The Ultimate Guide to Florida Keys Bridge Fishing Spots 2024

If you’re heading to the Florida Keys and are looking for the best bridge fishing spots then read this ultimate guide to Florida Keys bridge fishing spots. Most Florida Keys bridges offer a great opportunity to catch some fish while enjoying the scenic view of the water. The walkway systems on the bridges are also very convenient and safe for anglers, providing a safe and elevated platform to fish directly from.

Key Largo, Florida Bridge Fishing Spots

John Pennekamp State Park is Trip Advisors #1 Top Attraction in Key Largo, Florida.  The entrance to the park is at (MM 102.8). John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the first undersea park in the United States, covering around 70 nautical square miles. While exploring the park’s upland areas, visitors can enjoy the unique experience of mangrove swamps and tropical hammocks. However, it is the stunning coral reefs and the diverse marine life that attract most visitors to the park. The park permits fishing from shore in the Florida Keys in designated areas only.

Harry Harris Park (MM 92.6) isn’t just for picnics; you can also fish from land while the kids go swimming.  Harry Harris Park has a great little beach area.  It’s worth noting that while the beach at Harry Harris Park is man-made, the sand is imported, which adds to its beauty. However, it’s important to manage your expectations and understand that it may not be on par with the quality of beaches found in Miami. Nonetheless, it’s still considered one of the best family-friendly beaches in the Florida Keys and is enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike.

When I first moved to the Keys, I did a lot of shore fishing at Harry Harris Park. I caught everything from mangrove snappers, yellow jacks, and tarpon from shore while fishing from the land inside Harry Harris Park.   Stop by Tavernier Creek Marina, visit Chris’s Bait and Tackle at MM 91, and pick up your bridge fishing tackle and bait.  And if you want to check out the park before you visit, you can view the up-to-date photos on the park’s Trip Advisor page by clicking here. 

If you’re an angler looking for a unique fishing experience in the Upper Florida Keys, then you should definitely check out Tavernier Creek Bridge (MM 91.0).  This Florida Keys fishing spot offers a great opportunity for land-based bridge fishing, with the added excitement of a little adventure. While fishing under the bridge requires a bit of caution, it’s a nice spot to fish from land. However, be aware that parking nearby can be a bit challenging. During the months of April and May, the Tavernier Creek Bridge is a prime location for catching mangrove snappers and land-based tarpon. So, if you’re up for the challenge, give it a try.

Here is an awesome YouTube video of my fishing buddy Chad. He has been featured on several sport fishing channels and fishing magazine publications. This video will motivate you to go Florida Keys bridge fishing. Make sure to subscribe to his Chadgonefishing on YouTube.  He is considered one the best bridge fisherman in the Florida Keys.

Florida Keys Bridge Fishing Spots

Florida Keys Bridge Fishing Spots

Islamorada, Florida Bridge Fishing Spots

I suggest avoiding Snake Creek Draw Bridge (MM 85.5) and Whale Harbor Bridge (MM 84.0) as you venture further south into Islamorada. However, if you’re interested in fishing this area, you can still access some land-based fishing spots at Whale Harbor Marina. Before planning a fishing trip to the Whale Harbor Bridge, it’s recommended you do your research. You might be able to catch some tarpon and mangrove snappers as they move through this area.

At mile marker 79.8, Tea Table Relief Bridge, and at mile marker 79.1, Tea Table Channel Bridge can be great spots for bridge and land fishing. I used to spend hours catching yellow jacks from the shore here using artificial lures. My favorite artificial bait for yellow jacks was new penny gulp shrimp rigged with a popping cork, which allowed me to make long casts. Yellow jacks are easy to catch, and bait is unnecessary as they love artificial lures, especially new penny gulp shrimp. I have used large shrimp to catch species like sea trout and small tarpons in this area. During the spring tarpon migrations, I would float crabs with a bobber rig to catch tarpon from land here. I never landed any of them, but it was sure was fun trying.

The city of Islamorada has given Sea Oats Beach (mm 74) and Anne’s Beach (mm 73.4) a new look, making them even more enjoyable for residents and visitors. At high tide, fishing for tarpon can be caught as they cruise the shallows along the shoreline in this area. It can also be a prime spot for Florida Keys live bait fishing for pilchards and mullets. It’s a nice place to take walk and look at all the birds and beach critters.

