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Best Times & Seasons to Fish near Sarasota (Complete Guide)


In Addition to Siesta Key beach vibes and sandbars, Sarasota also offers some of the best fishing in Florida throughout the year. Knowing the best time of year to fish these rich waters can make a huge difference. The best fishing times for Tampa & St. Petersburg are from May through early September for king mackerel, grouper, permit, tarpon, snook, and redfish. Winter is typically the slowest fishing season in these coastal waters.

Fish Species Best Times to Fish near Sarasota

Sarasota is known as one of the most popular fishing destinations in Florida. Every year the city attracts so many adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts as well as fishermen. Both beginners and highly professional anglers choose to experience fishing in Sarasota.
a person holding a fish swimming under water

(Image courtesy of Chasin’ Tail Fishing Charters (Sarasota) & Fishing Booker) The area provides anglers with fantastic fishing opportunities all year round. There are many great fishing spots in Sarasota. Here, you can enjoy fishing from shore, bridges, and piers or on beaches. Or, maybe, deep-sea fishing is more to your liking? Anglers can target many different species and have a good chance to catch trophy fish. No matter where and how you decide to fish in the area, you will manage to get the most out of your time and have unforgettable fishing adventures.

Best Time to Fish Sarasota

According to the opinions of so many anglers, the best time to fish Sarasota is between March and August. The vast majority of fish species get active during these months.

Some species of fish bite well in Sarasota all year round. For example, it’s possible to catch cobia, mahi mahi, flounder, mackerel, redfish as well as speckled trout and tripletail at any time of the year. However, there are seasonal species of fish that are active during certain times of the year. It would be better to fish for amberjack between January and May and between August and December.

The season to fish for gag grouper starts in April and lasts till June. Tarpon is the most active between May and October. If you want to target snook, go fishing between March and April and between September and November.

Sarasota fishing needs to be planned carefully. First of all, you need to decide what species you are planning to catch during your fishing trip to Sarasota. After that, you should study the bite times and analyze the weather forecast. This will help you select the best time to fish in the area.

Sarasota Species Breakdown: Best Time

The area impresses anglers with a long list of available fish species. When fishing in Sarasota, fishermen can catch a wide variety of species.

Here, we’ll share the list of the most common Sarasota species and provide anglers with information on the best bite times and fishing spots. So, you’ll find it easy to plan your fishing trip.


Sarasota is the right place to target snook. Catching snook provides anglers with a lot of fun. It’s a good idea to fish for snook on beaches or in the bay.

It’s worth noting that a lot of shore anglers come to the area to enjoy catching snook. Fishermen can fish for snook from bridges and piers. Take advantage of surf fishing to catch trophy fish. Actually, it’s possible to fish for snook all year round. However, anglers achieve the best results when fishing for snook between March and April and between September and November. Stephen’s Point is one of the best fishing spots to target snook in the area. Anglers, who choose to target snook in the winter, should try fishing in residential canals as well as rivers. It makes sense to fish for snook in Manatee, Myakka, and Braden rivers during the winter months.


Sarasota Bay has become a popular fishing location among anglers, who are interested in targeting flounder. The flounder can be found in the nearshore waters. Also, it would be great to try to catch flounder near Pop Jantzen Reef. It’s an artificial reef. Here, fishermen can catch flounder each month of the year.

Spotted Seatrout

Spotted seatrout is also one of the most common species of fish in Sarasota. This fish is active all year round. Anglers find it easy to catch it. Long Bar is a great place to target spotted seatrout in the area.


Those anglers, who give a preference to bottom fishing, have a chance to catch grouper. In fact, both beginners and professional anglers can enjoy fishing groupers. Groupers are great fighters. It would be better to target groupers in offshore waters. Anglers can catch different species of groupers during their fishing trips. It’s possible to target gag grouper, snook grouper as well as black grouper and red grouper. Groupers can be caught anywhere in the area and at any time of the year. However, gag grouper is the most active between April and July. Snook grouper can be found near Big Sarasota Pass.


Very often anglers catch cobia during their Sarasota fishing trips. It’s important to know that cobia bites well year-round. Cobia is often found near the grassy areas in the Gulf of Mexico. If you would like to catch cobia, then it would be better for you to visit Middle Grounds.


It’s no surprise that catching redfish is a very popular activity in the area. Anglers can catch redfish in Sarasota and its surrounding areas at any time of the year. Redfish can be found near underwater structures. Big Sarasota Pass is an ideal fishing spot to catch redfish.


Bluefish is another common fish in Sarasota. The season to catch bluefish starts in the middle of the summer and lasts till the early fall. Bluefish are very active during this period of time. Ideally, anglers should try to catch bluefish at night. The fish is the most active in the late evening and until the early morning. It’s a great time of the day to fish for bluefish. Go to Middle Grounds to enjoy fishing for bluefish.


Ladyfish is very fun to catch. Fishing for ladyfish always provides anglers with a lot of excitement. The fish is not difficult to catch, so beginners and children can learn how to catch it easily and quickly. What is interesting about ladyfish is that it can be found in salt and fresh water. The season to catch ladyfish in the area starts in the spring and lasts till the fall. Go to Middle Grounds if you are interested in targeting ladyfish in Sarasota.


