Skyway Bridge Pier Fishing

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Tampa Florida’s Skyway Bridge Fishing Pier

Guide to Fishing at the Tampa Skyway Bridge

Fishing at the Tampa Skyway Bridge is an experience like no other, especially when targeting Tarpon and Grouper.

Open 24/7 and known for its rich action-packed and accessible fishing facilities, the Skyway Bridge is a prime destination for anglers looking to land these giant saltwater fish species.

combat fishing action on the skyway bridge

This detailed guide will delve into everything you need to know for a successful fishing trip at this iconic location.

broken Fishing rod goliath grouper fishing skyway bridge fishing pier

Introduction to the Tampa Skyway Bridge

The Tampa Skyway Bridge, officially named the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, stretches across Tampa Bay, connecting St. Petersburg in Pinellas County to Terra Ceia in Manatee County.

The bridge itself is part of I-275 and is a recognized symbol of Florida. After the old bridge was partially destroyed in 1980, the new structure was completed in 1987, featuring a cable-stayed design.

What makes this location particularly special for anglers is the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, which utilizes remnants of the old bridge as fishing piers on the north and south sides of the bay.

Watch Video: Skyway Fishing Pier

Facilities at the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park

The park is renowned for being the longest fishing pier in the world, offering ample space and opportunity for anglers of all skill levels. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the fishing piers allow for both daytime and nighttime fishing adventures. Facilities include:

fishing floridas skyway bridge pier

Ample Parking:

Directly adjacent to the fishing areas for easy access.

Bait Shops:

Located on both the north and south piers, these shops offer a variety of live and frozen bait, fishing tackle, and snacks.


Clean and accessible restrooms are available for anglers’ convenience.

Picnic Areas:

For those who want to take a break and enjoy the beautiful views of Tampa Bay.

World’s Longest Fishing Pier

Pier Hours

24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Entry Fees

$4 per vehicle, plus $4 per adult


4905 34th St. South #5000
St. Petersburg FL 33711


Contact Info

catching big tarpon from the skyway fishing pier

Targeting Tarpon

Tarpon, also known as the “Silver King,” are highly sought after by sports fishers for their impressive size and acrobatic leaps when hooked. They can grow to be over 200 pounds and live in both salt and freshwater.

fishing goliath grouper from tampa skyway fishing pier

Best Times to Fish for Tarpon

Tarpon season at the Skyway Bridge runs from late spring through summer, with peak activity from May to July. During this time, tarpon migrate through the waters of Tampa Bay, following the warm currents.

hooked up tarpon fishing skyway bridge fishing skyway misfits

Techniques for Tarpon Fishing

Effective tarpon fishing techniques include:

Live Baiting:

Use mullet, crabs, or pinfish. Position your bait at varying depths to find where tarpon are feeding.

Artificial Lures:

Large streamers, plastic worms, or poppers can be effective, especially during the early morning or late evening.

netting goliath grouper dehooking skyway fishing pier tampa florida

Targeting Grouper

Grouper are bottom-dwelling fish known for their size and strength. The most common types around the Skyway Bridge are gag grouper, red grouper, and the formidable Goliath grouper.

Best Times to Fish for Grouper

Grouper can be caught year-round, but the best months are from June to September, when the water temperatures are warmer and the fish are more active.

setting up ballyhoop landing net skyway bridge

Techniques for Grouper Fishing

Bottom Fishing:

Use heavy tackle and strong lines because grouper often retreat into rocky crevices after being hooked.

Live Bait:

Ideal baits include squid, sardines, and pinfish. Drop your bait near underwater structures where grouper like to hide.


Attract grouper to your area by releasing a chum slick into the water.

catching live bait on the skyway fishing pier

Using the Ballyhoop Net

The Ballyhoop net revolutionizes how anglers can catch live bait. Its unique collapsible design allows for quick deployment and retrieval, making it an indispensable tool at the Skyway Bridge.

Here’s how to use the Ballyhoop net effectively:

Deploying the Net:

Simply toss the net into the water and let it sink. The hoop design keeps the net open, allowing schools of baitfish to swim in.

Retrieving the Net:

Pull the net up once you see that baitfish have entered. Its design minimizes escape, ensuring you get ample bait.

Handling and Storage:

The Ballyhoop is easy to handle and can be stored compactly, making it ideal for use on crowded piers.

Skyway Bridge Tampa Fishing

Local Expertise:

Skyway Misfits and GrouperMVP

Learning from experienced anglers can drastically improve your fishing skills. The Skyway Misfits, a group of seasoned pier fishers, and GrouperMVP, known for his focus on big-game fishing, are invaluable resources.

They offer insights on local conditions, bait preferences, and tackle recommendations. Following their YouTube channels and social media platforms will keep you updated on the latest techniques and fishing reports.

Conservation and Regulations

Fishing at the Skyway Bridge is regulated to ensure sustainability of fish populations. Always check the latest Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regulations regarding size limits, bag limits, and season dates. Practice catch and release whenever possible, especially with species like tarpon and Goliath grouper, which are crucial for maintaining the ecological balance in Tampa Bay.

A Florida Fishing Adventure for All Anglers

Fishing for tarpon and grouper at the Tampa Skyway Bridge offers an unparalleled opportunity to engage with some of the most exciting marine species in Florida.

By preparing adequately, utilizing effective gear like the Ballyhoop net, and respecting local regulations and ecosystems, anglers can enjoy a fulfilling and sustainable fishing experience.

Remember to leverage the knowledge of local experts and immerse yourself in the vibrant fishing community at the Skyway Bridge. Happy fishing!

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