Florida Keys Bridge Fishing Spots

Florida Keys Bridge Fishing Spots

Florida Keys Bridge Fishing Spots-Channel 2 and Channel 5 Bridge

The Channel 2 Bridge is located in Islamorada, FL, at Mile Marker 73 on the Overseas Highway. It has fishing platforms and parking available on both sides of the bridge.  The Channel 5 Bridge, located at Mile Marker 71, is famous for its yellow jacks, yellowtail, mutton snapper, and mangrove snappers. This bridge also has fishing platforms and parking facilities. Florida Keys bridge anglers can catch various species from both bridges that are not commonly found in restaurants, making it an ideal location for bridge fishing enthusiasts.

I wanted to share a video of my friend Jeff Prez, who is a passionate bridge fisherman in the Florida Keys. He has a YouTube channel called Project Reel where he shares his fishing experiences. In this video, he explains in detail all the necessary gear needed to fish the bridge. You can see him fishing at the Channel 5 bridge located at Mile Marker 71.

Fishing the Florida Keys-Long Key Bridge and Tom Harbor Channel Bridges 

If you’re looking for best Florida Keys bridge fishing spots, then I recommend fishing Long Key Bridge and Toms Harbor Bridges. The Long Key Bridge, officially called the Dante B. Fascell Bridge, connects Long Key and Conch Key in the Florida Keys. The Long Key Bridge is a must-visit for Florida Keys bridge anglers looking to catch a diverse range good eating fish species, including yellow jacks, permit, cobia, snook, tarpon, cubera snappers jack crevalle, snapper, and sharks. With its fishing pier walkway, it’s an excellent location for bridge fishing. Toms Harbor Bridges are undisputed prime spots for catching yellow jacks, snapper, grouper, and tarpon, and with ample parking and easy access, they are the ideal location for both local and visiting anglers. Don’t miss out on these fantastic bridge fishing spots.

  • Long Key at mile marker 65.8 
  • Tom’s Harbor Cut at mile marker 61.2 
  • Tom’s Harbor Channel Bridges at mile marker 60.6

Marathon, Florida Bridge Fishing Spots

The Vaca Cut Bridge (MM 53.1) is a popular channel in Marathon, Florida. It provides a convenient passage between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Fishing is still allowed under the bridge. The best fishing at Vaca Cut Bridge occurs on the new and full moon tides in the spring and fall. Florida Keys bridge fishing is an exciting adventure involving scouting the best bridge fishing spots.  The Seven Mile Bridge is a must-visit in the Florida Keys due to its breathtaking views and iconic status. However, most of it is inaccessible for fishing due to safety reasons. There might be designated areas near the beginning or end of the bridge where fishing is allowed. I recommend scouting this area prior to going fishing at this location.   

The Best Florida Keys Spots for Land-based Fishing and Snorkeling 

Bahia Honda State Park is the ultimate spot for land-based snorkeling in the Florida Keys. Additionally, it offers some of the best kayak fishing opportunities along with land-based bridge fishing off the seawalls on either side of Old Bahia Honda Bridge (MM 36.8 – MM 38.8). The area between the old and new bridges is one of the ideal spots to catch snook, mangrove snappers, and big tarpon from a kayak in the Florida Keys. Moreover, it is the perfect place for camping and fishing in the Florida Keys.

Florida Keys Bridge Fishing Spots

Scouting Bridge Fishing Spots

When it comes to bridge fishing, scouting your location beforehand can be the difference between a successful catch and going home empty-handed.

Use Online Maps: Google Maps is a fantastic tool for scouting fishing locations. Enter the name of the bridge into the search bar, switch to satellite view, and look for areas that might be good for fishing. Look for structure such as pilings, rock piles, or other underwater features that might attract fish. People post photos of the bridges and the fish they catch at the bridges show up in the Google Map search for most bridges entered into the search bar.

How to Find Bridge Fishing Spots

Secret Florida Keys Bridge Spots to Explore

 If you’re planning a fishing trip to the Florida Keys, you’ve heard of the famous bridge fishing spots like Channel 5, Toms Harbor and Long Key Bridge. However, there are several other lesser-known bridge spots worth checking out as well. Here are a few Florida Keys bridge fishing spots worth scouting during your visit: 

  • Missouri-Little Duck Channel Bridge (MM 39.5) 
  • Ohio-Missouri Channel Bridge (MM 39.0) 
  • Spanish Harbor Bridge (MM 33.0) 
  • Big Pine Key traffic stop light (MM 30.2)
  • Bridges like Torch Channel Bridge (MM 28.0) 
  • Torch-Ramrod Channel Bridge (MM 27.7) 
  • South Pine Channel Bridge (MM 26.6)
  • Niles Channel Bridge (MM 26.0) 
  • Kemp Channel Bridge (MM 23.5) 

Each spot offers a unique bridge fishing experience, with various fish species to catch. 