Sarasota offers great opportunities to fishermen, who like to target sheepshead. It’s possible to fish for sheepshead in the area all year round. However, the fish is the most active during the colder months. So, the season to catch sheepshead in Sarasota is high between December and April. Fishermen usually find it easy to catch sheepshead during these months. The fish can be found near bridges and docks. Anglers should visit Big Sarasota Pass to enjoy fishing for sheepshead.


It’s worth noting that a lot of anglers in Sarasota choose to catch tarpon. Fishing for tarpon is interesting, highly emotional, and unpredictable. The season to catch tarpon starts in May and lasts till October.

However, you need to know that tarpon belongs to the category of catch-and-release species according to the local fishing regulations in Sarasota.

Best Time of Day to Fish Sarasota Anglers in Sarasota usually get the best results in the spring and summer. The vast majority of fish species actively feed during a warm season. It’s important to note that the weather is hot and temperatures are high throughout the day. That’s why it would be great to go fishing in the early morning. It’s also important to note that it’s more comfortable to fish in the morning during the hot summer months. Water gets colder and this has a positive impact on the activity of fish.

a man holding a fish on a boat

(Image courtesy of Ultimate Fishing Adventures (Sarasota) & Fishing Booker) Sarasota Fishing & Tidal Impacts The reality is, tides don’t have an impact on offshore fishing. Nevertheless, tides affect fishing from shore. That’s why anglers should always take into consideration the local tidal times if they are planning inshore fishing trips in the area. Fishing in Sarasota is the most productive during the incoming tides.

Storms & Sarasota Fishing Sarasota is known for summertime storms. Tropical storms often happen in the area in summer. And of course, storms affect the activity of fish and fishing in the area. Fish is inactive during storms. But most importantly, storms as well as rainstorms make fishing impossible and pose a risk to anglers. That’s why fishing during storms should be avoided.

However, it’s possible to fish before and after storms. Anglers in Sarasota should always check the weather forecast before going fishing. It would be great to fish several days before storms.

Fishing is productive during these days. Anglers should go fishing after storms as well. Storms bring fish closer to the shore. High tides after storms create the ideal conditions for fishing.

Is Winter Fishing Bad or Good in Sarasota? As we have already said, anglers can enjoy fishing in Sarasota at any time of the year. Some fish species are active year-round. There are species of fish that can be caught only seasonally.

Winter fishing is also possible in the area. Winter is a great time to catch many different species of fish including amberjack, cobia, flounder, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, mahi mahi, redfish as well as speckled trout, and tripletail. You need to know that these species of fish are active during the winter months.

Night Fishing in Sarasota Night fishing in Sarasota is very productive as well. Night fishing tours are always available for anglers in the area.

During these tours, anglers target the species, which are known due to active feeding at night. Sarasota is the ideal place to enjoy night snook fishing. Keep in mind that Sarasota snook fishing is excellent! Shore/Surf Fishing: Best Times & Seasons Surf fishing is a great way to relax and enjoy beautiful views of Saporito city. Keep in mind that surf fishing is an easy type of fishing for anglers without boats. Nevertheless, this fishing method allows anglers to target an array of fishing species.

Anglers choose to fish either on a beach or from piers in Saprito. Pier fishing is very popular in Sarasota. Among the piers in the area where anglers can enjoy fishing are: Rod & Reel Pier, Tony Saprito Pier as well as Whitaker Gateway Park Fishing Pier.

Top 5 Fishing Spots in Sarasota

Sarasota has a lot of great fishing spots. The spots provide excellent fishing opportunities. Here, anglers can catch a variety of fish species at any time of the year. And of course, you should select the best fishing spots when planning a fishing trip in the area. Now, we’ll tell you about some of the best fishing spots in Sarasota. So, you’ll know what species to target and the best seasons to fish in these spots.

Big Sarasota Pass

Big Sarasota Pass is famous for its underwater structure. The fishing spot impresses anglers with its abundance of fish.

Among the most common species of fish that you can catch in this spot are grouper, snapper, redfish, sheepshead, and others. Here, fishing is the most productive during the spring and summer months. February is a great time of the year to visit the fishing spot if you are interested in targeting sheepshead. Early morning is the best time of the day to fish Big Sarasota Pass.

Long Bar

Long Bar is a very popular fishing spot among anglers, who give a preference to inshore fishing. It’s the place where fishermen can relax and enjoy catching spotted seatrout as well as redfish. Here, you can fish at any time of the year. Middle Grounds Oftentimes, anglers choose to visit Middle Grounds during their Sarasota fishing trips. Here, you can target many different species of fish such as bluefish, cobia, ladyfish, and snapper. It would be better to fish Middle Grounds between June and July. Red snapper is the most active during these months.

Stephen’s Point

Stephen’s Point is best known among anglers who are interested in trout fishing. The fishing spot attracts anglers, who would like to target spotted seatrout. Here, you can catch other fish species as well. Fishermen have a chance to catch bluefish, redfish as well as snook in the Stephen’s Point area. So, anglers can go fishing in this spot whenever they can and want. It’s possible to enjoy fishing in Stephen’s Point all year round.

Pop Jantzen Reef

It makes a lot of sense to try to fish in Sarasota Bay. The bay is popular due to its artificial reef that’s known as Pop Jantzen Reef. It’s a great idea to fish around the reef. Here, anglers can catch many different species. These include bluefish, flounder, snapper, sheepshead, and many other species of fish. Fishermen can fish near Pop Jantzen Reef at any time of the year. It goes without saying that you will enjoy fishing in the bay.

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