A mutton snapper caught near the Seven Mile Bridge. BILL GILIBERTI/Contributed

Bridge fishing in the Florida Keys offers anglers a unique and rewarding experience, blending the art of angling with stunning scenery. Bridges including the Seven Mile Bridge, the Long Key Bridge and the historic Bahia Honda Bridge not only connect our islands but also serve as prime fishing spots, drawing anglers from land and by sea. Fishing from these bridges holds a distinct charm, offering a blend of convenience, accessibility and exceptional fishing opportunities. With the abundance of bridges spanning the islands, anglers have numerous options to choose from, each presenting its own challenges and rewards.

The Seven Mile Bridge is an iconic structure stretching across the area where the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet. Its location creates a thriving ecosystem, attracting an impressive array of fish species and offering a diverse range of catches. Tarpon, known for their acrobatics, hide between these structures alongside snapper, grouper, snook, mackerel, sharks and barracuda.

Farther west lies the historic Bahia Honda Bridge, targeted not only for its structural magnificence but also for its angling potential. Nestled within Bahia Honda State Park, this bridge provides a picturesque setting for fishing, with waters teeming with tarpon, snapper and more. Its proximity to both deep and shallow waters offers anglers the chance to target different species using varied techniques. In between the new and old Bahia Honda bridges are several areas that reach 25 feet in depth, offering a haven for hungry groupers and mangrove snappers waiting to ambush prey as the tidal currents move bait such as shrimp, pinfish and pilchards through the bridge.

Delicious cooked or even served as raw sashimi or sushi, yellow jacks are a prime bridge fishing target. BILL GILIBERTI/Contributed

Bridge fishing can consist of various techniques. Anglers often use a variety of methods, from casting live bait or lures to bottom fishing or jigging, catering to the preferences of different fish species. Tides play a major role in fishing success, influencing the movement and feeding patterns of the fish. Timing your fishing trip to coincide with the tide can significantly enhance the chances of a successful catch. For the Seven Mile Bridge, I prefer an incoming tide, especially for targeting delicious yellow jacks around the edges of flats. 

Proper preparation is crucial for a successful bridge fishing trip here in the Florida Keys. Make sure that you have the right gear, including proper rods, fluorocarbon lines and a variety of bait from cut ballyhoo to live pilchards. Familiarizing yourself with local fishing regulations is also imperative to ensure fishing practices are legal and sustainable. 

Bridge fishing in the Florida Keys isn’t only about the catch; it’s also about immersing oneself in the serenity of the surroundings. It’s about connecting with nature, feeling the warmth of the sun, listening to the gentle lapping of waves, and relishing the panoramic views of the shimmering waters and distant islands. It’s an opportunity to unwind and appreciate the simple joys of angling in a picturesque setting.

Do not limit yourself to just fishing the Seven Mile or Bahia Honda bridges – there are dozens of other bridges throughout the Keys that will produce a fun fishing experience. Given the unfavorable weather we have had this month, bridge fishing can allow you to get your line wet and still offer opportunities to fish in calmer waters by using the flats around the bridges to hide from the weather.