to one of our Anna Maria Island rentals. We’ve got plenty of options for smaller families in our 1- and 2-bedroom rentals, or if you’ve got more people along for the ride, we also have 3- and 4-bedroom rentals on Anna Maria Island. Contact us today to start planning your dream vacation!

There is a portion of the pier with a floating day dock which is available on a first come, first served basis. Once you get out onto the pier, expect to find species like amberjack, barracuda, mackerel, snook, and more. Cool off in the shade at the Richard P. Suhre Pavilion, and grab a refreshing drink or unique souvenir at one of the shops along historic Bridge Street.

These are three of the most popular fishing piers in Anna Maria Island, but if you just can’t get enough, take the opportunity to rent a boat or book a fishing charter. This way, you can venture out into the water and find more species that don’t tend to come up toward the shore. It’s a great way to get the whole family involved!