Bridge fishing in the Florida Keys is one of the best ways to experience the Sunshine State. Take a drive down the 113-mile Overseas Highway, and you’ll understand why. 42 bridges connect the Keys, and there are countless fish beneath them. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just getting started, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to drop a line. Here’s everything you need to know about bridge fishing in the Florida Keys.
When to Fish
One of the most appealing aspects of bridge fishing in the Florida Keys is the Keys are a fisherman’s dream, with hundreds of varieties of seasonal and year-round species of fish. It should be on the bucket list of every angler. Because the climate in this part of the state is relatively warm and stable, you won’t have to worry about the cold winters, which can make fishing difficult. Fishing in the Florida Keys is fantastic year-round, with different prized catches each season.
Spring is arguably the best season for catching large fish. The Keys come alive in the spring, and you’ll catch a ton of fish. During the season, you can expect to catch tarpon, muton snapper, permit, barracuda, mangrove snapper, and many other species.
Summer is another good time to fish the Keys bridges. The water is warm, and there is plenty of bait fish around for the bigger fish to feed on. Bring your sunscreen and hat because the Florida sun is hot. The fish are also looking for shade and tend to gather in the shade of the bridge.
Fall is the most relaxed season in the Florida Keys, and it offers some of the best fishing for Snapper, Grouper, and Barracuda. If you don’t like crowds and prefer a more relaxed, fishing-focused atmosphere, this is the place to be.
Winter fishing in the Florida Keys is excellent. After the first cold front of the year, the Mackerel began running, bringing in anglers from all over to catch some. The sub-topic climate of the Florida Keys means it never gets too cold around here, even during the winter. Making the Florida Keys the perfect escape from the bitter northern winters.
Where to Fish
Now that you know when to fish the Keys bridges, it’s time to choose a spot. There are dozens of bridges to choose from, so you’re sure to find one perfect for your fishing style. Here are a few of the best spots to try:
1. Seven Mile Bridge:
This bridge is one of the most popular fishing spots in the Keys. It spans the distance between Marathon and Little Duck Key and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. There is also a pedestrian path on the bridge, so you can fish without worrying about traffic.
2. Long Key Bridge:
This bridge spans the distance between Long Key and Conch Key. It is a popular spot for tarpon fishing, Snapper, Permit, sharks, and other saltwater species.
3. Channel 2 and 5:
These two bridges are on either side of Craig key, with equally great fishing all year round. Each angler has their preference of which bridge they prefer. Whichever you choose to fish you will be able to catch a variety of fish
4. Bahia Honda Bridge:
This bridge is one of the longest in the Keys, spanning the distance between Bahia Honda and Spanish Harbor Key. It’s a popular spot for fishing for tarpon, snapper, and grouper, as well as other saltwater fish.
5. Tom’s Harbor Bridge:
Is located between Little Conch Key and Duck Key and is one of the best in the Florida Keys for night fishing, especially sharking fishing.
Gear to use when fishing Florida Keys Bridges
Fish directly from the bridge or drift near the bridge on a boat to conquer the Florida Keys bridges. The best part is that you don’t have to be an experienced angler to succeed. If you’re visiting the Florida Keys Marina for the first time, there are a few things you should know.
Most anglers bring chum bags with them just to get the fish going before sinking the bait. Menhaden can be dropped into the water either in a chum bag or directly into the water. Allow it to do its thing before rigging your hook.
Shrimp, crabs, pilchards, and pinfish are all popular live bait options in this area. Live shrimp is the best bait for a wide range of fish. However, tiny critters pecking away at your bait may bore you after a while. Use pinfish to catch larger fish because they are more difficult to remove from the hook and have a better chance of staying on the hook.
Fishing from a bridge is difficult because the fish may dart and wrap around the bridge colums, cutting your line. Use a monofilament line for greater flexibility. A braided line, on the other hand, allows you to better luck.
Bridge Hopping: Things to Know
Now that you know where to fish the Keys bridges, it’s time to start bridge hopping. Bridge hopping is a popular pastime for anglers in the Keys, as it allows you to target various fish.
Here are a few things to remember before you start bridge hopping.
1. You can bridge hop by car or by boat. Every bridge has free public parking available.
2. You’ll also need various lures and bait for fishing, depending on the type of fish you’re hoping to catch.
3. You’ll need to obtain a Florida fishing license, no matter what type of fish you’re hoping to catch. You can purchase a Florida fishing license online from Florida fish and wildlife’s website.
4. You’ll need to bring a cooler to keep your catch fresh. You can also bring along a camera to document your catch.
5. Live shrimp and pinfish are the best bait to use from the bridge.
6. The best-frozen bait is squid because it says on the hook the best. Frozen ballyhoo is great bait as well.
7. The tide is important. The fish normally bite best when the current or tide is moving. When the tide stops to change direction, the fishing stops too. Wait about an hour or two, and the bite will turn back on.
With the right gear and patience, you will surely have a successful day of bridge hopping in the Keys. Just remember to take your time, enjoy the stunning views, and most importantly, have fun.
There you have it – a comprehensive guide to the best Florida Keys bridge fishing spots. Now you know where to go and what to expect, so all that’s left to do is get out there and start fishing. Grab some bait, launch your boat, or rent one of our boat and stop by today! Remember to always follow the local regulations in order to ensure a sustainable fishery for future generations.