Blackburn Point

This old bridge deep down in the ICW is a unique fishery and can produce some of the biggest fish I’ve seen caught or hooked up with in Sarasota. It can be quite the view too, walking across the main swing bridge. At night, looking down, there are times you will see 100 fish ranging from small snook to 40″ red drum, big monster snook and juvenile tarpon.

The tide here flows with the Venice jetties. So outgoing tide is flowing south and incoming tide is flowing north.


Plenty of parking at Blackburn. Lots of side of the road spots and some big lots, never been a problem finding a place to park and fish.

Fishing The ICW

  1. The most popular spot to fish at blackburn is following a little path down on the NE side of the main swing bridge. There’s a picnic table down there and access to casting out in the ICW and towards the bridge light on the NW side. You can also take a little trail through the mangroves and stand in knee deep water to cast out towards the oyster beds and mangrove island that is labeled spot number 8.
    Big snook have been caught here throwing a heavy NLBN and working it slowly back to you on an outgoing tide. The fish will be facing north and the tide will slowly sweep your lure south while you reel it in.
    Throwing rapalas or paddle tails at the bridge light and working them back to you quickly is a great way to hook up with some mid size snook and occasionally a bigger one cruising the light too.
  2. Behind the bridge tender’s building there is a little path to the SW side of the bridge. Not a lot of standing room but on an incoming tide you can get a ton of action here casting out to the left of the left and working a small lure back to you.
  3. You can stand on a ledge on both sides of the bridge on the west side, north and south. On the north side you can walk down a slope to land a big fish but on the south side that’s not possible so you will need either a bridge net or just catching dinks you can reel up on this side.
    I haven’t had a ton of luck over. I lost a really big snook one night throw a lady fish head at the fender when the tide was slow. You can reach the light from the NW side if you walk down a bit and catch dinks that way.
  4. I’ve caught some nice snook and reds here. At mid to high tide you will be in water up to your knees sometimes to walk around the mangroves and get there but its got a little beach you can fish from. I like to run live pins or mullet here because its just out of the main flow of the tide enough that you can work them at a slower speed. Lures are great here too though.
  5. Is good if you really want to get away from other fisherman but its a wetter journey and legit wading out there to fish.
  6. This is a floating dock that kayaker often use. You can walk a ways out on it and fish. I haven’t had a ton of luck back here but the fish do come in and its worth throwing a bit. Very grassy and shallow all around so best to use weedless or topwater here.
  7. Can be good spot for throwing a cast net but with all the boat traffic from the ramp here I’ve never caught anything.
  8. Taking a little canoe or even just wading out to this mangrove/oyster bed island can be a very rewarding fishing experience. Usually some dry spots you can stand on but most likely going to be wading around when out here. Its not very deep once at the island but getting there you will get in well over your waste, sometimes chest high which is a bit sketchy at night but we all like a little adventure sometimes.
    I’ve caught a bunch of big red fish here with buddies throwing paddle tails and small, live pin fish in the 2-3″ range. Can throw in every direction and find fish.
    Hitting this spot in the early morning time, talking sunrise and just after, with a gold spoon can be a great session with the reds.

Fishing The Mini Bridge

This can be a killer spots for loading up on mangrove snapper and sheepshead in the late winter and spring with just some shrimp.

It’s also a great spot for a giant snook if you are ready to put in some time. Catching a the second half an incoming tide that’s not moving too crazy, launch a big piece of dead bait, cut lady fish, thawed out finger mullet, something like that as far to the north east side as you can and let it sit. Get yourself a lawn chair or something and just sit for a couple hours and wait. There’s a real good chance a big mama is gonna come cruising by nice and slow looking for some easy grabs.

Questionable Options (Fenders, Restaurant)

Fishing the bridge fender on the east side is probably the most productive way to find big fish here. Without a boat, you really aren’t supposed to do this on foot but you technically can. The bridge tenders come out at night with a flashlight every hour or so and look for folks til they fall asleep around 11 or midnight. They don’t call the cops unless you tell them you aren’t leaving when they tell you to. I do not recommend doing this for liability reasons, just saying its possible to catch monsters this way.

There’s a restaurant with a bunch of little docks on the NE side by the marina. When they are shutting down or closed I’ve never had anyone bother me fishing them at night. Not supposed to I don’t think, but there aren’t any signs saying not to, at least not when I was last there a in early 2023.