New Pass

The New Pass channel is one of the more popular spots for fishing in Sarasota and for good reason. Tons of structure from a huge bridge gives all sorts of species a place to hang and hunt. From snook to goliath groupers, massive bull sharks to 150lb tarpon, you can find it all here depending on the time of year.


There is a park on the north end of the bridge with plenty of parking space and also tons of parking on city island. They do occasionally close the gate or kick people out at 11 from the north end park but usually no one bothers you.


Every where here is easy to access on foot, there are no fences or locked gates outside of private property like the Mote research facility dock and Old Salty Dog. I like New Pass a lot for its accessibility alone. Its one of the few areas you can basically park where you fish.


Gear here is going to entirely depend on target species. A good 4000-5000 reel should be able to handle most fish you encounter but there are massive tarpon you can hook up with here nearly every day of the year. You may also get into a big ass gag or goliath grouper.

If you have always wanted to get into using those big NLBNs every one is talking about, this is the perfect place for it. Fishing from the bridge or the shadow lines can result in a monster snook or tarpon on one.

  • Flarehawks/Bucktail Jigs
  • Paddle tails
  • NLBN and other heavy swimbaits
  • MirrOdine Twitch Baits
  • NLBN lil’ mullets
  • Cut bait
  • Live finger mullet/pins/pilchards


The tides at New Pass are super important to pay attention to. This channel gets flowing harder than most other places here. It can really get kicking in high gear making it impossible to fish some spots or certain types of lures/rigs.

There are some interesting jetties and flow patterns on the outside edges of the pass. In the middle it does as expected, goes in and out with a strong constant flow.

Some spots on the edges often feel like that water is flowing the opposite of what the tide is doing. That’s because its jettying around these inlets and coves, flats and sandbars. Note in the picture above the light blue lines are the tide flowing in, but in these areas with red arrows the water kind of swirls around creating the feel of it flowing backwards.

These are good spots to fish on a heavy tidal flow as they usually aren’t kicking as strong and you can get a lure to sink better or a live bait to swim better.

Fishing The Longboat Side

  1. This is one of my fav spots and I’ve caught some really nice fish here on both live and artificial. There’s a small, thin channel that boats can go through between the parking lot and the sandbar there. Fish travel through here all day and bait will flush through constantly as the water is moving. Working a lure to the inside of the sandbar then retrieving it back through the channel can produce a great bite!
  2. This corner allows you to work the little channel directly pulling through it, you just want to make sure the water is flowing the same direction as your retrieval if working this spot. Casting more into the main pass can be tough when the tide is flowing hard but productive if you can get a live bait to swim it low.
  3. Working the shadow line on any bridge can be productive. This side of the bridge is best to work on incoming tide with a big, heavy NLBN or other swimbait or a 2-3oz flare hawk. Cast 10 yards or so outside of the bridge and let it hit bottom then slow roll/bounce it back to you until you get that THUMP. Then hold on!!
  4. Same as 3. but on outgoing tide for this side’s shadow line. You can slow work the edges and inside the flat here. its a good spot to fish when the tide is too strong to work the main pass waters. It has a nice jetty here that will let you work a lure almost any condition. Go weedless if you can or something that doesn’t sink too much like a MirrOdine twitch bait.
  5. This flat is super shallow but snook cruise through it hunting bait. Good spot for some top water or a weedless paddle tail or an NLBN lil’ mullet.

Fishing City Island

  1. You can work the outside of the bridge here fishing over a cement wall. Its a long drop though so bring a bridge net or be ready to haul ass climbing under the bridge while fighting a fish. Snook and tarpon load up in this deeper gulley especially when the tide is really pumping making it a challenge to fish but very rewarding. Heavy bottom lures (NLBN/Flarehawks) or work a rapala really fast if you see them hitting the top.
  2. This is a wading spot. There is street parking here on both sides of the road. Lots of grass, go weedless, can be a good spot to fish when tide is pumping cause it jetties in here and allows you to work a lure at a slower pace. There’s a big drop off right outside the flat that you can toss bigger lures into or run a live bait like a big finger mullet.
  3. Sarasota Bay Walk is a path/trail here that leads to a little pier overlooking a flat on the south side of the island. I’ve never had a ton of luck here but I know fish do get in there so can be worth checking out.
  4. There are three fishing piers on the NE side of City Island. Can be a bit crowded but the rock walls do have a lot of fishing cruising and hiding there. Less folks at night so worth a stop if fishing into the evening.
  5. I really like to cast net for bait in this flat but you can wade out and fish the sailing squadron docks or the channel that follows the shore, it drops off in depth pretty fast which is an ideal fishy pathway. Weedless or top water here if there is some good activity.
  6. The Ken Thompson boat ramp is tucked away back here. I’ve caught some solid snook off the ramp and a great place to sabiki pin fish, just don’t piss off betters. Best to go here when its not busy.
  7. At the end of the dirt lot by the boat ramp you can wade out a bit and fish this huge flat. I’ve had great luck with the NLBN lil’ mullet here at night.

Fishing The Bridge

Bring a bridge net! This is a big bridge, you aren’t hauling a fish up with only your line. But if you want a chance at a big ass tarpon, this is your best shot. Work the fenders with a heavy NLBN or flarehawk and sweep the shadow lines outside of the fenders.

This is also one of the cooler spots to just watch fish. At night you can look down and see giant tarpon, bull sharks, 42-45″ snook and more cruising and hanging around the fenders and shadow lines. Its a sight to behold.

Fly Fishing

I’ve only done a small amount of fly fishing here but easily got trout off the flat on the NW side. Its about thigh deep for a lot of the area so you can really work a big patch of it. I’ve only used the green/white clousers but they tend to work great.