Key West Bridge Fishing Spots 

If you plan to go fishing in Key West, you can explore several bridge fishing spots. Some of the best Key West bridge fishing spots include:

  • Bow Channel Bridge (MM 20.2)
  • Park Channel Bridge (MM 18.8)
  • North Harris Channel Bridge (MM 17.8), Harris Gap Channel Bridge (MM 17.6), and Harris Channel Bridge (MM 16.3)
  • Lower Sugarloaf Channel Bridge (MM 15.8)
  • Saddlebunch Bridges #2 (MM 14.6), #3 (MM 14.3), #4 (MM 13.1), and #5 (MM 12.8)
  • Shark Channel Bridge (MM 11.4)
  • Rockland Channel Bridge (MM 9.7)
  • Cow Key Channel Bridge (MM 4.1)

Florida Keys Bridge Fishing-Tides

When it comes to catching fish at bridges in the Florida Keys, moving water can make a big difference. However, figuring out the best times for water movement can be challenging, especially for those who are new to bridge fishing. One helpful tip for Florida Keys bridge fishing beginners is to spend time scouting the bridges and keeping an eye on tide tables for the areas they plan to fish. It’s also important to pay attention to wind direction and moon phase. Additionally, it’s good to note that the current tends to move every 4-6 hours at the Florida Keys bridges.
If you’re looking for a reliable source of tide charts and tables, you may want to check out the Tides for Fishing website. It offers up-to-date information on Florida Keys Bridge fishing tides.
Bridge Fishing Spots
Understanding Florida Keys bridge tidal patterns is crucial for successful bridge fishing.  Fish, especially mutton snapper, tarpon and permit, use tidal currents for navigation and feeding.
As a result, the periods around the change of tides often become prime feeding times and, consequently, the best fishing times at the bridges in the Florida Keys. Start your fishing trip before the change of tides and stay until at least a couple of hours after the tide has changed. The reason behind this strategy lies in the natural behavior of bridge fish in the Florida Keys. As the tide starts to shift, smaller baitfish, crabs and shrimp get carried along with the current. Predatory fish take advantage of this, moving in to feed on the disoriented and easy prey. This feeding frenzy typically begins just before the tide changes and continues for a few hours afterward. Whether it’s an incoming or outgoing tide, there’s a window of opportunity that bridge anglers can take advantage of. During the incoming tide, warmer oceanic water rich in nutrients and baitfish floods into the inlets and estuaries.
I’s important to note that the outgoing tide(ebb tide) can also be productive. As the tide recedes it pulls baitfish, shrimp and crabs from estuaries, creeks, and other spots along the shoreline of bridges.  it can create a feeding frenzy among the larger fish like mutton snappers and yellow jacks. So, for a successful bridge fishing day, it’s important to consider both tides and make sure you have the right bait and timing.

Florida Keys Bridge Fishing-High-Pressure Systems

A high-pressure system in the atmosphere can have noticeable effects on the tide levels in the Florida Keys. According to research, a higher atmospheric pressure causes a dip or dent in the sea surface height. This relationship is used by scientists to increase the accuracy of tide forecasts. Additionally, an approaching frontal boundary, which often brings a high-pressure system, can result in lower observed tides. In the East Coast region, including the Florida Keys, high-pressure systems such as the Bermuda High significantly influence tides.

However, it’s important to note that other factors also contribute to the changes in tide levels. For instance, wind intensity and forward speed of a storm, along with a decrease in pressure, can intensify peak surges of the tidal flow in the Florida Keys.

A high-pressure system can lower the observed tides, the actual tide levels in the Florida Keys could be affected by a combination of various atmospheric and oceanic conditions. Many guides that fish the bridges will wear watches that detect changes in atmospheric pressure. My recommendation is to watch the weather patterns, high/low pressure changes and tidal movements then look for correlations in the bite while bridge fishing.

High pressure systems can have a dramatic effect on water levels, particularly in shallow areas like the backcountry flats of the Florida Keys. A sudden increase in atmospheric pressure can cause water to retreat rapidly from these flats surrounding bridge channels, leaving boats stranded in what was previously navigable water.

I remember the first time I experienced getting “squeezed” by a high pressure system. I was fishing on a flat in the backcountry, enjoying a peaceful day on the water. Suddenly, the high pressure system moved in and squeezed the water off that flat at an alarming rate. The change was so swift and unexpected that it left me scrambling to react. The water level dropped rapidly, threatening to leave my boat grounded on the flat. I knew that if I didn’t act quickly, I would be stuck there until the tide returned, which could take hours or even longer. In a race against time, I managed to navigate my boat off that rapidly drying flat. It was a close call and a nerve-wracking experience, but one that taught me a valuable lesson about the power of nature and the unpredictability of the tides. From that day on, I’ve been extra cautious when fishing in the backcountry an shallower channels during high pressure systems I always keep an eye on the tide and make sure I have a plan for quickly exiting the flat if needed. After all, the last thing any angler wants is to spend their fishing trip stuck on a dry flat.

Florida Keys Bridge Fishing-Chumming at the Bridges 

Why Chumming is Essential

As charter fishing business owner, I can attest to the effectiveness of chumming. When I frequented the bridges, I never went without a case of chum. The scent trail it creates in the water is like a dinner bell for snapper, attracting them towards your bait and increasing the chances of a successful catch. Timing is also important when it comes to using chum, as chumming is usually more effective during early morning or late evening when fish are most actively feeding, and during incoming tides when the current can carry the chum further out.

Respect the Chum Slick

However, if you show up at the bridge without chum and see another angler catching fish, resist the urge to cast into their chum slick. It might be tempting, but it’s important to remember that chumming requires effort, time, and resources. The angler who created the slick has done the legwork to attract fish to their area. Casting into another person’s chum slick is seen as bad bridge fishing etiquette and is highly frowned upon in the Florida Keys fishing community.  Not only is it considered disrespectful, but it can also lead to bad karma. The last thing you want is too upset a fellow angler who has put in the work to create a successful fishing spot.

Always remember to respect other anglers and their efforts. If you forget your chum, take it as a lesson for next time.

The Best Bait for Florida Keys Bridge Fishing

Here are some of the best baits you can use, all of which are commonly found in the waters around the Florida Keys:

  • Live Shrimp: You can not go wrong with using shrimp in the Florida Keys around the bridges especially during the winter months.

  • Small Ballyhoo: These are excellent bait from the bridge, especially for larger predatory fish like grouper, mutton snappers, cobia, and kingfish. Mutton snappers follow schools of ballyhoo that move from the gulf through the bridges out to the oceanside of the Florida Keys.

  • Pinfish: Pinfish are a popular choice for many species, including tarpon, cubera snapper, snook, and muttons snappers. Pinfish are abundant in Florida Bay and Gulf of Mexico making them a primary food source for snappers, groupers and cobia.

  • Blue Crabs: These are particularly effective for targeting species like permit and tarpon. Blue crabs are abundant in Florida Bay.

  • Mullet: Mullet are another excellent bait choice as they are abundant in the Florida Keys, especially around the bridges and in Florida Bay.

  • Squid: Squid is a great bait, especially during winter months at the bridges in the Florida Keys. All fish like squid.

At Tavernier Creek Marina, you’ll find Chris’s Bait and Tackle, a well-stocked Florida Keys bait and tackle shop that provides all the essentials for your Florida Keys fishing and on-the-water adventures.

Florida Keys Bridge Fishing Sabiki Rigs for Catching Bait

I recommend having several sizes of sabiki rigs on hand. The best sabiki rigs are made by R&R Tackle. You can purchase them though my amazon link here.  These consist of small, shiny hooks that are perfect for catching baitfish like pinfish, grunts, or herring. A bait rod rigged with small gold hooks and a bobber can also be extremely effective for catching bait that shows up in your chum slicks.

The best Sabiki Rig

Choosing the Right Bridge Landing Net

When fishing off a bridge, a bridge landing net is an essential piece of gear. I highly recommending ordering a net prior to coming to the Florida Keys.  This will save you a bunch of money as bait shop nets are priced for convenience. Below is foldable net option that may work for you.

  • QualyQualy Bridge and Pier Fishing Net: This foldable drop net for pier fishing comes with a durable soft steel hoop and nylon mesh net. Its dimensions are 32”×36”, offering ample space to land fish without damaging them. Click here to purchase

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Florida Keys offer various bridge fishing spots for novice and experienced anglers. It is extremely important that you learn all about the Florida Keys tides and moon phases prior to going fishing. I have created a tide and moon blog for beginners, click here to read.  Many bridge fishing options exist, from the Vaca Cut Bridge to the Seven Mile Bridge. However, it’s essential to remember the rules and regulations for fishing at each location and always prioritize safety. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful Florida Keys bridge fishing experience or an exciting adventure hunting monster salt water fish from land or bridge, the Florida Keys have something to offer for everyone. The old bridge fishing Florida Keys  locals I knew are now fishing in another realm, these guys were best. They always kept really good fishing log books and just loved telling stories and sharing techniques, which I have to say was pretty cool.

Remember, “Anytime You’re Fishing, It’s All good”.